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:
Keep America Beautiful Campaign
focuses on anti-litter campaigns but ignores the potential of recycling
legislation and changes to packaging.
Lumber/Maxxam have hired a PR firm to put together a coalition
to obstruct environmentalists wanting to save the 60,000 acre Headwaters
Forest in Humboldt County, California. The coalition "Headwaters
Consensus Council" was put together by the Sacramento PR firm.
It says it too wants to save the old growth redwoods of the Headwaters
but it is campaigning to preserve only "the 3,000-acre headwaters
grove of virgin old growth redwoods" and it wants to do this by getting
the Californian government to acquire the 3000 acres from Pacific
Lumber/Maxxam for about $500,000 "or a swap of like value". This would
be an ideal solution for the corporate interests which could go ahead
and log most of the forest whilst being paid handsomely for that small
portion that they almost certainly wouldn't be permitted to log anyway
Opposing Pollution (MOP) was an Australian front group whose prime
purpose seems to have been to champion cardboard milk cartons against
plastic milk bottles. Its sole spokeswoman was reported in The Courier
Mail to have a public relations company of her own and to be co-director
of another company with a consultant to the Association of Liquid
Paperboard Carton Manufacturers (Burton 1996).
...back to top
1996, 'Astroturf Group Wants to "Save" Headwaters', E-Link (23
Bob, 'Mothers Opposing Pollution (MOP)-all washed up', Chain Reaction,
No. 76 (1996) pp. 28-31.
Mark and Andy Friedman, 1991, Masks of Deception: Corporate Front
Groups in America, Essential Information.