CLEVELAND, March 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The Sherwin-Williams Company (NYSE: SHW) has been recognized for demonstrated leadership in ethical business practices by the Ethisphere Institute, a leading international organization dedicated to the creation, advancement and sharing of best practices in business ethics, governance, anti-corruption and sustainability. Ethisphere announced its seventh annual selection of the World's Most Ethical ("WME") Companies, a recognition that highlights companies that outperform industry peers when it comes to ethical behavior. The 2013 WME companies are those that truly embrace ethical business practice and demonstrate industry leadership, forcing peers to follow suit or fall behind. "Not only did more companies apply for the World's Most Ethical Companies recognition this year than any year in the past, which demonstrates that ethical activity is an important part of many of these companies' business models, but we are also seeing more companies be proactive and create new initiatives that expand ethics programs and cultures across entire industries, such as industry-based ethics associations and other activities," said Alex Brigham, Executive Director of Ethisphere. "We are excited to see the 2013 World's Most Ethical Companies take these leadership positions, and embrace the correlation between ethical behavior and improved financial performance." A record number of nominations and applications this year is evidence of both the World's Most Ethical Companies' growing recognition by various stakeholder groups and companies' desire to be recognized for their integrity standards and ethical cultures. The 2013 list is the largest list since the award's inception in 2007. Sean Hennessy, Senior Vice-President and CFO of The Sherwin-Williams Company said, "We are pleased that Ethisphere has recognized the daily commitment our 34,154 associates have towards ethical business practices. This recognition reaffirms our Culture of Excellence and Guiding Values: Integrity, People, Service, Quality, Performance, Innovation and Growth. Through in-depth research and a multi-step analysis, Ethisphere reviewed nominations from companies in more than 100 countries and 36 industries. The methodology for the World's Most Ethical Companies includes reviewing codes of ethics, litigation and regulatory infraction histories; evaluating the investment in innovation and sustainable business practices; looking at activities designed to improve corporate citizenship; and studying nominations from senior executives, industry peers, suppliers and customers.