Words matter, but actions – and lobbying dollars – still speak louder. For example. The US business community lobbied hard to change how companies with overseas operations are taxed, and their efforts paid off enormously. Oxfam estimates that their return on investment for tax lobbying includes lowering their tax bill by approximately $313 billion on offshore earnings alone, with additional tax savings on earnings sourced in the US.
If corporate spend on protecting commercial interests continues to outweigh spend on activities that have social, environmental benefit, it will be difficult for companies to regain trust and legitimacy from the public and civil society reducing the likelihood of joint advocacy.
Advocacy is always more effective when matched by
a) change in behavior e.g. tax transparency, “walking the talk”
b) implementation of the proposed initiatives demonstrate that change is possible e.g. 2,000 individuals and 400 institutions have committed to divest their money from fossil fuel companies, together representing a remarkable $2.6tn of investments
c) Precompetitive collaboration that levels the playing field allowing whole sectors to move together.