Red Flag Consulting

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Red Flag is a public relations (PR) company with offices across Europe, the US, Singapore and South Africa.1 Alongside companies from the biotechnology, food and alcohol industries, its client list includes British American Tobacco.

Background

Founded in 2013 by Karl Brophy in Dublin, Ireland, it offers services such as coalition building and grassroots mobilisation, reputation management and political engagement.2

Red Flag’s EU lobbying in Brussels alone amounted to between EU€300,000 and EU€400,000 in 2019. It has declared fourteen EU lobbyists, six with European Parliament accreditation.3

Key staff members of Red Flag have previously held jobs in other controversial industries, including alcohol (Diageo)4, gambling (Betfair)5, biotechnology (Syngenta)6 and processed food (Grocery Manufacturers Association).7

Relationship With The Tobacco Industry

British American Tobacco is listed as one of Red Flag’s largest clients, with Red Flag receiving between EU€100,000 and EU€200,000 from BAT in 2019, according to the EU Transparency register.3

In 2018, it lobbied the Irish Government on behalf of PJ Carroll, an Irish BAT subsidiary, on e-cigarettes and smoking cessation.8910

Relationship With Other Unhealthy Commodity Industries

Red Flag is credited with leading a pro-glyphosate ‘astroturf’ (fake ‘grassroots’) campaign for Monsanto.11 Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s weed-killer Roundup, was classified as “probably carcinogenic to humans” by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2016.12

The firm has also been employed by the Irish Meat and Dairy Facts farming alliance13 and the European Livestock and Meat Trades Union14 to promote meat and dairy in the face of growing concerns about climate change.

Red Flag has lobbied on alcohol policy for clients including spiritsEUROPE and Irish Distillers Limited (Pernod Ricard).38

Other clients include technology companies, such as Google, and Aurora Cannabis.3

Relevant Links

TobaccoTactics Resources

References

  1. Red Flag, Our locations, undated, accessed 6 February 2020
  2. Red Flag, Our services, undated, accessed 11 February 2020
  3. abcdRed Flag, EU Transparency Register, 3 February 2020, accessed 6 February 2020
  4. Red Flag, Our team: Shane Fitzgerald, undated, accessed 11 February 2020
  5. Red Flag, Our Team: Martin Cruddace, undated, accessed 11 February 2020
  6. Piero Soave, LinkedIn profile, undated, accessed 6 February 2020
  7. Red Flag, Our Team: Melissa San Miguel, undated, accessed 11 February 2020
  8. abRed Flag Consulting Limited, Red Flag Consulting Limited, Irish Standards in Public Office Commission Register of Lobbying, last accessed 11 February 2020
  9. Red Flag Consulting Limited, Red Flag Consulting Limited, Irish Standards in Public Office Commission Register of Lobbying, 21 May 2018, accessed 28 February 2020
  10. Red Flag Consulting Limited, Red Flag Consulting Limited, Irish Standards in Public Office Commission Register of Lobbying, 21 May 2018, accessed 28 February 2020
  11. Z. Boren & A. Neslen, How lobbyists for Monsanto led a ‘grassroots farmers’ movement against an EU glyphosate ban, Unearthed, 17 October 2018, accessed 27 February 2020
  12. International Agency on Cancer Research, IARC Monograph on Glyphosate, IARC website, 1 March 2016, accessed 27 February 2020
  13. M. Donnelly & C. Fox, Agri-food alliance brings in big guns to fight negative press, ‘Irish Independent’, 17 September 2019, accessed 27 February 2020
  14. McGlyn et al, “Crisis – The EU Meat Industry in a Hard Brexit Scenario”, European Livestock and Meat Trades Union, November 2017, accessed 11 February 2020