This Week in PR Ethics (4/13/23): Caring, Anti-ESG, and PR Misperceptions

It was a grab bag of public relations ethics issues this week. From what companies need to do about anti-ESG, to the duty of care and a flawed perception of public relations there is something for everyone.

  • Resisting the Anti-ESG Movement – As usual, a very thoughtful and insightful article from HBR about the challenge facing businesses in light of the anti-ESG movement. The quote I really liked was “Companies can’t sit on the sidelines anymore because, well, there are no sidelines. In a transparent world, your silence will speak volumes.”


  • Practicing Servant Leadership and Caring – I can always count on Marlene Neill, Fellow PRSA, and Juan Meng for an interesting and useful research paper. In this case, it was on how servant leadership and the duty of care are implemented by PR leaders. One point that stuck out – is sometimes caring involves helping someone leave your company.


  • Misperceptions about Public Relations – This article/opinion piece in the Daily Star really aggravated me. The author asks “if a person is truly ethical, then why would they need to focus so much on PR?” He follows that statement up with “a good product sells itself most of the time, but a bad one will require lots of boosting and may even require a good amount of deceitful PR.”  Needless to say, I strongly disagree.
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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