IBM & Intel top ethical business index

The IT sector is one of the planet’s most ethical industries, according to a January 2010 report published by Covalence, a Swiss analyst company that tracks the ethical behaviour – or otherwise – of the world’s largest corporations.

Covalence assessed 600 multinational companies according to a number of factors, including their environmental impact and their treatment of employees. It rated computing giants IBM and Intel as the two most ethical companies of all, and many other IT companies ranked among the top 50.

Given that the use of ‘downsizing’ – i.e. redundancies – was a consideration in Covalence’s assessment, IBM’s top ranking may be surprising to some; the company reportedly cut 5,000 jobs in January 2009.

It may, however, be explained by the lengths to which IT companies in general, and IBM in particular, have gone to project an image of environmental responsibility.

Another report published in January, in this case by technology research and consulting firm Frost & Sullivan, found that IT vendors have been investing significant;y green initiatives since the start of the economic downturn, mainly as a cost-cutting measure but also to improve competitive differentiation and to boost their image.

That report specifically mentioned IBM as a company that was doing this, predicting that the technology giant will substantially ramp up their sustainability spend over the next two to three years in a bid to further drive down costs and forge brand awareness.

Pete Swabey

Pete Swabey

Pete was Editor of Information Age and head of technology research for Vitesse Media plc from 2005 to 2013, before moving on to be Senior Editor and then Editorial Director at The Economist Intelligence...

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