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Practising but not preaching
20th December 2011
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I really like this article from the Guardian Environment Network, which points out that some companies may have an impeccable environmental record in terms of their own performance, while simultaneously lobbying against progressive environmental legislation. The example they use is News Corporation, who have announced that they are ‘carbon neutral’, and regularly appear at the top of the rankings for corporate responsibility. Yet they own Fox News, whose influential commentators, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck, reject climate science, with Hannity saying “the debate’s over. There’s no global warming”.

For anyone working with government to develop better environmental policy, the difficulty of getting companies to lobby alongside you is a constant problem. There are convincing arguments that strong legislation can help, or at the very least not hinder, economic performance (this is something I wrote about a few years ago). Yet, with some honourable exceptions, companies are rarely willing to put their heads above the parapet and lobby for change.

Back in 2003, Green Alliance tackled this issue head-on, in a pamphlet called ‘The Private Life of Public Affairs’. It details examples of deeply unhelpful corporate lobbying, and sets out a way for governments to develop more constructive policy relationships with the corporate sector. Have a little read of that and see if things have got any better in the intervening eight years…

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Rebecca Willis

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