Public Relations has a bad reputation when it comes to ethical practice. PR practitioners are often thought to be liars, manipulators and spin-doctors. However PR is an evolving global profession and has had to change and improve in order to meet the growing expectations and needs of stakeholders.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) or sustainability is now a specialist area of PR that is important to an organization in order for it to be perceived as being ethical.
Everyone is now familiar with ‘Toms,’ the shoe company, and their global endeavor of giving shoes to children in need in developing countries. This is ethical PR on a global scale and CSR at its best.
It is not just to a way to generate publicity which is often the perception of CSR initiatives – it’s more importantly, their business model.
‘Toms’ partners with humanitarian and non-profit organizations who are already established all over the world in countries such as Ethiopia, South Africa and Rwanda. They also help poor children in the USA and South America. These partners must match the certain criteria such as: repeat giving, high impact and large volume shipments.
By partnering with NGOs, ‘Toms’ associates themsevelves with other ethical organizations that address similar cultural and language barriers who are already established in these countries who know the customs, values and beliefs of the country.
Not only are ‘Toms’ socially responsible they also demonstrate transparency. They have all the press they have received available on their website. They have updated blog posts, pictures and video casts showing their work. This allows customers to see what was promised when they bought their shoes is actually happening, therefore encouraging a trusting relationship. They are truthful, transparent and socially responsible.
In order to have ethical PR on a global scale it is important for an organization to be truthful, transparent, accurate and socially responsible. It is also important to consider other factors such as culture, religion etc.