Greenwash & Public Relations
Since Aventis signed on to the Global Compact in July 2000, their genetically engineered StarLinkTM corn has illegally contaminated the food supply and seed stock. A look at the company's behavior regarding StarLink shows that before, during and after signing the Compact, Aventis violated Global Compact's Principle 7, which is drawn from the Rio Declaration and supports ''a precautionary approach to environmental challenges.''
In the months following the discovery and expose of Unilever's polluting practices in Kodaikanal, many of the responses and statements by the company have been contrary to facts. The time line below outlines a few. (Emphasis is the author's.)
Hedge fund billionaire George Soros is making a killing buying and selling farmland in South America after converting them to biofuel production. While this has caused the land prices to increase dramatically, the ecological impact is questionable.
Two controversial multinational projects in Orissa, an eastern Indian state, face high level decisions in the next few weeks: a bauxite mine in the Niyamgiri hills planned by Vedanta of the UK and an iron and steel refinery in Jagatsinghpur being developed by POSCO of South Korea.
Entergy Nuclear (part of the broader Entergy energy family) is spinning off its northeastern U.S.-based nuclear power plants into a related limited liability corporation, Enexus. Stakeholders in Vermont, home of the Yankee Nuclear power plant, are less than happy, with Entergy also reneging on prior commitments to cover eventual plant decommissioning costs, potentially stranding taxpayers with much of the bill.
The world has moved backward on environment and development since Rio. Governments surely bear primary responsibility for this failure. However, global corporations are at the root of many of the most intractable problems and have hamstrung governments preparing for Earth Summit II in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Even as world leaders kicked off discussions on how to alleviate poverty a theme anti-globalization activists have pushed for years a motley crew of corn farmers, masked students and rebel supporters took to the streets denouncing the gathering as more of the same.
Secretary of State Colin Powell will lead the American delegation to the World Summit on Sustainable Development, to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa from August 26 through September 4. President George W. Bush made the announcement late today, giving no explanation as to why he will not be attending the summit to join 106 other world leaders on the speaker's podium.
Behind the five intertwined rings of the Athens games, underpaid workers are sewing the shirts, gluing the shoes, and putting zippers to running suits and track apparel branded as Olympic--in working conditions that would make even the most highly trained athlete sweat.
By the end of the year, Starbucks will increase its ever-growing empire by opening a coffee shop in Mexico City -- the first Starbucks in Latin America. Ironically, Starbucks will soon be selling gourmet coffee to the very people who are under-paid for harvesting coffee beans. News of the Mexico City shop came as Starbucks was presenting its first Corporate Social Responsibility report at its annual shareholders' meeting in Seattle last month. The report emphasized the company's claimed commitment to doing business in socially, economically and environmentally responsible ways, to benefit the communities around the world where it does business.