Declared lobbyists: 24 FTE
Lobby spend: €6.75m – €7m (2016)
“The Power of True” is the slogan of choice for Fleishman-Hillard, one of the biggest public relations (PR) companies in the world and the largest declared spender of all lobby consultancies in Brussels. Fleishman have worked with a broad range of clients that include major transnationals like Monsanto, Aviva, HSBC and ExxonMobil.
Monsanto hired Fleishman-Hillard having realised that it, and its GMOs, had an image problem. Fossil fuels lobby group GasNaturally also hired Fleishman-Hillard to spread the idea of natural gas (including fracked gas) as a green ‘transition’ fuel ahead of the COP21 climate summit in Paris. But Fleishman-Hillard’s anti-climate reputation goes a lot further back. When Chris Davies, who as an MEP sat for 15 years on the Parliament’s Environment Committee, and who was well-known for his cooperation with the energy industry, set up an environmental political consultancy, he also became an adviser to Fleishman- Hillard.
Undermining initiatives to boost citizen involvement in shaping policy is also included in Fleishman’s skill set. In 2012 Fleishman- Hillard Brussels announced that it could offer businesses help in hijacking the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI), a process that allows petitions with one million signatures from across seven different member states to be considered for possible EU legislation.
Fleishman-Hillard said that its: “team of seasoned public affairs and online communication professionals can help you monitor emerging ECIs, assess their potential impact, and support you in launching your own ECI… We are well-placed to assist your organisation in rolling out pan-European grassroots campaigns.”