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Research Guides: Business Ethics



Select World's Most Ethical Companies from the menu bar near the top of the screen to view the Ethisphere Institute's twelfth annual list, published in 2018.  The list includes 135 companies from 23 countries and 57 industries.  Read this article by Will Evans in a 2010 issue of Slate, for a more critical look at this institute and listing.


Fortune's the 100 Best Companies to Work For List has been published regularly since 2002.

In 2017, Fortune issued the following related lists:

In September 2017, Fortune issued the third annual Change the World List.

Business Ethics Magazine

"Business Ethics is an online magazine with a strong heritage in the fields of ethics, governance, corporate responsibility and socially responsible investing." 

JUST Capital

"An independent nonprofit dedicated to building an economy that works for all Americans by measuring and improving corporate stakeholder performance at America’s largest public companies."


View ratings for specific companies or filter the database to view ratings for companies from different countries, regions, broad industries, etc.  CSR Hub combines data from nine socially responsible investment analysis firms and over 265 other sources.  Users can view CSR Hub's overall scores for specific companies for free.  Overall scores generally range between 25 and 75.  Each company's overall score comes from weighted averages of CSRHubs scores evaluating the company's impact and activities in four different categories:  environment, employees, communities, and corporate governance.  You need to pay for a subscription in order to view each company's category ratings and more detailed information.

Further Reading

Search for scholarly publications


Internet sites on corporate social responsibility issues and company reports


Browse newswire articles on corporate social responsibility developments, events, and newly issued reports.  You can limit results to articles on specific categories, such as activism, corporate governance, community development, fair trade, etc.  From the left hand sidebar, select Archive and search for older news articles.

GRI Sustainability Disclosure Database

View reports from over 12,000 companies and other organizations from the years 1999 to present.  Search for specific companies or filter results by size (large, MNE, and SME); broad industrial sector; country; region; report years; and report type.  Report type indicates whether or not the report follows regularly updated GRI reporting standards.  About 60% of the 50,000 reports included are GRI reports.  Reports are in pdf format.  They may be in a non-English language.  On the homepage menu bar, select "About" to learn more about the Global Reporting Initiative, a Netherlands foundation, and to learn more about the database.

Corporate Research Project

The Website explains that that the project:  "assists community, environmental and labor organizations in researching companies and industries. Our focus is on identifying information that can be used to advance corporate accountability campaigns."

Learn about different information sources in the Guide to Corporate Research.  Search for company civil and criminal penalties and judgments in Violation Tracker, which covers cases from over 40 federal regulatory agencies and all divisions of the Justice Department since 2000.

The Dirt Diggers Digest provides news on company violations.  The Corporate Research Project site is affiliated with Good Jobs First, a Website that provides information about federal, state, and local subsidies to companies.

The Corporate Register

Profiles of every non-financial (corporate responsibility – CR) report worldwide, across all sectors and including all types of organization.

Corporate Accountability Lab (CAL)

Corporate Accountability Lab unleashes the creative potential of the law to protect people and the planet from corporate abuse.

Environmental - Sustainability Standards

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)

Learn more about certification developed by the Green Business Certification Inc.  These standards help reduce both electricity cost and carbon emissions, and also protect health of humans and the environment.

ISO 14000

This family of environmental management standards help companies and other organizations reduce negative impacts on air, water, and land and comply with laws and regulations.  The ISO, International Organization for Standardization, is a non-governmental organization with a membership of 161 national standard bodies.

Social Responsibility Standards

ISO 26000

"ISO 26000 provides guidance on how businesses and organizations can operate in a socially responsible way. This means acting in an ethical and transparent way that contributes to the health and welfare of society."--from Webpage linked above.  The ISO, International Organization for Standardization, is a non-governmental organization with a membership of 161 national standard bodies.

For more information on this standard, see Discovering ISO 26000.

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