We've written a bit about the corporate assault on the COP 10 Biodiversity Treaty in Big Bodies vs the Biosphere and at our NGO website COP10.org, but Lady Ainger has done a stellar job tracing the history of Big Biz's well funded and relentless attacks on the UN and the global public sphere. Please note how well they were abetted by both the Dems and GOP, and perhaps consider it a reason to stand up, walk out and help out SAP instead.
"Earth Summit for Sale: Katharine Ainger discovers how
the UN learned to stop worrying and love big business"
July 1, 2002
WHITE ants -- Australian for termites - are pale grubs that chomp their way through wooden structures which still look intact from the outside. Until, that is, you lean on the framework and find yourself crashing through rotten, hollowed-out wood. In the run-up to the second 'Earth Summit' which will open on 26 August in Johannesburg, South Africa, 10 years after the Rio Conference which brought environmentalism centre stage, the world will look to United Nations frameworks to protect the planet and its people. But corporations with a record of undermining UN initiatives -- on climate change, toxic waste, tobacco, apartheid sanctions and more, are now 'valued partners' of the institution. Secretary General Kofi Annan says: 'The UN and private companies are joining forces.' Critics say corporations have successfully 'white anted' the UN.
As the economy has globalized, political and social institutions that mitigate the worst ravages of the market have become hopelessly outgunned. For some, the UN still holds out hope for a planetary social contract for the age of globalization. But for that optimistic hope to be realized, the UN would need to have enforceable powers over corporate polluters and human-rights abusers.
Big business is ahead of the game. As one international lobbyist put it: 'The first thing I tell an industry that's being threatened with regulation is to self-regulate, put in place voluntary codes of conduct.' There are now over a quarter of a million voluntary, non-binding corporate codes of conduct in place -- and not a single international binding agreement of corporate responsibility. As the UN is the likeliest venue for such an agreement, corporate partnerships and voluntary codes of behaviour are their best weapon of defence.
Read the full history here.