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Reports 19 Jul 2005

Influencing Power

Reviewing the conduct and content of corporate lobbying

By Seb Beloe and Jodie Thorpe

In partnership with WWF, SustainAbility reviews how 100 of the world’s largest companies report on their lobbying practices. The objective was to assess corporate transparency on lobbying and public policy behaviour, and the degree to which reported activities align with core business values.

Most companies strike an overwhelmingly defensive tone, asserting their right to lobby and their positions on particular issues.

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The most striking finding of the research is that approximately 50% of major companies are now providing at least some information on their lobbying and public policy activities. However, the report also finds that most companies strike an overwhelmingly defensive tone, asserting their right to lobby and their positions on particular issues.

This approach we characterise as ‘second generation’ corporate responsibility, where the main driver is risk management.

The report advocates the shift to a ‘third generation’ approach which views corporate responsibility as a strategic differentiator and recognises the potential for lobbying to help drive stronger social and environmental policy frameworks in support of core business activities.

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