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Six NGO types relevant for corporate responsibility

As part of a lecture I gave last night on business and NGO engagement/campaigning, I wanted to try and define a few NGO types to help the students navigate this often confusing area. Here’s what I came up with:

1) Campaigners, such as Greenpeace, Global Witness, Clean Clothes Campaign.

2) Partnership NGOs, such as The Forest Trust, Rainforest Alliance, Earthwatch.

3) ‘Middle ground‘ NGOs who look like campaigners, but do a lot of partnering too, and have issues/conflicts of interest as a result. These might include WWF, the Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Environmental Defense Fund. (Many of these outfits are US based)

4) Multi-stakeholder groups set up to drive progress. Companies and NGOs, e.g. The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, The Ethical Trading Initiative, The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, The Fair Labor Association or the Better Cotton Initiative.

5) Business organisations that LOOK like NGOs, but who are NOT multi-stakeholder. e.g. Business for Social Responsibility, Business in the Community.

6) Ideological front groups, such as The Consumers Alliance for Global Prosperity, who lobby AGAINST campaigning NGOs, such as Greenpeace.

I put together a PowerPoint deck of about 25 slides on all this.

If you’d like to see them, let me know.


  1. angel fraile

    Very interesting and clarifying. I'd like to learn more from your slides. Could you drop them to my mail Many thanks,

  2. Anonymous

    Thank you for you summary on NGO types. I would like to know if there are other types you considered but left aside for any reason. And, of course, if that is possible, I'd love to receive a copy of your presentation. My email is Thank you! All the best! Ximena

  3. Anonymous

    Hi Toby, I am also very interested in this topic and was wondering whether you could send me your powerpoint presentation ( Thanks a lot in advance! Anna