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.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Giving Voice to Values: Todd Stitzer, chief executive of Cadbury Schweppes, uses the op-ed page of the Financial Times to make an eloquent case that “business must loudly proclaim what it stands for.”

“Business bashing has become a sport,” Stitzer laments, admitting that “we only have ourselves to blame,” though “not because we have actually committed evil, but because we have allowed others to characterise our actions and our motives, while we have been focused on doing business.”

I’m not quite as comfortable as Stitzer is dismissing Enron and the like as exceptions. I happen to think they were simply extreme examples, an inevitable consequence of a culture that values profits—short-term quarterly profits, at that—above all.

But I do agree with him when he argues: “We must declare that values have a central role in business and that if you are passionate about human rights or you care about the environment then business is a good place to be. We must start by defining and articulating the values of our businesses. Then we must live these values, auditing our performance against them and changing where necessary. Finally, we must loudly and proudly communicate our values and what we stand for.”


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