Can a Website Change the World? Business-Ethics-Pledge.Org Launches with Goal of Making Corporate Corruption as Unthinkable as Slavery

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A new campaign to abolish corporate corruption uses the Internet to leverage massive social change.

A new campaign to abolish corporate corruption uses the Internet to leverage massive social change. "It took about 100 years to abolish slavery once the Quakers decided that needed to happen--and they didn't even have telephones, let alone the Internet! I think we can do this in just a decade," says Shel Horowitz, founder of the Business Ethics Pledge and award-winning author of Principled Profit: Marketing that Puts People First. Horowitz has just launched a website exclusively devoted to the Pledge campaign at http://www.Business-Ethics-Pledge.Org.

Horowitz, 49, wants to test Malcolm Gladwell's "tipping point" theory by creating a climate where corporate corruption is as unthinkable in ten years as slavery is today. Horowitz is asking 25,000 business leaders to sign a pledge to

  • Run their businesses ethically
  • Pay attention not just to finances but to the "triple bottom line" of financial, environmental, and social responsibility
  • Inform at least 100 others about the campaign, hopefully creating a critical mass of 2,500,000 people or more who understand that ethical behavior is actually better for business

Horowitz, a marketing copywriter and consultant, runs several commercial websites; this is his first .org site. He was inspired to do this worldwide campaign after spearheading an "impossible" environmental victory in his own town of Hadley, MA. The site design was donated by Michelle Shaeffer of Elemental Muse (, who commented, "The whole idea of the campaign is awesome--the idea that something as small as publicly pledging our commitment to ethics could actually make future Enron scandals impossible, that each of us can make a difference in something that big."

Is it fair to compare something as evil as slavery with the "soft" problem of crooked business? Says Horowitz, "the human misery caused by the brutal slave trade is obviously many times greater--but there are real people being hurt by corruption every day. Just ask the Enron employees who saw their retirement funds evaporate. The point I'm making is that a small group of people made a conscious decision to eliminate an evil, and they were able to achieve their goal. And that we can do the same in creating an ethical business climate."

Already, the Pledge has attracted signers from every continent except Antarctica.

Horowitz, Shaeffer and several pledge signers from around the world are available for interviews.

Contact: Shel Horowitz, 413-586-2388.

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