Technology companies top ethical ranking

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The Independent Online

Technology companies are portrayed as the most ethical businesses in the world by the media, according to a survey released April 15.

Covalence, a Swiss firm that tracks the ethical reputation of multinational companies, says that IBM, Intel and Cisco were the most ethical companies in the world in the first quarter of 2010.

The list is compiled by monitoring news output and media mentions around such subjects as attitude to the Haiti earthquake, product environmental risk, human rights policy and social stability.

Overall, technology companies accounted for half of the top ten, with Xerox and Dell taking ninth and tenth place respectively. Chip-maker Cisco and Pepsico, the beverage giant, entered the top ten for the first time.

Covalence said that Google (and censorship in China), Toyota (hybrid cars and global recalls) and Wal-Mart (environmental actions and staff issues) have generated the most news during the first quarter of 2010, although none of them were listed in the ten companies with the most positive ethical coverage.

Correspondingly, the news subjects that have gained the most prominence in 2010 so far are information to consumers, product human risk and human rights policies, all of which have shown a three percent growth in news mentions.

Lobbying practices, waste management and labor standards have all fallen in media mentions in the past three months.

The most ethical companies in the media, Q1 2010

1. IBM
2. Intel Corp
3. Cisco Systems Inc.
4. HSBC Holdings
5. Unilever
6. Marks & Spencer
7. General Electric
8. PepsiCo Inc.
9. Xerox
10. Dell Inc.

Data from Covalence -