Business and government: Four simple lessons for executives

I blogged recently on business and helping/pushing/assisting government with regard to sustainability.

A good friend of mine, who will remain anonymous but is of the large-brained variety, offered this response as to further elements to consider for executives:

“Four critical aspects / actions for business to consider when engaging government/policy agendas:

(a) Spend time learning about the full policy development process

This especially important at EU level given that 60-70% of new legislation emanates from Brussels.

(b) Identify engagement points and seek to get involved early in the process

For European Union work, it generally starts with a joint proposal / idea from two or thre member states to develop an area of policy action (such as anti-bribery in the UK being used as a template for EU policy directives).

At the early stage, they are usually open to dialogue and capturing of ideas.

Don’t wait for policy to get to Brussels then act surprised.

If a company is properly committed to better outcomes around sustainability / CR challenges, it will be develop the capacity to map new developments and engage at an appropriate stage.

(c) Get your internal position on lobbying clear

Many big companies known for sustainability leadership still employ lobbying firms in Brussels, DC, London and elsewhere to hinder / block the type of regulation and legislation that might actually drive progress.

Firms rarely connect the two (government affairs and CR / SD) internally, so shoot themselves in the foot on a continuous basis.

(d) If governments are not doing enough, then partner with your biggest rivals / peers to drive change

This can be done through industry associations and standard setters. If a CEO really has balls, (s)he can lead a fight against the status quo from within, drive for higher sector standards, and force everyone playing the game to adapt to better rules.”

Wise words. Much to consider here.

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