Future 500 | Finding common ground between uncommon allies

The Rainforest Action Network launched an intensive consumer boycott of several Mitsubishi companies, leading to significant changes in the way  the Japanese giant and many of its partners do business. That engagement  provides critical lessons for both activist NGOs and corporations.

b y   P E T E R   A S M U S ,   H A N K   C A U L E Y,   &   K AT H A R I N E   M A R O N E Y

Ten years ago, top executives at three Mitsubishi companies were suddenly faced with a consumer boycott by Rainforest Action Network (RAN), an activist NGO that was willing to wage a protracted war against the corporation’s brand in order to get it to change its business practices.

Instead of fighting RAN, the companies did exactly the opposite of what most of its lawyers, public relations experts, and crisis professionals advised them at the time: They sat down and engaged in a dialogue with the group’s leaders…

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