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3 / 7

Leisure

1

1

-1

2

Food & Beverage

1

6

-5

7

Mining & Metals

3

4

-1

7

Oil & Gas

3

13

-10

16

Pharmaceuticals

2

14

-13

16

Retailers

1

2

-1

3

Technology Hardware

1

2

-1

2

Table 2. Source: Covalence SA, www.covalence.ch, August 6, 2008.

Automobiles & Parts

4

6

-2

10

Banks

2

2

-1

4

Chemicals

2

5

-3

7

Positive

Negative

news

news

(ethical

(ethical

offers)

demands)

Entertainment &

Offers and demands for criterion 45: lobbying practices.

Sector

Ethical quote

Volume

Material provided by the Center for Responsive Politics shows that this industry is indeed heavily involved in lobbying practices. It underlines that since 2001, this sector has either been the first or the second top spender in the United States alone dedicating at least $220,000,000 each year on lobbying activities. However, unlike Covalence, it only focuses on the amount of money spent and does not say anything about the purpose of this money. This is one of the main issues one encounters when dealing with lobbying practices. It is not always clear whether it had an honorable goal or not, even more so as negative lobbying usually takes places in the shadows or is only revealed later. Whether the act of lobbying is negative or positive depends on the ethical question at stake. The U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP) is a good example of positive lobbying. It was created by a group of U.S.-based companies and several environmental NGOs and lobbies the federal government to enact stringent legislation to significantly lower the amount of greenhouse gas emissions. This alliance is composed of: Alcoa, BP America, Caterpillar, Duke Energy, DuPont, FPL Group, General Electric, Lehman Brothers, PG&E, and PNM Ressources and other leading environmental groups. It has six main principles: account for the global dimensions of climate change, recognize the importance of technology, be environmentally effective, create economic opportunity and advantage, be fair to sectors disproportionately impacted, and recognize and encourage early action. As for negative lobbying, it can be described as a practice going against ethics. That is to say when people’s rights and/or freedoms are infringed, when labor standards deteriorate or when the environment is harmed. Given what is at stake, one better understands why the six sectors previously stated are so heavily involved in lobbying practices and why they are marked with a negative ethical quote. To protect their interests abroad, some multinational companies do not hesitate to deal with corrupted governments and/or authoritarian regimes. This is the case of Chevron and Total in Burma. Similarly, some companies sometimes put pressure on their government to act against another in order not to lose their contracts there. This is the case with oil companies dealing in the Middle East.

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