Holmes Report Blog

The Holmes Report blog focuses on news and issues of interest to public relations professionals. Our main site can be found at www.holmesreport.com.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

NGO Accountability: Historically, NGOs have demanded increasingly stringent levels of accountability from corporations while remaining resolutely unaccountable themselves.

The first thing to say is that NGOs don’t have shareholders, so the legal governance requirements are different. Donors are more analogous to customers… and very few companies feel the need to report formally to their customers. But while there’s no formal obligation to report, there’s certainly an ethical responsibility, if only because opaque NGOs are open to criticism on the grounds of hypocrisy.

So the charter put together by five international charities—Oxfam, Amnesty, Save the Children, Greenpeace and Care—is clearly a step in the right direction. Says Burkhard Gnaerig, director of Save the Children: “Challenging business and government to be more accountable is a crucial part of our role. If we are to point the finger at others we need to be completely clean in our own back yard.”

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