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Ethisphere magazine has released its 2008 list of the world’s most ethical companies, which it describes as “the ones that go above and beyond legal minimums, bring about innovative new ideas to expand the public well being, work on reducing their carbon footprint rather than contributing to green washing and won’t be found next to the words ‘Billion Dollar Fine’ in newspaper headlines any time in the near future.”

Among the food and retailing companies that made the cut:

• Aveda Corp.
• Dole Food
• Gap
• General Mills
• Henkel AG,
• IKEA
• Kao Corp.
• Kellogg Co.
• Marks & Spencer
• McDonald’s
• PepsiCo
• SC Johnson & Son
• Starbucks
• Stonyfield Farms
• Target
• Ten Thousand Villages
• Trader Joe’s
• Unilever
• Whirlpool

According to the magazine, “All of the 2008 World’s Most Ethical Companies are standouts in their industries. These companies up the ante for what it takes to be an ethical leader and force their competitors to follow suit or fall behind.

“The World’s Most Ethical Companies use ethical leadership as a purposeful method to drive profits. Finally, each of these companies embodies the true spirit of Ethisphere’s credo: Good. Smart. Business. Profit.”

KC's View:
Y’think there actually are companies out there where they sit around in meetings talking about what it would take to operate as an ethical leader…and then say, “Nah.”

Actually, I can think of a couple. In fact, I’ve worked for a couple.