November 12, 2009
by David Gutierrez, staff writer
Business in the Community’s 2009 Responsible Business Awards for ecological responsibility were dominated by companies that have made their fortunes exploiting the Earth, writes Guardian columnist Fred Pearce in his series “Greenwash.”
“Greenwashing” refers to the practice of putting an environmentally friendly face on companies or practices that are anything but.
The greenwashing began with the sponsors, with Bank of America – the world’s largest funder of mountaintop removal coal mining and also it’s largest underwriter of debt – handing out a Climate Change Award. Finalists for this award included Toyota, the world’s largest car maker and thus a major contributor to global warming, and United Biscuits, which purchases large quantities of palm oil from monoculture plantations that have replaced native rain forest in Indonesia.
Deforestation is also a major contributor to global warming.
The Environmental Leadership Award was sponsored by Adsa, which has failed to inform consumers of any progress on its 2007 promise to remove all unsustainably produced palm oil from its products, in violation of commitments it made as part of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil. The award went to the Co-op, which is two years behind on its own reporting to the Roundtable.
The Responsible Marketing and Innovation Award was sponsored by Procter & Gamble, which has come under fire for a wide variety of practices from animal testing of cosmetics, failing to reveal the ingredients in its laundry detergents, falsely labeling its detergents as “future friendly,” and aggressively marketing disposable diapers in Third World countries. The award went to Thames Water, a privately held water utility serving large areas of the United Kingdom, for its “campaign to promote the serving of tap water in London’s restaurants, bars and hotels.”
“Here we defy parody,” Pearce wrote. “Forgive me, isn’t tap water just about the only thing that Thames Water sells? It would be one of life’s great surprises if it were not promoting its one and only product. Does it deserve a prize for this self-sacrifice?”
July 12, 2009
by Cao Jie
Egyptian Assistant Foreign Minister Naela Gabr said Saturday that the world society should make joint efforts to set up a new world order to deal with various crises.
Gabr made the appeal when addressing the senior officials’ meeting of the 15th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit, which opened Saturday in Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.
The current world situation is quite different from 48 years ago when the NAM was founded, with increasing population, outbreaks of epidemic and deteriorating environment, she said.
The world society should reconsider the international financial system and be more democratic in decision-making so as to avoid the global financial crisis which has hampered the economic growth of developing countries, Gabr said.
She also called for restructuring of international mechanism in health and agriculture in an effort to help overcome the crises in the two areas, referring to global spread of A/H1N1 flu and rising food prices.
Senior officials from over 140 countries gathered here to work out basic documents for the coming NAM summit, which will state the movement’s stance in the current international context on major international and regional issues like the global financial crisis, the Middle East peace process, and the Iranian nuclear issue.
The NAM has played a significant role in protecting rights and interests of its member states, and Egypt, as it will be the rotating chair of the group of pan-developing countries, will endeavor to strengthen its role in the world arena, she added.
Formally founded in September 1961, NAM groups 118 member states, which represents nearly two-thirds of the United Nations’ members, particularly developing countries. It also comprises 55 percent of the world population.