AVP Ethical Pillars

At AVP we are committed to ethical practice. In 2020, we realized the need to expand upon our values and more clearly define our ethics. Our ethical pillars are outlined below to inform our collective understanding and commitment to shared and consistent practice. These pillars represent principles and causes that we support as an innate outcome of our collective operating system. They speak to what we strive for and stand for as well as shared ethics and values that we look for in colleagues, partners, and clients. They serve as the foundation on which we will build our practice. Each ethical pillar category below is represented with multiple examples, which are intended to emphasize and give direction on the meaning and intent, but are not intended to be exclusive or exhaustive. It is also the case that many of these examples may overlap multiple pillars. The offering of examples is not intended to be exhaustive. We recognize and appreciate the overlap that occurs between the pillars. How we put these to use is outlined later in this document.

Anti-Racism and Anti-Oppression, including but not limited to:

  • Gender and gender identity anti-discrimination
  • Sexual orientation anti-discrimination
  • Equal pay

Civil Rights and Social Justice, including but not limited to:

  • Labor rights
  • Voting rights
  • Freedom of information
  • Freedom of press

Human Rights, including but not limited to:

  • Children’s rights
  • Anti-human trafficking
  • Anti-genocide

Environment, including but not limited to:

  • Anti-pollution
  • Conservation of natural resources
  • Climate change awareness
  • Public lands

Animal Rights, including but not limited to:

  • Anti-animal cruelty
  • Animal welfare
  • Protection and conservation of wildlife

Putting this Framework into Practice

In addition to documenting, recognizing, and sharing these ethical pillars, AVP will put them to practice in the following ways:

  • Hold ourselves accountable to these same standards and have in place policies to ensure that all of our employees/contractors are also able to hold AVP accountable to them.*
  • Actively seek to work with organizations in which there is alignment of ethics. We do not intend these ethics and values to be the defining mission of these organizations. Rather, we intend that they share in these ethics and values in whatever their area fo work is. This will become part of our vetting criteria for who we actively target as clients and collaborators.
  • Incorporate our ethical pillars into our contract templates.
  • Incorporate a due diligence protocol into our sales process allocating a reasonable amount of time into reviewing new prospective clients in relation to our ethics.
  • Financially support organizations who align with our ethical pillars.
  • Be humble, thoughtful, and reflective. Recognize that we have faults as individuals and as a company. We will not be pious or judgmental.
  • Be clear in the separation of ethics and political parties/alliances.

What does it mean to violate an AVP ethical pillar?

  • An entity has engaged in actions that are in opposition
  • An entity’s policies are in opposition
  • An entity supports causes, public policy, legislation, and initiatives that are in opposition

Categories of Violation

Because many organizations, or parts of organizations, or individuals within organizations have violated one or more of our ethical pillars at some point in their history it is important to consider the nature and frequency of these violations in order to determine how we respond to them. These categories offer a framework for consideration.

Consistent pattern over time/ no corrective actions

An entity that repeatedly acts against one or more of our ethical pillars over a period of time as a matter of policy, practice, and/or negligence.

Recent incidents with corrective action

An entity that has a recent history (within the past 5 years) demonstrating violations of our ethical pillars.

Historic incidents with corrective action

An entity that demonstrated violations of our ethical pillars more than (5 years?) ago but has since taken action and proven itself to have corrected course.

How We Evaluate

Evidence of violations may consist of the items listed below. Evidence serving as an impetus to take action by AVP should be founded on a preponderance of information demonstrating that these violations are based in fact, and with an understanding of how an entity is responding. Suggestions and accusations without vetting, due diligence, and facts to support them are not sufficient to take action.

  • Policies of the entity
  • Actions of the entity
  • Proactive and reactive statements from the entity
  • Journalism and reporting
  • Reporting and penalties by entities with oversight (UN, DoJ, EPA)
  • Lawsuits

How we will take action when called for

The section titled putting this framework into practice speaks to several proactive ways in which we will aim to implement and support our ethical pillars. There may be instances in which a party that we are engaged with (i.e. strategic partner, subcontractor, client, prospective client) violates an ethical pillar that requires taking action on our part. How we will respond in this situation depends on the circumstances and the levers that we have available to pull. It may consist of ending a relationship, deciding not to pursue the establishment of a relationship, and/or engaging in direct conversation about the violation to promote corrective actions.

* What does this mean in the context of the ethical pillars? What policies? What accountabilities? We are holding ourselves accountable by being explicit and transparent within the company and publicly. Discussions that will come out of this publishing of ethical pillars will be in service of making sure we are accountable to our espoused ethics. We have seen this be the case with our values statement as well. We will work to hold ourselves accountable to them and we expect that others will hold us accountable to them. The policies are all of our policies. We aim to have a set of policies that is informed by, in alignment with, and doesn’t violate our ethical pillars. Both our existing policies and the continued evolution of our policies.