GLOBAL: Colgate-Palmolive, Kellogg, L'Oréal, Microsoft and PepsiCo are just some of the leading brands to be judged as among the most ethical in the world, according to a new report that also includes several less-known names.

Compiled by the Ethisphere Institute, an Arizona-based organisation that promotes ethical practices in business, the full list includes 124 companies from around the world.

Now in its 11th year, Ethisphere's World’s Most Ethical Companies List is based on the award of an Ethics Quotient (EQ) that covers five weighted criteria – ethics and compliance (35%), corporate citizenship and responsibility (20%), culture of ethics (20%), governance (15%), and leadership, innovation and reputation (10%).

Out of the 124 companies that meet the criteria, Ethisphere reported that US companies account for a full 98 of the total, with 26 coming from other countries.

The unranked list includes 17 brands from Europe, including four from the UK, three from France and two each from Ireland and Sweden. Companies from Belgium, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland make up the remaining European cohort.

Some of the Europe-based brands to be named as the most ethical in the world include Accenture, the professional services firm, French beauty brand L'Oréal, UK retailer Marks & Spencer, and Volvo, the Swedish automaker.

India's Tata Steel Corporation is one of just five Asian brands to be named in the Ethisphere report, which also includes Singtel of Singapore and the Kao Corporation of Japan. Brands from Australia, Canada, Guatemala and – for the first time – Mexico make up the final four on the 124-strong list.

Commenting on this year's list, Ethisphere CEO Timothy Erblich, said: "Over the last eleven years we have seen an impressive shift in societal expectations, aggressive emergence of new laws and regulation and geopolitical swings that can further disrupt the balance.

"We have also seen how companies honoured as the World's Most Ethical respond to these challenges. They invest in their local communities around the world, embrace strategies of diversity and inclusion and focus on long term-ism as a sustainable business advantage.

"In short, these companies are transformative, not just out of need, but because they recognise that integrity is the key to their advancement."

Data sourced from the Ethisphere Institute; additional content by Warc staff