Choosing who's ethical depends on whose values and criteria you pick.
One group's corporate star might be another's boycott target. Here are a few of the ways to separate the good from the bad:
The National Anti-Vivisection Society rates 1,700 companies on their use of animals to test products. Its $6.95 guide, "Personal Care for People Who Care," can be ordered by phone (800-888-NAVS) or through the mail (53 W. Jackson Blvd.; Suite 1552; Chicago, IL 60604).
The Union Label & Services Trades department of the AFL-CIO has, for years, tried to steer consumer dollars toward union-friendly companies. Its Web site (www.unionlabel.org) lists companies the union favors and those it doesn't.
Co-op America maintains a wide-ranging Web service, called Green Pages Online (www.coopamerica.org/gp), that allows consumers to search for environmentally friendly products. It also offers, free, a tree-saving publication called "Woodwise Consumer." The group also investigates social and economic issues (800-58-GREEN).
The NAACP rates 14 major US hotel chains for their employment of African-Americans as well as their support of minority businesses and charitable groups. The report card is available at the group's Web site (www.naacp.org). It plans to rate telecommunications companies next.
The Council on Economic Priorities publishes "The Corporate Report Card," rating 250 corporations along eight categories: environment, women's advancement, minority advancement, charitable giving, community outreach, family benefits, workplace issues, and social disclosure. The $25 book, or an older $17 guide called "Shopping for a Better World," can be ordered by calling CEP: 800-729-4CEP.