NEW YORK — A number of top food and ingredient manufacturers have landed on the Ethisphere Institute’s list of the World’s Most Ethical Companies for 2019.

Grupo Bimbo, Kellogg Co., PepsiCo, Mars and Ingredion were included in the organization’s annual exercise that recognizes companies “exemplifying and advancing corporate citizenship, transparency and the standards of integrity.”

This year, 128 businesses from 50 different industries made the list. Since the list’s inception in 2007, PepsiCo has appeared on it every year while Kellogg has consecutively made it since 2012. It is the third successive year that Grupo Bimbo has been recognized.

“For us, integrity is defined beyond compliance with the law in each of the 32 countries in which we operate,” said Daniel Servitje, chairman and chief executive officer, Grupo Bimbo, regarding the honor. “It is the essence of all decisions we make, and actions implemented in each of our geographies.” 

Ethisphere is a business services organization that offers consulting services on ethics, anti-bribery and corruption, cyber security and trade secrets. To select the World’s Most Ethical Companies, it created an assessment based upon the its Ethics Quotient framework. All businesses that participate in the assessment are judged against five categories: ethics and compliance programs, corporate citizenship and responsibility, culture of ethics, corporate governance, and leadership, innovation and reputation.

As information about business practices becomes more accessible, it is increasingly important for companies to remain transparent with consumers and maintain ethical standards. When it comes to food, 2018 U.S. consumer research from Nielsen found that   products advertising sustainable farming and social responsibility are seeing the highest sales growth. In addition, 67% of Americans said they are prioritizing healthy or socially conscious food purchases this year.

“Today, employees, investors and stakeholders are putting their greatest trust in companies to take leadership on societal issues,” said Timothy Erblich, chief executive officer, Ethisphere. “Companies that take the long view with a purpose-based strategy are proven to not only outperform but last.”