This Week in PR Ethics (3/9/22): Actions Not Words

This week so many of the ethics stories revolved around people saying one thing and doing (or not doing) another. From International Women’s Day to Ukraine to employee activism, ethics is front and center in many of the most prominent topics of the week.

  • Actions Not Words – This week we celebrated International Women’s Day. Many, many brands made posts around the topic. But just like with greenwashing, wokewashing and other categories – are they living up to their promises. I loved the story from Vice, which highlighted the Gender Pay Bot, which called out UK companies tweeting about the Day by highlighting pay disparity. It just reinforces, if you are going to take a position on something, your actions better back it up.
  • Leading in an Age of Employee Activism – I missed this great MIT Sloan Management Article when it first came out, but it is a great analysis of the changing moral imperatives of business and factors leaders should consider.
  • Decisions have consequences – A Yale Professor and his researchers have compiled a list of those companies that have stopped operations and sales to Russia due to Ukraine and those that have not. It is getting widespread media attention and reinforces that on major issues of the day, businesses can not remain on the sidelines.
  • Calling out unethical PR – Last month Ronn Torossian’s secret and unethical ownership of a PR trade magazine was exposed. This week both Gini Dietrich and Robert Hastings wrote outstanding articles about it and the need for accountability and for people to not remain silent.
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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