CBRE, CH2M, Fluor, Granite, JLL, Parsons all Among Most Ethical Firms

CBRE, CH2M, Fluor, Granite, JLL, Parsons all Among Most Ethical Firms

MEASURABLE DIFFERENCE: Chart tracks 2015 market performance of Ethisphere honorees (gold) v. S&P 500 (blue). 

MEASURABLE DIFFERENCE: Chart tracks 2015 market performance of Ethisphere honorees (gold) v. S&P 500 (blue). 


by ROB McMANAMY | March 8, 2016

Good ethics is good business. Period.

While the vast majority of us certainly want to believe that statement, it is the NYC-based Ethisphere Institute that is compiling the evidence. Now in its 10th year as the self-appointed, global arbiter of ethical business practices, the for-profit entity with a nonprofit's heart this week announced the 2016 World’s Most Ethical Companies®, a list of 131 firms from 21 countries. Among the U.S. honorees are real estate developers, CBRE, JLL, and AEC giants Fluor, CH2M, Parsons. and Granite.

“In each of the last 10 years, the Ethisphere Institute has measured companies who demonstrate leadership in areas like citizenship, integrity, and transparency,” said Ethisphere CEO Timothy Erblich, announcing the new list on the eve of the group's eighth annual Global Ethics Summit this week in NYC. "It is both thrilling and humbling to see the results of our joint efforts to advance the standards of corporate behavior, and the ways that this behavior influences and improves the human condition.” 


Since launching its list in 2007, Ethisphere says the world has undergone a dramatic expansion in political and regulatory complexity, and a perceived and real ‘shrinking’ across markets. Companies and executives who take a leadership role around standards of behavior, and issues like corporate citizenship, transparency, diversity, governance, and measurable, values-based-leadership now see those attributes as the foundation of a sustainable enterprise. Such firms will be "increasingly rewarded financially for their efforts to attract and retain the best employees, and to operate with integrity and clarity of purpose," said Ethisphere this week.

Reactions from the AEC and real estate firms named "most ethical" have been rolling in since yesterday. Most have been named to the list at least once before, and Fluor has made every list so far:

  • "We are delighted to have been recognized for a seventh consecutive year,” said Chuck Harrington, Parsons Chairman and CEO. “Our employees work tirelessly to make trust part of our corporate DNA, and this designation is a testament to their efforts”;
  • “CBRE is proud to be recognized... for the third straight year,” said Bob Sulentic, the firm's president and CEO. “Our corporate culture fosters an environment where our employees strive to better their communities and provide world-class client service with a high level of integrity”;
  • “Being (named) for the seventh year in a row is an honor and testament to our employees who personify our core values,” said James H. Roberts, Granite Construction's president and CEO. “Our employees are committed to honoring and maintaining our founder’s high standard of conduct, ensuring that all Granite customers and stakeholders are well-served.”
  • To see the full list of the 2016 World’s Most Ethical Companies, click here

“Investors and financial markets are proving that companies that operate with transparency and integrity are better performing over the long term," added Erblich. “We fully expect the ‘integrity premium’ to grow with import as investors, employees, customers, and even regulators value companies through the lens of enhanced standards of behavior.”


According to Ethisphere, the "most ethical" assessment is derived from its Ethics Quotient™ (EQ) framework, which the group says it developed over years of research, vetted and refined by the expert advice from its Methodology Advisory Panel. The EQ offers a quantitative way to assess a company’s performance in an objective, consistent and standardized way. "The information collected provides a comprehensive sampling of definitive criteria of core competencies, rather than all aspects of corporate governance, risk, sustainability, compliance and ethics," explains Ethisphere on its website.

Scores are weighed in five categories: ethics and compliance program (35%); corporate citizenship and responsibility (20%); culture of ethics (20%); governance (15%); and leadership, innovation and reputation (10%). For more on the process and how to participate next year, click here.

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