Leading personal care companies declare less lobbying spend

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Personal care, Lobbying, Us

The world's leading personal care players appear to be spending
less money on lobbying the US senate this year, with Procter &
Gamble reducing its spend compared to last year and no
campaigns being disclosed by Unilever to date.

Recent disclosures have shown that so far this year the world's leading consumer and personal care company, Procter & Gamble, has only spent $687,138 in the first half of this year, compared to a total spend of over $2.75m in 2006 and $3.5m in 2005. Breaking the figures down for this year, the company disclosed that it paid Accord Group $129,300 to lobby the federal government, aiming its campaign at the Environmental Protection Agency in an effort to influence issues relating to pesticide regulation. Last week CosmeticsDesign.com revealed that Estee Lauder had spent $100,000 with Cassidy & Associates to help it lobby the US government on legislative and funding issues, more specifically concerning recycling regulation. This expenditure is largely in line with total spend on lobbying of $200,000 during the course of 2006, for which it was also represented by Cassidy & Associates. However, looking at the expenses relating to lobbying by Procter & Gamble's biggest rival, Unilever, records show that expenditure appears to have been cut back completely. So far the company has spent nothing on lobbying campaigns this year, compared to a figure of $500,000 for the whole of 2006 and $1.1m in 2005. Likewise, leading personal care and consumer goods player Kimberly-Clark, has not disclosed any information relating to lobbying campaigns in the US so far this year, having spent $120,000 in 2006 and $80,000 in 2005. Total lobbying spend in the US has risen gradually since official records began in 1998, when the total spend was $1.44bn. In 2006 that figure stood at $2.60, but so for the first half of this year, the figure only came in at $0.49bn. However, it is difficult to clearly interpret such figures as lobbying expenses are often pooled by a number of organizations or companies, with many only declaring internal lobbying expenses, as opposed to publicly declaring campaigns, and other companies and groups making a full declaration at the year-end. Lobbying is an integral part of business culture in the US and many industries view it as a means of influencing government policy and law-making in their favor. Current statistics show that various industries in the US spend billions of dollars every year in a bid to try and influence decision made at Senate level. The top spender is the finance, insurance and real estate sector, which between 1998 and 2007 spent an estimated $2.55bn on lobbying. General businesses, which would include the personal care industry, spent a total of $2.29bn during the same period, according to statistics from OpenSecrets.org. As well as industry, campaigns are also conducted by interest groups, which often extend beyond the senate and into the public domain through campaigns that target the media. In the US lobby groups that target the personal care industry with such campaigns include the Environmental Working Group and The Campaign For Safe Cosmetics, which targets the use of unsafe ingredients and regulation loopholes. Since 1995, the US federal Lobbying Disclosure Act has stated that any lobbying activities involving industry and government must be publicly notified by filing and publishing their activities twice a year.

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