Greenwash & Public Relations

A $50 billion plan by a Hong Kong based developer to cut a canal through Nicaragua to allow ocean going cargo ships cross back and forth from the Atlantic to the Pacific ocean has suffered major setbacks after fierce opposition by environmentalists and local communities.
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.)
The California Supreme Court delivered a stiff warning to businesses Thursday, ruling that a San Francisco man can sue Nike Inc. for false advertising for allegedly lying about working conditions at Asian factories where its athletic shoes and clothes are made.
Members of the Alliance for a Corporate-Free UN, a grouping of non-governmental groups from around the world, send letter to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan outlining major proposed changes to the Global Compact.
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.