Consumer Groups Exert Main Influence on Brit Tycoons

17 April 2001

A survey of chief executives and finance directors at 150 large, small and medium-size UK enterprises shows business leaders more in awe of consumer and environmental pressure groups than they are of the government and trade unions.

The study, conducted for public affairs agency Weber Shandwick, asked respondents to identify the groups from which they would most fear an attack. Twenty-three per cent cited environmental organisations such as Greenpeace, while the same percentage named pressure groups such as Consumer’s Association. Only 16% of respondents were concerned at criticism by government ministers, 14% mentioned human rights activists, and 13% trade unions.

The report notes with surprise that fear of attack by anti-corporate websites was relegated to the foot of the table of potential threats – a mere 9% of companies citing this as a worry. This nonchalance flies in the face of the significant commercial damage done to drug-testing laboratory Huntingdon Life Sciences by the website run by a small group of animal rights activists.

Business leaders also believe the Labour Party is “significantly better” at communicating with them than the Conservatives. Slightly over half rated Labour as “good communicators with business” compared with the Tories’ score of 32%.

News source: Financial Times