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Jury Out on ‘Naming and Shaming’ by Not for Profits

26 February 2014 at 9:02 am
Staff Reporter
The world’s largest corporates are split on the effectiveness of ‘naming and shaming’ campaigns conducted by Not for Profits, global research suggests.

Staff Reporter | 26 February 2014 at 9:02 am


Jury Out on ‘Naming and Shaming’ by Not for Profits
26 February 2014 at 9:02 am

The world’s largest corporates are split on the effectiveness of ‘naming and shaming’ campaigns conducted by Not for Profits, global research suggests.  

The 2014 Greenbiz NGO Report revealed that while one fifth viewed NGO campaigns as highly constructive and positive for the company, 38 per cent labelled them disruptive and expensive.

Sustainability education firm GreenBiz Group asked 200 companies– around three-quarters with a revenue of more than $1 billion–to assess 30 of the largest NGOs on their credibility and influence, rate the benefits of partnering with environmental NGOs and the effect of “name and shame” tactics they employed.

The lowest-rated NGOs were those corporates labelled as focused primarily on name-and-shame actions rather than on developing working partnerships with companies, yet nearly half of corporate respondents viewed “name and shame” campaigns as neither helpful nor harmful, and only five per cent thought the campaigns were ultimately harmful to their companies.

Some 52 per cent of those surveyed said their companies had been the target of an NGO campaign in the past five years – with six percent reporting that the Not for Profit’s planned action was withdrawn once their organisation agreed to work with the group.

John Davies, Vice President and Senior Analyst at GreenBiz Group said the report was spurred by a move to “turn the tables” and have sustainability executives rate leading NGOs.

“For years, we’ve seen corporations rated, ranked and reviewed by a wide range of NGOs. This is often part of a name-and-shame campaign compelling big brands to make big changes,” he said.  

The Nature Conservancy, Environmental Defense Fund and WWF topped ratings, which also included prominent NGOs BSR, Ceres, Conservation International, Greenpeace, Oxfam and Rainforest Alliance.

The study revealed three top priority areas for corporations to engage with NGOs: climate change, community engagement and energy (both renewables and efficiency) and suggested corporates prefer long-term NGO partnerships over shorter ones.

The report recommended NGOs develop a comprehensive understanding of an industry, product or supply chain before trying to lobby for change and to approach a company with a clear objective and concrete solutions.

The results also cautioned Not for Profits against generalising all companies as anti-environment and indicate a preference that NGOs don’t reward companies that make unattainable commitments and goals.

Read the full GreenBiz NGO report here.

Staff Reporter  |  Journalist  |  @ProBonoNews

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