'Most ethical' companies include Costco, Safeway, Target

Ethisphere Institute unveils 2012 list

NEW YORK — The Ethisphere Institute's sixth annual selection of the "World's Most Ethical Companies" included several of the nation's top retailers.

Among this year's list of 145 organizations, Ethisphere — which describes itself as 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 — included Costco, Safeway, Target, Wegmans and Whole Foods.

Each 2012 honoree was chosen for promoting ethical business standards and practices by exceeding legal minimums for compliance, introducing innovative ideas that benefit the public and forcing their competitors to follow suit, according to Ethisphere.

"Each year the competition for 'World's Most Ethical Companies' intensifies as the number of nominations submitted for consideration grows," Ethisphere executive director Alex Brigham said. "This year's winners know that a strong ethics program is a key component to a successful business model, and they continue to scrutinize their ethical standards to keep up with an ever-changing regulatory environment. Corporate ethics has become much more important globally, as well, and that is reflected in the truly global nature of this year’s honorees."

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