8 May CSR Lunch Overview: Regulation and corporations: what effective advocacy needs to take into account-

Sanja FabrioPrincipal at Strategic Government Affairs, Partner at Visconti,  delivered a thought-provoking presentation for our CSR Lunch on 8 May on the topic of advocacy and corporate behavior. Using examples of corporate responses to advocacy campaigns, including Greenpeace’s palm oil campaign against Nestlé and the exposé on blood diamonds, Sanja outlined a number of common themes in effective advocacy leading to corporate behavior change. These themes included:

Reaction to attack and damage control: immediate corporate response–corporations and advocacy organizations went from opponents to partners focused on idea co-generation

Mobilization of key resources: essential to have the commitment of top management for corporate behavior change

Effective long-term solutions: quick fixes are not sufficient as reputations cannot be compromised

Collaborative coalitions: coalition-building driven from the top with an eye toward long-term, corporate competitive advantage

Sanja’s presentation led to a spirited discussion about the roles of advocacy and corporations, specifically the balance between advocacy’s whistle-blowing versus collaborative functions. Are advocacy organizations more effective in achieving meaningful change when they cooperate with corporations, or does this cooperation diminish their credibility? The discussion also addressed the future of managing corporate (mis)behavior, such as increasing transparency leading to corporate self-regulation and the development of an international institutional infrastructure for handling corporate violations.