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Toyota and M&S top multinationals ethical index

LONDON - Toyota and Marks & Spencer have topped a ranking of 198 multinationals according to how ethical they were perceived to be in 2007, while oil giant ExxonMobil finished bottom.

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The ranking was conducted by Geneva-based research firm Covalence, using its own system created to measure the reputation of companies in relation to ethical issues.

It takes account of thousands of documents found among media, enterprise, and non-governmental organisations, and covers 45 criteria such as wages, waste management and environmental impact of production.

It generates scores based on points for positive coverage and minus points for negative coverage.

There were 198 companies ranked from a range of 10 industry sectors including mining, oil and chemicals, as well as retail, food and technology.

Toyota, which has led the development of hybrid vehicles with its Prius, topped the ranking with 236.

Marks & Spencer, which unveiled a major environmental initiative called Plan A in January 2007, tied with IBM in second place with 222.

HSBC followed in fourth with 221 and Dell in fifth with 203.

Among other retailers, US giant Wal-Mart was ranked sixth, Tesco 16th and Gap 109th.

Among other car manufacturers Honda was in ninth place, Ford in 11th and Hyundai in 130th.

The two bottom performers were ExxonMobil with minus 175 and agricultural biochemicals company Monsanto with minus 162.

The 2006 ranking was topped by Unilever with Monsanto and Coca-Cola at the bottom of the pile.

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