Greenwash & Public Relations

Activists, businessmen and government leaders met on Tuesday in the shadow of the U.N. Millennium Summit, agonizing over the future of economic globalization following the disruption of the WTO in Seattle and how to narrow the widening gap between rich and poor.
Some 50 multinationals joined 12 labor associations and watchdog groups to sign a ''global compact'' that commits them to support human rights, eliminate child labor, allow free trade unions and refrain from polluting the environment wherever they do business.
A flagship rice plantation in Tanzania run by UK investors has allegedly destroyed the livelihoods of local smallholder farmers, driven them into debt and impacted the local environment, according to a new report published by the Oakland Institute. The report was co-authored with Greenpeace Africa and Global Justice Now.
BOSTON -- In a letter sent to Bill and Melinda Gates today, the national corporate accountability organization Infact urged the couple to help end Philip Morris's involvement in the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN). Today, the Gates Foundation is announcing the launch of the new alliance, which includes Kraft Foods as well as UN agencies, to increase access to nutrient-fortified foods in developing countries. Kraft is a subsidiary of Philip Morris, the world's largest and most profitable tobacco corporation. The tobacco giant has been exposed for using its Kraft Foods division in efforts to undermine the World Health Organization-initiated Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), a global treaty. Infact is one of dozens of NGOs around the world working to ensure a strong and enforceable FCTC.
Partnership programs are proliferating in the UN system, often before guidelines can be put in place, and before the implications of the partnerships are understood.
Aubrey McClendon, the founder and CEO of Oklahoma-based Chesapeake Energy, who championed natural gas to the extent of paying environmental groups to oppose coal, is facing angry shareholders for his profligate ways. Chesapeake is one of the leading users of fracking - an environmentally questionable method of extracting natural gas.
In 2000 British Petroleum launched an expensive ad campaign, re-branding its corporate image into the eco-friendly "BP: Beyond Petroleum." We said it then. When a company spends more on advertising its environmental friendliness than on environmental actions, that's greenwash. Three long weeks into the BP oil disaster roiling the Gulf of Mexico, CorpWatch's December 2000 skewering of its new image sadly, bears repeating.
At the occassion of the start of PrepCom IV (Bali, 27 May -- 7 June 2002) we herewith send you the Girona Declaration. The Bali event is last preparatory conference before the UN's World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), Rio+10. The declaration -- signed by over 30 groups from around the world -- is a result of the strategy session ''Rio+10 and Beyond: Strategies Against the Greenwash of Corporate Globalisation'', held March 18-20 2002 in Girona, Spain.
108 heads of state from 172 countries were busy saving the planet at the earth summit Rio. It is difficult to say how the earth summit has improved the environment and helped those most in need. But it is much easier to say that in 1992, the web was a toddler in contrast to the speeding giant of mass communications it now is, giving a voice to all who can get online.
While the world's biggest CEOs and politicians gather in Davos, Switzerland to network and negotiate, activists and NGO-workers meet halfway around the world in Porto Alegre, Brazil to imagine other, more humanity-focused possibilities.