End Corporate Immunity/Interference

End greenwashing!

Large mining companies and governments use certain metals and minerals as key for green technologies to greenwash the metal mining industry, promoting the nonsensical concept of ‘green mining’. Despite this, metals such as copper, iron and aluminium are overwhelmingly used in construction and other industries, such as the destructive military sector.[1]

[1] Friends of the Earth “‘Green Mining” is a Myth”

Stop saying ‘green mining’ is possible

It’s estimated that carbon emissions associated with primary metal and mineral production accounted for approximately 10% of total global energy-related emissions in 2018, making industry claims of ‘tackling climate change’ by increasing mining unfounded.[1]

[1] Friends of the Earth “‘Green Mining” is a Myth”

Stop saying ‘green growth’ is possible

At the root of the destruction of the climate crisis; ecological degradation, human rights violations and social inequalities form the continued dominance of the growth-based economic system – the inability to think of and implement economic policy outside of the growth paradigm, and the resulting constant push for more production and consumption. As long as this system remains dominant, incremental tweaks alone won’t create the major transformations and shifts needed. Policies built around the false narrative of ‘green mining’ are an attempt at greenwashing which will do little to fix these root problems.[2][3][4][5]

The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on the impacts of climate change and how we can adapt to them urges “urgent action to adapt to the changes we will see, as well as cuts to greenhouse gas emissions. Those urgent adaptation actions include improving low-income houses to cope with heat, changing planning regulations to stop dangerous development, and planning for the closure of some industries”.[6]

Related to greenwashing; “Green scamming” is the use of a name or designation that implies the environmental friendliness of a producer or its product. Green scamming organisations are very active in organised climate denial. Exxon-Mobil is an example of a company that has funded green scamming organisations for the purpose of climate denial.[7]

  • Governments can actively push back against greenwashing, introducing and strengthening regulations that stop false advertising.
    • The recent review into greenwashing by the Australian Securities & Investment Commission (ASIC) is a small start, but a lot more action is needed.[8]
    • For example, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in the UK has been banning ads for greenwashing.[9]
  • Corporations can stop greenwashing. Greenwashing is disinformation (or PR spin) that corporations promote in order to present an environmentally friendly image.
  • People and communities can start campaigns to fact check and call out corporations and governments on their greenwashing.[10][11][12][13][14]

[2] Friends of the Earth “‘Green Mining” is a Myth” pp 35
[3] M Davie “The rush for cobalt in the Congo reveals the human cost of the world’s green energy future“, Foreign Correspondent, ABC News, 25 February 2022.
[4] G Monbiot “‘Green growth’ doesn’t exist – less of everything is the only way to avert catastrophe“, The Guardian, 29 September 2021
[5] H Rhoades & A Whitmore “We can’t mine our way out of climate crisis“, The Ecologist, 25 May 2021
[6] M Slezak “Window to save ourselves from climate change ‘rapidly closing’, IPCC warns“, ABC News, 28 February 2022
[7] Wikipedia “Green scamming
[8] C Armour “What is “greenwashing” and what are its potential threats?“, Australian Securities and Investments Commission, July 2021
[9] B Dean “The five: ads banned for greenwashing“, The Guardian, 9 February 2020
[10] Les Amis de la Terre “Environmental groups sue TotalEnergies for misleading the public over Net Zero“, 3 March 2022
[11] ClientEarth “BP greenwashing complaint sets precedent for action on misleading ad campaigns“, 17 June 2020
[12] T Joe “Earth Island Sues Coca-Cola Over Greenwashing Claims & False Advertisement“, Green Queen, 11 June 2021
[13] Two-Sides “Anti-Greenwashing Campaign
[14] V Peel-Yates “Greenwashing: 9 recent stand-out examples“, Akepa, 23 July 2021

Reject false solutions that are displacing real, people-first solutions to the climate crisis

  1. Reject offsets and stop the transition of the Clean Development Mechanism into the guidelines for implementation of the Paris Agreement in the guise of the Sustainable Development Mechanism.
  2. Honour the international Moratorium on geoengineering established by the Convention on Biological Diversity.
  3. Reject Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and Bio-energy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) projects, and other techno fixes.
  4. Stop the conversion of local agricultural lands to non-food production purposes.
  5. Reject REDD+, REDD-like projects, Internationally-Traded Mitigation Outcomes (ITMOs), and all forms of carbon trading schemes that undermine human and indigenous rights, including indigenous cultures, territorial sovereignty, and integrity.
  6. Stop supporting and promoting burning biomass as renewable energy and reject the substitution of bio-fuels and bio-energy as an alternative to fossil fuels.
  7. Reject corporate-fronted schemes promoting so-called “Climate Smart Agriculture”.[15]
  • Governments and corporations can communicate truthfully about false solutions and endorse The People’s Demands for Climate Justice.[15]
  • People and communities can listen to and support front-line communities fighting against false solutions, make sure environmental campaigns and campaigners are aware of false solutions and not promoting them, and endorse The People’s Demands for Climate Justice.[15]

[15] The People’s Demands for Climate Justice

Recognize that communities have the Right to Say No to extractivist projects

Front-line communities bear the impacts of a mine for the sake of the global community. After a fully informed independent assessment, front-line communities should be afforded the legal right to refuse hosting a proposed mining operation.

  • Governments can strongly enforce the right to say no, and create policies and procedures to stop corporations manipulating and side-stepping the process. Free, prior and informed consent.
  • Corporations can recognise that communities have the right to reject destructive, extractivist projects on their land.
  • People and communities can join and support blockades led by First Nations peoples and front-line communities – Waddanunggu on Wangan and Jagalingou country fighting the Adani coal mine[16], Deebing Creek on Yuggura country, Brisbane[17], Camp Nunguu on Gumbaynggirr Country in northern NSW[18], etc.
    • Communities across Africa are organising to stop destructive projects.[19]

[16] Waddananggu – the talking standing-our-ground.org
[17] J Sri “Deebing Creek: a fight for land rights and sovereignty“, 9 April 2021
[18] Facebook.com Newry Native Forest Blockade
[19] Womin African Alliance Right To Say No Information Pack

Acknowledge Gross Domestic Product (GDP) isn’t a measure of wellbeing. We need to stop our economy and policy makers’ dependence on growing it

GDP was never meant to be a measure of economic well-being[20]. When it was developed in the 1930s – Simon Kuznets, who created the concept, warned against using it as a measure for welfare. “[Kuznets] understood that GDP isn’t a welfare measure, it’s not a measure of how well we’re all doing. It counts the things that we’re buying and selling, but it’s quite possible for GDP to go in the opposite direction of welfare.” said professor Erik Brynjolfsson.[21]

  • This has been acknowledged by different people in different parts of the political spectrum over time, for example Bobby Kennedy on GDP[22]: ‘measures everything except that which is worthwhile’ in 1968.
  • (GDP measures the total market value of all finished consumer goods and services produced within a country’s borders within a specified time period.)
  • Governments can be honest about what policies they propose, and not cherry pick economic growth as a reason to do certain things. 
    • For example – providing free universal child-care would boost GDP far more than tax-cuts for the rich, but is never seriously considered by major political parties.  
  • Governments can also use different measures of well-being. Bhutan coined the Gross National Happiness Index[23], which measures social and economic well-being by collating areas such as education, health, time use, psychological well-being, cultural diversity, living standards, among others.
  • Corporations can ??
  • People and communities can self-educate and educate each other about the limits of GDP growth.

[20] A Kapoor & B Debroy “GDP Is Not a Measure of Human Well-Being“, Harvard Business Review, 4 October 2019
[21] S Thomson “GDP a poor measure of progress, say Davos economists“, World Economic Forum, 23 January 2016
[22] S Rogers “Bobby Kennedy on GDP: ‘measures everything except that which is worthwhile’“, The Guardian, 24 May 2012
[23] Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiatives “Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness Index“, University of Oxford

End privatisation

Resources, places, institutions and other assets that serve a public good should be in the hands of the people and communities, not in private hands. This includes returning assets that have been privatised back into public hands.

Few people understand how absurd privatisation can become. In Chile, for instance, the ocean is privately owned. Understanding that this is the logical endpoint of privatisation can help show the need to fight against it.

Other absurd proposals even involve privatising space.[24]

  • Governments can re-nationalise industries and put them back in the control of the communities who use and are affected by them. Support community initiatives of commoning.
  • Corporations can hand back control of industries/resources/land to communities. 
  • People and communities can take back control of privatised assets, challenge notions of private property. One way to do this is to recreate commons. Commons are products and resources that are created, cared for and used in a shared way in a great variety of forms. The term has increasingly come into use again over the past decades – “again“ because commons as concept and praxis are ancient and exist worldwide.[25] See examples of commons and commoning – Commons Strategy Group[26], P2P Foundation[27], Wikipedia, and the Commons Network.[28]

[24] K Plummer “The Moon should be privatised to help wipe out poverty on Earth, economists say“, Indy100, 16 February 2022
[25] The International Association for the Study of the Commons About The Commons
[26] Common Strategies Group commonsstrategies.org
[27] PTP Foundation p2pfoundation.net
[28] Commons Network www.commonsnetwork.org

Eliminate for-profit mining and disband all mining companies that have been implicated in any human rights and/or environmental disasters; or have built projects without the consent of communities affected. Ban the directors of these companies from managing corporations. Ensure these companies fully remediate their extractive projects.

For-profit mining inevitably means that profit is of utmost importance ahead of all other considerations; as companies need to compete for profit or lose market share. This means other considerations such as environmental and social justice issues will get very little attention, or worse be used to look ‘green’ or ‘just’ while still prioritising profit above all else.

  • Governments can use section 206B of the corporations act (CTH) to automatically disqualify people from ‘managing corporations’ if they’ve committed various crimes. It’s an offence under section 206A for a disqualified person to manage a corporation. Governments can also make sure companies fully remediate extractive projects, and disband them if they do not comply.
  • Corporations can move resource extraction, and energy production and distribution, from the hands of big mining and energy monopolies to small-scale modern mining that has communities and cooperatives at its core, and to a model that’s not-for-profit. 
  • People and communities can spread information on, campaign against and blockade mining projects and companies that have been implicated in any human rights and/or environmental disasters.

Another option to regulate corporate destruction is to – Finalise, approve and enforce a United Nations binding treaty on transnational enterprises with regards to human rights that holds corporations to account for their crimes wherever they occur.[29][30]

[29] Friends of the Earth International “The UN Treaty on transnational corporations and human rights“, 2014
[30] Dismantle Corporate Power www.stopcorporateimpunity.org

Build well being focused, growth agnostic, democratic resilient communities.

  • Governments, corporations, people and communities can take examples from this document and put them into practice.

References

[1] Friends of the Earth “‘Green Mining” is a Myth”
[2] Friends of the Earth “‘Green Mining” is a Myth” pp 35
[3] M Davie “The rush for cobalt in the Congo reveals the human cost of the world’s green energy future“, Foreign Correspondent, ABC News, 25 February 2022.
[4] G Monbiot “‘Green growth’ doesn’t exist – less of everything is the only way to avert catastrophe“, The Guardian, 29 September 2021
[5] H Rhoades & A Whitmore “We can’t mine our way out of climate crisis“, The Ecologist, 25 May 2021
[6] M Slezak “Window to save ourselves from climate change ‘rapidly closing’, IPCC warns“, ABC News, 28 February 2022
[7] Wikipedia “Green scamming
[8] C Armour “What is “greenwashing” and what are its potential threats?“, Australian Securities and Investments Commission, July 2021
[9] B Dean “The five: ads banned for greenwashing“, The Guardian, 9 February 2020
[10] Les Amis de la Terre “Environmental groups sue TotalEnergies for misleading the public over Net Zero“, 3 March 2022
[11] ClientEarth “BP greenwashing complaint sets precedent for action on misleading ad campaigns“, 17 June 2020
[12] T Joe “Earth Island Sues Coca-Cola Over Greenwashing Claims & False Advertisement“, Green Queen, 11 June 2021
[13] Two-Sides “Anti-Greenwashing Campaign
[14] V Peel-Yates “Greenwashing: 9 recent stand-out examples“, Akepa, 23 July 2021
[15] The People’s Demands for Climate Justice
[16] Waddananggu – the talking standing-our-ground.org
[17] J Sri “Deebing Creek: a fight for land rights and sovereignty“, 9 April 2021
[18] Facebook.com Newry Native Forest Blockade
[19] Womin African Alliance Right To Say No Information Pack
[20] A Kapoor & B Debroy “GDP Is Not a Measure of Human Well-Being“, Harvard Business Review, 4 October 2019
[21] S Thomson “GDP a poor measure of progress, say Davos economists“, World Economic Forum, 23 January 2016
[22] S Rogers “Bobby Kennedy on GDP: ‘measures everything except that which is worthwhile’“, The Guardian, 24 May 2012
[23] Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiatives “Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness Index“, University of Oxford
[24] K Plummer “The Moon should be privatised to help wipe out poverty on Earth, economists say“, Indy100, 16 February 2022
[25] The International Association for the Study of the Commons About The Commons
[26] Common Strategies Group commonsstrategies.org
[27] PTP Foundation p2pfoundation.net
[28] Commons Network www.commonsnetwork.org
[29] Friends of the Earth International “The UN Treaty on transnational corporations and human rights“, 2014
[30] Dismantle Corporate Power www.stopcorporateimpunity.org




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s