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How to Save the World
Unformatted Document Text:  3 surrounding “corporate social responsibility” have, in recent decades, permeated discussions around environmentalism and public relations. “Today, good environmental practices and prudent environmental policy translate to the bottom line” (Kelly, p. 209). This bottom line can be influenced when books such as Rampton and Stauber’s Toxic Sludge is Good for You: Lies, Damn Lies and the Public Relations Industry (1995) permeate the mainstream. Billis (1993) points out that “the management of problems in nonprofits draws heavily on research, consultancy, and training undertaken in the United Kingdom with several hundred voluntary organizations….” (p. 325). It is instructive to examine what environmental nonprofits can learn not only from like-minded organizations but from those in private industry as well. Kennedy (1991) for example, describes how nonprofits, when carrying out their mission, should operate strategically in the same manner as many businesses. Billis’ work (1993) addresses problems pressing in the nonprofit sector (such as issues of governance) versus those pressing in the private sector (such as lack of scope for individual initiative). It is important to note the bottom line in any for-profit entity can be significantly impacted by an activist campaign against a corporation. In fact, activism and nonprofit environmentalism often go hand-in-hand. Particularly noteworthy is Larissa Grunig’s analyses of the relationships between nonprofit (and other) activists and the organizations they attempt to influence (1989). There are a handful of high-profile, relatively powerful activist organizations, many with successful public relations programs, recognized as environmental leaders in American and British culture. Greenpeace is the prime example. According to Wilcox et al., (2003) Greenpeace operates in 30 countries and has five million members. It is not necessary, however, for a public relations program to be activist-centered in order for its organization to flourish. “In total membership, Greenpeace is second to the much less flamboyant National Wildlife Foundation, followed by the Sierra Club and Nature Conservancy” (Wilcox, et al., p. 407). Discussions of public relations and the environmental movement reach well beyond the literature on activism into other areas such as community relations. According to Peak, (1998) “Until a few years ago, communities tended to take more passive roles toward the business world” (p. 116). Today, however, community relations and its relationship to the corporation are ever-present— i.e., the corporation must recognize its dependence on the community. Baskin and Arnoff (1992) point out that “Good community relations aids in securing what the organization needs from the community and in providing what the community expects” (p. 230).

Authors: Nordhoff, Andrew. and Downes, Edward.
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surrounding “corporate social responsibility” have, in recent decades, permeated discussions
around environmentalism and public relations. “Today, good environmental practices and prudent
environmental policy translate to the bottom line” (Kelly, p. 209). This bottom line can be
influenced when books such as Rampton and Stauber’s Toxic Sludge is Good for You: Lies,
Damn Lies and the Public Relations Industry (1995) permeate the mainstream.
Billis (1993) points out that “the management of problems in nonprofits draws heavily on
research, consultancy, and training undertaken in the United Kingdom with several hundred
voluntary organizations….” (p. 325). It is instructive to examine what environmental nonprofits
can learn not only from like-minded organizations but from those in private industry as well.
Kennedy (1991) for example, describes how nonprofits, when carrying out their mission, should
operate strategically in the same manner as many businesses. Billis’ work (1993) addresses
problems pressing in the nonprofit sector (such as issues of governance) versus those pressing in
the private sector (such as lack of scope for individual initiative).
It is important to note the bottom line in any for-profit entity can be significantly impacted by an
activist campaign against a corporation. In fact, activism and nonprofit environmentalism often
go hand-in-hand. Particularly noteworthy is Larissa Grunig’s analyses of the relationships
between nonprofit (and other) activists and the organizations they attempt to influence (1989).
There are a handful of high-profile, relatively powerful activist organizations, many with
successful public relations programs, recognized as environmental leaders in American and
British culture. Greenpeace is the prime example. According to Wilcox et al., (2003)
Greenpeace operates in 30 countries and has five million members. It is not necessary, however,
for a public relations program to be activist-centered in order for its organization to flourish. “In
total membership, Greenpeace is second to the much less flamboyant National Wildlife
Foundation, followed by the Sierra Club and Nature Conservancy” (Wilcox, et al., p. 407).
Discussions of public relations and the environmental movement reach well beyond the literature
on activism into other areas such as community relations. According to Peak, (1998) “Until a few
years ago, communities tended to take more passive roles toward the business world” (p. 116).
Today, however, community relations and its relationship to the corporation are ever-present—
i.e., the corporation must recognize its dependence on the community. Baskin and Arnoff (1992)
point out that “Good community relations aids in securing what the organization needs from the
community and in providing what the community expects” (p. 230).


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