The FT has reported:
Some of the largest companies in the US, including General Electric, Wal-Mart and PepsiCo, were expected on Monday to launch a drive to improve ethical standards in business in an attempt to stem the decline in corporate America's public standing. The move by 17 companies, with nearly $1,000bn in sales, to commit to key principles of good business conduct comes as the financial crisis and recession are fuelling a political and public backlash against the corporate world.
The huge problems faced by companies, such as banks and carmakers, that are run by highly paid executives have exacerbated anger among ordinary Americans who have seen their living standards deteriorate due to the economic slowdown.
Under the agreement, from the Ethisphere Institute, companies will sign up to four principles of ethical behaviour: legal compliance, including not paying bribes; transparency; avoiding conflict of interests and increasing accountability.
I've searched the Ethisphere site and I'm struggling: I can't find any serious mention of tax, and I can't find it as a criteria for ethical behaviour.
These compnaies had better believe it: don;t pay your tax and people won't take your ethics seriously. It's just not possible.
And unless you report country by country that you've paid your tax they won't believe you either. This is what corporate responsibility is really about: making the payments you owe to the communities in which you work.