The corporate lobbies in Copenhagen

The UN climate talks have become a "must attend" for huge numbers of business lobbyists, each eager to promote their preferred "solution" to tackling climate change – which protects their business interests. Business lobby groups have been preparing for Copenhagen for years, lobbying national governments to ensure their interests are represented at the negotiating table. Their influence is one of the reasons why governments are finding it so hard to reach agreement on emission cuts. Many of the lobbies have urged governments to block tough targets for 2020. They want easier access to off-setting through a global carbon market (avoiding emissions cuts at source) and funding for controversial technologies including carbon capture and storage (CCS), nuclear power and agrofuels.

This guide lists some of the main lobby groups found at the 2009 Copenhagen UN Climate Summit.

International Lobby Groups

Copenhagen Climate Council

The Copenhagen Climate Council was established for COP15 by the think tank Monday Morning, whose founder Erik Rasmussen is a leading player. It brings together 30 councillors, mainly from the business world, including the CEOs of Dong Energy, Duke Energy and the Virgin Group.

In May 2009, the Council was the official host of the World Business Summit on Climate Change, organised with the UN Global Compact, the World Economic Forum, 3C, the Climate Group and the Danish government. The summit provided an opportunity for influencing national representatives and UN delegates.

The Council will host a high-level event at Kronborg Castle near Copenhagen during the climate talks to present their visions beyond 2009.

The Copenhagen Climate Council advocates a global carbon market and It wants a global carbon market with carbon credits for forests, allowing industry to offset emissions by paying for trees not to be cut down. This paves the way for industrial plantations to be considered as forest conservation projects - threatening the livelihoods of forest people and reducing biodiversity.

3C – Combat Climate Change

Combat Climate Change (3C) was launched by the Swedish energy giant Vattenfall in 2007 to help shape a global climate agreement. It has 66 corporate members from around the world, including big polluters such as BP, Bayer, Gazprom, E.ON and StatoilHydro. 3C is led by out-going Vattenfall chief executive Lars Josefsson who is also an advisor to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon on energy and climate change.

3C works closely with other business groups such as the Copenhagen Climate Council and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (and was a co-organiser of the World Business Summit on Climate Change in May 2009).

3C lobbies for a global carbon market and pushes for technologies such as carbon capture and storage (CCS), nuclear energy and second generation agrofuels – "solutions" which present a huge economic opportunity for its corporate members.

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)

One of the most influential corporate drivers of international trade and investment deregulation, the International Chamber of Commerce is a powerful player on the global climate scene. Its members include big polluters such as Areva, ExxonMobil, Rio Tinto, Shell and Vattenfall. It claims to be the voice of global businesses.

The ICC has access to national governments and international bodies including the UN, G8 and WTO.

The ICC Task Force on Climate Change, led by Nick Campbell, lobbies on key issues around the UN climate negotiations. Campbell also leads climate change working groups for the European chemical industry association (Cefic) and BusinessEurope.

The ICC's overall message for Copenhagen, which it will promote at the Business Day on 11 December and throughout the talks, is that business is part of the solution. The top priorities for world leaders should be economic growth and open trade.

It wants a global agreement which covers all major emitters and pivots around carbon markets and market-based mechanisms, plus government funding for new technologies, such as CCS. It also wants protection for corporate intellectual property rights (IPRs), obstructing much needed technology transfers to developing countries.

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)

Led by Björn Stigson (also a councillor at the Copenhagen Climate Council), the World Business Council for Sustainable Development has 200 member companies, including Shell, Duke Energy, E.ON, BP and Rio Tinto.

The WBCSD pioneered re-branding corporations as part of the solution, achieving a major impact with its involvement in the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. Since then the WBCSD has promoted self-regulation by business and opposed legally binding environmental and social standards for corporate activities at every major international UN summit, undermining momentum for effective international solutions to solve global environmental and social problems.

The WBCSD has previously led on corporate involvement in the UN climate talks, working closely with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). In Copenhagen it is co-organising the Copenhagen Business Day, subtitled "Leading ACTION".

It advocates a global carbon market, voluntary sectoral agreements for industry, agrofuels, nuclear energy and the unproven and expensive carbon capture and storage technology (CCS).

The World Economic Forum's Initiative on Climate Change

The World Economic Forum (WEF) - an international forum for business leaders - lobbies through its Initiative on Climate Change. Members include BP, Shell and Vattenfall, and "experts" such as Henry Derwent, CEO of the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA) and Björn Stigson, President of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

It launched a Task Force on Low-Carbon Economic Prosperity in March 2009 to push for "a high growth low carbon economy" and published a plan for a "clean revolution" at the UN Climate Change Summit in September 2009, calling for nuclear power, CCS and more offsetting through the clean development mechanism as important ingredients in a new global deal.

It was involved in organising the World Business Summit on Climate Change in May 2009.

The UN Global Compact

Set up as a UN body, the UN Global Compact claims to be the "world's largest voluntary corporate citizenship initiative". But, its voluntary nature, the appalling track record of many of its members, and the cloak of legitimacy attained by members because of their link with the UN gave birth to the term "bluewash" to convey that beyond its propaganda, it lacks substance and does not improve the overall behaviour of corporations.

Their Caring for Climate Initiative, launched in 2007, has been endorsed by 367 companies and will present a series of reports at the Copenhagen Business Summit. It claims to be a commitment to action by business, but just like the Global Compact, lacks any binding commitment or mechanisms for enforcement.

The UN Global Compact will host a business event with the Copenhagen Climate Council during COP15 "bringing together prominent leaders" to discuss climate action. Among the solutions championed by the initiative are a global carbon market and agrofuels.

The Climate Group

The Climate Group was set up 2003 and brings together corporate and government members, including big polluters such as energy giants BP and Duke Energy. CEO and founder Steve Howard is close to both leading companies and state governments.

In 2008 it launched a project called Breaking the Climate Deadlock with former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair to call for an international climate agreement post 2012 which advocates unproven carbon capture and storage technology (CCS), nuclear power and biomass as crucial technologies for a low-carbon economy.

The Climate Group works closely with other business lobby groups, including the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA), which has been nominated for the Angry Mermaid Award for its efforts to sabotage climate action.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA)

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is the main lobbying organisation representing the international airline industry. Its members include the world's leading long-haul airlines, such as American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, KLM, Lufthansa, Qantas and United Airlines.

IATA has led the airline industry's lobbying and advertising campaigns against aviation being included in the EU Emission Trading Scheme (ETS), one of Europe's key mechanisms for reducing emissions. In June 2008, as political negotiations reached a critical stage, IATA spent €80,000 on a full-page advertisement in the International Herald Tribune, urging politicians to "stop plans to punish airlines and travellers with an ETS that will only invite international legal battles."

IATA says it wants emissions from aviation to be regulated by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), but is lobbying to make sure this does not happen.

IATA does not want aviation on the agenda at COP15 and attempted to pre-empt any discussions by announcing a voluntary effort by the industry to cut emissions in September 2009. However, the cuts proposed were far less than what is being demanded from other industries.

International Emissions Trading Association (IETA)

The International Emissions Trading Association (IETA) describes itself as a "non profit business organisation" created to "establish a… framework for trading in greenhouse gas emission reductions". Formed in 1999, it has 168 member companies, including big energy companies (BP, Shell, Vattenfall), banks, lawyers and carbon trading companies.

It has become a lobbying powerhouse at the UN climate change talks, with the largest accredited non-governmental delegation in both Bali and Poznan. IETA is already gearing up for a large lobbying presence at the UN climate talks in Copenhagen with some 66 events scheduled.

IETA secures valuable access to decision-makers through its staff and members. Its President is Henry Derwent, who previously led on international climate change issues in the UK government.

IETA comes to Copenhagen with the goal of a global market for greenhouse gases, a mechanism which allows corporations and governments to buy and sell the right to pollute. Key to this market is the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), which allows governments and industry in developed countries to claim to be making carbon reductions by investing in supposed "clean developments" in the developing world (offsetting). The CDM has been severely criticised because it allows rich countries to avoid making emissions cuts at home. There is also strong evidence that some of its projects are creating serious social and environmental problems in developing countries.

Although the CDM has failed to reduce global emissions, IETA claims it has been a success.

Carbon Markets and Investors Association (CMIA)

The Carbon Markets and Investors Association (CMIA) is comprised of some of the most influential investors in the carbon markets. They advocate a strong carbon market and participate in international negotations and national policy debates.

Project Development Forum (PDF)

The "Project Developer Forum" (PDF) was launched in November 2008 by a group of companies which specialise in making money from setting up carbon offset projects to lobby to make the CDM process "more efficient through improved dialogue".

International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association (IPIECA)

The International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association (IPIECA) is the formal oil and gas industry channel into the UN. The focus of its climate change working group is the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the UNFCC. While seeking to promote an image of an environmental and socially responsible industry, its members, including BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Repsol and Shell, are among the biggest climate change polluters and have for decades lobbied against effective action.

Carbon Capture and Storage Association

The Carbon Capture and Storage Association represents all the important players on carbon capture and storage (fossil fuels, power, finance, manufacturers) at an international level, including Shell, BP, Vattenfall, Alstom and ConocoPhillips.

CCS is unlikely to be fully applicable before 2020 or even 2030. The CCS industry has lobbied in the EU through the Zero Emissions Platform and in the US to promote this technology as a solution to climate change, securing public funding for its development.

Their main objective in Copenhagen will be the inclusion of carbon capture and storage in the Clean Development Mechanism.

BIO – Biotechnology Industry Organization

BIO is an umbrella lobby organisation for the biotech industry with more than 1,200 members worldwide including corporations like Syngenta, Monsanto, Dow and Tate & Lyle, as well as regional biotech lobby groups like EuropaBio and AfricaBio.

BIO claims that biotechnology can help solve climate change. It wants access to the carbon market so that its members can benefit from carbon trading. BIO claims that biotechnology can help prevent climate change and wants to gain access to the carbon market. A leaked BIO strategy document for Copenhagen reveals its aims for COP15: access to climate-subsidies for biotech products; fending off potential threats to Intellectual Property Rights (increasing the costs of technology transfer to developing countries) and allaying "false" messages about GM.

BIO's activities in Copenhagen include a taskforce and it has set itself clear targets for which delegates to lobby on intellectual property rights, GM and agriculture.

Palm Oil Industry: World Growth and MPOC

The "NGO" World Growth, led by Australian Alan Oxley, has launched a campaign to counter environmental campaigns against palm oil expansion. A former diplomat, Oxley worked for Malaysian logging and palm oil giant Rimbunan Hijau.

World Growth's message at the climate talks is that: "The palm oil industry is not destroying forest biodiversity in developing countries" and "The palm oil industry has a positive impact on the reduction of GHGs. The oil palm is an effective carbon sink. Its performance is superior to many established forest species."

One of the founders of World Growth is Henrik Rasmussen, the son of the former Danish prime minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen. Two Danish Brussels-based PR consultants: Jens Thomsen and Peter Munch-Madsen from Impact are on World Growth's delegation.

World Growth's campaign is remarkably similar to a campaign run by the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) to promote palm oil as sustainable. MPOC hired PR company Gplus in Brussels to fend off sustainability criteria for agrofuels.


Croplife is an association for the pesticide and (GM) seeds industry including BASF, Bayer CropScience, Dow and Monsanto. They advocate GM crops as "climate-friendly". Croplife lobbied on the US climate legislation through the Alpine Group. They also use the Farmers First platform to claim to work in the interests of both the climate and farmers ( Croplife's target for COP15 is to avoid a clear target for emissions reductions from agriculture. Instead they want a voluntary carbon credit system that will allow credits for offsetting using agriculture.

International Biochar Initiative (IBI)

The International Biochar Initiative is the main vehicle lobbying for biochar – using charcoal to store carbon in soils. IBI represents Biochar Engineering (US), Carbon Gold (UK), Crucible Carbon (Australia), Mantira Industries (US), Carbon Zero (Switzerland) and Carbonscale (New Zealand).

IBI claims that charcoal (produced by burning trees) can act as a "soil improver", but critics warn that it could lead to a vast expansion of tree monocultures.

The International Biochar Initiative lobbied the UN Convention to Combat Deforestation (UNCCD) and 14 governments, persuading them to call for the inclusion of biochar in the Clean Development Mechanism. IBI also wants biochar to be included in carbon trading schemes like the European Emissions Trading Scheme.

World Nuclear Association

The World Nuclear Association represents 180 companies involved in the nuclear industry, including Westinghouse, Areva, EoN, Vattenfall, Atomstroyexport, Mitsubishi, Deutsche Bank and Ernst&Young, which are using climate change as a vehicle to win political and financial support. Despite widespread public opposition, the industry hopes to build around 400 to 700 new reactors over the next 20 years.

The WNA is lobbying in Copenhagen for nuclear plants to become eligible for financial support, including through the Clean Development Mechanism.

World Steel Association

The World Steel Association (worldsteel) represents some 180 steel producers, national and regional steel industry associations, and steel research institutes. Its head quarters are in the EU capital, Brussels, and it has an office in Beijing.

Worldsteel says that climate change is the biggest issue facing the global steel industry in the 21st century and the organisation has launched its own climate change website.

It argues that steel is "essential to economic growth" and that not only can it be part of the solution, but that the sector also needs to grow to meet global demand. According to the IPCC, steel accounts for 6-7% of global greenhouse gas emissions1 (worldsteel quotes this figures as 3-4%!).

Worldsteel is pushing for a "sectoral approach" to emissions cuts in Copenhagen - with targets set by industry applied to the whole of the steel industry rather than to individual countries or regions.

US Lobby Groups

US Chamber of Commerce

This American giant of a business federation has more than 3 million business members, including Monsanto, Dow Chemical, Exxon Mobil and Duke Energy. Some of its prominent members, including Apple, Nike and Pacific Gas and Electric have left in protest against its climate policy, and its lobbying position against the US Waxman-Markey bill on climate change. The Chamber has threatened a lawsuit to challenge the science behind climate change.

American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE)

The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) acts as the public relations organisation for the US coal industry. Members include E.ON US, GE Energy, the Murray Energy Corporation and other mining and electricity companies.

It promotes coal as a source of reliable electricity and lobbies for clean coal technology (CCS) and has lobbied against climate legislation in the US, including using fake letters, sent by a PR company to legislators.

See also:
Not registered for Copenhagen.

American Petroleum Institute

The American Petroleum Institute (API) represents the US petroleum and natural gas industry, with 400 corporate members including BP America, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil and Shell.

It has a track-record of lobbying against action on climate change and has lobbied the US government to minimise the impacts of US climate legislation, spending more then $4 million trying to defeat the US climate bill, including setting up an "astroturf" campaign - which appeared to be a grassroots movement objecting to legislation, but which in fact was a front group for API.

See also:
Not registered for Copenhagen.

Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI)

The US based Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) lobbies to fend off efforts to limit the use of fluorinated gases (F-gases) that are major contributors to climate change. Representing companies like Dupont, and working in Europe as part of the EPEE ("European Partnership for Energy and the Environment"), run by PR company Grayling. ICC lobbyist Nick Campbell has been particularly active lobbying for the continued production of F-gases.

European Lobby Groups


BusinessEurope, the European employers' confederation, represents the interests of big business in the EU, including companies such as Arcelor Mittal, BASF, Lafarge and Rio Tinto. Business Europe enjoys privileged access to decision makers within the European Commission, and has made climate change one of their priority issues.

Business Europe has lobbied to undermine efforts to tighten the EU's cap and trade system - the Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) - successfully arguing that penalties inside the EU will lead to increased costs, forcing companies to relocate production, resulting in carbon leakage. As a result, 77% of the European manufacturing sector will receive free permits to pollute at least until 2020.

Business Europe has presented EU Commission President Barroso with a "Copenhagen Scorecard" in October, highlighting their wish list, which includes binding emission targets for advanced developing countries by 2020, voluntary sectoral agreements for industry, support for CCS and nuclear, an expanded clean development mechanism, allowing more offsetting, and protection for intellectual property rights at the expense of technology transfer to developing countries.

European Chemicals Industry Council (CEFIC)

Cefic is the European Chemicals Industry Council, which represents the main players in the European chemical arena, including Arkema, BASF, Bayer, Dow, DuPont, ExxonMobil chemical, Shell Chemicals and Solvay. Its working group on climate change is led by Arkema´s Nick Campbell, who also leads the climate working groups of BusinessEurope (see above) and the International Chamber of Commerce (see above).

Cefic has lobbied in the EU to protect the chemicals industry from the costs of the ETS, pushing the argument that extra costs will lead businesses to relocate resulting in carbon leakage. It is also actively lobbying to get the EU not to increase its emission reduction commitments at the climate talks in Copenhagen. The chemical industry wants a new international agreement to include equivalent targets for industrialised countries and emerging economies, which would effectively block an agreement.

Cefic has launched a PR campaign to highlight how the chemicals industry is, in fact, helping reduce emission levels in Europe, with materials highlighting energy saving products. The same message has also been promoted by the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA) which launched a report in July 2009 claiming that the benefits of the chemical industry's products in terms of emission savings were greater than their carbon footprint.


Eurelectric is the European association of electricity companies. Members include major climate change polluters such as Vattenfall, Enel, E.ON, RWE and DONG Energy. Power companies have made windfall profits (look for figure)i´ll send you later as a result of the EU's emissions trading scheme (ETS) – receiving permits to pollute for free, while passing the theoretical costs on to the consumers.

Eurelectric has lobbied on climate policies both in the EU and internationally. Eurelectric's president is Christian Jourquin, chief executive of Solvay. In March 2009 Eurelectric handed EU Energy Commissioner Piebalgs a declaration in which EU electricity companies pledge to achieve a carbon-neutral power supply by 2050. For what it's worth, this pledge relies primarily on controversial technologies, including carbon capture and storage (CCS) and nuclear power.

Eurelectric wants the UN climate talks to set a target for 2050, not before, and they are lobbying for public support for nuclear power and CCS.

Vattenfall is one of the biggest investors in the development of CCS and Josefsson lobbies for it through the European Technology Platform for Zero Emission Fossil Fuel Power, securing massive funding for the development of demonstration plants.

The European Round Table of Industrialists

The European Round Table of Industrialists (ERT) group is an exclusive club of 44 leaders from the strongest European multinationals. Their climate working groups is chaired by former Shell's CEO Jeroen van der Veer. ERT's position on Copenhagen is that Europe should only move decisively if developing countries move as well, to protect the competitiveness of the European industry is lobbying against moving from a 20 to a 30% target. It wants nuclear energy and financing for new technologies, especially carbon capture and storage. It also lobbies for a global carbon market and asks for sectoral agreements for developing countries It wants technology transfer to be through investment in member companies working in the developing world.

Other National Lobby Groups

Australian Industry Greenhouse Network (AIGN)

The Australian Industry Greenhouse Network is a coalition of the heaviest polluters in Australia , including the Australian divisions of Shell, Rio Tinto, Exxon Mobil and BP as well as industry associations. It is widely known as the Greenhouse Mafia.

The chief executive officer of AIGN is Mike Hitchen, who is described as one of Australia's "dirty dozen" because of his efforts to protect the interests of the fossil fuel industries by blocking and slowing effective action to reduce Australia's greenhouse gas emissions. Hitchen used to work in the Department of Primary Industry and Energy (DPIE) and is reported to be close to the government.

AIGN advocates free emission permits for companies as compensation for reduced asset values following the introduction of an Australian emissions trading scheme. It also promotes "clean coal" using carbon capture and storage and nuclear energy.

Brazilian Climate Alliance

The Brazilian Climate Alliance unites Brazil's agribusiness, including soy, sugar and tree plantation giants. It is pushing for a Copenhagen agreement that will provide them with carbon credits under the clean development mechanism (CDM) for environmental damaging soy, sugar and tree monocultures, and for charcoal production for the steel industry. The Alliance has lobbied the Brazilian government and President Lula is expected to push their position in Copenhagen.

The Alliance includes 14 Brazilian associations, such as sugar barons united in UNICA, the Brazilian Cellulose and Paper Association (Bracelpa), the Brazilian Agribusiness Association (ABAG). UNICA set up offices in Brussels to lobby for the 10% agrofuel target, spreading misleading environmental and social information as part of its lobbying campaign.

Among the official lobbying goals of the alliance are to "reform" the CDM and to persuade the EU to remove barriers to buying forest carbon credits under the Emissions Trading Scheme, making it possible for EU industry to offset emissions by investing in Brazilian monocultures.

Confederation of Danish Industry (DI)

The Confederation of Danish Industry (DI) is the Danish member of BusinessEurope. It hosts the "Copenhagen Business Day" (Business leading ACTION), co-organised by the WBCSD and the ICC (see above) on 11 December in Copenhagen.

Nippon Keidanren

Nippon Keidanren (Japan Business Federation) is the most powerful Japanese corporate lobby group, bringing together over one thousand companies including Nippon Oil Corporation, Tokyo Electric Power, Toyota, Mitsubishi or Nippon Steel Corporation. Nippon Keidanren had extremely close ties with the former government, Japan's Liberal Democratic Party.

When the recent Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, leader of the Democratic Party DPJ committed to cut Japan´s emissions by 25% by 2020 (from a 1990 baseline), Nippon Keidanren campaigned against the proposed target.

Keidanren continues to question the science of climate change, saying: "Because the consequences of climate change for society and ecosystems are potentially serious and far-reaching, steps to address the risks of such climate change are prudent now, even while the science continues to evolve."

It is pushing for an international agreement that includes emerging economies (China, India); corporate-friendly technologies; voluntary industry sectoral agreements; respect for free market policies, an expanded clean development mechanism and for corporate intellectual property rights at the expense of needed technology transfer to developing countries.

They are a member of the Major Economies Business Forum on Energy and Climate which calls for a greater voice for business in the UN climate talks, including a more formal role in the UNFCCC.

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