The Ethisphere Institute, a New York think tank, announced its fifth annual selection of the World’s Most Ethical Companies.

Almost 3000 companies were nominated this year, which is the biggest number thus far, and the best indicator that all companies want to highlight their concern for the employees, partners and the environment. 110 companies managed to make it to the list, which is the biggest number since it was founded in 2007. They were selected from all over the world and not ranked in any particular order, so everybody is equal winner.

Through in-depth research and a multi-step analysis, Ethisphere reviewed nominations from companies in more than 100 countries and 36 industries. At the heart of the evaluation and selection process is Ethisphere's proprietary rating system, the Ethics Quotient (EQ), comprised of a series of multiple choice questions that try to capture a company's performance in an objective way. Series of questions were reviewed: codes of ethics, litigation and regulatory infraction histories; investment in nature protection, contribution in development of local community and sustainable business practices. Companies were evaluated by senior executives, industry peers, suppliers and customers.

It was also mandatory for companies to give otherwise publicly unavailable information to the institute, answer all the additional issues and virtually give information on everything that institute was interested in.

Every company which was part of a bigger litigation in last five years was dropped out of the list (that is the reason why Google wasn't selected – its privacy policy has been the cause of many complaints from users). Companies in any way involved with tobacco, weapon and alcohol were also instantly dismissed.

In the end there were 110 companies left on the list, among which are Microsoft, Adidas, e-bay, Colgate, Palmolive and 30 more newcomers. 31 companies from the 2010 list dropped off, usually due to litigation and ethics violations, as well as increased competition from within their industry sector. There are 26 companies which are present on the list five years in the row and 50 of them have been there at least twice. Interesting is the fact that this year there are 42 winner companies which are not from the USA.

For the complete list of the winners and more info on the Ethisphere institute, follow the link: