The good words and noble intentions of many companies on climate change action are at odds with their own lobbying and association memberships. Will behind-the-scenes manoeuvring blow the chance for COP21 success?

Lobbying is never likely to go away. The practice of trying to influence public policy and law to satisfy narrow private interests is as old as democratic government itself. There’s a tale that US President Ulysses S Grant (1869-77) used to smoke and drink in the Washington DC Willard Hotel lobby and coined the term lobbyist to describe all the petitioners who came to curry his favour. But “lobby” was a verb used even further back, describing the antechambers of the UK Parliament and the US Congress where constituents could interact with representatives.

These days lobbying isn’t just a practice, it’s a growth industry. Lobbying in its strictest sense – being heard by and influencing lawmakers – is protected as a legal right in the US (free speech protected by the First Amendment) and EU (through the Treaty of Lisbon’s legal framework for “interest representation”.)

Yet the types of activities that lobbying entails and the influence it wields have grown to alarming proportions, especially in the area of climate change. “Energy companies relying on fossil fuels aggressively lobby against climate change legislation they perceive as threatening their corporate interests,” says Thomas Holyoke, a professor at California State University at Fresno and...

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lobbying  climate change  fossil fuels  energy companies  ExxonMobil  Vigeo  Greenpeace 

Responsible Business Summit USA 2016

April 2016, New York

Through interactive workshops, roundtables and case studies senior executives from the likes of; Timberland, Interface, Citi, Adobe, Campbell’s will provide practical insights on the current issues faced in sustainability.

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