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From the Chair: Communication for a more sustainable society

May 2, 2012


I write this message from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, fresh from the Global Alliance’s annual general meeting and South American regional conference, held in Sao Paulo in partnership with ABERJE, the Brazilian corporate communication association.


Notwithstanding its social, economic and environmental challenges, Brazil is a country on the rise. Its strong, smart association reflects the importance of professional communication in ensuring that an economy’s growth is sustainable. With a guest list that included a “who’s who” of Brazil-based corporations -- Itau, Natura, Petrobras, CPFL and others – the conference featured an intelligent, insightful dialogue on the critical role of communication in organizational sustainability.



There was a remarkable consistency of vision between Global Alliance delegates and Brazil’s leading corporate communicators. The challenge remains turning sustainability from a peripheral activity often driven by external societal pressure to an imperative ‘embedded’ in an organization’s DNA and its strategy. I was struck by how many Brazilian communicators spoke eloquently about their commitment to the Global Reporting Initiative, a topic that comes up far less often at public relations conferences in economies at later stages of development. As communication transforms societies, these leaders see a transformative opportunity for communicators to contribute to the sustainability of organizations.



As the world becomes more interconnected and interdependent, with greater parity between economies, countries and continents, this sort of dialogue is critical. The added benefit of the Global Alliance is that our events enable dialogue not just on international communication, but also on how to strengthen our global community of communicators.



At our annual general meeting, association leaders from Brazil, Canada, Finland, Germany, Kenya, South Africa, Spain, the U.K. and the U.S. presented ideas on best practices on a wide range of issues. Over the weekend, we also had ‘virtual’ participation from Australia, Italy and New Zealand.



Our community has grown in the past year, with new members in Africa, Asia, Europe and South America; at the AGM, we adopted governance reforms to enable it to grow even larger. The GA now offers full voting membership to all associations that meet our criteria, including endorsing the Global Code of Ethics. Our aim: to unify the public relations profession – in the public interest.



As always, this newsletter contains a mix of news and ideas as the Global Alliance prepares for the World Public Relations Forum in Melbourne this November, including the debate on the Melbourne Mandate for Global Communication. In a small way, we hope this helps you make the case for the role of communication in transforming your own organization.




Daniel Tisch APR, Fellow CPRS

Global Alliance Chair