July 24, 2007
A fad is a phenomenon that becomes popular for a very short time while a trend is a long- term movement in a particular direction. I believe the concern about corporate ethics is a definite trend and not a fad. Below are some indications that confirms the growing trend of concern about corporate ethics:
- 57 of the Fortune 100 companies have an ethics officer and are members of the Ethics and Compliance Officer's Association. The organization started a little more than 10 years ago with only 12 members. It now has over 1200 members.
- A search on Monster.com reveals that there are more than 5,000 job openings in the ethics field.
- The salary range for an ethics and compliance officer in Wall Street is between $750,000 and $1,000,000.
A recent Consumer Ethics Trend study, commissioned by the German retailer OTTO found that a new trend has developed towards individual responsibility rather that global improvement. The study showed a high level of interest in consumer ethics across all age range.
Another study conducted by The Conference Board on corporate citizenship found that 92 % of the 700 global companies that participated in the study believed that their company has a citizenship goal as part of a statement of core values or business principles.
There is definitely a new trend of increasing expectations from consumers (and the public in general) that corporations maintain high ethical standards.
In every trend, there is a business opportunity. In our role of public relations counselors we interpret or rather translate current trend into business opportunities for our clients. We are in fact trendslators. (The word is new and first appeared in this blog....today!)
The business opportunities for corporations in understanding this new trend are many.
In Ruder Finn co-CEO Kathy Bloomgarden's book, Trust: The Secret Weapon of Effective Business Leaders, she quotes professor Donaldson from the Wharton School: "Empirical studies have demonstrated that companies with good ethical reputations attract and retain better employees, that customers and suppliers are drawn to companies with better reputations for integrity, and that employees are more loyal to their company when they have a good impression of its ethics."