This Week in PR Ethics (2/25/21) – The World’s Most Ethical Companies, Jeep Cherokee and Is Giving a Scam?

This week there were a number of interesting ethics stories on a wide range of topics. Ethisphere reported that world’s most ethical companies outperform the market by 7.1%, showing you can do well by doing good. There was also a call for Jeep to drop the name Cherokee and questions about ethical issues with charitable giving.

  • The world’s most ethical companies – This week, Ethisphere announced its list of the most ethical companies in the world. 135 companies were honored, including six that have been on the list for all 15 years of its existence. What was really interesting to me was the research that showed that ethics is good for business as the public companies on the list outperformed a comparable index of large cap companies by 7.1 percentage points over the past five calendar years.











  • Is Charitable Giving a “PR Scam” – Dan Price in Marketwatch said wealthy people donating their money and getting rewarded with “glowing articles, a hospital named after you and a massive tax write-off” amount to “one of capitalism’s biggest PR scams.” And that the average billionaire donates a smaller share of their money to charity each year than the average non-billionaire. This is a topic that goes back to Ancient Royalty and the Robber Barons and can lead to an interesting discussion on the purpose of CSR, why organizations give and if ethical actions taken for selfish reasons are ethical.


  • Jeep Cherokee asked to change its name – There was discussion last year and earlier this year about brands with offensive names and logos (Uncle Ben’s, Aunt Jemima and the Land O’Lakes image to name a few). Now the Cherokee nation has asked Jeep to drop the name from its vehicles. It will be interesting to see how this unfolds.


  • Ethics in a box from the IABC – While I tend to hate anything that is “X in a box” the PPT presentation shared by IABC has three good video ethics scenarios that are different than many of the traditional ones. I would encourage those looking for new ethics scenarios to check them out.



Mark McClennan, APR, Fellow PRSA
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Mark W. McClennan, APR, Fellow PRSA, is the general manager of C+C's Boston office. C+C is a communications agency all about the good and purpose-driven brands. He has more than 20 years of tech and fintech agency experience, served as the 2016 National Chair of PRSA, drove the creation of the PRSA Ethics App and is the host of


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