Smith KE, Fooks G, Gilmore AB, Collin J, Weishaar H. Corporate Coalitions and Policy Making in the European Union: How and Why British American Tobacco Promoted “Better Regulation”. Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law 2015 February 02.
Over the past fifteen years, an interconnected set of regulatory reforms, known as Better Regulation, has been adopted across Europe, marking a significant shift in the way that European Union (EU) policies are developed. Drawing on documentary and interview data, the article discusses how and why large corporations, most notably British American Tobacco (BAT), worked to influence and promote these reforms. The authors show (1) how policy entrepreneurs with sufficient resources can shape the membership and direction of advocacy coalitions; (2) the extent to which “think tanks” may be prepared to lobby on behalf of commercial clients; and (3) why regulated industries such as tobacco may favor the use of impact assessments (IA) in policy making. The authors argue that "a key aspect of BAT's ability to shape regulatory reform involved the deliberate construction of a vaguely defined idea that could be strategically adapted to appeal to diverse constituencies."
Key Documents from LTDL
BAT began to consider ways to increase its influence over EU policy by promoting the need for a form of structured risk assessment to be embedded within the European legislative process. The view being policy requirement for a particular form of risk assessment could help the company defeat efforts to introduce policies restricting smoking
BAT was advised by the consultancy company Charles Barker to construct a supportive coalition of interests, initially focusing on recruiting other businesses with potentially overlapping interests in risk assessment...Charles Barker also advised BAT to use a 'front group' to expedite the campaign to promote regulatory reform.
"The lack of official statistics will mean that greater attention and credibility will be [given] to the industry developed statistical series. This can be used to advantage in discussions and negotiations with government agencies as it means that the industry has access to information (potentially including economic assessment studies) that are unavailable to government officials. Officials will often be more willing to talk to industry in these circumstances." (BAT 1997)