Ethisphere honours companies who recognise their role in society to “influence and drive positive change”, while using their values and culture to underpin every day decisions

Ethisphere honours companies who recognise their role in society to “influence and drive positive change”, while using their values and culture to underpin every day decisions

Swedish fashion retailer H&M, US apparel giant VF Corp and denim giant Levi Strauss & Co have been named among the world's most ethical companies by US business ethics think-tank the Ethisphere Institute.

Each year Ethisphere honours companies who recognise their role in society to "influence and drive positive change", while using their values and culture to underpin every day decisions.

This year marks the seventh consecutive year H&M have made the listing, a move Ethisphere says proves its commitment to set ethical standards and practices in the fashion industry.

"Their way of working is a proof of ethical and sustainable values are a prerequisite for business success", adds Timothy Erblich, Ethisphere CEO.

Meanwhile, H&M CEO Karl-Johan Persson, who was named a sustainability leader for his efforts to drive increased sustainability and systematic change last year, called the listing an "honour".

H&M CEO named sustainability leader

"Our commitment to be ethical throughout our operations is firmly rooted in our values and key for our work to lead the change towards a sustainable fashion future," he says.

Also in the ranking are UK retailer Marks & Spencer, US department store retailer Target Corp, and Hong Kong-based sourcing specialist William E Connor & Associates, one of only a few Asia-based companies to receive the award – and the only sourcing firm in the world to be included on the list.

Sourcing firm Connor gains sixth ethical accolade

Earlier this week, Marks & Spencer topped a new benchmark ranking that aims to incentivise companies in a race to the top for the moral and commercial advantages of a strong human rights record.

Marks & Spencer tops human rights benchmark

Meanwhile H&M unveiled last week it will encourage its suppliers to pay workers through mobile money, or other digital forms, as part of a United Nations (UN) initiative it has joined.

H&M encourages suppliers to pay workers digitally