THIS WEEK’S BIG QUESTION: Can pressure groups shift from confrontation to co-operation?

A recent Greenpeace conference was addressed by BP’s chief executive John Browne

A recent Greenpeace conference was addressed by BP’s chief

executive John Browne

Simon Bryceson


’It is inevitable. Some environmental issues will cease to be on the

political fringes and will become centre stage. Therefore it will no

longer be necessary for environmental groups to force these issues on to

the agenda. Pressure groups must act differently in order to have

influence. They will need to co-operate with others who have power.’

Hilary Sutcliffe


’It depends what you mean by pressure groups. Greenpeace is a pressure

group in one way but in another way it actually works alongside

companies very well. Other more strident single-issue pressure groups on

the fringes probably will not work with companies except in the long

term. A lot of pressure groups are working very much in co-operation

with companies in order to achieve solutions rather than just wave


Chris Rose


’Greenpeace will always be ’pushing the envelope’ of what needs doing to

really protect nature and give people better lives in future. This means

changing industry. So there will always be conflict with vested

interests. But we are in a more co-operative relationship with, say, BP

Solar, Enron (a solar power company working with Amoco) and,

potentially, Shell’s renewables division.’

Uta Bellion

Friends of the Earth

’The issue is what will achieve the result we are aiming for - a

sustainable society and sustainable production and consumption? If that

requires confrontation with an industry which is going down the wrong

path, then pressure groups will be confrontational. If there is an

opportunity for co-operation to effect real change then there will be


Rachel Haford

Campaign Against the Arms Trade

’Given the present involvement of arms exporting companies in supplying

and seeking to sell arms to repressive regimes, our relationship with

these companies is going to continue to be confrontational. However we

are encouraged by the Government’s announcement of a diversification


If companies are choosing to go down this road and demilitarising, then

CATT can be wholly supportive.’

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