Nine multinationals from the food and beverage space attained Ethisphere’s coveted designation in 2023, including PepsiCo (17 times), Kellogg (15 times), Ingredion (9 times), Grupo Bimbo (7 times) and ADM (4 times).
Compiled by the watchdog of ethical corporate standards, the highly sought after accolade rewards achievements in practices and programmes that positively impact employees, communities and broader stakeholders, while contributing to sustainable and profitable long-term performance.
“People look to businesses today to lead on important issues and to do right by all of their stakeholders,” said Ethisphere CEO Erica Salmon Byrne.
“It takes vision and values to explain your why and create the programmes and practices that turn those statements into actions. We are thrilled to celebrate this year’s honourees as part of an exclusive group dedicated to leading by example on business integrity.”
Ethisphere’s 2023 Ethics Index – comprising this year’s recipients – outperformed a comparable index of large cap companies by 13.6 percentage points over the past five calendar years.
Added Byrne, “The outperformance – which Ethisphere refers to as the Ethics Premium – has remained consistent since we began tracking the equity performance of honouree companies.
“This outperformance is the result of the kinds of practices that lead a company to be on our list – investments in their people, culture, and communities. We see in this data that, over time, these practices lead to stronger financial performances by businesses.”
Eight companies are first-time honourees, while six have been recognised annually since the list was launched 17 years ago.
“PepsiCo is proud to be a 17-time World’s Most Ethical Companies honouree,” said Ramon Laguarta, chairman and CEO of PepsiCo.
“This recognition highlights our commitment to act with integrity and do business the right way while continually improving our efforts to lead with purpose and inspire positive change in our markets and communities.”
Added Kellogg chairman and CEO Steve Cahillane, “We work diligently to fulfil our purpose of creating better days and a place at the table for everyone through our trusted food brands.
"Ensuring that we are a company that operates with both transparency and integrity is not just a value, but integral to who we are. We are proud to celebrate 15 years among the World's Most Ethical Companies."
Grupo Bimbo is the only Mexican company to be recognised in the 2023 listing.
The Mexico City-headquartered giant – the world’s largest bakery manufacturer – regularly updates its own Code of Ethics to maintain the highest standards of conduct both within and outside the company, along with its Global Integrity Policy that ensures compliance with anti-corruption laws. Additionally, its Global Agriculture Policy demands practices that support economic, environmental, and social resilience across its entire value chain.
“For Grupo Bimbo, acting with integrity is a priority,” said Ignacio Stepancic, global compliance leader for Bimbo.
“All of us who are a part of this great family are trained and sensitised in the importance of normative compliance because we are convinced that being a global ethical company is an everyday task and one for each person that works here.
“This year, we are the only Mexican company in the listing, and it is undoubtedly a milestone of which we are very proud. We hope that more companies apply to Ethisphere and are recognised for how they act toward their different stakeholders.”
Added Byrne, “Ethics matters. Organisations that commit to business integrity through robust programmes and practices not only elevate standards and expectations for all, but also have better long-term performance.
“We continue to be inspired by the World’s Most Ethical Companies honourees and their dedication to making real impact for their stakeholders and displaying exemplary values-based leadership. Congratulations to those that earned a place in the World’s Most Ethical Companies community.”
Based on Ethisphere’s proprietary Ethics Quotient, the evaluation process includes over 200 data points on culture; environmental and social practices; ethical activities and compliance; governance; diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I); and initiatives to support a solid value chain. This serves as an operational framework to standardise the best practices of organisations in all sectors around the world.
Changes to the 2023 Ethics Quotient included new and revised questions to areas of evolving importance, which include board and C-suite diversity practices, ambassador programmes, acquisition practices, post-investigation discipline, ESG materiality and reporting practices, and human rights.
Each honouree has received an overview of how they scored against others in similar categories. They have also been given access to 15 key Ethics Quotient data points in an interactive format powered by The Sphere – Ethisphere’s new Ethics and Compliance benchmarking platform.