INTERNATIONAL NEWS: Greenpeace leader joins Burson cause

LONDON: The former executive director of Greenpeace UK has joined

Burson-Marsteller - a move that has created a fire-storm in the British


The Guardian newspaper has branded Burson "the company that governments

with poor human rights records and corporations in trouble with

environmentalists have turned to when in crisis."

Lord Peter Melchett will chair a corporate social responsibility group

at the agency, which, according to The Guardian, lists among its current

and former clients Three Mile Island nuclear plant, Union Carbide (after

the Bhopal gas leak), BP (after the sinking of an oil tanker), and a

post-mad-cow British government. The agency also allegedly worked with

food biotechnology company Monsanto, a leader in an industry Melchett,

an organic farmer, was once arrested for protesting against. Burson

would not comment on whether or not it handled these clients.

Richard Aylard, director of Burson's corporate social responsibility

team, told PRWeek that Melchett's view on environmental and social

issues is interesting to the agency and its clients. He also admitted,

"Not all of our clients would want to work with Peter Melchett, but

there are some of our clients he would not want to work with."

Melchett cautioned environmentalists who will not meet with those who

hold alternative views. "When I was at Greenpeace, we had meetings with

Monsanto and the nuclear industry," Melchett said. "If environmentalists

believe they have a story to tell, they must tell it to people who agree

with them and the people who disagree with them. We'd lead a deeply

unproductive life if we only spoke to people we agree with."

Melchett said he would do nothing at Burson that would be a conflict of

interest with his Greenpeace activities.

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