Five MN Cos. Among “World’s Most Ethical”

Best Buy, Ecolab, The Mosaic Company, Target, and Thrivent Financial for Lutherans are among 145 companies named to the Ethisphere Institute's 2012 "World's Most Ethical Companies" list.

Five Minnesota-based businesses are among the “World's Most Ethical Companies,” according to a 2012 list recently published by the Ethisphere Institute.

St. Paul-based Ecolab, Inc., and Plymouth-based The Mosaic Company were listed in the chemical company category. Meanwhile, Minneapolis-based Thrivent Financial for Lutherans was one of the financial services companies that made the list. And Minneapolis-based Target Corporation and Richfield-based Best Buy Company were among the most ethical retailers.

A record 145 companies in more than three-dozen industries made this year's list, including 43 that are headquartered outside of the United States.

Each 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,” the Ethisphere Institute said.

Ecolab, Target, and Best Buy also appeared on the 2011 “World's Most Ethical Companies” list, which additionally included Golden Valley-based General Mills, Inc.

Companies or individuals can submit nominations for the list, and each year, the Ethisphere Institute contacts both nominees and past years' winners, which are then asked to complete an “ethics quotient survey.” The institute conducts data analysis, research, and verification after the survey responses are in. Consideration for the list is based on each company's ethics and compliance program; corporate citizenship and responsibility; reputation, leadership, and innovation; culture of ethics; and governance.

“Our company is guided by a strong sense of purpose and a commitment to our values,” Ecolab Chairman and CEO Douglas Baker, Jr., said in a company-issued press release announcing that Ecolab was named to the list. “We strive to do what's right, what's fair, and what's honest while achieving our purpose-to make the world cleaner, safer, and healthier-protecting people and vital resources.”

The Ethisphere Institute is an international think tank dedicated to the creation, advancement, and sharing of best practices in business ethics, corporate social responsibility, anti-corruption, and sustainability. The list of the most ethical companies is published in Ethisphere magazine, the institute's quarterly publication.