March 29, 2013

Werner Braun: Milliken makes list of World’s Most Ethical Companies


— Pop on the evening news and you’ll hear sordid tales about business executives, politicians and sometimes even everyday moms and dads violating some accepted code of ethics.

It seems ubiquitous. One politician admits to having an affair, a businessman confesses that he’s long been embezzling funds from his company, an admired housewife is caught illegally obtaining pain killers to feed her addiction.

Is unethical behavior happening more these days or is the media just much more efficient at exposing it?

Regardless, we are much more likely to hear about companies, institutions and individuals who are doing what’s wrong than we are to hear of those who are doing what’s right.

So it’s refreshing to see a major company establish a pattern of doing the “right thing” — and to see them garnering the attention they deserve for their good behavior.

Milliken is one shining example of a major company that has long been in the business of doing the right thing.

Headquartered in Spartanburg, S.C., Milliken is a major producer of chemical, floorcovering and performance materials that has been known as an “innovation company” since its inception in 1865.

And Milliken has just recently been named to the World’s Most Ethical Companies ranking list for the seventh consecutive year.

The Ethisphere Institute is the think tank that produces the list, and the organization is dedicated to the creation, advancement, and sharing of best practices in business ethics, corporate social responsibility, anti-corruption and sustainability.

The Ethisphere Institute produces Ethisphere magazine, a quarterly journal that publishes the globally-recognized World’s Most Ethical Companies ranking.

Ever since Ethisphere began recognizing companies for admirable ethical behavior seven years ago, Milliken has made the list.

This honor is one that is highly prized by Milliken and its associates, according to the company’s CEO, Joe Salley.

“This enables us to continue to celebrate what we as a company have known for nearly 150 years; that acting ethically and with integrity is not only the right thing to do, but is the foundation of our success,” Salley says.

The World’s Most Ethical Companies ranking highlights companies that outperform industry peers when it comes to ethical behavior.

The Institute uses in-depth research and a multi-step analysis to review nominations sent in from more than 100 countries and within 36 industries.

They use a methodology that includes reviewing codes of ethics, litigation and regulatory infraction histories. They also evaluate the company’s investment in innovation and sustainable business practices as well as look closely at activities designed to improve corporate citizenship.  

If you’re curious, you can read about the methodology they use and see the complete list of the 2013 World’s Most Ethical Companies by visiting http://ethisphere.com/wme. It’s definitely worth checking out.

According to the leadership at the Ethisphere Institute, this year has been one of its most impressive ever in terms of numbers of companies that were nominated for consideration to be named to the list.

“Not only did more companies apply for the World’s Most Ethical Companies recognition this year than in any year in the past, which demonstrates that ethical activity is an important part of many of these companies’ business models, but we are also seeing more companies be proactive and create new initiatives that expand ethics programs and cultures across entire industries, such as industry-based ethics associations and other activities,” said Alex Brigham, executive director of Ethisphere.

“We are excited to see the 2013 World’s Most Ethical Companies take these leadership positions and embrace the correlation between ethical behavior and improved financial performance.”

And we, at CRI, are excited to see this as well.



Werner Braun is president of the Dalton-based Carpet and Rug Institute.