Don’t put anything back

That you didn’t take away in the first place.

There’s a serious point here.

It’s an old point, but still a good one.

Too many commentators, journalists, companies, NGOs and PR people still talk about ‘giving back’.

What did you take, exactly?

If you work for the average company, or even an unusual one, chances are your organisation is not one that needs to make amends. (Unless you work for Asia Pulp & Paper that is)

Sure, your business has social and environmental impacts.

But far better to focus on minimising environmental impacts and maximising social gains, than talk about ‘giving back’.

‘Giving back’ implies an unhelpful combination of guilt and condescension.

Neither helps you make a positive difference. Neither helps you make a positive impression in your communication.

Focus on what you can do, not on what you think you might have done.

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