Commentary: "Why Corporations Should Learn to Love Civic Activists" (Freedom House)

Author: Mark P. Lagon and Katharine Nasielski, Freedom House, Published on: 13 September 2016

"Why Corporations Should Learn to Love Civic Activists", 23 Aug 2016

Multinationals have a lot to gain from partnerships with civil society groups, and a lot to lose if activists are not allowed to do their work...In 2015, the Chinese government proposed a law that would regulate and restrict the operations of foreign nongovernmental organizations...in China... [H]uman rights organizations...won vocal support from a striking partner: American business. Forty-five entities...signed a virtually unprecedented letter arguing that foreign nonprofit organizations play an integral role in facilitating business operations in China...[T]his effort marked a turning point for understanding the relationship between civil society and business...The same democratic attributes that earn a country a designation of Free are key elements of a strong business environment, including low corruption, strong rule of law, and political stability...NGOs that advocate on labor and environmental issues should be seen...as a public good that helps businesses to operate freely and successfully...Partnering with civil society around the world can clearly be a boon to corporations...Given the global trend of increasing pressure on NGOs by autocratic regimes and illiberal democracies over the past decade, the multinational business sector should waste no time in coming to civil society’s defense.

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Related companies: Associated British Foods Coca-Cola Nike Primark (part of Associated British Foods) Unilever