Ethics in PR Industry should be driven by moral behaviour, not a ‘code of ethics’, says Lord Chadlington
Last week Grayling participated in the Global Public Relations Summit, a high-level event for senior communications professionals to address the critical issues facing the profession.
The event hosted by the Holmes Report and held in Miami, combined three days of interactive discussion of the critical issues and opportunities facing the public relations industry and was attended by communications leaders from all around the world.
At the summit Grayling received a SABRE award for one of the top campaigns of the year for its consumer work in Germany with Nestle for 125 years of Maggi-Wurze.
The evening began with the Grayling Lecture given by Peter Chadlington, chief executive of the Huntsworth Group – parent company to Grayling - who told the audience how public relations professionals need to be guided by their “innate morality” and not “any code of professional ethics”.
Lord Chadlington told delegates: “Morality is what governs our personal, overall behaviour. Its objective is to promote what is good in society and minimise what is bad or harmful. This behaviour may be rooted in religion or be purely humanist in origin. Professional ethics, on the other hand, is the code which a professional person should follow in the work place in the execution of his profession It is how we behave instinctively - particularly in a crisis - which will determine how our business is viewed. In those circumstances it is our innate morality which guides us - the kind of people we are - and not any code of professional ethics.
“Codes of Ethics are all very well but unless they are supported in spirit and letter by every practitioner they are wasted hot air. And codes of ethics have little influence unless, if found breaking those rules, the practitioner finds it impossible - even illegal - to practise. That is the protection afforded to those who seek help from doctors, lawyers and other professions. And in PR - regretfully - this simply isn't going to happen.”
Grayling, also hosted a discussion panel on the topic of Global Mega Trends. Which opened with a presentation from Justine Thody, Editorial Director, Americas for the Economist Intelligence Unit. The panel which, in addition to Michael Murphy, Grayling CEO, included John McLaren, Director of Corporate Communications for Akzo Nobel.
Michael Murphy offered his views on how trends such as ‘hyper-globalisation’, ‘global swarming’ and ‘centre of gravity shifts’ are affecting the way Grayling advises its clients and the way in which global companies are requiring support around the world whilst John McLaren talked of the challenges for global communications heads managing and protecting reputations in a fast-moving environment.