MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Letter No. 4.

Published by MAC on 2004-08-15

Letter No. 4.

Dear Mark,

You are dodging the question: are conservationists’ partnerships with large corporations ‘greenwash’? In my view, your glossy, centenary fundraiser, published by ‘First’, is exactly that. The magazine says nothing about the environmental crimes of corporations but makes them out to be green leaders, linked to FFI alongside cosy endorsements by the Queen and Tony Blair. Your other publications are no more explicit. We looked in vain at your website and magazine, ‘Oryx’, for details about these companies’ operations.

* What have you done to expose Rio Tinto for their part in the destruction of the lands and culture of the Amungme people in West Papua? Have you told Rio Tinto not to profile you as ‘partner’ on its website until it stops pouring tailings from the Grasberg mine into the rivers and forests that sustain the Kamoro people downstream?
* Where have you highlighted the role of ExxonMobil in the Chad-Cameroon oil pipeline, which has smashed through the forests of the Bagyeli ‘Pygmies’ in SW Cameroon? Have you noted that the company dismisses the problem of global warming and openly campaigns against emissions reduction targets at the negotiations of the Climate Change Convention?
* How come I can’t find anything on your website about the pressure from BP to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to oil exploration and the threats this poses to the calving grounds of the Porcupine Caribou herd? What have you done to stop BP tooting its association with FFI on its own website, while the same company has been pushing through the Baku-Ceyhan Oil Pipeline across the Caucasus?
* Where are your studies of the deforestation caused by the fuelwood consumption of the tobacco curers that supply British American Tobacco, a company that contributes to the 750,000 tobacco-related deaths that the world suffers every year?
* Are you working with the Ogoni people to stop your ‘partner’, Shell, making yet more mess in the Niger Delta, where the Ogoni people continue to complain about social exclusion, immiseration, repression and environmental ruin?

Profiling these companies’ environmental credentials without exposing the problems, is what I call greenwash.

Marcus

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