A Global View of Ethics and Listening

Posted by PRSA_MelissaMY on 09/03/2020 9:41 am  

By Melissa May, APR
Chapter Ethics Chair

The myriad decisions organization leaders make every year include those that most impact their community’s and their planet’s health. PR professionals typically serve as the eyes and ears of our organizations. Are we doing enough personally and professionally to ensure that we’re listening to our constituents’ and our communities? Are we confident we understand how everyone is affected by our business practices?

My own interest in the environment was better informed this summer when I participated in the Climate Reality Leadership Summit. As the implications of climate change become more tangible and difficult to undo, political and company leaders play a key role in determining the world’s future.

The role of ethics in the climate debate is enormous – as is ethical listening. In fact, many of the people most harmed by climate change are those who have contributed little to its growth. And those people tend to be those whose voices who are rarely listened to, thus not heard. As the existential issue of our time, doesn’t climate change merit more listening and more actions based on what our publics want and need?

An overwhelming body of research confirms that Americans care deeply about this topic and want action taken. Are we listening, acting? 

PRSA’s Ethics Month is an ideal time to reconnect with our Code of Ethics and to ask ourselves many critical questions that guide our behaviors today and in the future:

  • Are the organizations we serve doing enough to mitigate climate change and other key issues of today?
  • Are we as practitioners walking the talk on ethical issues in the world around us?


Now is the perfect month for introspection—and listening—on matters global and local.