'The Church has to be very careful when it gives recognition to business,' observes George Pezynski. 'Its aims, after all, are very different.' Pezynski is perhaps uniquely qualified to muse on matters of God, Mammon and the ethics of business, for earlier this year his own firm, George Press and Company, a Bristol-based property agency, received what must be the ultimate ethical endorsement - a Papal blessing. In doing so it became the first British company to receive recognition from the Vatican.
Pezynski, 58, a Polish emigre, set up the business in 1969 and has spent most of the intervening years engaged in some form of charity work. It was his latest venture, however, the despatch of £2.5 million worth of medical relief aid to Poland, that was noticed by the Polish primate, who then brought it to the attention of Pope John II.
Pezynski, who heard of the blessing on the company's 25th anniversary, is clearly delighted: 'It was a bit like winning the football pools,' he says. A few months later George Press and Co received a more secular form of recognition - BS5750 accreditation.
While the endorsement from the Pope offers a 'pledge of heavenly favours', it remains unclear which of the two awards will have the greater impact on business.