Scoring & Methodology

At the heart of the evaluation and selection process for Ethisphere’s World’s Most Ethical Companies is Ethisphere’s proprietary rating system, the corporate Ethics Quotient (EQ). The framework of the EQ is comprised of a series of multiple-choice questions that capture a company’s performance in an objective, consistent and standardized way. The information collected is not intended to cover all aspects of corporate governance, risk, sustainability, social responsibility, compliance or ethics, but rather is a comprehensive sampling of definitive criteria of core competencies. The EQ framework and methodology was determined, vetted and refined by the expert advice and insights gleaned from Ethisphere’s network of thought leaders and from the World’s Most Ethical Companies Methodology Advisory Panel.

The EQ Framework

Ethics and Compliance Program (35%)

Program structure, responsibility, and resources
Program oversight and tone at the top
Written standards
Training and communication
Due care
Detection, monitoring and auditing
Enforcement and discipline

Corporate Citizenship and Responsibility (20%)

This category reviews a wide range of a company’s performance indicators associated with sustainability, citizenship and social responsibility, specifically including such areas as environmental stewardship, community involvement, corporate philanthropy, workplace impact and well-being and supply chain engagement and oversight. The quality and effectiveness of the initiatives are considered, in addition to stated and measurable goals, accountability and transparency.

Culture of Ethics (20%)

This category measures an organization’s efforts and success at establishing an ethical tone throughout every level of the organization and includes such topics as efforts to establish an ethical tone from the top and middle, frequency with which culture is evaluated, and methods and outcomes associated with measuring a culture of ethics.

Governance (15%)

This category looks at the availability and quality of systems designed to ensure strong corporate governance including oversight, governance principles and risk management. Governance criteria is modified as needed and as is appropriate when reviewing private companies, partnerships, educational institutions and non-profits.

Leadership, Innovation and Reputation (10%)

This category measures the legal compliance and ethical track record, along with the company’s ethical reputation in the marketplace with key stakeholders such as employees and customers. While we take into account awards and accolades garnered, we also look at examples of leadership locally, nationally, and globally.

The EQ Score

An initial “self-reported” EQ score is derived through a proprietary matrix of relationships between answers to given questions. It is important to understand that while the EQ is the foundation for the WME selection process, the process does not end when the survey is complete.  Supporting documentation is then reviewed to verify the self-reported EQ score.  The review process may also include multiple means of independent verification on an as-needed basis that may include additional research and requests for additional documentation. Using publicly available media sources and research conducted by partners we conduct reputational and legal reviews to determine any outstanding or historical issues as well.  Self-reported EQ scores are often adjusted based on documentation review and independent research.

Each candidate then receives a “validated” EQ score that may be higher or lower than the initial self-reported score.  Note that if we are unable to verify certain aspects of your self-reported performance, the resulting scores may be discounted.