Some corporations continue to abuse the rights of people, destroy the livelihoods of communities, and pollute water and forest resources for future generations, according to a new report by Friends of the Earth International has been published. The report graphically illustrates the need for governments to agree to introduce tighter rules for multinationals at the Earth Summit in Johannesburg.
Launched as world leaders prepare for the Earth Summit in Johannesburg later this month , Clashes with Corporate Giants reveals how even some of the top international companies who claim to be developing sustainable policies, are still causing major damage to the planet.
Companies featured in the report include:
Mining giant Rio Tinto
Rio Tinto is prospecting for gold in the Poboya protected forest, in Indonesia, despite opposition from local indigenous peoples . The mining industry poses one of the greatest threats to Indonesias threatened forests with mining concessions overlapping with many protected areas. Rio Tinto is aiming to avoid international regulation of the mining industry at the forthcoming Earth Summit by trying to persuade governments to establish voluntary partnerships with the industry. Rio Tinto Chairman Sir Robert Wilson is a member of the UK delegation.
South African-based chemical company Sasol
Sasol claims to put as much into the community as we do into our petrol. Indeed they do, including high levels of benzene, vinyl chloride and methylene chloride. Sasol has been influential in s pushing for voluntary environmental agreements, rather than legally enforceable standards that the local community could use to hold them liable .
Friends of the Earth International is calling for world leaders meeting at the Earth Summit in Johannesburg to introduce global rules for business, to protect people and the environment. The call has so far met with little enthusiasm from Western governments, but has received the backing of developing countries as well as thousands of individuals from around the world who have sent messages of support .
Tony Juniper, Vice Chair of Friends of the Earth International said:
The evidence in this report highlights the real damage companies are doing to people and to our environment. Despite big companies green public relations efforts, it illustrates how, for many companies, sustainable development means business as usual. Without global rules to check this behaviour, the environment is not going to figure on the corporate bottom line and it would be naïve to expect otherwise.
This issue is about far more than protecting profits for shareholders it is about the rights of people around the world to protect their health and their livelihoods, now and for future generations to come.