good news: The S&P 500 over the last five years has showed a 4% loss, while Ethisphere's list of the World's Most Ethical companies (WME) of 2010 has shown 53% growth. This list of 100 of the world's most ethical companies also substantially outpaced the FTSE 100 by over half as much as it did the S&P.
Interestingly, 18 of the 52 companies listed 0n the 2007 WME list underperformed the S&P. These are of course averages, so we should expect that a minority of the 2010 WME also underperformed the S&P and FTSE averages. It's worth noting that all listed returns in this study only occurred over the last year, as the previous year showed losses across the board.
Overall though, the lesson seems to be that the WME tends to outperform the rest of the market even during times of negative growth, namely, 2008-09, in which WME losses were lower than the other two averages. Indeed, they were only at about 1/3 of the other overage losses.