Politics dominated the ethics discussion this past week, and is likely going to continue to do so for the next few weeks. Since I am not a breaking news outlet, I am letting others deal with those issues – but there are still some really interesting ethics articles this week – from the continued decline of trust to an examination of how and when a global brand decides to take an activist position.
- Decline of Trust – The 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer came out this week and the data is not good. According to Reuters “Trust in governments, business chiefs and media is crumbling amid a perceived mis-handling by leaders of the coronavirus pandemic and a widespread feeling among ordinary citizens that they are being misled.” I plan to dig into it more as time allows but I found it interesting that business leaders are more trusted than the government or media…which drives home the importance of ethical communication from business.
- Corporate Social Activism – Ben & Jerry’s was one of the first US companies to unabashedly take a corporate activist stance. HBR has a great interview with the CEO of Ben & Jerry’s on when and how they decide to take a stand on an issue.
- Encourage employees to speak up regularly – One of my favorite sayings is that ethics training is like vitamins. It does you no good if you take it once a year. The Ethics & Compliance Initiative had a great article last week that reinforces this and points out training needs to be regular and interesting. If you haven’t discussed ethics with your team this week – why not?
- How ethical is that ad? Politics has been dominating the national discussion, and I found this article from Campaigns & Elections interesting as it looks at the ethics of political ads for fundraising. The tl;dr version is rhetoric matters and if we use language that relies on people not making rational, informed decisions, it is crossing the line.