The WIL literature discusses the importance of engaging with partners in an ethical way (Orrell, 2004; Bringle & Hatcher, 2009; Smith et al, 2009). However, how higher education institutions choose ethical partners is an area that is neglected. It might be argued that much institutional concern is about finding enough partners to meet student demand. However, it is also necessary to ensure that partners align with the mission and vision of learning through participation, as well as those of the higher education institution. This is necessary to make sure the partners we choose to work with do not prompt ethical queries or issues which could be damaging to both student and institution. This paper examines the partnerships literature and how other organisations make choices about ethical products or organisations. These case studies demonstrate that the choice of an ethical partner has at least two dimensions: what constitutes an ethical partner and how to determine whether or not a potential partner is ethical. The development and implementation of policies and procedures to facilitate decisions is required. In this paper I present a case study of how we are developing a framework to guide the formation of ‘ethically aligned’ relationships with partners.