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Former Shell Executive Paddy Briggs comments on The Daily Telegraph article: ‘Anita Roddick: A great heart in a tiny frame’

 Former Shell Executive, Paddy Briggs, Wikipedia image

September 19th, 2007 03:32

Former Shell Executive Paddy Briggs comments on The Daily Telegraph article: ‘Anita Roddick: A great heart in a tiny frame’

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/09/16/nranita116.xml

About six years ago, when I was still working for Shell, I attended an International Advertising conference in London at which Anita Roddick spoke. Her main subject was Shell in Nigeria and what she had to say was an eye-opener for me. My Shell career had never taken me to Nigeria and whilst I knew of the problems I was completely taken aback by the strength of Ms Roddick’s criticism of what Shell had been doing there for decades. It was a well-researched, eloquent and shocking attack on corporate greed and mismanagement. Perhaps the most telling point to me, as a practitioner in Brand and Reputation management, was when Anita Roddick said:

“MOSOP’s relationship with Shell remains very troubled, with MOSOP able to point to the clear gap between the quite fantastic material on stakeholding and best practice that you will find at http://www.shell.com and the reality which communities confront when dealing with the company. ”

(See also http://www.anitaroddick.com/readmore.php?sid=73 )

I began to realise that the gap between rhetoric and reality that Anita Roddick referred to was by no means confined to Nigeria. Indeed much of the corporate communications that was underway was at best obfuscating issues and at worse deliberately misleading. Not much has changed – but at least one of the legacies of Anita Roddick is that we are all just that bit more suspicious about corporate greenwash and other mendacity.

Paddy Briggs

Paddy worked for Shell for 37 years during the last fifteen of which he was responsible for Brand management in a number of appointments. He was the winner of the “Shell/Economist” writing prize (internal) in 2001. Paddy retired from Shell in 2002 to form the brand consultancy BrandAware ™ and to write and speak on brand and reputation matters.

http://www.brandaware.co.uk/

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