NGOs to Monitor Business Group's Plans for Earth Summit II
NEW YORK -- CorpWatch warned today that the newly formed Business Action for Sustainable Development (BASD), an industry grouping organized to influence the Earth Summit in 2002 will be scrutinized and monitored by NGOs concerned with excessive corporate influence at the UN.
"These are the same discredited companies that attempted to greenwash themselves at the first Earth Summit in Rio, and have been slowing environmental progress ever since," said Kenny Bruno, UN Project Coordinator for CorpWatch. "If they want us to believe they have become part of the solution, they will have to prove it."
The BASD is a joint initiative of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). Both the ICC and WBCSD lobbied heavily to gut the 1992 Rio Earth Summit documents of any mention of corporate responsibility for environmental problems. They have consistently maintained that voluntary measures and corporate self-regulation are the key solutions to environmental crises. But under this approach, in the nine years since Rio, environment and sustainable development have been sidelined in the international arena while free trade agreements have emerged as the dominant force.
Mark Moody Stuart, currently Chair of Royal Dutch Shell, will head up the new business grouping. "It is especially ironic that a Shell executive is taking this role, because through its actions Shell became a symbol of environmental destruction and complicity in human rights violations in the 1990's," said Victoria Corpuz, Executive Director of Tebtebba Foundation, an indigenous organization based in the Philippines. "The choice of Moody Stuart sends the message that Business Action for Sustainable Development will be more about style than substance."
CorpWatch is the Secretariat of the Alliance for a Corporate-Free UN, a worldwide network of human rights, labor rights and environmental groups that has been critical of the growing entanglement between the UN and transnational corporations. The Alliance calls for binding international controls over corporate activity as a key to "sustainable development." Information about the Alliance can be found at: www.corpwatch.org/un