Better Business Bureau Torch Awards for Ethics set for September 21 in Omaha

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Twenty-seven years ago, the Better Business Bureau held the first iteration of its Integrity Awards in a small 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 has been invited to participate in the event and will be recognized during the procedure.

Few projects survive a quarter of a 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 hung up and deployed to shape marketing efforts; no one wants to buy from a dishonest and unethical company, after all. But these principles are the pillars of the BBB, an organization that must be the leader in promoting market confidence.

Unfortunately, it has never been more difficult for consumers to distinguish between fraudulent and legitimate. The pandemic has only exacerbated these challenges, as an increase in online shopping combined with microchip and supply chain shortages has led to scam reports reaching unprecedented levels. Each of these reports serves as a devastating reminder that unscrupulous crooks and, in some cases, businesses operate more efficiently. Trust is increasingly difficult to obtain.

That’s why, after a two-year hiatus, the BBB is proud to bring back the Torch Award for Ethics for its 25th anniversary. Much has changed since the first edition in 1997, but the event remains a celebration of ethics and integrity in our community. Each business and charity is assessed against four criteria by an independent jury. There is simply not another event that illuminates these principles; rewards have increasingly turned to popularity polls or opportunities to celebrate profit and growth.

The BBB is grateful to have had some amazing speakers in previous years – from Daymond John of Shark Tank to Bennet Omalu, the doctor played by Will Smith in the movie ‘Concussion’. Legendary Nebraska coach Tom Osborne, then University of Nebraska Omaha athletic director Trev Alberts and Zapos’ Jenn Limm also took the stage at the event.

This year’s keynote address 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 has put highlight the Theranos scandal. Carreyrou’s reporting on Elizabeth Holmes and her blood testing company Theranos spawned a television series, podcasts, and numerous projects that are still ongoing. The reporter responsible for uncovering the biggest corporate fraud since Enron perfectly sums up what the event is all about.

The Torch Awards for Ethics program is an awards show for businesses and charities, but this event was designed with consumers and community members in mind. BBB invites those wishing to celebrate organizations that put ethics into action to attend this landmark event, which features Omaha Steaks and a program that promises to be unforgettable. Interested persons can register for tickets and sponsorships at bbb.org/omahatorch. The event will take place on September 21 at Embassy Suites-La Vista from 11:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Coffee and conversation will follow for sponsors, which includes the opportunity to speak with Carreyrou during a Q&A .

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 and Southwestern Iowa. He serves as the spokesperson for the organization and is responsible for outreach efforts, including scam prevention and awareness. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post, among other outlets.


Nebraskans want their elected officials and their government to be accountable. They want to know if their tax dollars are being well spent, if state agencies and local governments are listening to the people, and if officials, programs and policies are working for the common good. The Nebraska Examiner is an independent, nonprofit news source committed to providing news, scoops, and reports important to our state.

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