New York -
March 15, 2011 – The Ethisphere Institute today announced its fifth annual selection of the World’s Most Ethical Companies, highlighting 110 organizations that lead the way in promoting ethical business standards. These companies go beyond legal minimums, introduce innovative ideas benefiting the public and force their competitors to follow suit.

Further, the World’s Most Ethical (“WME”) Companies prove a clear correlation between ethical business practices and improved financial performance. WME companies, if indexed together, have routinely and significantly outpaced the S&P 500 every year since the recognition was developed in 2007. On average, the WME companies outperformed the S&P 500 by 7.3 percent each year. The 2011 World’s Most Ethical Companies have already surpassed the S&P 500 year to date.

“The World’s Most Ethical Companies, if indexed, would have significantly outperformed the S&P 500 by delivering a nearly 27 percent return to shareholders since 2007, compared to the S&P’s negative 8.5 percent shareholder return during the same period, proving there is a strong correlation between a company’s ethics program and its performance,” said Alex Brigham, Executive Director of the Ethisphere Institute. “The recession has taken its toll on the economy, but we’re on the road to recovery. These companies deserve recognition for setting the tone from the top and making high standards a priority. In addition to increased financial performance, ethical companies benefit from better brand reputation, consumer loyalty and higher employee retention rates. These companies understand that good, smart business leads to higher profits and stronger organizations.”

A record number of nominations and applications from companies this year is evidence of both the award’s growing prominence and companies’ desire to be acknowledged for their high ethical standards. The 2011 list is the largest since the award’s inception in 2007. Of the 110 companies honored this year, 74 are returners from the 2010 list.

“The Hartford is honored to be recognized as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies for the fourth consecutive year,” said The Hartford’s Chairman, President and CEO Liam E. McGee. “We are committed to conducting all of our business operations according to the highest standards of honesty, integrity and respect for individuals. Every day we strive to demonstrate to stakeholders that their trust in The Hartford is well placed.”

An increasing number of global companies are also placing added emphasis on their ethical standards, with 42 winners coming from outside of the United States, including six from Japan. The list also features 36 first time winners, including eBay, Hitachi Data Systems, Adidas, Stonyfield Farm and Singapore Telecom.

“eBay Inc. is honored to be included in this year’s impressive list of Ethisphere’s World’s Most Ethical Companies,” said John Donahoe, President & CEO, eBay Inc. “eBay was founded on the belief that strangers could trust and connect with one another through global commerce. Building this trust requires a sustained commitment to doing business with the highest level of integrity. This commitment is reflected not only in our compliance and ethics programs, but also in our commitment to driving innovation in sustainable commerce and global citizenship. Our employees strive every day to make a difference and create opportunity for people around the world. I couldn’t be happier to see their passion and commitment recognized.”

“Integrity and ethics have always been core values at Hitachi Data Systems, and receiving this award is a validation of the ethical culture we have established,” said Jack Domme, CEO, Hitachi Data Systems. “We’ve set up a solid program with the best proven features, including a global anti-corruption program developed for our operations around the world. Having this distinction by an external, independent review benchmarked against companies across industries sets us apart as an industry leader and employer of choice. We’re honored to be named to this prestigious list of the World’s Most Ethical Companies.”

Through in-depth research and a multi-step analysis, Ethisphere reviewed nominations from companies in more than 100 countries and 36 industries. The methodology for the World’s Most Ethical Companies includes reviewing codes of ethics, litigation and regulatory infraction histories; evaluating the investment in innovation and sustainable business practices; looking at activities designed to improve corporate citizenship; and studying nominations from senior executives, industry peers, suppliers and customers.

Leading executives from these top global companies will be on hand at the World’s Most Ethical Companies Awards Dinner tonight at the Westin New York at Times Square, which will feature a keynote address from U.S. Chamber of Commerce Chief Operating Officer David Chavern.

Read about the methodology and view the complete list of the 2011 World’s Most Ethical Companies at The World’s Most Ethical Companies will also be featured in the Q1 issue of the quarterly magazine Ethisphere.

About Ethisphere Institute
The research-based Ethisphere Institute is a leading international think-tank dedicated to the creation, advancement and sharing of best practices in business ethics, corporate social responsibility, anti-corruption and sustainability. The Institute’s associated membership groups, the Ethisphere Council and Business Ethics Leadership Alliance, are forums for business ethics that includes over 200 leading corporations, universities and institutions. These groups are dedicated to the development and advancement of members through increased efficiency, innovation, tools, mentoring, advice, and unique career opportunities. Ethisphere Magazine, which publishes the globally recognized World’s Most Ethical Companies Ranking(TM), is the quarterly publication of the Institute. Ethisphere provides the only third-party verifications of compliance programs and ethical cultures, Ethics Inside Certification(R), Anti-Corruption Leader Verification and Compliance Program Verification. More information on the Ethisphere Institute, including ranking projects and membership, can be found at