Article in the FT of Oct 09, 2006

Silence is golden. At least that is the view of many companies when it comes to sustainability and environmental management. However, with shareholders, activists and consumers increasingly focused on this, communications experts argue that silence is not golden – it is a dangerous strategy.

“A large number of companies are nervous about communicating in one area for fear of being a target for poor performance in another,” says Richard Aldwinckle, an independent consultant who works with Unilever. “They know traditional public relations methods are not the way, but they don't feel comfortable with what they should be doing to get the message out, so they don't do anything – and there is a great weakness here.” When a crisis does strike, companies with a reputation for responsibility will fare better.