TOCA Professional Communication Standards

The Professional Communication Standards (Standards) outlined in this document apply to members of the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA).  These Standards are designed to serve as a guide for TOCA members as they carry out their daily jobs in communications – in all media formats – with and to the greater Green Industry and all of its stakeholders.

As the primary communication professionals within the Green Industry, TOCA members require a level of trust with their various audiences – clients, customers, readers, etc. – and, as such, take on an obligation to operate ethically. Each member, as a representative of the communication profession and as a TOCA member, is a contributor to the reputation of this field.  We each set examples for one another, and our various audiences, by a pursuit for the common good, for excellence, and for ethical responsibility.

By design the Standards are not enforceable, rather should serve as a guide – and a benchmark – for good and ethical behavior.

These Standards have been organized to include guidelines for our members in the editorial side of the business, as well as those in marketing communications.


We actively protect the right for the free flow of accurate and truthful information to serve the public interest and contribute to informed decision making in a democratic society.

  • We will preserve the integrity of the communication process.
  • We will be honest and accurate in all communications.
  • We will act promptly to correct inaccurate information for which we are responsible.
  • We will strive to depict only safe industry practices, unless the intent is for educational practices.
  • We will use proper judgment when giving or receiving gifts by ensuring those gifts – including travel and accommodations – are appropriate, nominal, legal and infrequent.

We promote fair competition among all communicators in order to protect an ethical climate and foster a robust business environment.

  • We will respect fair competition among professionals, organizations, and media outlets.
  • We will preserve intellectual property rights in the marketplace.
  • We will follow ethical hiring practices.

We believe open communication fosters informed decision making in a democratic society.

  • We will act promptly to correct inaccurate information for which we are responsible.
  • We will reveal sponsors of research, events and interests represented.
  • We will disclose any conflict of interest or financial interest in related organizations/businesses.
  • While recognizing the value and expertise of industry-supplied material, we also believe in a clear distinction between editorial content and advertising.
    • We discourage advertising designed to mimic editorial and recommend identification of editorial content sources
    • We discourage editorial staff being involved in creating advertiser-related material

We believe in trust within our industry and therefore require the appropriate protection of confidential and private information.

  • We will safeguard the confidences of present, former, and prospective clients, customers, audiences, information sources, etc.
  • We will protect privileged, confidential or insider information received from a colleague, peer, client, customer or information source.




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