Ethisphere just published its annual list of the most ethical companies in the world. I am surprised to see Microsoft and General Electric included among the 110 singled out. GE is the only member of the “diversified industries” group; the other companies in the “computer software” cohort are Adobe, Salesforce.com, Symantec, and Teradata.
Some industries, such as arms merchants, Big Pharma, and US health insurers, are apparently so compromised as to have no representatives. There are five banks, but there of them (ANZ, National Australia Bank, and Westpac) are Australian. They are ethical banks apparently because they are very upfront in charging fees so that it is impossible to have a banking relationship that costs less that $25 a month. There is also a group of “financial services” firms that makes the grade: American Express, Housing Development Finance Corp, NYSE Euronext, The Hartford Financial Services Group.
The Ethisphere roster may simply serve to prove what an oxymoron “business ethics” has become.