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Market research company Morning Consult is out with a survey - of 6,600 Americans, it says - concluding that Walmart, Amazon and Target are viewed as the most ethical companies in the US.

The company said that, based on the number of mentions, the top 10 most ethical companies list is rounded out by Chick-Fil-A, Starbucks, Apple, Costco, Google, Microsoft and McDonald’s.

MediaPost, in its story about the study, says that as part of the study it also looked at “what consumers expect from brands in this highly charged political era. There are some issues that brands should steer clear of, and talking about President Trump in any context will harm a brand’s reputation … Other topics to be avoided include abortion, anthem-kneeling/protests and immigration. Three issues that aren’t very controversial are civil rights, criminal justice reform and LGBTQ rights. Gun control is somewhere in the middle.”

The story also notes that a plurality of Americans says that “as corporations have become more political, they've moved in a culturally liberal direction. At the same time, more Americans say corporations have become friendly to congressional Republicans than congressional Democrats.”
KC's View:
First of all, I’ll buy the fact that there are some subjects that businesses should avoid talking about, lest they irritate a sizable percentage of their customers. Though I’d also argue that this is not a hard and fast rule - there are times that businesses probably should take positions, especially if they view political positions as antithetical to the interests of their customers. One example - the alliance of retailers trying to fight back against the Trump administration’s criticisms of the US Postal Service.

As for the list of ethical companies … mine might be a little different and in a different order. But I was trained by Jesuits, and the notion of ethical behavior was taken sort of seriously.