Friday, March 28, 2008

Environmental shakedown racket?

Peter Foster fills us in on an interesting "partnership" between the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and cement giant Lafarge:

I came across an example of the WWF's earning power at the recent Globe conference on business and the environment in Vancouver. The Cement Association of Canada had just produced its second "Sustainability Report."

... In the interests of transparency, I decided to ask three questions: What was the cost to Lafarge of meeting the WWF's demands? How much was Lafarge paying the WWF? And, since the freedom to criticize was such an important part of the partnership, what criticism did Lafarge have of the WWF's approach?

The Lafarge executive on the dais suddenly looked like a deer in headlights. He didn't have a clue what meeting the WWF's demands was costing. Moreover, he would presumably rather have chewed off his own arm than criticize the WWF.

Subsequently ... I discovered [from the WWF chief executive]...that the figure [paid to WWF] was ... $2.4-million, annually over three years ... [but he] didn't have a figure for the cost of meeting the WWF's demands (beyond what Lafarge would have done anyway).

The WWF thus seems to have found a very profitable and powerful niche for itself, both as business and political consultant, while at the same time somehow retaining its posture as guardian of the planet.

The whole thing comes across as a kind of protection shakedown --- with links to that notorious international man of mystery:

This ... reminded me of the modus operandi of Maurice Strong, the den father of radical environmentalism. It is surely not a coincidence that Mr. Strong ...was one of the earliest and most influential members of the WWF. Meanwhile, the Cement Association's Sustainability Report came about as a result of the "Cement Sustainability Initiative" of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. The WBCSD was started by? Go on, have a guess!

And finally, remember to mark Earth Hour:
So if you love freedom, and possess the slightest trace of ability to think independently, don't forget to keep those lights burning brightly between 8 and 9 P.M. on Saturday night.


Anonymous said...

There is an echo in all that of how Jesse Jackson's organization shakes down corporations.

And the hand of Maurice Strong in all of this is duly noted. Time for a re-read of Elaine Dewar's "Cloak of Green"

Anonymous said...

You imply that Maurice Strong started the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. I got interested in this and tried to find out when/why/how Maurice strong did this. However, I did not manage to find any information about the fact that Maurice Strong started the WBCSD. Mr. Strong ask Stephan Schmidheiny, a Swiss industrialists, in 1992 to provide business input into the Rio Summit. Maurice Strong gathered a group of business people to do so, which later on established the "Business Conucil for Sustainable Development". The WBCSD was then founded years later through a merger of the BCSD and WICE

You might want to correct your post.

JR said...

anon1, Excellent points.

anon2, Thanks for the clarification. If what you say is true then Strong did indeed have a large role in 'starting' the WBCSD (via the BCSD) just as Peter Foster asserted.