Commentary

Better Business Bureau continues to its Torch Awards for Ethics

September 13, 2022 3:00 am

John Carreyrou speaks at the WSJ The Future of Everything Festival at Spring Studios on May 10, 2018, in New York City. (Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

Twenty-seven years ago, the Better Business Bureau held the first iteration of its Integrity Awards in a diminutive hotel room for a handful of guests.

This month, the BBB will host hundreds of community and business leaders for the 2022 BBB Torch Awards for Ethics luncheon, the 25th anniversary of the event. Each of the dozens of previous winners have been invited to take part in the milestone and will be recognized during the proceedings.

Not many projects survive a quarter-century, but the city of Omaha can be proud that this one did.

For too many organizations, integrity and ethics are buzzwords or afterthoughts that are latched onto and deployed to shape marketing efforts; nobody wants to shop with a dishonest, unethical business, after all. But these principles are the pillars of the BBB, an organization that is duty bound to be the leader in advancing marketplace trust.

It’s sadly never been more difficult for consumers to distinguish between the fraudulent and legitimate. The pandemic only exacerbated those difficulties, as a rise in online shopping combined with microchip and supply chain shortages led to scam reports spiking to unprecedented levels. Each of these reports serves as a devastating reminder that unscrupulous con artists and, in some cases, businesses are operating more efficiently. Trust is increasingly hard to come by.

That’s why, after a two-year hiatus, the BBB is proud to bring back the Torch Awards for Ethics for its 25th anniversary. Much has changed since the first iteration in 1997, but the event remains a celebration of ethics and integrity in our community. Each company and charity are measured across four criteria by an independent panel of judges. There simply isn’t another event that shines a light on these principles; awards have increasingly turned to popularity polls or opportunities to celebrate profit and growth.

The BBB is grateful to have had incredible keynote speakers in previous years — from Daymond John of Shark Tank to Bennet Omalu, the physician played by Will Smith in the movie “Concussion.” Nebraska legendary coach Tom Osborne, then-University of Nebraska at Omaha athletic director Trev Alberts and Jenn Limm of Zapos have also taken the stage at the event.

This year’s keynote will be delivered by John Carreyrou, a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and New York Times bestselling author of “Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup,” whose tenacious reporting brought the scandal of Theranos to light. Carreyrou’s reporting on Elizabeth Holmes and her blood testing company Theranos has spawned a TV series, podcasts and numerous projects that are still in the works. The journalist responsible for uncovering the biggest corporate fraud since Enron is a perfect encapsulation of what the event stands for.

The Torch Awards for Ethics program is an awards celebration for businesses and charities, but this event was designed with consumers and community members in mind. BBB invites those who are interested in celebrating organizations that put ethics into action to attend this milestone event, which features Omaha Steaks and a program that promises to be unforgettable. Those interested can register for tickets and sponsorships at bbb.org/omahatorch. The event will be held on Sept. 21 at Embassy Suites-La Vista from 11:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. A coffee and conversation event will follow for sponsors, which includes the opportunity to speak with Carreyrou at a Q&A session

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Josh Planos
Josh Planos

Josh Planos is the vice president of communications and public relations for the Better Business Bureau serving Nebraska, South Dakota, the Kansas Plains & Southwest Iowa. He serves as a spokesperson for the organization and is responsible for educational outreach efforts, including scam prevention and awareness. His writing has been published by the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post, among other news outlets.

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