Green public relations and junk economics – farewell to Friedman

Apparently public relations practitioners are waking up to “green” issues – which probably means more “carbon-neutral” press releases – but maybe they should listen to the emerging voices that debunk the “junk economics” behind this ridiculous strategy.  Kevin Smith presents an argument in the BBC Green Room stating: as Tom Burke, visiting professor at Imperial College London, has observed: “The reality is that applying cost-benefit analysis to questions such as [climate change] is junk economics… It is a vanity of economists to believe that all choices can be boiled down to calculations of monetary value.”

Yesterday the god of free market economics, Milton Friedman, died at the age of 94.  Interestingly how his “business of business is business” approach to corporate social responsibility has become one of finding an economic approach to the tough challenge of addressing environmental issues.

These are complicated matters and need organisations – and their PR advisors – to avoid easy answers and look fundamentally at how they can address the complex issues on a long-term, sustainable basis.

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Heather Yaxley PhD

Dr. Heather Yaxley is passionate about sustainable careers, reflective practice and professional development. I am a rhizomatic educator, practitioner, consultant, academic and scholar. As a qualified academic, I teach the CIPR professional qualifications with PR Academy and have experience teaching at various Universities. I run the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association (MIPAA) and my own strategic consultancy. I was awarded by PhD researching Career Strategies in Public Relations by Bournemouth University in 2017. I'm a published author, with books, chapters and academic papers to my name.