This Week in PR Ethics (3/25/21): Voices4Everyone, Licensing and Standing Up

What I loved about PR ethics this week is learning about two campaigns that are focused on ethics and addressing key issues of our time – disinformation, licensing and trust. There were also ethics examples around disclosure, sustainability and whistleblowers.

  • Voices4Everyone – PRSA formally launched its Voices4Everyone initiative. It is designed to “leverage the expertise, creativity and collective voice of the public relations profession as we tackle and address the complex issues of civil discourse, civic engagement and ethical behavior; embrace diversity and inclusion in their broadest sense; and combat mis/disinformation.” The campaign is encouraging all communication professionals to ACT:
    • Amplify the assets and messages to support a healthy information environment.
    • Connect initiatives with your publics to build positive relationships and establish thought leadership.
    • Take action by advocating the content to learn, grow, engage and share as trusted advisors in the national conversation about advancing the public good.


  • Licensing, Advocacy and Puerto Rico – Licensing of public relations is always a hot topic with my students. There are strong arguments for and against. I have been intrigued by what Puerto Rico has done and the Puerto Rico Public Relations Professionals Association just launched a new campaign ““Porque Ser Relacionista es cosa seria,” seeking to educate about the role of public relations professionals, reaffirm the importance of having a licensed public relations practitioner to develop and execute communications efforts, and promote compliance with Act No. 204, which regulates this professional practice on the Island.


  • Stand up for ethics – This week I read a great blog post thanks to the Ethics & Compliance Initiative on a whistleblower that did not back down and stood true to the value of honesty, Allan McDonald – the man who refused to authorize the Challenger launch and refused to back down over exposing the O-ring issue. He passed away recently but is a great example of doing the right thing.


  • Ethics of Sustainability – One of my students pointed this out to me last week…Fast Company has a really interesting article looking at if in the interests of transparency, sustainability and disclosure brands should add carbon labels to their packaging. Beauty and cosmetics are leading the way, but we need to be careful of greenwashing.


  • ABCs (Part Deux) – Last month, I released my ABCs of Ethical Failures in PR News, this week Case Management shared their ABCs of Ethics. Together, I think we cover the spectrum…

ABCs of Ethical Failures




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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