So they are kind of structurally compromised from a sustainability point of view, until that changes.
A tale of distasteful PR
We’ve railed in the magazine in the past about how PR firms just don’t get corporate responsibility.
Martin Sorrell may be an impressive CEO of WPP, and quite into tackling climate change.
But his firms, and the others in the industry, are pretty damn hopeless when it comes corporate responsibility, their impact, and their clients.
One of the reasons I think, is that the top people in PR don’t care, because they understand how they really make their money. That’s often by resisting change, and it pays well.
One senior PR exec told me a couple of years ago that whilst he wouldn’t work for the dodgy “rag” trade (clothing, textiles), he’d more than happily do PR and lobbying for central Asian dictators!
The junior people in PR don’t have time to read about the topic, and instead spend a lot time writing press releases they don’t really understand and hassling journalists who loathe them.
Here’s some of our past, more constructive comments on the subject, in article format, and as a podcast.
I am constantly reminded that whilst CR changes, PR remains the same.
The big problem for PR/lobbyists is a simple one. It’s economics.
What I mean is that defending the status quo will almost always pay better than promoting change.
And I don’t really see it doing so right now. i.e. there’s way more money in fossil fuels than renewables, way more money in cheap forced labour, say, in cotton than organics, etc etc…
Here’s a brief recent tale, dear reader, that might offer a small insight into the corporate culture in big PR.
A while ago I was at a friend’s house. I won’t say where.
A good friend of his works for a big PR and lobbying firm, I won’t say which. One of the really big ones.
A group of middle ranking folks at the PR firm in question wanted to take part in a charity event, a marathon.
They knew their firm did some CSR/Green work for clients.
So they asked the firm’s higher echelons for some sponsorship, so they could raise money for charity.
“No”, came the response. The keen staff were disappointed.
Then came the bombshell via an internal email, from higher up:
“Can you wear company T-shirts anyway, considering you don’t have a sponsor?”
All together now, “ouch”.