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Chapter 8. STRATEGY FIVE: INFLUENCE POLI... > The Innovation: Why This Strategy Wo...

8.2. The Innovation: Why This Strategy Works

Corporations are rethinking the way they work with the public sector: instead of promoting one-sided agenda legislation or asking for handouts, companies are working with governments to solve social problems in ways that reduce risk and generate business advantages. Rather than waiting to be regulated or futilely lobbying against inevitable policies, companies are getting smarter—partnering with government to make change happen in ways that not only move society forward but also ensure a more favorable position for the business. I call this "reverse lobbying." But it's not just about lobbying in the traditional sense. It's much broader than that, taking the form of deep public-private partnerships and direct public advocacy.

Reverse lobbying works for two reasons: first, because social issues now have the power to directly influence profits; and second, because government is more open now than ever before to directly engaging the private sector in solving social problems. Some have referred to this as "lobbying for good" : the idea that companies can benefit by advocating for charitable causes and social issues within the business's operating environment (for example, by improving schools, reforming welfare, or protecting the wetlands).[] But reverse lobbying goes well beyond the notion of strategic philanthropy, such as when FedEx offered to airlift medical aid to Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, or when GE sent its forensics experts to help identify victims of the south Asian tsunami in 2004. Although these strategies may offer some indirect benefits or long-term strategic business value, reverse lobbying focuses on social change that directly impacts the success of the core business.


  

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