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Honoree Application Process

Applying for the World’s Most Ethical Companies® Designation

Ethics matters, more than ever. Communities, employees, and other stakeholders are counting on organizations and leaders to make decisions and take actions founded in integrity. This marks the eighteenth year that we’ll honor organizations with the designation of World’s Most Ethical Companies, celebrating a select group of organizations demonstrating exceptional programs and practices. 

Whether you are new to Ethisphere and the World’s Most Ethical Companies program or you are a multi-year honoree, your organization will benefit from the process. Evaluate your program through our Ethics Quotient® questionnaire outlining best-in-class standards and practices to validate your approach and identify gaps. 

 

Everything you need to know about applying

Ready for the Applicant Journey?

Applying for the World’s Most Ethical Companies is a valuable undertaking. 

Confirm Eligibility

Public or private, for-profit or not-for-profit organizations are generally eligible to participate in and be considered for designation as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies.
Organizations that are not eligible to apply include non-profit colleges and universities, governments, governmental agencies, government majority-owned organizations, self-regulatory organizations (SROs) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are not generally eligible.

Build Collaboration

Organizations designate a core team responsible for the application to collaborate with other key stakeholders across business functions and work together to answer certain questions.
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Complete Ethics Quotient

Complete more than 240 multiple-choice and text questions capturing your company’s performance in an objective, consistent, and standardized way.
Evaulation Framework

Submit Documentation

Review the Documentation Requests in the EQ Questionnaire, gather documents, and submit them via the application portal.

Review Scorecard

Identify strengths and opportunities throughout the application process, and validate your perspective at the end with a scorecard comparing your practices against the honoree averages.
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Benchmark Practices

All applicants will be able to access select data points in The Sphere to benchmark their programs, read expert analysis, and access resources for improvement.
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Our Evaluation Framework

How We Measure Success

The journey to the World’s Most Ethical Companies starts with a qualitative and quantitative assessment across five categories. This proprietary rating system, known as the Ethics Quotient®  (EQ), is at the heart of the selection process for this prestigious honor. Featuring more than 240 multiple-choice and text questions, the Ethics Quotient framework evaluates an organizations’s performance in an objective, consistent, and standardized way.  

All applicants to the World’s Most Ethical Companies receive their overall EQ score and scores across the five categories as compared against the honorees. These insights – and access to the resources, guidance, and contextual expertise in The Sphere – offers tremendous value for improving ethics and compliance programs. 

2024 EQ UPDATES

What’s New

Each year Ethisphere updates the EQ questionnaire based on input from experts, applicants and others so that it reflects the latest approaches to effective programs, and provides clarification of what the team hopes to see. For 2024, we have made dozens of minor changes, along with some more significant updates. Here’s a brief summary: 

We’ve updated our question set this year to better understand evolving governance practices, ethics and compliance program structure involving day-to-day implementation persons, specialized training practices, enhanced questions about audit practices, simplified evaluation questions around risks, programs, and culture, revised gifts/entertainment and conflicts of interest sections, Culture measurement, third-party diligence measures, and Impacts processes.

Ethisphere will continue to evaluate a candidate’s reputation. This will include reviewing (i) any narrative submitted to explain negative reputational issues, (ii) publicly available information to understand any negative perceptions caused by an applicant’s legal compliance, litigation, environmental, or other ethical issues, and (iii) if Ethisphere deems necessary, discussions with candidates.

Third Party Management has now become its own thematic Category, where Ethisphere will evaluate an organization’s approaches to supply chain onboarding, engagement, and oversight, third-party governance principles, and third-party risk management.

Throughout the EQ, select questions and response sets have been updated to allow a clearer understanding of where organizations are on their journeys towards more ethical practices.

BUILDING VALUE, RECEIVING VALIDATION

Hear From Previous Honorees

The World’s Most Ethical Companies process is about more than recognition. It signals to your organization and the world that business integrity is at the center of your organization’s operations. Through the application process you gain valuable insights for your continuous improvement. Those who are recognized get to showcase their commitment to excellence as part of a global community.

Clarios

Deborah Spanic, VP and Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer

"I highly recommend that companies go through the World’s Most Ethical Companies application process. Even if you don’t achieve the honor, going through that benchmarking and seeing where your program stacks up against those that are considered to be at the top of their game is a fantastic way to gauge the things that you need to focus on, or that you might want to consider for your program.”

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts

Paul Cash, General Counsel

“I would say to a first-time company, use the World’s Most Ethical Companies application process to reflect on the work you may need to do, where your opportunities are, and hold yourself accountable. Even if you are not honored, applying is such a rewarding process. It will help to make your program better, which will allow you to make a bigger impact on your communities and the world.”

Hasbro, Inc.

Kathrin Belliveau, EVP & Chief Purpose Officer

“I think that for any company that is seriously committed to ethics, operating responsibly, and sustainability for their stakeholders, the process and the methodology of World’s Most Ethical Companies is best in class. I would highly recommend it to companies that are looking to start an ethics and compliance program and for companies that have been at it for a long time and want to see how they can improve.”

FedEx Corporation

Justin Ross, Chief Compliance Officer

“Our customers ask us about our compliance program all the time. … And these aren’t one-off, easy conversations. These are in-depth presentations with our big customers around what we’re doing on ethics and compliance. When we get the World’s Most Ethical Companies honor, our customers see that. And that makes them comfortable to do business with FedEx.”

Resources

Applying for the World’s Most Ethical Companies application is part of a much deeper commitment to developing and maintaining a robust culture of ethics, compliance, governance, and more. At your disposal is a vast library of helpful resources that showcase best practices in business integrity, what past honorees have considered the most important parts of their quest for excellence, and helpful insights from Ethisphere’s own subject matter experts on what the latest trends and expectations are and where you can go to best inform your own application process. From Ethisphere Magazine’s profiles of past honorees to current data cuts within The Sphere, to a steady schedule of informational webinars, applying for the World’s Most Ethical Companies doesn’t mean you have to do it in the dark. Whether it’s your first application or your eighteenth, we invite you to take advantage of the resources that will help make your application a rich and productive experience.

Future Proofing Your Ethics & Compliance Program

Learn how to avoid corporate mishaps through best-in-class practices. The report features data from the World’s Most Ethical Companies and expertise from The Sphere to inform programs.
Download

Guide to Applying for the 2024 World’s Most Ethical Companies

A 2-part webcast series covering a comprehensive guide of the process, how to approach the application, updates to the 2024 Ethics Quotient® questionnaire, share resources, and more.
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Ethisphere Magazine: 2023 World’s Most Ethical Companies Issue

In this issue, learn how honorees Clarios, FedEx, Hasbro, illycaffè, and Wyndham Hotels & Resorts craft their winning strategies to succeed in today’s Ethics Economy.
Download

Ethics Premium Graphic

Strong Ethics Make for Good Business. Over the past 17 years, we’ve tracked the World’s Most Ethical Companies as they outperformed peers and competitors, demonstrating a link between ethical behavior and financial performance. We call this link the Ethics Premium. 
Download

Resources

Applying for the World’s Most Ethical Companies application is part of a much deeper commitment to developing and maintaining a robust culture of ethics, compliance, governance, and more. At your disposal is a vast library of helpful resources that showcase best practices in business integrity, what past honorees have considered the most important parts of their quest for excellence, and helpful insights from Ethisphere’s own subject matter experts on what the latest trends and expectations are and where you can go to best inform your own application process. From Ethisphere Magazine’s profiles of past honorees to current data cuts within The Sphere, to a steady schedule of informational webinars, applying for the World’s Most Ethical Companies doesn’t mean you have to do it in the dark. Whether it’s your first application or your eighteenth, we invite you to take advantage of the resources that will help make your application a rich and productive experience.

Future Proofing Your Ethics & Compliance Program

Learn how to avoid corporate mishaps through best-in-class practices. The report features data from the World’s Most Ethical Companies and expertise from The Sphere to inform programs.
Download

Guide to Applying for the 2024 World’s Most Ethical Companies

A 2-part webcast series covering a comprehensive guide of the process, how to approach the application, updates to the 2024 Ethics Quotient® questionnaire, share resources, and more.
Download

Ethisphere Magazine: 2023 World’s Most Ethical Companies Issue

In this issue, learn how honorees Clarios, FedEx, Hasbro, illycaffè, and Wyndham Hotels & Resorts craft their winning strategies to succeed in today’s Ethics Economy.
Download

Ethics Premium Graphic

Strong Ethics Make for Good Business. Over the past 17 years, we’ve tracked the World’s Most Ethical Companies as they outperformed peers and competitors, demonstrating a link between ethical behavior and financial performance. We call this link the Ethics Premium. 
Download

we’re here to answer all your questions

The 2024 announcement will mark the 18th year we have honored organizations with this designation.   

Applicants are evaluated based on their (i) Ethics and Compliance Program, (ii) Culture of Ethics, (iii) Corporate Citizenship and Responsibility, (iv) Governance, and (v) Third Party Management. Each category is evaluated through a combination of answers to our Ethics Quotient® (EQ) questionnaire and submitted supplemental documentation. The Ethisphere team will also conduct independent research into an organization’s reputation and litigation history and, where necessary, will follow up with a candidate. An organization’s final Ethics Quotient (EQ) score is evaluated relative to those of its peers within the context of its structure, size and operating environment. Those organizations demonstrating the strongest application across our methodology receive the designation of being one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies.  

Any organization, public or private, for-profit or not-for-profit, U.S. or foreign based, is eligible to participate in the process and be considered for designation as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies. That said, the Ethics Quotient questionnaire and peer group is generally designed for those organizations with over $250 million in revenue. This does not mean that smaller organizations cannot benefit from the process or be designated as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies, but rather that our process is not suitable for many smaller organizations unless they have the type of programs in place typically seen at larger organizations. Please note that while our process has broad eligibility requirements, non-profit colleges and universities, governments, governmental agencies, government majority owned organizations, and NGOs are not eligible. If you have a question regarding eligibility, please contact Ethisphere here: Contact Us  

Past participants consider completing the World’s Most Ethical Companies process to be extremely valuable, regardless of the recognition that may or may not come from it. The application process enables organizations to understand the elements of an effective program, validate your perspective, and to also compare their approach to leading practices. The application is intentionally developed to open opportunities for ethics and compliance teams to collaborate with other key stakeholders across business functions and work together to answer certain questions.  
  
Upon completing the process, applicants receive a Digital Analytical Scorecard which outlines their evaluation scores as they compare to honorees. Organizations have found this information to be valuable for establishing priorities, celebrating their strengths, building a business case for additional budget, and focusing their teams. The scorecard also includes exclusive data and insights only available to applicants, and links to valuable, curated resources to help improve their programs.  
  
Applicants experience  access in The Sphere to benchmark, analyze and gain access to exclusive insights and data comparing their responses to those of honorees, along with a more in-depth benchmarking that provides further best practices and guidance.  
  
Applicants with exceptional program elements may also be selected to be featured in Ethisphere Magazine and other Ethisphere platforms, such as Ethicast, Ethisphere’s Official Podcast, and our Global Ethics Summit.  
  
Whether an organization applies or not, a robust ethics and compliance program is good business. Our years of data shows that those with strong programs in place outperform, which we call the Ethics Premium. Investors understand this, and importantly, employees, customers and other stakeholders value working with organizations rooted in integrity.

Need More Information? Fill out our Interest Form Below