The research-based Ethisphere Institute, an international think-tank working to advance best practices in business ethics, CSR, and sustainability recently released its rankings of the World's Most Ethical Companies. Ethisphere provides third-party verifications of compliance and ethical cultures programs by companies. That puts it in a unique position to give an insiders perspective on corporate behavior.
Adidas, who helped get the Sustainable Apparel Coalition off the ground, was somewhat of a surprise disappearance from the Most Ethical Companies List this year. Patagonia, one of the other originators of the Coalition, remained on the list for the sixth consecutive year, as well as General Electric and Starbucks. Gap, Timberland and Israel-based Comme Il Faut were named to the list along with Patagonia in the Apparel industry.
Adidas and several other apparel makers were the target of GreenPeace campaigns raising awareness of toxic inputs in the company's supply chains. Adidas committed to eliminating these hazardous inputs by 2020, but the revelation was enough to remove Adidas from the Ethisphere list.
Nike and Puma, both also targeted by Greenpeace's campaign, were not on the list either, despite Puma's positive response to working with Greenpeace to achieve a mutually beneficial result, and its announcement that it will make compostable clothing.
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Scott Cooney, Principal of GreenBusinessOwner.com and author of Build a Green Small Business: Profitable Ways to Become an Ecopreneur (McGraw-Hill, November 2008), is also a serial ecopreneur who has started and grown several green businesses and consulted several other green startups. He co-founded the ReDirect Guide, a green business directory, in Salt Lake City, UT. He greened his home in Salt Lake City, including xeriscaping, an organic orchard, extra natural fiber insulation, a 1.8kW solar PV array, on-demand hot water, energy star appliances, and natural paints. He is a vegetarian, an avid cyclist, ultimate frisbee player, and surfer, and currently lives in the sunny Mission district of San Francisco. Scott is working on his second book, a look at microeconomics in the green sector. In June 2010, Scott launched GreenBusinessOwner.com, a sustainability consulting firm dedicated to providing solutions to common business problems by leveraging the power of the triple bottom line. Focused exclusively on small business, GBO's mission is to facilitate the creation and success of small, green businesses.