Category Archives: Lobby and Public Relations

Wilberforce – a life of lobbying: about believes and making a difference

Wilberforce was a deeply religious English member of the British Parliament and social reformer who was very influential in the abolition of the slave trade and eventually slavery itself in the British empire. Wilberforce retired from politics in 1825 and died on 29 July 1833, shortly after the act to free slaves in the British empire passed through the House of Commons. He was buried near his friend Pitt in Westminster Abbey.

English: The Official Medallion of the British...
The Official Medallion of the British Anti-Slavery Society (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

However, Wilberforce’s story is neither short nor easy to go through. At the beginning he was highly successful in raising public awareness and support, and local chapters sprang up throughout Great Britain. His companions travelled the country researching and collecting first-hand testimony and statistics, while promoting the campaign, pioneering techniques such as lobbying, writing pamphlets, holding public meetings, gaining press attention, organising boycotts and even using a campaign logo: an image of a kneeling slave above the motto “Am I not a Man and a Brother?” designed by the renowned pottery-maker Josiah Wedgwood.

They also sought to influence slave-trading nations such as France, Spain, Portugal, Denmark, Holland and the United States, corresponding with anti-slavery activists in other countries and organising the translation of English-language books and pamphlets. They and other free blacks, collectively known as “Sons of Africa”, spoke at debating societies and wrote spirited letters to newspapers, periodicals and prominent figures, as well as public letters of support to campaign allies. Hundreds of parliamentary petitions opposing the slave trade were received in 1788 and following years, with hundreds of thousands of signatories in total. The campaign proved to be the world’s first grassroots human rights campaign, in which men and women from different social classes and backgrounds volunteered to end the injustices suffered by others.

Lord Grenville, the Prime Minister, was determined to introduce an Abolition Bill in the House of Lords rather than in the House of Commons, taking it through its greatest challenge first. When a final vote was taken, the bill was passed in the House of Lords by a large margin. Sensing a breakthrough that had been long anticipated, Charles Grey moved for a second reading in the Commons on 23 February 1807. As tributes were made to Wilberforce, whose face streamed with tears, the bill was carried by 283 votes to 16. The Slave Trade Act received the Royal Assent on 25 March 1807.

Wilberforce believed that the revitalisation of the Church and individual Christian observance would lead to a harmonious, moral society. He sought to elevate the status of religion in public and private life, making piety fashionable in both the upper and middle-classes of society. To this end, in April 1797 Wilberforce published A Practical View of the Prevailing Religious System of Professed Christians in the Higher and Middle Classes of This Country Contrasted With Real Christianity, on which he had been working since 1793. This was an exposition of New Testament doctrine and teachings and a call for a revival of Christianity, as a response to the moral decline of the nation, illustrating his own personal testimony and the views which inspired him. The book proved to be influential and a best-seller by the standards of the day; 7,500 copies were sold within six months, and it was translated into several languages.

Wilberforce fostered and supported missionary activity in Britain and abroad. Horrified by the lack of Christian evangelism in India, Wilberforce used the 1793 renewal of the British East India Company’s charter to propose the addition of clauses requiring the company to provide teachers and chaplains and to commit to the “religious improvement” of Indians. The plan was unsuccessful due to lobbying by the directors of the company, who feared that their commercial interests would be damaged. Wilberforce tried again in 1813 when the charter next came up for renewal. Using petitions, meetings, lobbying, and letter writing, he successfully campaigned for changes to the charter. Speaking in favour of the Charter Act 1813, he criticised the British in India for their hypocrisy and racial prejudice.

This is a long post to be shared before a movie but, since Christmas is almost here, we should remember that Christ is not always honoured while dining around shiny trees, neither when passing gifts to friends or family. It’s more about honouring the first and greatest commandments: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. And love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” as Jesus said in Matthew 22:37-40.

I recommend the movie „Amazing Grace” (2006) which is presenting a part of Wilberforce’s life. I think it’s a well invested time while thinking of our own lifes and believes.

More about Wilberforce in Wikipedia

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Gauging Romania’s lobby market potential

Published by Business Review, March 26, 2012

Around 15 specialized companies are currently doing lobby activities in Romania, on a market amounting between EUR 5 – 10 million, according to Liviu Mihaileanu, lobby specialist, but its future growth potential is impressive.

Mihaileanu, co-author of the book “Regulating lobby activities. On the influence hallway”, and co-author of “Lobby in Romania” study estimates the lobby market can soar to EUR 70 million.

“Unfortunately, the lobby activity in Romania was carried out for many years in the “shadows”, and companies doing this have not been transparent,” says Mihaileanu. “Most companies and NGOs prefer to “try” lobby activities through their own means without seeking professional help,” he adds.

Romanian Tax, Law & Lobby, an event organized by Business Review on March 29, will try to gauge the potential of the lobby market in Romania, in the same time seeing if this activity needs tighter regulation.

Roberto Musneci, senior partner at consultancy Serban & Musneci, and Aurelian Horja, communication consultant, co-author of “Lobby in Romania” study will be among the guest speakers that will shed some light in this field.

The event will also address the latest legal and fiscal changes that impact the business community.

Finding finance for your business in uncertain times poses a challenge so Business Review organizes in the same day a special workshop on Access to Finance, focusing on Public Private Partnerships, EU funds and State Aid.

Source: www.business-review.ro

Lobbying in Romania – research results release

For a long time, in Romania there was no research on lobbying. Each public speach would refer to what people want or see lobbying and each lobbyist would strongly affirm that there is not much lobbying undergone in this country. However, some questions arise:

  • Do all these assumptions have any support in reality?
  • Do people make the distinction between lobby and traffic of influence?
  • Which are the most efficient lobbying tools?
  • How many actors are there lobbying?

This is why a research was needed and answers are given – you may download:

 

CSR survey: only 27% of the CSR reports explicitly quantified objectives

budget cuts - the axeman cometh
Image by byronv2 via Flickr

A recent study – “CSR Trends” reviewed 602 companies listed in five Standard & Poor’s indices, as well as private companies and crown corporations. The survey does not evaluate the accuracy of the information being reported in the documents or a company’s compliance with any regulation but rather how effective companies have been in communicating their CSR strategies and performance.

The results show that CSR has changed from a nice activity to a core business value that defines the most significant businesses in the world. There are, however, differences in the way CSR results are communicated and here are some key findings:

–    81% of companies have CSR information on their websites but only 50% consider this information sufficiently important to deserve a link on the corporate home page;

–    80% of the companies, many of them worldwide brands such as Coca Cola, Nike, IBM, provide comprehensive explanations of their business activities. Surprisingly, 20% of the companies, many of them smaller and less well known than the multinationals mentioned above, did not provide a profile, essentially eliminating the context of their CSR strategies and achievements;

–    Targets that are specific, measurable and have a deadline are significantly more meaningful than a general statement of good intend. Nevertheless, only 65% of companies seamed to realise that and include a summary of objectives on a dedicated space inside the report and only 27% of those objectives have been quantified.

–    CSR is an interactive endeavour that requires constant communication with stakeholders. However, only 24% of companies use social media such as Twitter or Facebook to communicate their CSR activities.

This survey’s research was conducted jointly by PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Sustainable Business Solutions practice and Craib Design & Communications. The entire report can be downloaded here.

Lobbyists are taking a chance on self regulation

Lobbyiştii scot asul din mânecă – Forbes (8-21 martie 2010)

Last year I published an article in Forbes where I stated that the next step lobbyists are going to take in Romania, in order to avoid a lobbying law, will be to announce a self regulation initiative. Recently, during a conference dedicated to assessing the opportunity of a lobbying law in Romania, one of the lobbyists publicly announced that a voluntary registry of lobbying activities is going to be open by lobbyists themselves.

How will this make lobbying more transparent and why do lobbyists prefer self regulation instead of a law with similar conditions?

Possible answers in the attached article (Romanian only). Download a PDF version from here.

McKinsey Survey: less than 25% of the companies whose primary market is in the European Union or the United States, are effective at lobbying

A recent McKinsey survey show that among companies whose primary market is in the European Union or the United States, less than a quarter of respondents say their companies are effective at developing and executing strategies for engaging with all relevant government stakeholders.

The results show that government actions have a significant effect on companies’ economic value: 34% of respondents say 10% or more of their operating income is at stake. Some government actions, such as providing infrastructure and access to capital, are likelier to have a positive than a negative effect on company finances. However, passing laws and setting policies—the actions executives say most often affect their companies’ economic value—have an overall negative effect. Respondents whose primary markets are in developing economies are more positive than others, however, about the effect of government actions, such as the passage of laws and enforcement of rules.

Given this value at risk, it’s promising that 71% of respondents say companies should proactively and regularly engage with government, but it’s less encouraging that only 43% say their companies actually do so.

Some of the reasons for the relative lack of engagement may be executives’ own views of government. More than 75% agree that business must be actively involved in shaping government policy to succeed and that it’s beneficial for companies to be as transparent as possible with government, but large shares also express frustration with government along various dimensions.

When companies do engage with government, executives indicate they’re not particularly good at it. Engaging with the governments of their companies’ primary-market countries is a top-three priority for only 30% of CEOs—although the figure rises to nearly 60% in China. More are involved in overseeing their companies’ efforts to engage: almost two-thirds of respondents say their CEOs either sponsor those efforts personally or oversee the group that does so.

Romanian readers may find usefull the following resource on the subject of lobbying:
www.reglementare-lobby.ro

According to McKinsey, the survey received responses from 1,167 executives representing the full range of industries, regions, and functional specialties.

Detailed survey results may be found on McKinsey Quarterly: www.mckinseyquarterly.com

Who benefits of lobbying self regulation?

Romanian readers may find useful the following resource on the subject of lobbying:
www.reglementare-lobby.ro

Commissioner Siim Kallas announced considers as a great success the fact that 2,100 lobbyists voluntarily registered themselves in the EC’s “Register of interest groups”. Is this the case?

A possible answer as well as an analysis of what lobbyists self regulation may bring to improving transparency in Romania can be found in an article I wrote for Forbes Romania (available in Romanian only):
“Who benefits of lobbying self regulation?”, Forbes Romania No. 20, 14-27 December 2009

Forbes: Demystifying lobbying, a required amendment for a moral injustice

Romanian readers may find useful the following resource on the subject of lobbying:
www.reglementare-lobby.ro

Forbes Romania published one of my articles on lobbying. Following the results of Rywin’s case in Poland, I focused on stating the difference between lobbying and traffic of influence and the necessity of lobby regulation in Romania.

You may read the article, in Romanian, in PDF format:
“Demystifying lobbying, a required amendment for a moral injustice”, Forbes Romania, No. 18, 16-28 November 2009

The first book on lobbying in Romania at Gaudeamus International Book Fair

Between November 24-29, 2009 you may find the first book on lobbying in Romania at the International Book Faird “Gaudeamus” held at Romexpo Exhibition Center, Bucharest.

You may find more details (in Romanian) at:
www.reglementare-lobby.ro

Book launching: “Lobby regulation. Inside the antechambre of influence”

C.H. Beck Publishing has the pleasure to invite you on November 11, 2009 to the launching event of the book “Lobby regulation. Inside the antechambre of influence” written by Liviu Mihaileanu and Aurelian Horja. The event will take place at the Law Faculty of Bucharest University (36-46 Kogalniceanu Blvd., Bucharest).

Besides defining the lobby activities and presenting lobbying tactics and tools, the book clarifies aspects such as the difference between lobby and trafic of influence and makes a comparative analysis of lobby regulation in USA, the European Union and EU member states.

For more information, please visit: www.reglementare-lobby.ro