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    Wegmans, Whole Foods Among ‘World’s Most Ethical Companies’

    An international think tank bestows the annual honor.

    Wegmans Food Markets Inc. and Whole Foods Market have again been chosen by the Ethisphere Institute as two of the 2011 World’s Most Ethical Companies (WME). The annual list spotlights businesses who implement practices and initiatives that are instrumental to their success, help their surrounding communities, and encourage others within the industry to adopt higher ethical standards.

    “What is so special about this recognition is that it shines a light on the importance of our values: caring, respect, high standards, empowerment, and making a difference in the community,” noted Danny Wegman, CEO of Rochester, N.Y.-based Wegmans.

    2011 marks the fifth year that New York-based international think tank Ethisphere has compiled the list, which appear in Ethisphere Magazine’s first-quarter issue. Wegmans previously made the 2007 and 2010 WME rankings, while Whole Foods was on the list in 2007 and 2010.

    Ethisphere sifted through the applications of thousands of companies, employing a propriety methodology that consists of in-depth research and a multistep analysis to arrive at the final list of 110 businesses. This year’s ranking features companies in 38 industries, among them 43 based outside the United States.

    In the supermarket industry, Finland’s Kesko and The Co-operative Group of the United Kingdom were also named, while the CPG companies on this year’s list were General Mills, PepsiCo, Solae and Stonyfield Farm. Past listings have included such retailers as Safeway, Trader Joe's, Costco and Target.

    “As companies strive to maintain a competitive advantage, good ethics translate into better business, and better business means better bottom lines,” said Ethisphere executive director Alex Brigham. “Each year, the competition gets more intense for the World’s Most Ethical Companies, and this year was no exception, with a record number of organizations vying for this distinguished honor.”

    Ethisphere provides the only third-party verifications of compliance programs and ethical cultures, Ethics Inside Certification, Anti-Corruption Leader Verification and Compliance Program Verification.

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