NGOs have it just as tough as corporates

Kate Nicholas bemoans NGOs' lack of accountability and suggests their claims are often accepted by consumers and media without question ('NGO accountability - who's keeping watch?' 28 October).

But this simply isn't true - journalists are as keen to scrutinise allegations made by NGOs as they are to challenge corporate claims. If an NGO's allegations are proven wrong, then its own reputation and financial support are at stake.

Nicholas's advice to NGOs to work actively with companies if they want to 'effect real change' often doesn't work in practice. There are 67,000 trans-national corporations, so NGOs cannot realistically engage with them all.

Friends of the Earth spends time and effort talking to companies about environmental problems, but sadly it is often media interest that helps to focus minds and persuade companies to engage with NGOs.

- Tony Juniper, executive director, Friends of the Earth.

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