Procter & Gamble: Influence / Lobbying
- US Council for International Business (USCIB)‘The USCIB is founded in 1945 to promote an open world trading system, and is now among the premier pro-trade, pro-market liberalisation organisations. The USCIB has an active membership base of over 300 multinational companies, law firms and business associations, and claims to provide unparalleled access to international policy makers and regulatory authorities.’
P&G Director George Carpenter is Chair of the USCIB Environment Committee. ‘The USCIB Environment Committee consists of over 400 representatives from a cross-section of multinational companies, law firms and business associations who are responsible for following international environmental and sustainable development policies that have an impact on US business.’
P&G Director Mr. Scott Miller is chairing an USCIB National Government Relations Committee promoting international regimes conducive to foreign investment. Web site: www.uscib.org
- Business Roundtable (BRT) The Business Roundtable is a highly influential association of chief executive officers of leading US corporations. Web site: www.brtable.org/index.cfm
- National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) ‘The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest industrial trade association. The NAM represents 14,000 members (including 10,000 small and mid-sized companies) and 350 member associations serving manufacturers and employees in every industrial sector and all 50 states.’
NAM hosts the so-called Manufacturing Institute, ‘the source for success stories illustrating how manufacturers are excelling at e-business.’ One of the success stories involves P&G: ‘P&G is using the Web to advance innovation within the corporate structure. P&G uses a global intranet system to network its research and development organisation, which allows its 18,000 users have access to more than five million pages of content. The system allows P&G to find people in the global R&D organisation with similar skills and interests and connect them with one another. The company also uses the Web as a new medium for marketing product and for enhancing customer service.’
Another section on the NAM web site highlights five US manufacturers that are enhancing their prospects by "going where the growth is." Among them: P&G, the company now targeting developing nations. "In terms of new markets, the sky just might be the limit for P&G. Unlike the United States, where virtually every household already uses P&G products, there are many global markets that are still untapped," says Miller. "We’ve just scratched the surface ... 96 percent of the world’s consumers are outside the United States."
According to Miller, when consumers in developing nations acquire disposable income, demand grows fast. "Products like Tide, Crest and Pantene are the number-one products (of their kind) in China after just 10 years — starting at zero. Eighty percent of the world’s babies have never seen a disposable diaper," he adds. "The real opportunity for us is to get our products into the rest of the world."
In addition, P&G was taking part in the Trade Ambassador Program (TAP), an initiative of the Manufacturing institute and the NAM that ‘presents speaking opportunities for companies that understand the need to advance the pro-trade message to the American mainstream. The institute partners with groups such as the World Affairs Councils of America (WACA), which has more than 80 councils across the country and reaches more than 24 million people with its programs. The WACA system is the largest non-profit international affairs organisation in the world.’
Web site: www.nam.org
NAM: A Study in Hypocrisy ‘Washington DC based Public Citizen and Citizen Action, two of the nation's leading consumer groups, called on the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and its members to "abandon at once your misleading anti-consumer, anti-worker campaign to undercut citizens' access to the courts." NAM is lobbying furiously for the Senate to pass an anti-consumer product liability bill.’
‘The letter to (…) was accompanied by a new report prepared by the two groups titled "The National Association of Manufacturers: A Study in Hypocrisy." The report documents case examples showing the blatant hypocrisy of the business groups pushing anti-consumer product liability legislation, revealing that the same companies lobbying to restrict the legal rights of people injured or killed by defective products have unfettered access to our nation's courts as their own private playground.’
One example of such hypocrisy: ‘P&G sued Amway Corporation distributors accusing them of spreading rumours that P&G and its executives were involved in Satanism and devil worship. The suit was dismissed. P&G had earlier been sued for manufacturing Rely tampons, which caused toxic shock syndrome that resulted in the death of a 25-year old woman. P&G was found liable for her death and it was revealed at trial that the company knew of a link between toxic shock syndrome and tampons yet kept the product on the market.’
- International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) ‘Through membership in ICC, companies shape rules and policies that stimulate international trade and investment. These companies in turn count on the prestige and expertise of ICC to get business views across to governments and intergovernmental organisations.’ Web site: www.icc.org
- World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) The WBCSD was formed in January 1995 through a merger between the Business Council for Sustainable Development (BCSD) in Geneva and the World Industry Council for the Environment (WICE), an initiative of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), in Paris. Those two parent bodies had been at the forefront of business's response to the challenges [stemming from environmental regulations curbing corporate freedom] arising from the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. Web site: www.wbcsd.ch
- Business Action for Sustainable Development (BASD) ‘To combine their efforts, the ICC and the WBCSD have recently established a new joint vehicle: Business Action for Sustainable Development (BASD). Launched at a press conference at the UN in New York in April, the BASD is "aimed at rallying the collective forces of world business in the lead up to next year's Earth summit". The new body will be lead by Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, the freshly retired chairman of Royal Dutch/Shell, a company that has pushed the frontiers of greenwash further than any other in recent years.’ "Put simply, our message going into the Earth Summit in 2002 is that business is part of the solution," Moody- Stuart explains .
‘The partnership model assumes that lobby groups like the WBCSD and the ICC are genuinely committed to the environment and social justice, but this is basically a misconception. Their 'free-market environmentalism' tends to be limited to technological fixes, which include harmful technologies like nuclear energy and genetic engineering. Despite their carefully nurtured green image, in UN negotiations on climate change, toxic waste and numerous other pressing global ecological problems, the WBCSD and the ICC are systematically lobbying against effective rules to ensure environmental progress. Their real priorities are to defend the expansion of the business-friendly global trade and investment rules currently in place and to avoid moves towards effective social and ecological regulation of corporations and the global economy.’
"Sustainability Through the Market" or How to Profit from the Poor? The business lobby towards Rio+10 claims that trade and investment liberalisation will increase economic growth and benefit the world's poorest people. The reality is that the proposed policies of "integrating the poorest in the global market" in many cases lead to further social marginalisation. Explaining the "Sustainability through the Market" philosophy at an international business conference last year, Peter R. White of the WBCSD outlined how business can help by "providing appropriately priced products that meet basic needs."
Using a concrete example of how this could work for his own company, Proctor & Gamble, White explained that P&G would "provide individual use portions of products, since many may not be able to afford a large volume pack." Rather than reducing the price of the product, all P&G would do is to enable the poorest to try out the product in a small quantity which they could maybe afford occasionally. Clearly this has nothing to do with poverty alleviation, but reveals the superficiality and the cynical reality behind the WBCSD's use of the term sustainability. Source: Corporate Europe Observatory .
- Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) – Corporate Taxation Mission: ‘to produce sound policy research leading to constructive solutions to the challenges facing Europe.’ CEPS claims to be ‘free of any external influence’. However, CEPS has many corporate members (including P&G) and hosts so-called "Corporate breakfast meetings" which ‘give corporate members the opportunity to listen to and discuss topical issues with high-level speakers from the European Commission, Council, Parliament and CEPS senior researchers.’ The CEPS can legitimately be described as ‘one of the most active corporate think tanks in Brussels.’[57a] Web site: www.ceps.be/
- European Chemical Industry Council (CEFIC) ‘The European Chemical Industry Council, is both the forum and the voice of the European chemical industry. It represents, directly or indirectly, about 40,000 large, medium and small chemical companies in Europe, which employ about two million people and account for more than 30% of world chemicals production.’ Web site: www.cefic.be/
- American Chamber of Commerce EU Committee (AmCham) ‘AmCham has 140 member companies representing a diverse range of sectors. Many large US companies belong to the EU Committee including approximately 40 of the Fortune 100 'Major US Industrial Corporations'. Most of these companies are long-term investors in Europe and have manufacturing plants throughout the EU.’
- EuropaBio (European Association for Bioindustries) ‘EuropaBio represents over 40 member companies operating worldwide and 13 national biotechnology associations. Through the latter, EuropaBio is also the voice of several hundred small- and medium-sized enterprises involved in research, development, testing, manufacturing and commercialisation of biotechnology applications.’ Web site: www.europabio.org/pages/about_us.asp
- European Food Information Council
Influencing Research and Education
Captive Kids A report by the Consumers Union (‘Captive Kids: a Report on Commercial Pressure on Kids at School’) looks at the growing stream of commercial messages reaching today's kids at school. The report reaches the following conclusion: ‘Commercialism in US elementary and secondary schools poses a significant and growing threat to the integrity of education in America.’ The report is based on the evaluations of educational materials and programs.
On teaching materials produced by P&G (developed by Learning Enrichment, Inc. with co-operation from D'Arcy Masius-Benton & Bowles, in order to have students "appreciate advertising's extraordinary powers as they delve into US business history and economics.") the Consumers Union concludes: ‘Commercial and biased. Focuses on the benefits of advertising without mentioning its negatives. Touts P&G throughout as an exemplary company and uses P&G products to exemplify main points of discussion. Sponsor's name and logo is used minimally; however, all illustrations of advertisements are of P&G products, creating in essence a book of P&G product ads.’
The report ‘Captive Kids: a Report on Commercial Pressure on Kids at School’ is full of valuable and comprehensive information about Corporate Involvement in Schools. It can be found at: www.consumersunion.org/other/captivekids/ratings.htm
Czech Schools rejected P&G Commercialism February 1994, in the Czech Republic, 6,628 schools received a colourful leaflet announcing a competition with the name: "School and Computer - the Basis of Life." The leaflet was from P&G, which organised the competition in co-operation with Apple computers, under the patronage of the Ministry of Education. For a school to enter, each student had to collect at least 10 coupons from P&G products. The 20 schools collecting the most coupons per student would each receive five Apple computers.
Milan Caha, of the National Center for Environmental Education in Prague, calculates that to participate, every student would have to buy on average 900 Czech crowns (Kc) of P&G products. If all schools participated, P&G would gross at least 3 billion Kc, about 600 times the retail value of the prize computers. In addition, the National Center for Environmental Education, along with other environmental organisations published an open letter to the Minister of Education. It is immoral to use the schools to promote products not related in any way to education, it said. It is even more immoral for the ministry to promote the idea of consumption as the way to success. [57b]
P&G infiltrates science education P&G produces materials aimed at shaping environmental perceptions in young people. Increasingly corporations and industry associations worldwide are sponsoring and producing educational materials for schools. It is argued that these materials tend to give a corporate view of environmental problems, often casting doubt on the scientific basis for environmental regulation and promoting superficial solutions that will have minimum impact on their operations.
P&G has produced a variety of educational packages including Decision Earth, which was distributed to almost 75 000 schools in the US (Lapp, 1994). Decision Earth contained some highly controversial claims on waste disposal, mining and forestry issues. For example, P&G argued in their package that disposable nappies are no worse for the environment than cloth nappies, a claim based on scientific studies funded by P&G.
The company just happens to be the world's largest manufacturer of disposable nappies, although this wasn't mentioned in the package (Fried, 1994; Karpatkin and Holmes, 1995; CUES, 1995).
The package described garbage-fuelled incineration processes where energy is recovered, as 'thermal recycling' without mentioning the toxic ash or emissions that result (Kalish, 1994). In defence of its clear-cut forestry practices, the package stated:
Clear cutting removes all trees within a stand of a few species to create new habitat for wildlife. Procter & Gamble uses this economically and environmentally sound method because it most closely mimics nature's own processes... Clear cutting also opens the forest floor to sunshine, thus stimulating growth and providing food for animals.
Decision Earth was subject to various complaints and is no longer distributed in the US, although P&G continues to distribute it free to Canadian schools (OSSTF, 1995) . In addition, P&G consists in spreading the message that disposable nappies are no less environmentally-friendly than washable ones. An UK-based women's group has recently (September 2001) complained to the Advertising Standards Authority over this claim .
Washington Citizens for Recycling: "We are not surprised to see P&G trying to sell Pampers to teenagers," said Jan Click, WCR's executive director. "But we are shocked to see school curriculum based on information which regulators prohibit the company from using in its product advertising." [60a]
Book covers, billboards in school corridors, calendars, and broadcasts --these are some of the places corporate America places ads for kids to see in school. Commercial messages also reach kids in the classroom through ad bearing and corporate-sponsored educational materials. Sampling Corporation of America (SCA) distributes 'goody bags' filled with product samples, coupons and educational pamphlets. Clients include P&G, General Mills and Hershey.
In the US school students are bombarded with TV commercials. Channel One is a TV station that now broadcasts to over 8 million middle and high school students each day. It is the single largest form of commercialism in schools and Channel One's own advertisement reads, "We have the undivided attention of millions of teenagers for 12 minutes a day, that might be a world record." The ad fails to mention that two of those minutes are commercials by McDonald's, Nintendo and P&G. Students are required to watch Channel One in the classroom nine out of 10 school days in exchange for much-needed TVs, VCRs and satellite dishes.
So what are the detrimental effects of this new advertising strategy? While companies are scrambling to build brand loyalty at younger and younger ages, kids are being trained as consumers. Never mind the importance of teaching young students to analyse, think for themselves and be critical. It's much better to develop their skills as shoppers and stress the importance of consumerism. Students are not only affected mentally by such bombardment of ads, but also physically at an age in which their bodies are most vulnerable[60b].
Corporations rewriting curriculum on the environment ‘In the United States, greenwash campaigns are becoming rampant in several parts of that country. Corporations are actually writing their own environmental issues curriculum for schools to adopt. P&G has produced its own video to be used in classrooms (the video is titled "Planet Control").
Also, companies create "free" ready-made lessons for teachers to use on students. P&G sponsors lessons on oral hygiene that include giving away Crest samples.’ 
Links with Universities
- Over the last few years P&G has been heavily recruiting the University of Minnesota, US for chemical & mechanical engineers. P&G recently donated $40,000 to help purchase a new membrane separation system for the unit operations lab. The unit operations class, in return, teaches skills that are of practical importance at P&G .
- ’Twenty-five of the best and brightest undergraduate students at The Ohio State University recently gained valuable insight into further developing their leadership skills. The students were participants in the second P&G Leadership Advantage Camp hosted Jan. 20 and 21 (2001) for the second year by the Fisher College of Business at Ohio State.’
Links with government
- At a hearing on "The Global Economy, Human Resources, and International Exchanges" P&G representative Brunner aired the "Industry Perspective":
‘P&G's goal, to be the lead innovator with superior technology-based products, gives it a vital interest in making sure that public policy is supportive of global innovation.’ Brunner stressed P&G’s value for the US economy: ‘Global R&D has been a huge asset not only for P&G but also for the US. Economic benefits to the US are in jobs (new opportunities), tax revenues (over $1bn from P&G in 1998), and shareholder value (P&G stock price increase). Overall, the globalisation of R&D is good for US companies, the US economy, and, most importantly, benefits every US citizen.’
- Because of P&G’s importance for the US economy [although it is a myth that the wealth multinational corporations bring into a nation automatically benefits the nation’s citizens] it can have a big say in the political arena, directly and indirectly, formally and informally (see also section on ‘Lobbygroups’ above). The voice of big multinational corporations is being heard, and they enjoy many privileges, such as tax rebates.
The story on ‘Fake Fat’ (a fat substitute produced by P&G, see Corporate Crime section below) illustrates how P&G courts Congress (by way of donating money to politicians in Washington) and works with governmental regulatory authorities such as the Food and Drug Authority (FDA).
- Like every big multinational, P&G recruits people who are to focus on Government Relations. They are supposed to ‘work with lobbyists, industry and trade associations on public policy issues that affect the company's business objectives in a manner consistent with P&G's core values and principles.’
- The US government supports P&G’s expansion in developing countries through its embassies as the following paragraph illustrates: ‘Lower than expected sales in Vietnam convinced P&G to inject additional capital in order to improve its operations. Vietnamese policy barred 100% foreign-owned companies in their consumer goods sector. However, P&G's joint venture partner was unable to provide its share of the additional capital. US Embassy Hanoi and Consulate General Ho Chi Minh City stressed to the Government of Vietnam and local authorities the negative consequences of a P&G pullout from Vietnam. When a deal was struck in March 1998, a P&G company officer wrote to the Embassy saying, "I believe without the support of the US Government this agreement would not have been reached."
- On December 5, 2000, AmCham-China held its first Appreciation Dinner for Chinese government officials at the Kerry Center Hotel in Beijing. AmCham-China Chairman Tim Stratford made opening remarks to thank the Chinese government for their support to US businesses operating in China, noting their support in gaining passage of the US Congress's PNTR legislation this year. Major sponsors of the event were: Cigna, Emerson, ExxonMobil, General Motors, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Lincoln Financial Group, and the Prudential Insurance Company of America. In addition, the following AmCham-China member companies sponsored corporate tables: APCO, Astrolink, Bank of America, Boeing, Caterpillar, CNG, Edelman, Enron, Ford Motor, Freeborders, IBM, Motorola, Nike, Northwest Airlines, P&G, Rockwell, SureBlock, TRW, U.S. Borax, and United Technologies .
- In an interview Chris de Lapuente (February 2001), vice-president P&G UK, touches upon the importance of high speed innovation, and the importance of the internet in opening up new opportunities to reach consumers. He complains about a "lack of healthy competition" in the marketplace for TV airtime, as a result of the merger of ITV companies and the so-called "TV media inflation" which the merger initiated.
What does P&G want from a national government? De Lapuente answers: "Minimum regulation, low inflation and a stable economy are preferable." He continues: "We expect an environment where we can do business which enables us to bring out winning products that are going to improve the life of consumers."
P&G is a strong promoter of free trade. In the words of de Lapuente: "We promote free trade because we believe there are huge opportunities in the way we are globalising our business to give the consumer better choice and better products."
De Lapuente on the euro: "One of the biggest issues facing the UK is whether we do business in the euro or the pound. It is P&G’s view that the euro significantly simplifies the way to do business. I think the government should be pro euro and it does need to go out and state the case. There is a lot of fear for the average man in the street based on an incomplete understanding of the situation so there is a risk of no vote based on emotions. The government really needs to come out and promote the euro otherwise it might not get through a referendum."
- ‘Head of P&G UK de Lapuente was invited along with the elite of British business to a recent Chequers summit with the Prime Minister, Tony Blair. At the meeting he urged the government to go out and state the case for the single currency to overcome public scepticism.’
- De Lapuente subtly threatens, ‘as our manufacturing is done on a regional basis the relationship between the euro and the pound is an important factor. If the UK costs are not competitive, then we have to consider alternatives because at the end of the day if your competitors are able to produce products cheaper than us, they will get an advantage because they will be able to pass on a lower price to the consumer.’
Labour has just started its campaign, backing up big business, to win public support for the euro.
- De Lapuente is chairman of the Soap and Detergent Industry Association. He says: "I meet the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) every six months to swap ideas about what we each are trying to do."
- Uncaged Campaigns (end vivisection) critiqued the government for ‘turning a blind eye to the cruel and destructive practices of big business like P&G...’. The official opening of the new P&G offices (July 2001), with Stephen Byers MP (Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government & the Regions) doing the ‘honours’ was considered really offensive. "This is breathtaking hypocrisy on the part of a Labour minister. P&G tests cosmetics on animals, in direct contradiction to Labour's 'total' opposition to the practice."
- Labour outperforms P&G. The Guardian (25 April 2001) reports that ‘according to research consultants AC Nielsen, the government's spending on advertising has rocketed to a colossal £62.8m over the past three months. The figures mean the government is by far the country's biggest advertiser, outspending even the world's biggest advertisers, Unilever and P&G. The money has been spent on a wide variety of public service advertising.’ Is the government covering up the fact they cannot deliver?
- Interpublic Group has acquired the New York-based DeVries Public Relations, whose clients include Procter & Gamble, GlaxoSmithKline and Tupperware .
- Saatchi & Saatchi is "one of the world’s leading creative organisations". ‘There are almost 7,000 Saatchi & Saatchi people working in over 152 offices in 92 countries. Annual billings are more than $7 billion. And Saatchi & Saatchi currently woks for 74 of the world’s 100 top advertisers.’
- Saba (Nasdaq: SABA), a leading provider of human capital development and management (HCDM) solutions proudly lists P&G among its impressive group of clients of top multinational corporations and several branches of the US Government and the US Navy .
- P&G's new £35m online marketing company Emmperative claims to allow companies to bring brands to market 30% faster while cutting costs by up to 50% .
- Procter & Gamble has signed a £214m pact with the US media giant, Viacom, in a move that looks likely to set a trend for future advertising deals. P&G will promote a host of brands, from Pringles to Pampers, across Viacom's TV stations, which include CBS, MTV and Nickelodeon .
Deloitte & Touche [P&G paid its independent auditor Deloitte & Touche $27 million (£19 million) for services rendered for the fiscal year ending 30 June (2001).
Auditor Andersen (having 390 offices in 84 countries) ‘drew upon its network throughout the world to help P&G find new homes.’ Andersen offers its client P&G the following services: Assurance, Human Capital, Outsourcing, and Tax Services in the following locations: Brussels, Cairo, Caracas, Costa Rica, Hong Kong, Lisbon, London, Manila, Mexico City, Newcastle, New Delhi, and Prague .
- Global Business Network
- British Nutrition Foundation
- National Advertising Council
- Hudson Institute
- International Food Information Council
- International Life Sciences Institute
- Politics International Ltd
- Grey Global Group
- Porter Novelli International
- European Centre for Public Affairs
- Capital MSandL
- Jackie Cooper Public Relations
- GCI London
- Manning Selvage and Lee
- Publicis Consultants
- Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America
- Citigate Public Affairs
- CSR Europe
- American Legislative Exchange Council
- John Elkington
- Reason Foundation
- Heartland Institute
- Baroness Chalker of Wallasey
- Edward Bernays
- Michael Porter
- Steven A. Ballmer
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