US apparel giant VF Corp, Hong Kong-based sourcing specialist William E Connor & Associates, and Swedish apparel retailer H&M are the only apparel, sourcing and retail companies to make it on to the latest annual ranking of the world’s most ethical companies.

The firms have all been named by the Ethisphere Institute, and are praised for their ability to influence and drive positive change in the business community and societies around the world and work to maximise their impact wherever possible. 

In addition, Kohl’s and Best Buy were the only two 2019 honorees in the retail industry.

“Today employees, consumers and stakeholders value companies that show both a commitment to business integrity, and also have the organisational humility to never stop seeking improvement. The World’s Most Ethical Companies honorees understand that this approach has a profound impact on communities and is the foundation for broader success and profitability,” said Ethisphere CEO, Timothy Erblich. “We congratulate all honorees for making our world a better place by blending profit and purpose in a meaningful way.”

2019 marks the third consecutive year VF Corp has been included in the ranking.

“We’re proud to once again be recognised as one of the world’s most ethical companies,” said CEO Steve Rendle. “As a purpose-led company, we take deliberate actions to embed high ethical, social and environmental standards throughout all aspects of our business. This recognition is a testament to the commitment of VF associates across our global enterprise to work with integrity and lead by example.”

Meanwhile, this year’s edition marks H&M’s eighth mention.

“It’s a great honour for H&M GROUP to be named as one of the 2019 world’s most ethical companies. Deeply rooted values, our ambition to lead the change towards a sustainable fashion industry, as well as our Code of Ethic – one and the same for all markets – guides us in our everyday mission to conduct business in a fair and ethical way,” added head of sustainability Anna Gedda. 

While for William E Connor & Associates this is now the eighth year in a row that the company has been included on the list. It is the only sourcing firm in the world to be featured.

The World’s Most Ethical Companies assessment is based upon the Ethisphere Institute’s Ethics Quotien (EQ) framework, which offers a quantitative way to assess a company’s performance in an objective, consistent and standardised manner.

Scores are generated in five key categories: ethics and compliance programme (35%); corporate citizenship and responsibility (20%); culture of ethics (20%); governance (15%); and leadership, innovation and reputation (10%). All companies that participate in the assessment process receive their scores, providing them with valuable insights into how they stack up against leading organisations.

This year, the Ethisphere Institute has recognised some 128 companies from 21 countries and 50 industries who make up its list of the 2019 World’s Most Ethical Companies.