We may lose a few spineless clients because of this but who cares? We don’t. We might even gain some with guts or who want support from an organisation that does what it says “on the can” … Faire Sans Dire.

Many boards of holier than thou businesses and organisations (especially failed banks) spend hours huffing and puffing over their mission statements, their purported ethics and values. Some even pay for public relations specialists to help formulate them. They then try and weave them into their public image through marketing, sponsorship and so on. Often the whole shooting match is considered so critical to the organisation’s success that a committee (usually headed up by a “good and great” Non-Executive Director) is formed to determine, monitor and report on all this mercurial gaga.

So let’s focus on a sample of these should we? As of today the ethics and values of FIFA’s main corporate sponsors or “partners” are pertinent but you can rest assured you’ll see the same sort of drivel in statements of most of the world’s largest business conglomerates and other organisations.

FIFA makes a mockery of good corporate ethics and values. The moment any of FIFA’s sponsors’ “official” statements on “values” or “missions” are put under scrutiny they prove utterly hypocritical and worthless. The following list of FIFA’s main sponsors’ mission statements or the like was compiled by Transparency International. Please note that some of the links if clicked will result in downloads of corporate governance statements – obviously to be deleted after reading them!

Adidas: ‘Integrity is one of the core values of the Adidas Group.’
Coca-Cola: ‘Integrity is fundamental to The Coca-Cola Company…it is a pillar of our 2020 Vision. Integrity means doing what is right. By acting with integrity, we reflect positively on the values and reputation of the Company and its brands in the over 200 countries where we operate.’
Hyundai-Kia Motors: ‘CSR is not merely a facet of our business; it is a core value and a driving force that encompasses the full range of who we are and what we do.’
Emirates: ‘Our business ethics are the foundation on which our success has been built.’
Sony: ‘Sony is committed to strong corporate governance’; ‘Sony Group’s policy is … to conduct its business activities in an honest and ethical manner.’
Visa: ‘We’re using our products, know-how and philanthropy to bring about positive change’; ‘The Code of Business Conduct and Ethics reminds us of our responsibility to act with the highest ethical standards.’

So you can relax in the knowledge that it’s not just the world’s leading banks that issue hypocritical meaningless “mission”, “values” and “ethics” statements. The question you should ask yourself is does the body you work for have any such statements? If so, you had best check with your lawyers if you can be sued or even imprisoned for misrepresentation for being in breach of them anywhere in the world?

This article was first published on 16th November 2014.

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