A Future-Fit Business never seeks to influence market dynamics in ways that may contribute to hindering society’s progress toward future-fitness.
What this goal means
Companies often seek to influence the markets within which they operate, by lobbying those with the power to change them.
This goal recognizes that any attempt to influence market dynamics in favour of the business must not in any way contribute to hindering progress toward future-fitness, in or beyond the company. For example, a Future-Fit company would never knowingly fund any organization that protests against more stringent toxic emissions laws.
The requirement here is not to proactively lobby or campaign in favour of Future-Fit outcomes, but rather to ensure that none of the company’s lobbying activities undermine them. This extends to cover any individual or organization that lobbies or campaigns on behalf of its supporters, and which the company pays to support (e.g. through membership fees or donations), including but not limited to trade associations and lobbying firms, as well as political candidates, parties, committees and campaigns.
To be Future-Fit, a company must:
- Implement policies to ensure that the organization does not lobby, or seek to influence, against Future-Fit outcomes; and
- Disclose details of the lobbying contributions it makes.
Why this goal is needed...
Declarations concerning lobbying activity are mostly voluntary, allowing information to be kept hidden from stakeholders and the wider public.
Less than 0.1% of money spent on lobbying the EU by FTSE 100 companies in 2015-16 was declared to shareholders.
Current lobbying practices largely seek to maintain the status quo.
In 2013, the fossil fuel industry spent $213m lobbying US and EU decision makers to prevent action against climate change.
Weak regulation around lobbying allows for continued opacity into corporate activities.
Only 7 EU countries have any form of lobbying regulation.
Lobbying and corporate influence safeguard the pursuit of future-fitness
Release 2, initial publication.