The Pearson Debate

Companies are being held to public account more than ever before, but how far does our responsibility stretch? How can we maintain high corporate reputations in the face of myriad pressures to compromise reporting and other standards? In this era of 24 hour news, how do we decide when a rumour becomes a story we should share? And to what extent does it matter whether the demographic of our staff is representative of the audience we serve?

On Monday 29 March 2010, the audience at the inaugural Pearson Debate heard the thoughts of Caroline Diehl, Chief Executive at the Media Trust; Dr. Christian Toennesen, Sustainability Consultant at Acona Consulting; and Jo Confino, Head of Sustainable Development for Guardian News & Media, on these questions and more. Those attending the event at Pearson’s London head office took part in a lively discussion chaired by Sir David Bell, Chair of the Media Standards Trust, with a wider audience listening in via Webex or following on Twitter using the #pearsondebates hash tag.  The event was held in association with Justmeans – a company that helps promote engagement in social responsibility through social media tools – who hosted online networking before the discussion and provided a live blogger throughout; you can read her impressions of the evening in three blog posts here.

Pearson takes its responsibility to society very seriously – although we’re proud of our achievements in this field, we are conscious of the need to promote better dialogue with the many stakeholders who can help us to improve on what we do, and we created a new target in our corporate responsibility report last year to reflect this aim. This event was, we hope, the first of a series that will help to foster constructive debate on key contemporary issues facing our business and society at large.

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