Etienne Vernet: 33 1 43 57 68 22 (Paris)
Jamila Ellidrissi: 33 6 22 92 57 72 (Mobile)
Annie Pourre: 33 6 88 30 52 03 (mobile)
Flip Vonk: 31 6 17 83 64 86 (mobile)
Jens Christiansen: 31 20 668 2236 (Amsterdam)
Kenny Bruno: 1 718 832 5434 (New York)
PARIS (October 9) -- At 8:30 this morning local time, activists from France, Belgium, the Netherlands, England, Germany, Denmark, Nigeria and Spain gathered outside the headquarters of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in Paris to protest against the first meeting of the Business Action for Sustainable Development (BASD) group.
The BASD, a joint initiative of the ICC and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) represents the main business input for next year's United Nations World Summit on Sustainable Development, also known as Rio+10. Business will use the World Summit as an occasion to portray themselves as doing 'good' with regards to environmental and social issues, as well as an opportunity to greenwash their tarnished images. They do so by alleging that "business is part of the solution and not the problem".
The main entrance was initially blocked by Amsterdam and Ghent, 'Rhythms of Resistance' samba bands, while amused Chief Executive Officers (Cease) of several large transnational corporations arrived for the event. Banners were hung on the outside wall stating 'Business Action for Sustainable Domination' and 'Business is the Problem and not the Solution'. The CEOs and other participants were then treated to a 'greenwashing' experience as activists washed a number of corporate logos green and hung up on a washing line, including Monsanto, Shell and Nestle, all members of the ICC and the WBCSD. Meanwhile a Nigerian and a Dutch activist, who had handcuffed themselves inside the main entrance hall, were evicted. There were no arrests.
In contrast to the ongoing demonstrations outside the US embassy the atmosphere was relatively calm with a policeman donning a green skirt which had been part of the samba band outfit.
For a picture of the demonstration, see www.iccwbo.org/basd/index.asp
Quotes from demonstrators:
"I fear corporate lobbyists may take advantage of the war, which creates minimal political space for conflict between the US and EU, leading to an acceleration of neoliberal globalisation. Therefore our protests remain crucial," says Flip Vonk from A SEED, an Amsterdam based organisation.
"Citizens all over the world concerned about the consequences of the activities of multinationals will challenge BASD members where ever they meet." states Mr. Vonk.
"The underlying aim of the BASD, with members including Texaco, Monsanto and such, is to legitimise the increasing corporate appropriation of our planet's natural and human resources in the name of sustainable development for profits" says Etienne Vernet from Ecoropa-France.