San Francisco (AFP)
FTI Consulting, which has been suspected of having controversial work methods, is one of the largest international public relations firms, which advises banks, the oil or agrochemical industry, including Bayer, which absorbs Monsanto in 2018.
Headquartered in Washington, FTI Consulting has more than 4,600 employees and offices throughout the world. Founded in 1982, he was present as an "independent international business consulting company".
His expertise is to help organizations manage change, mitigate risks and resolve conflicts, including conflicts that can affect their clients' reputation.
In 2018, FTI achieved a net profit of 150.6 million dollars with a turnover of 2 billion.
FTI Consulting Belgium is included in the EU "Transparency" list, which lists interest groups with EU institutions.
He provides advice in the financial services, energy and environment sectors, technology and telecommunications, competition, trade, health, agrochemicals, life sciences, consumer goods and cyber security. .
His clients include "Transparency", General Motors, Exxon Mobil, Halliburton, Novartis, but also Amazon, Facebook, Google …
The Division of "Strategic Communication" is specialized "in the use of communication to help companies achieve their" business + discrete "goals.
When Bayer announced the acquisition of Monsanto in 2016, FTI supported "preparation of a merger, while working with Monsanto during negotiations to manage media interests in transactions," according to its website.
The company said it had also been hired by "EuropaBio, the European Association for Bio-Industry, and its member companies" – including Bayer – when the company was "faced with a lack of understanding and acceptance of biotechnology in plants".
– Platforms and campaigns –
FTI has specifically "recommended development" and "designed" a growing online Voices platform ("increased voice", Ed) "which serves as a bank of third party positive opinions" on GMOs.
The European Phytosanitary Industry Association (ECPA), another European lobby representing Bayer, is also part of FTI customers.
For ECPA, the company is responsible for a "campaign against European regulations" about pesticides, which specifically consists of "supporting network creation" and "maintenance of positive public opinion." through farm visit organizations, debates and creative e-mail campaigns targeting European legislators ".
EuropaBio and ECPA are also included in "Transparency".
In January, environmental NGO EarthRights claimed that "consultants paid by Exxon" had contacted their legal counsel by "pretending to be a journalist". This lawyer defends US cities against the oil giant.
The two FTI employees reportedly worked on the westernwire.net website, which is actually a branch of the Western Energy Alliance (WEA) representing the oil and gas industry.
FTI has told AFP allegations of "false and misleading", referring to a Western Wire statement that ensured that "pro-industrial" publications were never hidden.
According to the online Huffington Post website, FTI has also designed an "anti-union" campaign for Delta Airlines through including websites that are hosted on the same server as the domain name associated with FTI.
"Our company has not created the content mentioned in this article and we do not manage campaigns that appear to be related to it," the company told AFP.
? AFP 2019