Seeing the plastics wood for the trees – PlasticsEurope gets it right

March 30, 2008 at 5:01 pm 1 comment

An interesting interview with the Executive Director of PlasticsEurope, Wilfried Hansel, over at Euractiv on changes to advocacy and communications in Brussels. It’s great to see an organisation as important as PlasticsEurope taking the approach advocated in many of our posts. All Brussels based trade associations should have a read of what can be considered a best practice approach.

However, one point in relation to the comments on “position papers”. It’s always been our philosophy that the very notion of calling your principal advocacy document a”position paper” is a bit misleading. The document should be less about the position of your organisation and more about talking about the nexus between the interests of those you are seeking to convince and what you wish to achieve. Good advocacy is about hitting this sweet spot. As such, the PlasticsEurope approach is not new, it’s just well thought out best practice. Not many policymakers care about the obscure issues you want to talk about, but they do tend to care about all sorts of other things. It’s those things that your “position paper” should talk about. (In this vein, see our recent post mentioning advocacy’s three Ps)

However, the move towards informing the citizen in an effort to eventually create the conditions for successful advocacy is an interesting new one in a Brussels context (if not in a US or national one). We wish them luck, it certainly is an approach that may have come of age when policymakers worry about being connected to the citizen and the digital world brings that citizen closer to the decision-maker in Brussels than ever.

BTW – if you like the PlasticsEurope approach, you should give them a ring. We hear they are looking for a new advocacy and communications director. An interesting post indeed given the above.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Kerstin Duhme  |  May 5, 2008 at 2:15 pm

    It’s great to see the efforts of PlasticsEurope appreciated. We have been working with PlasticsEurope for more than five years now and they’re a great client – viewing advocacy activity holistically, and, critically, willing and unafraid to engage with a wide variety of stakeholders constructively.

    From a related, business perspective, informing a wider public about public affairs has become crucial, as our survey among financial investors in the City of London showed last year. To download it, click here:


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A blog on politics, policy, public affairs and communications in Brussels and the European Union. The blog is written by the team at Fleishman-Hillard in Brussels. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect those of the company or its clients. You will find the contact details of our team at

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