MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Letter No. 7.

Published by MAC on 2004-08-15

Letter No. 7.

Dear Marcus,

I fundamentally disagree with your last sentence. We need to engage more, not less, with both corporates and consumers, for there to be any real change. Conservation needs to be integrated into corporate policy and business practice for us to achieve an environmentally secure future.

We don't decry your approach. As I keep saying, lobbying has a role, of course it does. But do you genuinely believe that the spectrum of effort across the environmental movement should be reduced to the single route of protest?

It is simply not the case that your way is exclusively, morally right and everyone else's is evil and wrong. Don't dismiss what you don't like or understand just because it reflects better on your more popularly accepted method to condemn ours. It is a great pity that that your perspective creates schisms rather than solidarity in the NGO sector.

Of course greenwash occurs, but ultimately it is in nobody's interests as it will damage an NGO's reputation, will alienate its supporters, will make other companies less likely to work with it and, most importantly, will undermine its mission and work.

We've chosen a hard route. Building genuine corporate partnerships is complex and time consuming. It involves a process of understanding perspectives and drivers, agreeing aims and ground rules, developing methods and management, measuring delivery and impact. We offer an extended hand to those willing to look hard at their own practices and who commit to change. If we can get these partnerships right, then they may be one of the most important means available to really deliver sustainable change.

I believe we have a shared motivation - a profound and grave concern for the future of our planet and a recognition of the power and influence of the private sector. Within this massive and urgent challenge we all have roles to play, so let's get on with it.

Mark

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