Supermarket giant Sainsbury’s is in the hunt for a European public
affairs consultancy. The retailer has seen pitches from five strategic
and political agencies for a monitoring and lobbying account with a
budget of up to pounds 100,000.
Among the agencies known to be on the shortlist are European Public
Policy Advisers (EPPA), David Wynne-Morgan’s strategic communications
consultancy WMC Communications and GJW Brussels. Sainsbury’s retains GJW
to offer public affairs advice in the UK.
EPPA last week formed an alliance with Lowe Bell Communications,
creating what is said to be the largest public affairs advisory group in
Lowe Bell is Tesco’s lobbying firm in the UK.
’We’ve seen five companies but we don’t have a result yet,’ said
Sainsbury’s head of group public affairs Roger Saoul. ’We’re doing it
essentially to improve our levels of communication with the European
The weight given to consumer protection and public safety issues by the
European Commission is one reason for the retailer’s move.
Sainsbury’s also believes it can derive marketing advantages from
providing input for - and getting early interpretation of - EC
Longer term, it is thought to be considering expansion in mainland
Europe where at present it only has a toehold.
’They are looking for someone to work in co-operation with them in
defining strategy and on how best to approach European institutions,’
said GJW Brussels managing director Jurgen Koch.
’It’s to create a positive profile for them, not just when they want to
stop legislation but also so they are seen as a credible partner when it
comes to formulating legislation.’ Koch added that the successful
consultancy would be expected to provide Sainsbury’s with detailed
analysis of political and legislative activity.