Imagine you are a specialist running company and you get the opportunity to become a corporate partner with one of the largest running events in the country.
You’d be a fool to turn that opportunity down, wouldn’t you?
Then, imagine that after signing up you are warned that your new partner is not who they appear to be, not what they claim. You are warned of serious ethical and honesty issues, that the organisation behind the event lacks integrity.
What would you do then?
Runners Need wrote back to the person who had warned them stating that they carefully consider who they associate their brand with, especially when it comes to partnerships. They undertook to review the information they had been given and take any action they felt appropriate to ensure their business, “remains aligned to its core values.”
Only they didn’t. It was lip service. No meaningful review took place.
How do we know this? Because the individual writing to them was Race for Life creator Jim Cowan, and he had advised them that he had evidence to support everything he said about Cancer Research UK should they wish to see it.
But they didn’t ask to see any of it. Their ‘review’ did not include looking at evidence. Seriously?
What does that tell you about those ‘core values’ they claimed to be so keen to remain aligned with?
And, next time you want fair, impartial advice on a pair of running shoes or other kit, what does it tell you about any advice you might receive from Runners Need?
Are they selling you the right pair of shoes for you and your particular running style? Or are they only claiming to do that, while actually selling you the pair which serves their own self-interest most?
Based on their opting to continue their partnership with the Race for Life, based on their deliberately ignoring evidence offered as part of their ‘review’, which do you believe?
Runners Need’s deliberate ignoring of evidence in pursuit of corporate greed tells everything about the ‘core values’ to which they referred. Core values devoid of morals, of honesty, of integrity. Core vales based only in serving self.
In the Race 4 Truth, Cancer Research UK and Runners Need are lagging behind.
In July we reported how Race for Life creator Jim Cowan had written open letters* to the sponsors of the Race For Life to highlight Cancer Research UK’s flawed in-house inquiry into the event’s origins and asking them to use their influence as event partners to lean on CRUK to open that inquiry up to public scrutiny. After all, if it was a properly conducted and honest inquiry, what could they possible have to hide by doing so?
In his letters Jim stated; “I am asking you to consider what asking Cancer Research UK to open their inquiry to public scrutiny would say about your corporate and brand values? And, I would ask you to consider what not doing so would infer about those same values?”
Surely, what was being asked of the leaders of each of these companies was a reasonable request. That is, assuming those companies have the integrity and the moral compass to care about right and wrong, to care about the ethics and values of organisations they partner with and promote their brands through.
Sadly, none of them do. Over three months later only one has even bothered to reply. A Tesco ‘Customer Service Specialist’ replied stating that they were unable to hep with the matter. Global Radio (owners of Heart FM) and Scottish Power have not replied at all.
What does this say about the values of these three companies? What does it say about their moral and ethical positions, about their integrity? Obviously they see no issue in partnering with unethical organisations of dubious morals, organisations with a history of dishonesty who have been evidenced to look the other way when employees commit fraud. We know this because that is the history of Cancer Research UK and the Race for Life, catalogued on this website
We decided to look further and to research the stated values given by each company online.
Tesco’s ‘Core Purpose and Values’ statement does not make any reference to ethics, morals, integrity or honesty. None. Given this, given these values hold no relevance to Tesco, maybe their lack of interest in intervening to ask CRUK to display some integrity should not be surprising?
Tesco’s statement does state; “we treat people how they want to be treated.” Clearly not in the case of Jim Cowan. It also states; “every little help makes a big difference.” Maybe it does. If only Tesco could be bothered to offer that help. Especially on a matter of truth and honesty, of integrity.
Scottish Power’s parent company, Iberdrola, has a clear statement of ‘Our Values’ on its website. Under the section titled ‘Sustainable Energy’ they give ‘ethics’ as one of those values along with ‘responsibility’ and ‘transparency.’
And yet, their ethics do not stretch to having questions for a partner (CRUK) who has been evidenced several times over to act without ethics, without either morals or integrity. What does this say of ‘responsibility?’ Obviously only responsible enough to turn a blind-eye to wrong doing but not responsible enough to address it. And how believable is a value of ‘transparency’ in a company willing to look the other way when one of its partners (CRUK) acts without any transparency by keeping a flawed inquiry in-house, avoiding any public scrutiny?
And what of Global Entertainment, the owner of Heart FM? Despite searching, we could not find any Values Statement for the company at all. The closest thing we could find was on the ‘About’ page of their website where they state; “People may forget what you said, people may forget what you did, but they’ll never forget how you made them feel.” They might want to run that statement past Jim Cowan and ask him how their turning a blind eye to Cancer Research UK’s lack of ethics, lack of transparency, lack of integrity, makes him feel?
We also found a report in The Guardian newspaper from March 2010 reporting on Global’s (then) new Mission Statement. It included the line; “here’s to the obsessive ones who don’t walk by anything they can put right themselves.” We can only assume that Global have changed their mind about that one as they walked past this issue without even a sideways glance.
It is clear that Cancer Research UK and the Race for Life have found three partners who mirror their own shady values, who lack the ethics, morals or integrity to stand up and do the right thing.
In the cold light of day the ‘values’ talked about on the websites of Tesco, Global and Iderbrola are little more than empty words, window dressing covering up an absence of integrity they would rather their customers do not see.
And Cancer Research UK’s so-called inquiry remains hidden from any public scrutiny. The silence remains deafening.
In the Race 4 Truth, Cancer Research UK, Tesco, Scottish Power, and Heart FM are all lagging behind.
*The open letters from Jim Cowan to the sponsors of the Race for Life were dated 28th July 2021 and all were sent by recorded delivery. They were addressed to: Ashley Tabor-King, Founder & President, Global Entertainment & Talent Group Limited. Keith Anderson, Chief Executive Officer, Scottish Power Renewables & Chief Corporate Officer, Scottish Power. Ken Murphy, Chief Executive Officer, Tesco.
The Race 4 Truth has now been up and running for fourteen months and the silence from Cancer Research UK in response has been deafening.
Some might suggest that silence is golden but in this instance, we would suggest it is incriminating.
They are a large charity with their own very large legal department. In just fourteen months, we have uncovered and shared lies (both blatant and by omission), hypocrisy, possible fraud, poor ethics, low integrity, an absence of values, and more.
Surely an innocent party, especially one with the large legal department at their disposal, would react; respond?
But when you are not innocent, what can you say? What would that legal advice be? Maybe Cancer Research UK and their legal eagles think silence is the best option? Maybe they think eventually we will give up and go away?
We won’t. Not until Cancer Research UK do the right thing and recognise Jim Cowan for creating the Race for Life instead of lying about it, making up fiction about it, hypocritically accepting recognition for themselves, supporting fraudulent claims about it, and more.
You have the right to remain silent……
Silence from Cancer Research UK is not golden. It is incriminating.
In the Race 4 Truth, Cancer Research UK are lagging behind.
Pretty much every organisation across every sector that is worth its salt will have a publicly stated set of values. The importance of ‘Values’ is so high that it has become standard practice that, in well run organisations, they are stated in the Mission Statement alongside the Vision and the Mission.
You know the kind of thing; we will act with integrity, we are customer focused, we source our products ethically, and so on.
Given the many issues with Cancer Research UK (CRUK) and Race for Life that Race 4 Truth has highlighted over the last year, we thought it would be interesting to seek out CRUK’s Values and compare them to reality.
We thought it would be as simple as visiting their website and looking their Values up. It wasn’t. Instead, after a couple of hours searching their site, we were left having to assume that they don’t have any values to share.
But then, they must do. Their website clearly states of its Council of Trustees; “Council’s role is to set the Charity’s strategic direction, monitor the delivery of the Charity’s objects, uphold its values and governance and guide, advise and support the Chief Executive, who leads the Senior Management Team towards achieving the Charity’s vision and purpose.”
So, we searched again. And, buried on page 39 of CRUK’s Annual Report, we found a list of “promises” to the organisation’s supporters. The first of these states; “To be transparent about where your money goes.” That sounded a lot like a Value to us so we searched the website for more information and finally found CRUK’s ‘Fundraising Promise.’
Here, they expand on the line in their Annual Report by stating that they promise “To be transparent about where your money goes.” They go on to say: “For every £1 donated, over 80p is used to beat cancer.”
Except, it isn’t. Their ‘transparency’ doesn’t stretch to telling their supporters that, according to CRUK’s own annual report, nothing from the following goes to funding research, and nothing from the following list is included when calculating that 80p: -Income from event entries and tickets (eg Race for Life) -Income from event merchandising -Income from commercial sponsorship of events -Income from high street ‘charity’ shops
Transparent? More like a broken promise.
The ‘Fundraising Promise’ goes on to state; “We are proud to champion the principles of honesty, accountability and transparency when fundraising.” Perhaps they should add; “as long as we don’t have to tell you that by entering the Race for Life you have given not a single penny to research.” Indeed, when advertising entries for the Race for Life they even use the (misleading) tag line ‘this is beating cancer.’
Honesty? They have lied about the origins of the Race for Life for 25 years and, once provided with evidence, refused to put the lies right by telling truth. They even supported a fraudulent claim by then employee Jill MacRae that she had created the event. They now know she didn’t but have failed to right that wrong.
Accountability? To whom exactly. Handily, they don’t say.
Transparency? Well, when directly asked how much of the sponsorship money raised by Race for Life participants funds research they were (again) very careful with their wording (ie not transparent). “100% of it goes to Cancer Research UK.”
Note, to “Cancer Research UK”, not to cancer research. Far from funding research, a chunk of that money funds sky high salaries, expensive offices, glossy TV commercials, and more.
And their CEO Michelle Mitchell cannot claim to be unaware of the importance of clear values. Under her leadership in her previous role as CEO at the Multiple Sclerosis Society, a clear set of values was put in place. But then, Mitchell is already rewriting the book in her new role, especially when it comes to hypocrisy. And what of the CRUK Council of Trustees responsible for “upholding its values?” Are none of them asking questions?
We were searching for Values, a set of standards to which Cancer Research UK hold themselves responsible. In their place we found empty promises already broken.
They have lied about the Race for Life for 25 years, they deliberately mislead their supporters while claiming transparency, they claim accountability without saying to whom. Why should we believe a single word they say? Cancer Research UK, an integrity free zone, would like you to trust them with your hard earned money. Just don’t ask them where it goes.
If it matters to you, why not ask Michelle Mitchell directly. Her Twitter handle is @Michelle_CRUK – we are sure she would love to hear from you and to explain CRUK’s values and (broken) promises.
In the Race 4 Truth, Cancer Research UK are lagging behind.