What lobbyists choose to promote has consequences for society.
We lead the sustainability revolution where it is most needed, and at the same time almost utterly absent: public affairs. We set a new standard for our industry. That is why we chose the rather odd name #SustainablePublicAffairs…
#SustainablePublicAffairs exclusively lobbies for cases that have a positive impact on the environment. We work for sustainable frontrunners and want to make their performance the norm for the rest. We believe in market-led sustainability and advocate for regulatory conditions that optimise that.
But what is sustainability?
It is difficult to define – and people much smarter than ourselves have not even fully figured it out, so we do not claim to know the answer. We do know, though, what “sustainable public affairs” is.
Sustainable public affairs is the practice of lobbying for more ambitious environmental policies or better enforcement of current regulations in order to make the performance of sustainable frontrunners the norm.
It is our mission to foster policy-driven growth for those sustainable frontrunners.
That also means we cannot simply work for anyone.
We discuss every new case on its merits, with our colleagues, strategic advisors, our other clients – and with our loved ones and children. They form our ethical compass, our true “sustainability board”.
To help us in this process, we have developed our own due diligence framework to determine whether a case is a #SustainablePublicAffairs case, which we discuss with all colleagues. Everyone has a veto. The due diligence framework consists of around 40 considerations, but the four main questions are:
- Would we operate in a sector where we can have a significant positive impact on the environment? Though sustainability innovations are welcome everywhere, we exclude some sectors from the outset, including fossil fuels, tobacco, pesticides, arms and Furthermore, we leave to others the promotion of company interests related to government regimes we do not support.
- If a prospective client operates in a sector where we can make a significant positive impact, we need to be sure they are the “sustainable frontrunner” doing the most to facilitate the green transition in that sector. Does the prospective client outperform existing EU sustainability regulations and norms? Are they (far) beyond their competitors in this sense? We are the brand for radical, disruptive, breakthrough solutions, for challengers in the market, and want to make their performance the norm. We therefore leave the advocacy for incumbents that prefer to do incremental sustainability innovation, to others.
- If we are convinced the prospective client is a sustainable frontrunner, we then ask ourselves: are they willing to let us perform only positive advocacy to raise the bar on EU legislation up to their standards? Although we value checks and balances in a democracy, and it sometimes is important to lobby against things, this is not what #SustainablePublicAffairs is about. Our brand stands for lobbying only in favor of higher ambition. We avoid working for exemptions, watering down targets, delaying policies, etc.
- Finally, we need to positively answer one last question: are the potential clients themselves positive, constructive, and kind people? We believe that successful public affairs is a deeply creative and intellectual collaboration and that this is best achieved in a safe space, containing mutual admiration and respect.
If we have positive answers to these questions, we know that what we are doing is #SustainablePublicAffairs and we will go all in. If not, we do not take the case. And we are serious about that. We have put this rule into practice many, many times – and only move ahead with, on average, one out of every three prospects.
When we get to work, we are guided by three values, without which sustainability can never exist: positivity, integrity, and transparency.
Our first value is positivity. We work with positive energy, and always in favour of the cases we advocate for. We try never to emit negative energy and will never act against others, nor do we speak badly about competitors. We are inclusive and when we address anyone, we think “brother” or “sister” before we write or speak their names.
Integrity is standing up for what you believe in. As professionals, we only work for societal outcomes that we would want to see as private citizens as well. It means also that we recognize that while many sustainability gains will come from the cases we advocate for, we believe it is always more sustainable to consume, and subsequently produce, less.
Transparency means being unafraid and open about our beliefs and advocating for them – also as an agency. For example, we provided our own input to the EU 2040 targets, and we will always act in accordance with those objectives.
I hope it is now clearer for you what #SustainablePublicAffairs is and why it is unique. At the same time, I do sincerely hope that the need for #SustainablePublicAffairs will soon become obsolete, as all regulators will have automatically tied their policies to the best and most sustainable actors in class.
Until that day, let’s keep up the good work.
We lobby for climate positive impacts and we also operate climate positively.
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