Do you know what your lobby groups are doing?

This example shows you, if you work for a big company, why it’s a good idea to know what lobby groups for your industry or issue, might appear to be doing, in some way on your behalf.

At the very least, you run a serious reputational risk if your lobby group is behind the curve, as the more progressive members of the American Petroleum Institute are discovering.

If you can’t get into FT.com (you should subscribe, get used to paying for insight!) then here’s the story in brief:

The FT reports that the API has asked its members to “deploy thousands of workers in so-called “Energy Citizen” rallies protesting against proposed climate change legislation.”

The idea is to for this to happen in the two weeks before Labor Day on 7 September, continuing on into Autumn this year.

ExxonMobil, says the FT, like the idea. They say proposed energy legislation could put US businesses “at a disadvantage” with global competitors.

But some of their fellow API members are also members of the US Climate Action Partnership, a (for who they are) fairly progressive group of companies supporting action on climate change. Among them are Shell, BP America, ConocoPhillips, General Electric and Siemens.

Someone at one of the oil companies leaked the API memo to Greenpeace.

As a rule, if you work in corporate responsibility, sure it’s always good to know what your lobby groups are doing.

Particularly given the role they play in supporting laggard members who often support their ‘research’.

UPDATE: 19/08/09: The FT reports today that the first Energy Citizen ‘rally’ has just been held.

According to the FT, it seems as if employees of Chevron, Anadarko Petroleum and ConocoPhillips, which encouraged staff to participate, went and protested in their lunch break.

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