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Business-Managed Democracy

“Business-managed democracies are those in which the political and cultural arrangements are managed in the interests of business”

Sharon Beder

Business-Managed Environment

Front Group Strategies

Corporate front groups use various strategies to promote the corporate agenda in environmental affairs.

Pretending Env'lism Casting Doubt Opposing Solutions Opposing Legislation Superficial Solutions Blaming the Individual

Pretending to be Environmentalists


Perhaps the most common strategy of corporate front groups is to portray themselves as environmentalists and the corporate views they are promoting as those of environmentalists. In this way corporate interests appear to have environmental support. The names of these groups are chosen because they sound as if they are grass-roots community and environmental groups; for example:

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Casting Doubt

In the case of these pseudo-scientific groups, the aim is to cast doubt on the severity of the problems associated with environmental deterioration and create confusion by magnifying uncertainties and showing that some scientists dispute the claims of the majority of the scientific community. For example

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Opposing Effective Solutions


Some corporate front groups acknowledge environmental problems but argue that the solutions being promoted are too expensive, cost jobs, and would have detrimental economic consequences. For example,

Such front groups tend to portray themselves as moderate and representing the middle ground and therefore often use words like ‘reasonable’, ‘sensible’ and ‘sound’. The use of these words is a way of implicitly saying that environmentalists are extremists, whilst hiding their own extreme positions. They downplay the dangers posed by these environmental problems whilst emphasising the costs of solving them.

Examples have included:

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Opposing Legislation

Some groups are formed purely to oppose a particular piece of legislation such as:

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Promoting Superficial Solutions

Another strategy used by corporate front groups is to recognise environmental problems caused by corporations but to promote superficial solutions that prevent and preempt the sorts of changes that are really necessary to solve the problem. Sometimes they shift the blame from corporations to the individual citizen. For example:

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Blaming the Individual

Some front groups seek to portray enviornmental problems as being the fault of the individual consumer or citizen so as to shift the blame from industry and business. For example, the Keep America Beautiful Campaign seeks to attribute litter and waste disposal problems to individual's acting irresponsibly and admits no corporate responsibility for the problem. It ignores the role of manufacturing companies, fast food outlets and retailers in excess or inappropriate packaging and lack of recycling of packaging.

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