Thanks for asking an interesting question.
The Business Ethics 100 site does a pretty good job of laying out the
criteria and considerations that go into selecting the companies on
I've excerpted some language from the site that specifies the criteria they use:
...The ranking identifies companies among the Russell 1000 -- the
largest publicly traded companies -- that excel at serving a variety
of stakeholders well.
...The ranking is based on quantitative measures of corporate service
to seven stakeholder groups: stockholders, employees, customers, the
community, the environment, overseas stakeholders, and women and
...Social scores are done by KLD Research & Analytics in Boston. They
rate each company in these areas:
2. community relations
3. employee relations
5. customer relations
...There is no set formula. But the following gives some idea of the
range of materials examined:
...Environment looks at positive programs in place such as pollution
reduction, recycling, and energy-saving measures; as well as negative
measures such as level of pollutants, EPA citations, fines, lawsuits,
and other measures.
...Community relations looks at philanthropy, any foundation the
company has, community service projects, educational outreach,
scholarships, employee volunteerism, and so forth.
...Employee relations looks at wages relative to the industry,
benefits paid, family-friendly policies, parental leave; team
management, employee empowerment, and so forth.
You can see the descriptions for the other criteria directly at the site.
So, in a nutshell, Business Ethics looks at the 1000 largest, public
companies and assesses them from the vantage point of seven
stakeholders (employees, communities, stockholders, etc), and rates
them in a non-formulaic process in five areas of concern (environment,
employee relations, etc)
Your question asked: "would you agree with these variables?"
In large measure, Yes, I would. I think they have identified many of
the areas of societal concern that a broad coalition of stakeholders
would like to see addressed in terms of promoting responsible
corporate behavior. However, it doesn't strike me as terribly
complete in some important ways.
You also asked, "should anything be added or deleted?"
Again, I'm tempted to answer "Yes", some changes would be quite welcome.
First off, the list draws from a rather limited pool -- 1,000 large,
publicly traded companies.
While these companies wield an enormous amount of leverage in the
world of business, there are many other companies -- large, private
companies, as well as smaller, public companies -- that may well be
deserving of attention for their efforts. Categories should be added
to the evaluation to include these parts of the business community as
There are other areas of ethical concern that deserve attention, but
are either missing from the Business Ethics list or oddly buried in
their evaluation process.
Foremost amongst these is a consideration of a company's overall
business and product line? A company may treat its employees
wonderfully, and have great community relations, etc, but if they're
manufacturing cigarettes, or guns, or nuclear weapons, then there are
certainly ethical questions that come into play, that should be
weighted in the review process. I don't see these included.
Also, a company's record on transparency should be considered. How
forthcoming are in terms of identifying where, how, and with whom they
do business, as well as how they conduct themselves internally?
Next, corruption is a huge issue around the world, and most of these
companies actively do business across the globe. What is their record
like in terms of bribery, sweetheart deals, revolving doors, and so
Lastly, there's a matter of where and how companies do business, how
well they obey laws **when the laws should be obeyed**, and how
willingly they roll over rather than fight for what's right, when laws
shouldn't be obeyed?
This is a tough area to evaluate. But years ago, companies doing
business in South Africa embraced apartheid under the guise of 'just
following the law'. Recently, it came to light that Yahoo turned
over records to China that led to the arrest of a journalist:
I don't see anything in the Business Ethics criteria that would take
such an action into consideration, yet it obviously has important
I trust this information fully answers your question.
However, before rating this answer, please let me know if there's
anything else you need. Just post a Request for Clarification, and
I'm at your service.
All the best,
search strategy -- Mostly based on my own knowledge of this topic, but
also conducted a Google search of [ china yahoo arrest ]