Agnes: how can we get some more muscle on our side?

Agnes: I would like to ask how we can stimulate the lobby for better climate policies of corporations that are already doing a good job, like Unilever. It seems to me that large companies, like in the energy sector, the automotive industry and steel industry, are more motivated to mobilize armies of lobbyists if they are running the risk of losing something than if they can gain something. How can we get some more muscle on our side?

Paul Gilding: This is a very interesting one. I spent a long time working on this. The companies have to get a benefit for doing it. Not just on the short term, but immediately. They have to argue against their callings in business and that is quite uncomfortable. It is like I would ask Greenpeace to lobby against the World Wildlife Fund. If I disagree on many things with the World Wildlife Fund, it is culturally very hard to attack your own 'tribe'. Companies like Unilever and Shell of course argue so now and then but in the end they are both businesses. For them it feels like they are all from the business tribe and as I said it is very hard to attack your own tribe. But they will do it and can do it, if they are given the confidence to do it. The way to reinforce that belief is to say 'Ok, how can we help you do this? What can we do to make it easier for you to do it?' I personally do a lot of that kind of work with CEO's of groups of CEO's from different companies.

Sometimes there is an additional challenge. When my former organization, Greenpeace, was doing this kind of work, it sometimes made the company less likely to take action. The people were thinking: 'Greenpeace asks me to do this so it must be wrong, because I don't like Greenpeace.' Or: 'I will be attacked by my collegues for doing business with Greenpeace.' That it is indeed a big challenge for Greenpeace employees (red: also see the answer of Paul Gilding about his vision for Greenpeace), but one that can be overcome by keep talking to companies and say: 'Ok, let’s get together and do this together.'

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