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The Oligarchs Behind the “Humanitarian” Regime Change Network Now Exploiting Jo Cox’s Death to Push For UK Labour Split

Mint Press News

October 22, 2018

By Vanessa Beeley and Whitney Webb

 

Nick Grono at the Concordia Summit in September 2016 – The Power of Partnerships

LONDON — Jo Cox, the late Labour MP whose tragic death in 2016 shocked Britain and the world, has recently become a rallying cry for forces within the U.K. Labour Party who seek to weaken Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership and to return the party to the pro-intervention Tony Blair era. As this article (the final installment of our three-part series) will show, this effort to manipulate Jo Cox’s death is the latest move in a wider effort to turn Cox’s legacy to the advantage of pro-intervention interests in Britain and abroad, particularly with regard to foreign intervention in Syria. While these moves — from support for “humanitarian” intervention in Syria to the drive to split the U.K. Labour Party — are cast as people-driven objectives, they are in fact oligarch-driven.

Previous reporting on Jo Cox and her legacy revealed that the Jo Cox Fund, set up soon after Cox’s death, was created by a group of four pro-interventionist “humanitarians” — Mabel van Oranje, Gemma Mortensen, Tim Dixon and Nick Grono — all of whom have a history of involvement, either directly or indirectly, in past regime-change operations. They are all also connected to some of the world’s most ardent imperialists, as well as to the Not for Profit Industrial Complex (NPIC).

The NPIC is effectively the money-laundering operation of the world’s most powerful industrialists. By creating a socially appealing “not for profit” NGO that serves to influence public opinion in the direction of the industrialist agenda, the global elite ensure a monopoly over the chosen market. The oligarchy uses the NPIC to manufacture public consent for the schemes and campaigns that will maintain their power, privilege and wealth. Why would they create an entity that would be detrimental to their survival and success?

The NPIC gives an unsuspecting public the illusion of choice and a stakeholding in resolving our world issues. The reality is that we are being persuaded to “choose” the options that benefit only the world’s most powerful influencers and ensure the exploitation of humanity to secure supremacy for the very few.

The four founders of the Jo Cox Fund, referred to in this article as the “Jo Cox Four,” have used this fund to promote — among other causes — the U.S. coalition-financed White Helmets, whose primary purpose has been to escalate unlawful NATO state-proxy and direct military intervention in Syria.

In addition, these individuals behind the Jo Cox Fund have used that foundation to apply strategies aimed at promoting foreign military intervention that were first perfected during the NATO intervention in the Balkans, as several of the creators of the Jo Cox fund promoted that military intervention to great effect.

In applying those strategies to the current conflict in Syria, these players have helped develop a massive public-relations machine with the White Helmets at its center, and programmed that machine to use Cox’s death to sanctify the controversial group and shield it from scrutiny. Now, they are using her death to justify the creation of a new Labour party to prevent the ascendency of the anti-intervention platform of current Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

As this article will reveal, this NGO pro-Syrian-regime-change network — of which the Jo Cox Fund is part — is being promoted by powerful oligarchs with connections to the U.K., U.S. and Canadian governments. In the context of the call to partition U.K. Labour, the efforts driven by these billionaires show that they are hardly “people driven” and are instead being pushed by the same pro-intervention, monied interests that have long supported regime change in Syria and have since helped to weaponize Jo Cox’s death.


This is Part III of a three-part series on the life and legacy of Jo Cox and the posthumous fund set up in her honor. Read part 1 here and part 2 here. In this final part of the series, we focus on exploring the oligarchs who are driving the NGO and PR nexus aimed at manufacturing consent in Western nations for regime change in Syria, with a particular focus on how these oligarch-driven efforts are now fueling an effort to divide the U.K. Labour Party in order to undermine Jeremy Corbyn’s anti-war policies. Notably, those efforts within U.K. Labour are using Jo Cox and her highly manipulated legacy as a rallying cry.


 

The eBay billionaires and the Syria regime-change PR machine

As previous reporting has detailed, the Jo Cox Fund — the posthumous fund created soon after the late MP’s death — was formed by a group of four individuals who have long been involved in manufacturing consent for foreign “regime change” wars, first in the Balkans and now in Syria, and have been aided in this effort by massive funding from governments and elite billionaires. Yet, of those elite billionaires, some have promoted the Jo Cox Fund founders — and, with them, their pet projects such as the White Helmets — more than others.

One billionaire in particular stands out. One of the “eBay billionaires” who amassed a fortune as the online auction company’s first employee, Canadian billionaire and “philanthropist” Jeffrey Skoll not only shares past connections to the Jo Cox Four but has continuously used his massive wealth and his “charitable” foundation to promote them and their causes.

Indeed, the Skoll Foundation — a partner of USAID, a NPIC-leading U.S. government organization that has a reputation for funding U.S.-friendly subversive forces in foreign countries — has provided funding to the groups directly linked to Jo Cox founders, such as Crisis Action and Global Witness. And the associated Skoll World Forum has promoted the cause of Western-backed regime change in Syria — hosting the founder of the White Helmets, James Le Mesurier; the current leader of the White Helmets, Raed Saleh; the program director of the White Helmet parent organization Mayday Rescue, Farouq Habib; as well as all four of the founders of the Jo Cox Fund: Mabel van Oranje, Gemma Mortensen, Tim Dixon, and Nick Grono.

 

Who is Jeffrey Skoll?

Following on from his success at Ebay that ensured Skoll’s meteoric rise to the ranks of the billionaire elite, Skoll has capitalized upon that success to garner multiple awards from within the monied elite circles that he now inhabits.

Skoll has been awarded the Carnegie Medal for Philanthropy, which is considered to be the equivalent to the Nobel Peace Prize for philanthropy. The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace is a big-business club that is described as a “foreign policy think tank” with centers in Washington, New Delhi, Moscow, Beirut and Beijing. Former President Jessica Matthews said that her aim was to make Carnegie the place where world thinking can be incorporated into thinking about U.S policy and to transmit that thinking to the global audience.

On the Carnegie board of trustees is Syrian oil magnate Ayman Asfari, a U.K. resident and financial contributor to the Conservative government that has been at the forefront of the U.S. Coalition war effort in Syria. Asfari has been instrumental in financing much of the PR industry, including the White Helmets, that builds the “regime-change” narratives that criminalize the Syrian government and its allies, an effort detailed in Parts 1 and 2 of this series.

Skoll established Participant Media (PM) in 2004. As with so many of the social-consciousness documentary production sites that have sprung up in recent times to alter our perception with beautifully crafted storylines designed to mobilize bias in a particular direction, PM claims to combine the “power of a good story well told with opportunities for real world impact.” PM joins the throng of billionaire-funded and -founded media and PR agencies of power.

Diane Weyermann is PM’s president of documentary film and television. Weyermann previously worked with Robert Redford’s Sundance Institute, which has played a pivotal role in promoting the White Helmet Oscar-winning “documentaries.” For seven years Weyermann was the director of the Open Society Institute New York’s arts and culture program. Weyermann also launched the Soros Documentary Fund which later became the Sundance Documentary Fund in 1996.

Skoll has been made an Officer of the Order of Canada “for his generous commitment to social causes and for his innovative practice of philanthropy.” Very often the bridge between big business and government agencies is made by such ostensibly “philanthropic” activities of the capitalist entities and individuals.

The Canadian government reportedly led the organization of the recent evacuation of alleged White Helmet operatives out of southern Syria via Israeli occupied Syrian territory in the Golan Heights, before they were transported to Jordan and on to their countries of resettlement, which include Canada, the U.K., France and Germany.

The Canadian government has been a consistently staunch supporter of the White Helmets, backing their multiple bids for the Nobel Peace Prize despite protests from groups and individuals who campaigned against Canada joining with the France-U.K.-U.S. (FUKUS) alliance that has strongly pushed for the downfall of the Assad government. Canadian foreign policy has effectively aligned itself with the Syrian-linked philanthrocapitalist sector led by individuals like Skoll.

Skoll slots into the billionaire complex that underpins the White Helmet structure with ease. In 2015, Skoll had a “conversation” with Mabel Van Oranje on “Belief in a Collective Future.” Skoll has donated heavily to the Clinton Foundation and met with Hillary Clinton when she was secretary of state during the early days of the conflict in Syria. The Skoll Foundation has partnered in at least 21 commitments to programs designed by the Clinton Global Initiative. In April 2012, Clinton met with Skoll and Sally Osberg of Skoll’s charity during a U.S State Department-sponsored forum on government-business partnerships. The same month, USAID, the State Department/CIA contractor for expanding U.S global influence, announced a partnership with the Skoll Foundation to invest in health, energy, governance and food-security innovations. USAID has also provided at least $31m in funding to the White Helmets in Syria via one of its preferred subcontractors, Chemonics.

Skoll united with British business tycoon Richard Branson and Mabel Van Oranje in the funding of The Elders. Van Oranje resigned from her position as CEO of The Elders in 2012. It was Skoll’s Participant Media that produced Al Gore’s 2006 apocalyptic movie An Inconvenient Truth. Gore was Bill Clinton’s Vice President from 1993 – 2001. Skoll’s investment management firm, Capricorn Investment LLC, also received a $35 million investmentfrom Gore following the film’s success, which the firm invested into hedge funds and private partnerships, helping to grow Gore’s now sizeable fortune. Skoll co-founded Capricorn Investment LLC with former Vice President of Goldman Sachs Stephen George.

 

Skoll Foundation and Forum

When we start to look more closely at the “storytelling” partners of the Skoll Foundation, we draw even closer to the White Helmet PR industry. Skoll partners with the Sundance Institute, the BBC, NPR and Doc Society–Flex Fund, among others. The Sundance Institute, the BBC and Doc Society are central to the production and promotion of the White Helmet movie campaigns, including the Netflix White Helmet documentary that won the Oscar in 2016 and then Last Men in Aleppo that was nominated for the Oscar in 2017.

These organizations are literally the architects of “humanitarian war” and the White Helmets are their centerpiece, the ultimate “story” that, if told well, will draw Western nations deeper into the quagmire of a failed regime-change war in Syria. As Vanessa Beeley wrote in Architects of Humanitarian War:

I believe it’s safe to conclude that there is a vast, well-financed PR machine operating behind the scenes of the White Helmet organisation, whitewashing their discredited image and mapping out their political, media and Hollywood trajectory – in lock-step with the PR campaign is a media defence force headed up by Channel 4, The BBC and The Guardian. The hub of the film and PR sector is Doc Society.”

Listed among the Skoll Foundation “awardees” are Crisis Action and Global Witness — again linking to the White Helmet PR apparatus. Crisis Action brings together Brendan Cox, Gemma Mortensen and Tim Dixon of the Jo Cox Four. Crisis Action’s role in the White Helmet marketing complex was explored in detail in Part 2 of this series. Global Witness connects back to Mabel Van Oranje, who is on the advisory board with Alexander Soros.

The annual Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship is organized by the Skoll Foundation in partnership with the Said Foundation, or more precisely the Said Business School. The Forum convenes 800 social entrepreneurs, influencers, policy makers, philanthropists and students to “learn, problem solve and build community.”  The Said Foundation is “partnered” by Ayman Asfari, previously mentioned in connection with the White Helmet marketing team, headed up by the Syria Campaign.

The Skoll World Forum (SWF) was established in 2004. One of the sessions in the 2018 Forum was on “The Art of Co-creation: a Storytelling Model for Impact and Engagement.” As we have mentioned previously, almost the entire White Helmet PR team and White Helmet leadership have been listed as contributors to the SWF. These include James Le Mesurier, former British MI6 agent who established the White Helmets in Turkey and Jordan while employed by ARK Group; Raed Saleh, former mobile-phone salesman, now leader of the White Helmets; Tim Dixon MD, of Purpose; Farouq Habib, project manager at Mayday Rescue; and Brendan Cox, Mabel Van Oranje, Gemma Mortensen, and Nick Grono. CEO and president of the UN Foundation Kathy Calvin is also a contributor alongside the White Helmet team, and her role in promoting the billionaire-supported “humanitarian” group is further investigated later in this article.

In 2017, the SWF brought together Brendan Cox, Tim Dixon and Gemma Mortensen in a session entitled “Mobilizing a Movement: More in Common,” which focused on the Jo Cox-inspired movement to enable more “inclusive societies that look past our differences and embrace our common humanity.”

During this talk Dixon alludes to the iconic image of Alan Kurdi washed up on a beach in Turkey, which launched the refugee “crisis” in September 2015. The timing of this campaign, so rapidly adopted by the Jo Cox four and their associated PR agencies and billionaire network, was curiously in lock-step with the timing of the Russian intervention in Syria at the behest of the elected Syrian government. During the televised talk, Dixon describes the image of Kurdi’s body as “a defining moment for the More in Common impetus.” Dixon’s cynical exploitation of Kurdi’s death to promote the causes of the Jo Cox Four, including the White Helmets, was exposed by a statement given by Kurdi’s aunt, Tima Kurdi, in February 2017, in Canada:

Regime-change policy has destroyed my country and forced my people to flee. [U.S. Congresswoman] Tulsi [Gabbard]’s message was exactly what I have been trying to say for years, but no one wants to listen. [..]If the West keeps funding the rebels, we will see more people flee, more bloodshed, and more suffering. My people have suffered for at least six years.”

Tima Kurdi established very quickly that the furor over the refugee crisis, generated by the shocking images of her drowned nephew, was nothing more than a marketing campaign designed to facilitate a reaction and military push-back against the Russian intervention that threatened to derail the U.S. Coalition plans to topple the Syrian government.

Watch TEDXSkoll video showcasing a female White Helmets operative:

 

The many hats of Pierre Omidyar

Undeniably a formidable force in the promotion of the “Jo Cox Four” and the White Helmets, Jeffrey Skoll is not the only eBay billionaire involved in manufacturing consent for Syria regime change or in promoting the activities of the founding members of the Jo Cox Foundation. Indeed, Pierre Omidyar — the founder of eBay who was responsible for hiring Skoll and allowing him to amass his fortune — also shares many of the same connections to these individuals and the “humanitarian” regime change network currently exploiting the death of Jo Cox.

Like Skoll, Omidyar is also increasingly well-connected to the U.S. political establishment and was directly involved in promoting regime change in Ukraine alongside the Obama era U.S. State Department. Omidyar has a close relationship to Obama, having attended the same elite Hawaii school and having made more visits to the Obama White House between 2009 and 2013 than Google’s Eric Schmidt, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, or Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. He also donated $30 million to the Clinton Global Initiative and directly co-invested with the State Department, funding groups – some of them overtly fascist – that worked to overthrow Ukraine’s democratically elected government in 2014.

Even after Obama left office, Omidyar continues to fund USAID, particularly its overseas program aimed at “advancing U.S. national security interests” abroad. Omidyar’s Ulupono Initiative, a venture-capital fund that operates in his home state of Hawaii, cosponsors one of the Pentagon’s most important contractor expos, a direct connection between Omidyar and the military industrial complex that profits from U.S.-backed regime-change wars.

However, Omidyar’s very clear connections to the U.S. political establishment and U.S.-led regime-change efforts have often been obfuscated by reports on Omidyar’s “philanthropy.” Indeed, Omidyar has been heavily promoted as an “entrepreneurial” philanthropist, having won the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy and received accolades in the mainstream press for his unique “way of giving.”

One of Omidyar’s charitable groups, the Omidyar Network, has given large grants to George Soros’s Open Society Foundations (where Jo Cox Fund founder Mabel van Oranje once worked) and the Tides Center, and has collaborated with the U.K. government and the Ford Foundation. Notably, another arm of Omidyar’s charitable network, Humanity United, provided a considerable portion of the funds that established the Clinton-promoted Freedom Fund, whose inaugural CEO was Nick Grono, one of the founders of the Jo Cox Fund.

Another “philanthropic” project of Omidyar’s is the New York-based publication, the Intercept. That publication was largely founded with the intent of publishing the leaked U.S. government documents provided by Edward Snowden, but over 90 percent of those leaks have yet to be made public  over five years after the Intercept’s founding, leading critics to accuse Omidyar of seeking to “privatize” those leaks.

Yet, of the documents that have been published, one published last year exposed the opposition paramilitary group, the Free Syrian Army, as taking marching orders from the Saudi royal family. However, that document was published by the Intercept only after the U.S. State Department itself began to report more honestly on the nature of these so-called “rebels,” even though the Intercept had the document in its possession since 2013.

Furthermore, Intercept writers covering Syria frequently promote Syrian “rebels” and the opposition while also promoting pro-regime change talking points. For instance, Murtaza Hussain – a long-time writer at the Intercept – has written numerous stories downplaying the terrorist and Wahhabist elements of the Syrian “rebels.” In the last three years, Hussain has written pieces portraying known Al-Qaeda propagandists, such as Bilal Abdul Kareem, and Al-Qaeda-linked organizations, such as the White Helmets, in an overwhelmingly positive light — failing to mention in both cases the significant evidence tying these entities to known terrorist groups.

In another piece, published in August 2016, Hussain gave voice to al-Nusra Front leadership in a lengthy interview that largely whitewashed the group’s Wahhabist leanings and links to terrorist acts in Syria. In September 2016, on Twitter, Hussain asserted that Saudi Arabia’s funding of armed factions was not necessarily “good” but that “there is little to indicate they contribute to terrorism.”

Hussain is by no means the only Intercept writer who has taken such a pro-opposition stance regarding Syria. A now infamous Intercept piece on Syria, published last September, committed glaring factual errors on basic facts about the war, while also mistranslating a speech given by Assad so as to link him to American white nationalists. In addition, last year, the paper hired Maryam Saleh, a journalist who has called Shia Muslims “dogs” and has taken to Twitter in recent months to downplay the role of the U.S. coalition in airstrikes in Syria. Saleh also has ties to the U.S.-financed propaganda group Kafranbel Media Center, which also has close relations with the terrorist group Ahrar al-Sham.

Even “anti-interventionist” Intercept journalists like Jeremy Scahill and Glenn Greenwald have come under fire this past year for allegedly promoting inaccurate statements that supported pro-regime-change narratives in Syria, particularly in regard to an alleged chemical-weapons attack in Douma. That attack is now widely believed to have been staged by the White Helmets.

Given Omidyar’s connections to the political establishment, his past efforts aimed at affecting Western-backed regime change, and the way in which the publication he owns has peddled misinformation on Syria, Omidyar — like Skoll — is very much a part of “humanitarian” regime-change complex that uses billionaire “philanthropy” as a disguise for the manipulation of public sentiment in order to justify foreign military intervention to a Western audience.

 

UN Foundation, Concordia Summit and the White Helmets

Image result for Nick Grono Concordia Summit

Nick Grono also attended the Concordia Summit in September 2016 – The Power of Partnerships

Three months after Jo Cox’s murder in September 2016, two of the Jo Cox Fund originators — Tim Dixon of Purpose and Nick Grono, CEO of the Freedom Fund — took part in the annual Concordia SummitDixon was a key participant in the Private Sector Forum on Migration and Refugees, with a focus on the Purpose-”incubated” refugee and migration hub. Their objective? To change hearts and minds in Europe in relation to the refugee “crisis” — a Syria-centric “crisis” that has been largely manufactured and sensationalized with the aim of criminalizing the Syrian government. The reality is that Syrian refugees are returning to Syria as vast swaths of Syrian territory is liberated from Western-backed terrorist occupation.

Brendan Cox was also a speaker at the 2016 event, as were many other supporters of U.S. Coalition intervention in Syria: Lina Attar, of the Karam Foundation; President and CEO of International Rescue Committee, David Miliband; Lara Setrakian of News Deeply, a “rebel”-partisan media outlet funded by Ayman Asfari; George Soros; Johannes Hahn, EU Commissioner; and Hans Vestberg, UN Foundation board member —  to name a few.

Tim Dixon attends the 2016 Concordia Summit. (Photo: Concordia Summit website)

This is taken from the Purpose website in 2015:

Purpose is proud to have served as a first time programming partner for the 2015 Concordia Summit. Now in its fifth year, the Summit convenes the world’s preeminent thought leaders and decision makers to address the most pressing global challenges by highlighting the potential that effective cross-sector collaboration can have in creating a more prosperous and sustainable future.”

Jeremy Heimans, the co-founder and CEO of Purpose, spoke at this event. Their session, “IntroducingNew Power in a Multi-stakeholder World,” featured an exciting line-up of speakers, each pioneering change in their respective industries in innovative ways. The focus was on the “civil society” sectors and their ability to implement transformation via peer-driven participation campaigns. Tapping into global energy and human agency was order of the day. One of the panelists, Scott Heiferman, promoted his model “Meet Up,” which harnesses the power of people-to-people networking: “How can you empower people to turn to each other – how can you unlock that most beautiful phenomenon?”

Jeremy Heimans is also co-founder of an organization, Avaaz, that “unlocks that phenomenon” and harnesses the power of peer participation in influencing public opinion — particularly on Syria, as covered previously in our series of articles.

True to form, Purpose produced a report in May 2017, “Understanding the Conflicted Middle: European Public Opinion towards Refugees,” shifting hearts and minds on refugees and migrants in Europe. While this report presented a number of symptoms and remedies, it does not investigate the root cause of the global refugee crisis, which is due, to a great extent, to the U.S. policy of military intervention globally that results in the mass exodus of peoples from war-torn nations into Europe. There, these refugees are weaponized to manufacture consent for further Western military intervention by organizations that claim to be protecting their interests.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees, United Nations H.E. Filippo Grandi; Founder and Chair, Soros Fund Management, and the Open Society Foundations, George Soros; and Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship of Canada, John McCallum attend 2016 Concordia Summit – Day 2 at Grand Hyatt New York on September 20, 2016 in New York City. (Ben Hider/Getty Images North America)

Concordia’s annual report in 2016 described this summit as the “largest and most ambitious event to date, bringing together over 2000 thought leaders from across sectors, including General David Petraeus and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright … and philanthropist George Soros.”

Albright rose to notoriety with her dismissal of the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children as being “worth it” when the U.S. imposed punishing and lethal economic sanctions on Iraq leading up to the first Iraq war in 1991 — sanctions that have, in part, persisted until today.

The Concordia Summit was established in 2011, just as the questionable “Arab Spring” was causing shock waves across the Middle East region. It was designed as an establishment intersection, a hub of global elite influencers and transformers. Cory Morningstar, an expert on the “smart power” complex, noted that the Concordia Summit was modelled on the success of initiatives such as the Wall Street Journal CEO Council and the Clinton Global Initiative: “Mathew Swifte (Chairman and CEO) and Nicholas Logothetis founded the Concordia Summit in February 2011 […] Swifte studied under global ‘leaders’ such as former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright..”

“The 2011 keynote address for Concordia (‘Cross-sector collaboration as a means of combating extremism and terrorism’) was given by U.S. President George W. Bush; followed by former U.S. President Bill Clinton in 2012; and Andrew Liveris, President, Chairman & CEO of The Dow Chemical Company in 2013.” ~ from article by Cory Morningstar, Purpose Goes to Latin America

The 2018 Concordia Summit just took place in September at the Grand Hyatt, New York, describing itself as “The largest and most inclusive nonpartisan forum alongside the United Nations General Assembly.” The line-up of soft-power magnates and establishment political and capitalist moguls was impressive. The summit featured the cross-fertilization of influencers, decision-makers and opinion-formers across a multitude of sectors, who came together to ensure the “next generation of partnership-builders” would be shaped in their image with their agenda indelibly imprinted upon the future. In its own language, from the Concordia Annual Summit 2018 overview“The 2018 Concordia Annual Summit will provide a powerful forum to catalyze action through shared value approaches and social impact objectives.”

In 2018, UNHCR (the UN Refugee Agency) joined forces with Concordia as a “programming partner.” This was not the first time they had collaborated. In 2016, UNHCR also took a central role at the Concordia Summit. In the words of Matthew Swift, co-founder, chairman, and CEO of Concordia:

The mission of UNHCR is truly one of the core values of Concordia’s work. The commitment to ensuring that everybody has the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge, having fled violence, persecution, war or disaster at home is a subject we’ve heavily focused on in the past, and we look forward to continuing these calls to action at the 2018 Concordia Annual Summit.”

Other “programming partners” in 2018 included the NATO-aligned think-tank, the Atlantic Council; the George W. Bush Institute; Open Society Foundation; U.S Chamber of Commerce; U.S State Department (Secretary’s Office of Global Partnerships); U.S Global Leadership Coalition; and the Wilson Center, a Washington-based global issues research center. The Concordia Annual Summit appears to be a thinly disguised cartel established to promote U.S private- and public-sector interests far into the future, with potentially devastating consequences for the countries where such policies will be implemented by the world’s elite “philanthro-capitalists.”

Perhaps more remarkable is how Concordia gathers together so many of the players in the decades-long campaign to destabilize Syria and topple its elected government from power. Players who would capitalize upon the assassination of Jo Cox to appropriate public funds and direct them into financing elements of the regime-change project in Syria such as the Al Qaeda-linked White Helmets.

 

Kathy Calvin and the UN Foundation

The UN connection extends beyond the role of the UNHCR, with the attendance of Kathy Calvin at the 2016 Concordia Summit. Calvin is the CEO and president of the United Nations Foundation. Calvin, Mabel Van Oranje and Jeffrey Skoll intersect on the Advisory Council of the Elders — alongside British entrepreneur and billionaire Richard Branson and Sally Osberg, who is the president and CEO of the Skoll Foundation. Once more, we see how the star-studded cast of the movement-building and social-change engineering world overlap and circulate in the ever expanding and interwoven spheres of influence.

In a 2011 interview with Forbes, Calvin laid out the objectives of the UN Foundation:

[The UN Foundation is a construct designed to bring together] some of the brightest entrepreneurs under 40 through the Global Entrepreneurs Council to take the UN and the UN Foundation – and our campaigns, partnerships, and programs – to the next level of innovation and impact. They are the next generation of entrepreneurs who understand that working with the United Nations is good for the world and for business. These innovative thinkers will help us engage with new generations to help the UN create 21st century solutions to some of the world’s toughest problems.” (emphasis added)

It would appear that Calvin is suggesting that the influence of the UN be exploited to expand U.S. private-sector business interests worldwide.

The UN Foundation came into existence in 1998 with a $1 billion commitment from former vice chairman of Time Warner and founder of CNN Ted Turner. His investment in the UN Foundation was described as his “gift for the future of Humanity.” Turner believed that the UN Foundation would “catalyze a new movement in philanthropy.”

The list of UN Foundation’s partners is another glittering array of the world’s most powerful foundations and individuals. The Skoll Foundation is on that list alongside AOL, Google, Royal Dutch Shell, Walt Disney, Unilever, and the governments of the U.S, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, Australia, UAE, U.K. and the World Bank. UN Foundation is the heavyweight of philanthropy, backed by billionaires from a vast spectrum of market sectors and political backgrounds.

 

Ted Turner and Calvin’s connections to Clinton

Ted Turner endorsed Hillary Clinton’s election campaign in 2016. Time Warner was among the myriad of media moguls who financed the failed Clinton campaign to the tune of $50,000 – $100,000, according to statistics published by Politico. CNN reporter Larry King was once caught on open-mic in the early 1990s telling Bill Clinton that “Ted Turner would serve” him. A report in the Washington Times cited Turner as saying “Hillary Clinton is one of the smartest and most powerful people in the world.” Turner praises Clinton uncritically, ignoring her record as one of the most malevolent war-hawks of our generation. It is Clinton’s gleeful celebration of Libya’s Muammar Gadaffi’s sodomization and murder by the U.S.-supported “rebels” that has come to symbolize the moral vacuum of the U.S. neocon foreign policy — policy that also serves the billionaire corporatocracy presided over by moguls such as Ted Turner.

Calvin’s connections to the Clinton clan also run deep. In 2013, the UN Foundation and its Global Entrepreneurs Council announced the “MY World Global Initiative” at the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting. According to the UN Foundation website:

MY World looks beyond 2015 – the endpoint for the current Millennium Development Goals – to engage people from all parts of the world and ensure their views will be part of the global conversation about the post-2015 global development agenda. To date, approximately one million people from 194 countries have contributed to MY World, and the UN Foundation is committed to helping secure one million more.” (emphasis added)

United Nations Foundation, Michael Bloomberg, Kathy Calvin on far right with Chelsea and Hillary Clinton. New York 2014. Signalling new initiative between Clinton Foundation, UN Foundation and Bloomberg Philanthropies. (Photo: Zimbio)

In 2014, Hillary Clinton, Kathy Calvin and Michael Bloomberg formed a new partnership to “close gender gaps.” Bloomberg is reported to be the eighth richest man in the U.S., with a net worth of $48.9 billion (2018) — a “philanthrocapitalist” whose causes range from gun control to climate change. The event, which took place on December 15, 2014 at Bloomberg Philanthropies in New York, sought to:

[H]ighlight the work of Data2X – a partnership launched by Secretary Clinton in July 2012 to identify and spur efforts to fill gender data gaps – and unveil new partnerships to improve data collection and use for women and girls. Better gender data are needed to guide policies, set targets, and monitor progress for women and girls.” (emphasis added)

Calvin’s links to the PR and media industries pre-date her appointment as CEO of the UN Foundation. Listed in Fast Company’s “League of Extraordinary Women,” before joining the UN Foundation in 2003, Calvin was President at AOL Time Warner Foundation, responsible for its “philanthropic” activities. Immediately prior to joining Time Warner, Calvin was Senior Managing Director at Hill and Knowlton. Hill and Knowlton is perhaps best known for its production of the hoax “incubator baby” story that provided the “humanitarian” pretext for the first Gulf War — later exposed, as recounted in The Diabolical Business of Global Public Relation Firms, as an elaborate staged event:

Before the first Gulf War, a fake news propaganda spectacle took place courtesy of WPP’s Hill & Knowlton. They were hired by Citizens for a Free Kuwait and eventually received nearly $10.8 million to conduct one of the most effective public relations campaigns in history. Hill & Knowlton helped create a national outrage against Iraq by publicizing the horrifying events supposedly caused by Iraqi soldiers during Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait.”

Interestingly, this connection then extends to Tim Dixon and Purpose New York. In September 2014, Purpose welcomed Josh Hendler as Chief Technology Officer. Just prior to joining Purpose, Hendler had held the same position at Hill and Knowlton Strategies.

Hendler’s mission was to “… develop the next-generation of tools to empower people across the globe to build movements…” (emphasis added).

Promotional image taken from the B-Team website.

Kathy Calvin has recently teamed up with billionaire Richard Branson on the Virgin Unite Foundation-incubated B-Team. Calvin is one of the 23 leaders whose mission is to “deliver a Plan B that puts people and planet alongside profit.”  The B-Team is managed by none other than Purpose. 

Branson, the Virgin tycoon, paid tribute to Jo Cox on his website in 2016. In this message, Branson presented a thinly veiled political message alluding to the “More in Common” movement that would shortly be established by Brendan Cox. Cox resigned from his position as director of More in Common in February 2018, following allegations of sexual harassment.

Branson also supports Nick Grono’s Walk Free Foundation, alongside Tony Blair, Hillary Clinton, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, and Bill Gates. Grono is one of the Jo Cox Four. Branson has also promoted the Netflix White Helmet documentary, describing it as offering “real insight into the horror and humanity, happening right now in Syria.” Many of the 20 documentaries promoted by Branson as must-watch reports have been produced by Skoll Foundation’s Participant Media. Another example of the reach and power of the billionaire PR industry.

In a separate report, Vanessa Beeley mapped out the intricate PR and film production processes that propelled the White Helmet movies to international acclaim and award ceremonies. She writes, in Architects of Humanitarian War:

White Helmet propaganda has seduced droves of human beings with a genuine humanitarian reflex that has been exploited by this “centre-piece” perception-changing construct. The story told by the White Helmet media and PR agencies has elevated this Al Qaeda support group to celebrity cult status. The world has fallen in love with what should most horrify it, while the people of Syria have their voices asphyxiated by Hollywood glamour and transformational mass communication.”

Yet again, we see how the web of billionaire philanthrocapitalism functions and how it builds its platforms of influence and behavioral-change power base. The components of this web are interchangeable — mobile and flexible, able to move swiftly and effectively, powered by billionaire resources and financial monopoly of the desired market sectors. It is a formidable force for change in this world, but accountable to none. Thus questions must be asked as to who benefits most from the changes their apparatus will impose upon some of the poorest nations in this world and their poverty-stricken or war-displaced citizens.

The White Helmets benefit from the Billionaire Network

The Social Good Summit (SGS) is held annually during the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) week. A gathering of elite change manufacturers and global policy makers who desire to shape the future we apparently want to live in by 2030:

A dynamic exploration of the world we want to live in by 2030, the Social Good Summit will focus on how we can unlock technology’s potential to make the world a better place.”

The SGS is organized in partnership with the UN Foundation, the UNDP (UN Development Programme), Ted Turner-funded media website Mashable, multinational investment bank UBS, Zionist cultural non-profit 92Y, and pharmaceutical giant Pfizer.

The 2017 SGS was clearly a vehicle to further promote and iconize the White Helmets, combining political elite with celebrity cult elements that reinforced the stellar, Oscar-winning status of the faux “humanitarian” group.

Connie Britton with Khaled Khatib and Moustafa Munir at the Social Good Summit 2017. (Photo: Instagram)

Connie Britton, actress and UNDP Goodwill Ambassador, uncritically promoted the group’s carefully cultivated reputation as “civilian do-gooders” during an interview conducted at the summit. The White Helmet representatives Britton interviewed were Khaled Khatib and Mounir Mustafa. We have spoken about Mustafa’s links to armed groups in Syria in Part 2 of this series.

Despite having the term “social good” in the name, the organizations behind the SGS, as well as its promotion of weaponized “humanitarian” constructs like the White Helmets, again reveal a powerful billionaire-driven PR industry which seeks to manipulate the innate human desire to “do good” and benefit the collective into supporting policy moves — such as regime change abroad — that benefit only the global monied elite.

 

Using Jo Cox to divide the Labour Party

A more worrying development that has emerged from the exploitation of the murder of MP Jo Cox is the apparent attempt to divide the already beleaguered Labour Party and to undermine its leadership, in particular Jeremy Corbyn.

Cox herself turned against Corbyn shortly before she was killed in 2016 and was forced to apologize after a newsletter had been circulated by one of her aides with the headline “Why I knifed Corbyn.” Two weeks prior, Cox had co-written an article with Neil Coyle in the Guardian, expressing regret over nominating Corbyn and dissatisfaction with his leadership.

Shortly after Cox’s murder, billionaire Branson came into conflict with Corbyn over the privatization of the rail services in the U.K. Corbyn was pushing for public ownership and this came into direct confrontation with the business objectives of Branson’s Virgin empire.

On many fronts Corbyn is challenging the establishment paradigm. As journalist Jonathan Cook explained, “Corbyn is being destroyed, like blowing up a bridge to stop an advancing army.” Part of the advancing army is Corbyn’s apparent determination to investigate and bring an end to military intervention by the British government and its allies. This has set the cat among the Syria “regime-change” pigeons, who have striven towards the destabilization of Syria for at least eight years, many for longer.

When the Labour MP and close ally of Corbyn, Chris Williamson, tweeted his support for the co-author of this report, Vanessa Beeley, the NATO-aligned twittersphere was outraged. Oz Katerji, long-time supporter of the Syrian “revolution” and vocal detractor of the Syrian government, rose to blow up the bridges in an article for the New Statesman.

Katerji has close ties to NATO-aligned “research” website Bellingcat, which has been instrumental in maintaining international pressure upon the Syrian government by supporting the chemical-weapon narratives generated by the White Helmets. Bellingcat’s founder, Eliot Higgins, is employed by the Atlantic Council, which is funded by the U.K., UAE, and U.S. weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martin, among others. Katerji is closely involved with the refugee “crisis,” on the “frontlines” as a team member of the Help Refugees NGO. The common factors that link all members of the war-for-peace-in-Syria cartel become more blatant as we delve deeper into their activities and connections.

Help Refugees is supported by none other than Soros’s Open Society Foundation and the Radcliffe Foundation, led by by philanthro-capitalist billionaire Frank Giustra, among other influential foundations. (Giustra’s connections to the billionaire network were covered in Part 2 of this series)

Katerji is also a dedicated promoter of the White Helmets, often seen attacking comments on Twitter that provide evidence of the White Helmet affiliations to extremist groups, including Nusra Front and ISIS. Katerji has been hosted by the Fabian Society in the House of Lords to discuss the refugee “crisis” in relation to Syria. Jo Cox’s connections to the Fabian Society are examined in Part 1 of this series.

In the New Statesman article, Katerji invoked the name of Jo Cox to effectively divide the Labour party along clearly defined lines. On one side, those Labour MPs who will not swing into war on the coat-tails of the Conservative Party, on the other those who would align themselves with the Blairite policies of “intervention at all costs.” Jo Cox is being used as a banner under which the Blairites can renew their campaigns to “do more” in Syria, which effectively signals greater military and economic pressure upon the Syrian people and perpetual war. For the Blairites, war can be prevented only by the departure of the Syrian Government and its replacement with an Islamist regime that would signify the end of Syria’s secular culture. This is an agenda that is not aligned with the wishes of the majority of the Syrian people, a fact that is apparently of no consequence to the “Jo Cox party.”

Oz Katerji delivering ambulances to Raed Saleh, leader of the White Helmets, in terrorist-occupied Idlib. (Photo: Raed Saleh Twitter)

The title of Katerji’s hit piece, indirectly aimed at Corbyn, was “Labour can be Jo Cox’s party or Chris Williamson’s – it cannot be both.” His article ends with the claim that there is a “war for the heart of the Labour party underway; ultimately Labour cannot be both the party of Jo Cox and the party of Chris Williamson. If Williamson’s latest endorsement receives no censure from the Labour leader’s office, the answer to that question will be heard loudly and clearly all the way from Westminster to Damascus.”

Watch Oz Katerji heckle Corbyn at a Stop the War Coalition conference in London in 2016:

Katerji is right in one way, but what is happening is a much bigger war. It is a war against humanity. A war during which we must connect ourselves even more closely to the peoples of nations under attack by the perpetual war industry sustained by the billionaire network. The powers that be are exploiting every possible avenue to demonize those who would challenge their agenda. From “anti-Semitism” to “genocide denial,” they are weaponizing tragedy and history to serve their own purposes. As Jonathan Cook puts it:

The corporate elites have no plan to go quietly. Unless we can build our ranks quickly and make our case confidently, their antics will ensure the paradigm shift is violent rather than healing. An earthquake, not a storm.”

 

Chuka Umunna’s new think tank

Beyond Katerji’s invocation of Jo Cox as a justification to divide U.K. Labour and return it to the pro-intervention party it once was under the leadership of former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair, there is considerably more evidence that the same billionaire-led “humanitarian” regime-change network working to promote regime change in Syria is also intimately involved in the effort to divide the party. Look no further than Labour MP Chuka Umunna.

Umunna has long been a vocal critic of Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters, whom he has likened to “nasty trolls” for opposing war abroad. Umunna has long staunchly supported U.K. military adventurism, consistently supporting the deployment of U.K. military forces abroad as well as supporting regime change in Syria and the bombing of that country. Indeed, Umunna’s pro-intervention stance is so well defined that former U.K. Prime Minister and pro-interventionist Tony Blair once promoted Umunna to be the future leader of the Labour party.

More recently, Umunna has played a critical role in the anti-Semitism smear campaign targeting Corbyn, calling Corbyn’s Labour “institutionally racist” despite Corbyn’s long past as an anti-racism campaigner. The anti-Semitism issue was also used by Umunna to cast doubt on Corbyn’s ability to lead the party, and to promote a split of that party if Corbyn continued on in his current role as leader.

Given Blair’s past endorsement, Umunna seems poised to lead a new Blairite Labour spin-off if efforts to divide the party are successful. In this context, it is important to note that Umunna himself is directly connected to the same billionaire-led nexus that includes the humanitarian “regime-change” network that has been the focus of this series.

On October 15, Umunna announced via a column in the Independent that he would be chairing a new “progressive” think tank, Progressive Centre UK. However, as Umunna’s own column reveals, the Streatham MP repeatedly conflates “progressivism” with the “centre-left,” which Umunna defines as the politics of neo-liberal corporatists like Tony Blair, Emmanuel Macron and Justin Trudeau.

While Umunna’s new think tank does not yet describe its funding or its partners, it does openly note that it is proudly part of the “Global Progress” network, which is an outgrowth of the Global Progress Initiative (GPI). GPI was created in 2009 by the Center for American Progress, a U.S. think tank led by John Podesta, long-time Clinton associate and chair of Hillary Clinton’s failed 2016 presidential campaign, as well as another Clinton confidante, Neera Tanden. GPI promotes former neo-liberal leaders like Tony Blair of the U.K., Bill Clinton of the U.S., Helle Thorning-Schmidt of Denmark, Justin Trudeau of Canada, and Ricardo Lagos of Chile as “progressives.”

Notably, Umunna’s ties to John Podesta and the Clintons precede the creation of this new think tank, as Umunna reached out to Podesta, then chair of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, and offered to advise Clinton campaign staff on how to beat the “American Jeremy Corbyn,” U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders.

Umunna’s Progressive Centre UK makes it clear that is the U.K. branch of the Global Progress network, as it promotes its partners as the Global Progress network’s other branches in Canada (Canada2020), Italy (Volta) and France (Terra Nova). The Progressive Centre UK’s Italian partner, Volta, does not have a single Italian on its advisory board, despite being an Italian political think tank. Its advisory board includes former Senior Adviser for Innovation to Hillary Clinton, Alec Ross; former U.K. Labour politician and minister under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, David Miliband; French-born Murdoch lobbyist, Frederic Michel; and former Prime Minister of Denmark, Helle Thorning-Schmidt. Notably, David Miliband was once promoted as the “stand-in” for Jo Cox’s seat in Parliament following her murder and encouraged by Blairites within the Labour Party to challenge Jeremy Corbyn for leadership of the party.

Thorning-Schmidt’s inclusion in this network is also important given that she is currently CEO of Save the Children, where Jo Cox once worked, as did Brendan Cox until his “inappropriate behavior” was exposed. Thorning-Schmidt is a board member of the European Council on Foreign Relations alongside Mabel van Oranje. She is also a member of the board of the International Crisis Group (ICG) alongside George Soros; former Treasury Secretary under Clinton, Larry Summers; and Frank Giustra, among others.

As mentioned in Part 2 of this series, ICG and Save the Children — which both are intimately linked to Thorning-Schmidt — are part of the Crisis Action network, which is directly connected to the Jo Cox Four through Gemma Mortensen, Brendan Cox, and Tim Dixon, as well as Mabel van Oranje. Thorning-Schmidt’s connections are even more notable in the context of the push to divide the U.K. Labour party, given that she is married to Stephen Kinnock, a U.K. anti-Corbyn Labour MP who led the original efforts to split the Labour party following concern over Corbyn’s rise.

Like Volta, the Global Progress Network’s Canadian branch, Canada2020, is similarly problematic. While casting itself as an “independent” and “progressive” think tank, it proudly lists its partners as multinational corporations including Facebook, Google, Amazon, General Electric, massive multinational mining conglomerate Rio Tinto, Mastercard, and Shell Oil. Canada2020 recently hosted the Global Progress summit that Umunna promoted in his column announcing Progressive Centre UK. Umunna attended that summit, which was also attended by Tim Dixon of the Jo Cox Four, as well as Ben Scott of the Omidyar Network and John Podesta himself.

Though the newly-minted Progressive Centre UK has yet to host an event or make its donors and partners public, the other branches of the Clinton-linked Global Progress Network make it clear exactly what this new Umunna-led group will support and with whom it will associate.

 

Conclusion: Much exposed, much delving yet to do

The Jo Cox Fund, set up following the MP’s sudden and tragic death, formed the basis for the oligarch-backed NPIC network that would weaponize Cox’s death in order to promote pro-intervention policies and to attack actual progressive politicians in the U.K. Labour party who would oppose such British allied intervention abroad.

In their efforts to promote and enact regime change abroad, particularly in Syria, the Jo Cox Four have used their connections to the global elite and elite-funded “humanitarian” organizations to exploit the sympathy and outrage provoked by her death in order to manufacture consent for the pro-intervention policies that are the hallmark of the Blairite wing of U.K. Labour.

However, as the myriad connections between this “humanitarian” regime-change network and elite billionaires show, these policies are supported and designed not by the people but by oligarchs and the political elite. Only by masking their otherwise unpopular policies in the cloak of Jo Cox’s tragedy, and humanity’s natural empathy for good samaritans and the downtrodden, has this small group of powerful individuals been able to launder disastrous wars and military adventurism as “the right thing to do.” The Jo Cox Fund and the four individuals behind it truly exemplify the group of “middlemen” who engineer this manipulation at the behest of some of the world’s richest and most controversial figures.

Though over two years have passed since Cox’s murder, her death continues to be weaponized to suit this same agenda. Now, the global elite continue their fight to oust Jeremy Corbyn from power, fearful that the political triumph of a pacifist will greatly complicate their plans to keep the U.K. embroiled in endless wars abroad, serving their ever expanding economic and global power ambitions.

Yet they can succeed only by hiding their true role in their efforts to oust Corbyn and weaken Labour by dividing it. That is the precise reason that these oligarchs, through their vast fortunes, have constructed a massive inter-connected network of “humanitarian” organizations to convince us that their policies are “people-driven” when they are really “oligarch-driven.”

However, such efforts can bear fruit only under cover of darkness. Only by shining light on this nefarious network, as we have begun to do here, can the public be warned that they are being deceived. No one knows better than the oligarchs that a well-informed public is the greatest threat to their neoliberal policies, their wars, and their ultimate goal of global market monopolies and resource supremacy.

While this investigation has revealed many aspects of this oligarch-driven network, it has only scratched the surface. More work in this field is needed and we encourage any and all inquiring minds to delve deeply into this billionaire-built “humanitarian” regime-change network, exposing its true motives and its manipulative bias mobilization techniques that threaten all our futures.

 

 

[Vanessa Beeley is an independent journalist, peace activist, photographer and associate editor at 21st Century Wire. Vanessa was a finalist for one of the most prestigious journalism awards – the 2017 Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism – whose winners have included the likes of Robert Parry in 2017, Patrick Cockburn, Robert Fisk, Nick Davies and the Bureau for Investigative Journalism team. You can support Vanessa’s journalism through her Patreon Page.]

[Whitney Webb is a staff writer for MintPress News and a contributor to Ben Swann’s Truth in Media. Her work has appeared on Global Research, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has also made radio and TV appearances on RT and Sputnik. She currently lives with her family in southern Chile.]

The Pygmalion Virus in Three Acts [2017 AVAAZ SERIES | PART II]

August 3, 2017

By Cory Morningstar with Forrest Palmer

 

Avaaz Investigative Report Series 2012 [Further Reading]: Part IPart IIPart IIIPart IVPart VPart VI

Avaaz Investigative Report Series 2017 [Further Reading]: Part I

 

Act One

In Greek mythology, Pygmalion was a sculptor who carved a statue of a beautiful woman out of ivory. A statue so beautiful, that Pygmalion fell in love with it. The symbolism in the play by George Bernard Shaw is premised on Henry Higgins falling in love with his own creation. [Source]

+++

According to The B Team report, Keith Tuffley manages the day-to-day operations of The B Team.

In his LinkedIn profile Tuffley states he is “Managing Partner & CEO of The B Team, a not-for-profit initiative headquartered in New York.” (Here, we must again recall that the headquarters as spoken of by B Team affiliates is that of the PR firm Purpose.) He is the former Managing Director and Head of Investment Banking at Goldman Sachs in Australia with over 25 years experience in investment banking, finance, and capital markets. Tuffley is founder & chairman of NEUW Ventures, an impact investing company based in Switzerland. He also serves as Director or Governor on various NGOs including WWF-Australia.

Tuffley is a member of the Corporate Advisory Panel of the World Forum for Natural Capital[Full bio] and is identified as belonging to the “wider project team” of co-founders Polman and Malloch’s Business and Sustainable Development Commission. [Source: BETTER BUSINESS BETTER WORLD, the report authored by the Business & Sustainable Development Commission, January 16, 2017]

The B Team executive committee [1] is comprised of the executive chair (Jochen Zeitz), three senior partners (Jean Oelwang, Joanna Rees and Keith Tuffley) and Managing Director Rajiv Joshi, who “oversees the organisation’s strategy”.

Where White Polar Bears Meet White Helmets

“Ultimately, this is a cultural challenge—linked to our own culture and to wider cultural dynamics. In the good old days, we saw NGOs as leading indicators of change, but today it’s the Millennials, whatever NGOs or networks they may belong to.” — The Stretch Agenda, Breakthrough in the Boardroom [Source]

“Mikael Fraenkel, Rajiv Joshi, Arianna Huffington, Shalini Mehan, Felix Stellmaszek during DLD15 FOCUS Nightcap at Steigenberger Grandhotel Belvédère in Davos on January 21, 2015.” Foto: Hubert Burda Media / BRAUER PHOTOS. Flickr

From the aforementioned Better Business Better World report:

“Rajiv Joshi is a Managing Director and has been with the organisation since its inception. He previously served as Executive Director for the Global Call to Action Against Poverty. Joshi served six years as a Trustee of Oxfam and as a Board Member of CIVICUS. He is currently on the Board of the Centre for Scottish Public Policy, and has served on the Equality and Human Rights Commission and as chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament.”

Joshi has an extensive background pushing forward both the UN Millennium Development Goals and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs/”Global Goals”). He has been groomed by the United Nations, Skoll (2017 Skoll Awardees Convening, 2017 Skoll World Forum) and Branson. From the Skoll website:

“During this time he led global action towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), mobilizing over 173 million people as part of the ‘Stand Up: Take Action’ initiative. He also supported ‘The Elders’ with their Every Human Has Rights campaign and helped spearhead citizen participation in creating the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as co-founder of ‘The World We Want 2015’ platform and founding Chair of the Post-2015 Policy and Strategy Group.”

Let this section serve as an introduction to where 21st century environmentalism (which today is, in reality, anthropocentrism) meets the 21st  humanitarian industrial complex. [Further reading: The Humanitarian Industrial Complex School of Thought | A Fish Analogy] Where white polar bears (the emotive veneer for economic growth, land and resource theft, privatization, the financialization of nature) meet white helmets (the emotive veneer for economic growth, land and resource theft, privatization, war). This is the intersection where today’s anointed “thought leaders” cut their teeth.This is the intersection where today’s anointed “thought leaders” cut their teeth. Akin to the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, today’s so-called environmental leaders and human rights activists are not (yet) genetically engineered, rather they are socially engineered experiments decanted from Harvard, Yale, Rockwood Leadership Institute and other institutions of indoctrination that serve and expand the global hegemony. One could theorize that today’s 21st century activism is a new process of mimesis – the millennial having assimilated into spectacle – far removed from both nature and reality.

“TEDxSkoll on Twitter: #TEDxSkoll TALK: ‘White Helmets @SyriaCivilDef: The Power of Trained Volunteers'”[Source]

Indicative of the accolades and tutelage showered down upon the aforementioned millennial Joshi, today’s thought-leaders are groomed, molded, and managed – specifically to manufacture and mobilise/engineer world views as desired and designed by the world’s most powerful hegemons. Ego, celebrity fetish, access, wealth, luxury are all Western desires that are fostered and cultivated in today’s assembly-line “activists”. Together, these desires, when nurtured, are an opiate that lures, beguiles and hooks the freshly-engineered plastic “activists” that today flourish like cells within the walls of non-profit industrial complex. The complex is the vehicle for the continued expansion of capital markets (infinite growth) and the protection of existing power structures.  Today we witness the world’s richest 300 people having more monetary wealth than the bottom 3 billion people. The same ruling elite invest trillions into the NPIC to ensure this existing power structure not only stays firmly intact, but expands. This is not “philanthropy”, a word created by and utilized by the rich to make theft of labour and commons not just acceptable, but illustrious. Rather, this is the best investment money can buy.

The aforementioned Stand Up and Take Action is an annual global mobilization coordinated by the United Nations Millennium Campaign and the Global Call to Action against Poverty. In addition, the Elders is another Richard Branson NGO, a person who has his tentacles wrapped around an innumerable amount of NGO endeavors owned and sanctioned by the global elite. “The World We Want” is a United Nations SDG campaign.

“Most funding and direction come from the wealthy nations. Often the donors form a conglomerate creating mutual responsibility and considerable ambiguity. CIVICUS, a partnership to promote “civil society” worldwide, is funded by, among others, American Express Foundation, Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, Carnegie Corporation, Canadian International Development Agency, Ford Foundation, Harvard University, Oxfam, and United Nations Development Programme.” — Joan Roelofs [Source]

 

As the grooming is underscored by the collaboration of mentors and mentees in private and public endeavors, it is of course no surprise to find Rajiv Joshi in the company of Avaaz/Purpose co-founder Jeremy Heimens in a We Mean Business video series (since We Mean Business is an NGO founded by The B Team registered to Heiman’s Purpose). However, the following excerpt from the book The Myth Gap: What Happens When Evidence and Arguments Aren’t Enough  demonstrates the unity and alliances of multifarious NGOs that prosper in a highly centralised manner outside of the public spectrum (see excerpt below). Public perception is critical for the brand. Thus, NGOs that serve on the forefront of the manufactured movements make a concerted effort to not publicly align with NGOs openly chasing capital and economic growth. The reality is this: the cherry-picked and highly groomed “leaders” of the world’s most influential NGOs, the ones with the faux radical veneer such as 350.org, Avaaz and Greenpeace, run in the same circles as the openly capitalist NGO models such as the B Team – which run/operate in the same circles as the International Crisis Group. NGOs that publicly promote and accelerate market-based solutions that will only further perpetuate our multiple ecological crises. NGOs that perpetuate the myth of “humanitarian interventions” and spontaneous popular revolutions.

Above: Screenshot from The Myth Gap: What Happens When Evidence and Arguments Aren’t Enough By Alex Evans

Here we witness the social-organizational psychology experts grooming tomorrows “new champions“, “global shapers” and “new power” “thought-leaders” as determined and ultimately dictated by the world’s most powerful elites. In the 21st century, psychology is not only an extremely important tool in influencing public opinion, it is now considered to be perhaps the single and most important tool. The necessity to comprehend the mental processes, desires and social patterns of the populace at large cannot be understated. Working in lock-step with controlled media and the best marketing executives foundation money can buy, today’s faux activists, thought-leaders and media lapdogs are the very mechanisms of modern-day perception.

Consider the following claim by Avaaz that “BBC, CNN and Al Jazeera reported that at one point 40% of the images that were used in their coverage of the Arab Spring were generated by the Avaaz-supported citizens’ journalist network”. (See below screenshot.)

If this claim is verifiable, it is indisputable truth that the establishment is able to use its resources to maneuver, influence and control untold portions of protests. Thus, it is critical to question what is a legitimate protest versus what is a protest  orchestrated by outside influences.

“We’ve trained them. That translates into diplomatic leverage.”— Supremacy by Stealth, Robert Kaplan

As an example of the opacity prevalent in these various movements, the race to implement the financialization of nature (payments for ecosystem services) under the guise of UN’s “Global Goals” is nothing less than frenetic. Yet for all of the ongoing activity, this corporate triumph is being conducted in the background, with zero dissent, due to the fact that at the forefront of the manufactured movements – there is complete silence. Zero opposition. The non-profit industrial complex being the wall that protects and insulates the coup d’état of nature itself.

“Surveying this new landscape, it is clear that the true role of the thought leader is to serve as the organic intellectual of the one percent—the figure who, as Gramsci put it, gives the emerging class “an awareness of its own function” in society. The purpose of the thought leader is to mirror, systematize, and popularize the delusions of the superrich: that they have earned their fortunes on merit, that social protections need to be further eviscerated to make everyone more flexible for “the future,” and that local attachments and alternative ways of living should be replaced by an aspirational consumerism.” — The Rise of the Thought Leader – How the superrich have funded a new class of intellectual, June 28, 2017

[Further reading: From Stable to Star – The Making of North American “Climate Heroes”]

Establishing New Norms: Future Stewards, Pathfinders and Deep Practitioners

Perhaps there is no better snapshot of the congregation of all this grooming of the next generation of NGO leaders than the 2015 Avaaz retreat. This retreat finds The B Teams Joshi in the company of his peers and “movement builders”. Those identified in the aforementioned book excerpt are as follows:

Robert Gass: co-founder of the Rockwood Leadership Institute, former President of ARC International, a global consulting and training company specializing in transformational change with Fortune 500 companies. Robert has a doctorate in Clinical Psychology and Organizational Development from Harvard University. [2]

Judith Ansara:  A former facilitator for the Rockwood Leadership Institute’s The Art of Leadership trainings, she has facilitated organizations and leaders Avaaz, Witness and UNICEF. She has taught Transpersonal Psychology at Naropa University and Strategic Communications at the University of Massachusetts. [3]

Maura Bairley: Leads the Organizational Development Team for Move to End Violence, a project of the NoVo Foundation. [4]

Rachel Bagby: A Stanford Law Degree in Social Change and  leadership consultant whose clients include leaders from organizations such as Google, the Sierra Club and Rockwood Institute. [Source]

Radhika Balakrishnan: Faculty director of the Center for Women’s Global Leadership at Rutgers University. Past experience includes working for the Ford Foundation as a program officer in the Asian Regional Program.

Ian Bassin: Former Associate Counsel to President Obama, General Counsel and Campaign Director at Avaaz, Current director of United to Protect Democracy [“United to Protect Democracy, which draws its name from a line in President Barack Obama’s farewell address that urged his supporters to pick up where he was leaving off…] Signatory to the Economic Security Project. [5]

Dalia Hashad: Attorney and a campaign director at the global advocacy group Avaaz.org. Prior to Avaaz Hashad worked for Amnesty International UK (Director, USA Program) and ACLU  American Civil Liberties Union.

Jamie Henn: 350.org co-founder, Strategy and Communications Director.

“I thought I’d never live to see the day when you could strap on a rocket pack and fly through the air… but then I met Avaaz. They supercharge work across the world, sending campaigns and movements soaring to new heights.” — Jamie Henn, co-founder, 350.org, Avaaz website

Paul Hilder: Avaaz co-founder Paul Hilder is the former Vice President of Global Campaigns for Change.org, a for-profit social venture started in 2006. He is co-founder and Chief International Officer of Crowdpac, “the platform for new politics”. He cofounded 38 Degrees and openDemocracy.net. He played leadership roles at Oxfam, Purpose, Here Now (Purpose) and the Young Foundation. His background in the NPIC and the Middle East is extensive. [6]

Joanna Kerr: Executive Director of Greenpeace Canada. Former Chief Executive of ActionAid International, Policy Director at Oxfam Canada. [7]

Adauto Modesto Junior: Brazil Student Ambassador, Lemann Fellow, at David Rockefeller Center for Latin America Studies, Brazil (Harvard). Served on the Civil Cabinet of the Presidency of the Republic and the Ministry of Finance in Brazil. [Source]

Luis Morago: Campaign Director at Avaaz (Spain). Former head of Oxfam International’s EU Office (2007: “EU institutions are in a unique position to promote the R2P principle and give leadership,” Source] Previously worked on “the concept of rights-based approach in an emergency context” with British Red Cross Society and ActionAid (Research and Programme Learning Officer). [Source]

Heather Reddick: Avaaz Chief Operating Officer, Avaaz. Former Director of Finance & Administration at Let’s Get Ready, International Operations Director at Students for a Free Tibet, and National Operations Director at League of Young Voters. (Avaaz salary in 2014: USD$148,323.00 & USD$5,736.00 misc. expenses)

Carolina Rossini: Coordinates the Brazilian Open Educational Resources Project: Challenges and Perspectives funded by the Open Society institute. [Source] [Source]

Esra’a Al-Shafei: Bahraini civil rights activist, founder and executive director of Mideast Youth and its related projects, including FreeKareem.org  and CrowdVoice.org. Featured at the 2009 Clinton Global Initiative University. Featured in Forbes’ 2014 “30 Under 30” list of social entrepreneurs making an impact in the world. Listed by the World Economic Forum as one of “15 Women Changing the World in 2015.”[8]

Theo Sowa: An independent advisor and consultant, specialising in international social development. An international consultant for NGOs such as as UNICEF, The Stephen Lewis Foundation, The African Union, Department for International Development, and UNDP. Awarded the Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in June 2010. [Source]

Tristram Stuart: English author and campaigner.

Farhana Yamin: International lawyer specializing in global climate change law and policy. Founder and CEO of Track 0, Associate Fellow at Chatham House, Visiting Professor at University College London. [Source]

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For further proof of strategic and highly organized grooming, consider the We Mean Business, Leaders’ Quest and Mission 2020 (under the direction of The B Teams Christiana Figueres) document Future Stewards – The Case for Partnership and Investment 2016-2020. The document outlines the desired behavioural change strategy to implement the “new economy”. The term “Deep Practitioners” is applied to a cohort of “30 senior leaders of influential private, public and civil society organizations, who are willing to collaborate across sectors and change their own patterns of behavior.” The budget thus far to train “future stewards” is 10 million. In the sample list of participants from the document outlining the “Pathfinders and Deep Practitioners Programs from 2017, we find recognizable names such as Jamie Henn, Strategy and Communications Director, 350.org, former co-director of Greenpeace International’s Global Climate and Energy Program and corporate pet Tzeporah Berman, Grant Advisor, New Venture Fund and Rajiv Joshi, Managing Director of The B Team. As the machine works to churn out the next generation of leaders more beholden to the system than their predecessors yet with better and increased obfuscation, the following quote from the document best summarizes the goals and aspirations of gatherings such as the Avaaz retreats: “Global Influencers will create public and private opportunities for influential leaders to join the collective movement. Committed leaders will increase pressure on their peers to engage – establishing a new norm.”

Here, in these circles, there is no conscious belief in American imperialism, but only American “exceptionalism”, a description that is beyond debate and unquestionable in mainstream circles. Trees, whales and bees no longer exist except as a means of achieving sought metrics. All/any remaining anti-war sentiment having been replaced with the pathological cheerleading of  “coloured revolutions”, exporting “American democracy” and “greening” the military. The NPIC is the vehicle of “transformational change” which can only be honestly described as that which is designed, sought and financed by the world’s most powerful elite. The ideologies underpinning the dream of “ethical globalization” (a term utilized by the group Res Publica),  a globalized “deliberative democracy” has been the said driving force of Avaaz co-founders since their founding of Res Publica. Here, in these circles is where the myth of American exceptionalism is perpetuated. This faux belief, is the tie that binds. Here, in these circles, the power of conformity takes hold.

Nowhere is the role of Avaaz more apparent in the advancement of the Nations Sustainable Development Goals (the financialization  of nature, global in scale) than in the following paragraph written by Patel in 2014:

“The vision put forward by the UN High-Level Panel on the Post- 2015 Development Agenda is a beautiful one, and one I believe the vast majority of people share. But now comes the hard part: getting our governments to get behind this plan, first rhetorically, and then with actual budgets and political will. And to stay behind it until the job is done. To make that happen, we need one of the largest, most comprehensive and sustained political campaigns the world has ever seen. One that captures public imagination like never before. It won’t be a single campaign or coalition that does this, but a vibrant network of governments, NGOs, businesses and individuals that come together around this shared vision and coalesce into fit-for-purpose groups as needed, to seize opportunities and meet threats. These groups will need to use every tactic in the book, because that’s what entrenched interests who oppose progress will be doing. The threads that tie all this together likely won’t be a single brand, but memes and narratives that define and embody the zeitgeist. One popular meme, often offered tongue-in-check, is the idea of saving the world. It’s a narrative deep in our psyche, the theme of many of our most popular epics. But if ever there were a time to use this meme and its power in all seriousness, it’s now. It’s time for a movement to save the world.” —  p. 17, Ricken Patel, Global Development Goals, Partnerships for Progress, 2014

 

Act Two

 

“Establishing “heroes” and “villains” adds a moral element that will advance advocacy efforts.” — “Mobilizing Climate Action, To Paris and Beyond” retreat, March 4–6, 2015, New York

Here it is critical to highlight the “Mobilizing Climate Action, To Paris and Beyond” retreat held March 4–6, 2015, in Tarrytown, New York. As it is here that the hierarchy is laid bare and cannot be contested. The organizer of the retreat was the United Nations [9] with the retreat itself being financially facilitated by foundations (in this instance, the Clarmondial Foundation and The Stanley Foundation). The congregation consists of numerous participants that all play a vital role: corporate financiers that rule the corridors of power by way of their purse strings, public relations and media, and the institutions and NGOs that reside at the helm of the socially influential non-profit industrial complex: the United Nations, World Bank, Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, We Mean Business (represented by co-founder Callum Grieve [10]), 350.org (represented by co-founder Jamie Henn) Upworthy (co-founded by Avaaz co-founder Eli Pariser), Avaaz, Here Now (Purpose, sister for-profit arm of Avaaz) World Economic Forum, GCCA (TckTckTck), World Business Council for Sustainable Development (chaired by Unilever CEO Paul Polman), Greenpeace, Unilever, and The Climate Reality Project (founded by Al Gore, co-founder of Generation Investment).

Mobilizing Climate Action, To Paris and Beyond retreat participants:

  • Emad Adly, General Coordinator, Arab Network for Environment and Development
  • Susan Alzner, Officer in Charge, Non-Governmental Liaison Service, United Nations
  • Robert Bisset, Senior Communications Officer, Climate Change, The World Bank
  • Roberto Borrero, UN Programs Coordinator, International Indian Treaty Council
  • Karl Burkart, Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation
  • Patty Carnevale, Senior Account Strategist, Upworthy
  • Joel Finkelstein, Communications, Climate Advisers
  • Nick Gaylord, Data Scientist, Idibon
  • Rhys Gerholdt, Communications Manager, Climate and Energy Program, World Resources Institute
  • Callum Grieve, Director of Communications, We Mean Business
  • Michael Hanley, Editorial Director, World Economic Forum
  • Fletcher Harper, Executive Director, GreenFaith
  • Jamie Henn, Strategy and Communications Director and Co-Founder, 350.org
  • Antonio Hill, Executive Director, Global Call for Climate Action
  • Wael Hmaidan, Executive Director, Climate Action Network
  • Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, College of the Marshall Islands, Co-Founder, Jo-Jikum
  • Ruth Jones, Head of Leadership Programme, The Climate Group
  • Iain Keith, Campaign Director, Avaaz.org
  • Amy Keller, Strategic Partnerships, Live Earth
  • Ann Kobia, Advocacy Team, Secretariat, Pan African Climate Justice Alliance
  • Kate Lappin, Regional Coordinator, Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development
  • Carina Larsfälten, Managing Director, Global Policy and Strategic Partnerships, World Business Council for Sustainable Development
  • Patricia Lerner, Senior Political Advisor, Greenpeace International
  • Marie L’Hostis, Global Hub Coordinator, action/2015
  • Thomas Lingard, Climate Advocacy and Sustainability Strategy Director, Unilever
  • Tracy Mann, Consultant, MG Limited, and Project Director, Climate Wise Women
  • Michael Mathres, Director, World Climate Ltd.
  • Nelson Muffuh, Head of Outreach and Stakeholder Engagement, Post-2015 Development Planning Team, United Nations
  • Margaret Novicki, Chief, Communications Campaigns Service, Department of Public Information, United Nations
  • Nicholas Nuttall, Coordinator, Communications and Outreach, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
  • Jonathan Rich, President, JCR Communications
  • Mila Rosenthal, Director of Communications, Bureau of External Relations and Advocacy, United Nations Development Programme
  • Naysán Sahba, Director of the Division of Communications and Public Information, Office of the Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme
  • Peter Sargent, Campaigns Director, The Climate Reality Project
  • Dan Shepard, Information Officer, Development Section, Department of Public Information, United Nations
  • Robert Skinner, Executive Director, New York Office Operations and UN Relations, United Nations Foundation
  • Sean Southey, Chief Executive Officer, PCI Media Impact
  • João Talocchi, Campaign Director, Here Now
  • Denise Young, Head of Communications, International Council for Science
  • Stanley Foundation Staff [10]

 

Par for the course, the report includes the standard disclaimer: “Affiliations are listed for identification purposes only. Participants attended as individuals rather than as representatives of their governments or organizations.” This rhetoric is standard across most (if not all) boards that serve non-profit industrial complex. It is best understood as protectionist rhetoric. In reality, participants are absolutely representative of their governments or organizations. Otherwise, they would not have been chosen for, nor would they retain, these lucrative positions.

The purpose of this retreat was preparations for COP21, Paris. 2015 was chosen by the elites as the year to formally implement the necessary policies that would accelerate growth and create new markets. This will be achieved via the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (Global Goals) under the guise of environmental protection and poverty eradication. From the report: “Progress on climate change negotiations will take place within the context of broader efforts to establish a sustainable development agenda that addresses the differentiated needs of all countries and provides adequate financing for development projects that will enable growth without negatively impacting the environment and humanity. Therefore, efforts to address climate change will be enhanced by integrating them with the post-2015 development agenda also being negotiated this year.” [Source]

“The retreat will bring together communications and advocacy leaders to discuss how best to communicate about and inspire climate action as an accelerator of sustainable development in the context of the post-2015 agenda.” Mobilizing Climate Action: To Paris and Beyond, Stanley Foundation Website

The “global goals” of the elites requires approx. 90 trillion dollars (90 trillion between now and 2030 that is required for planned mega-infrastructure projects, which is up from initial estimates of $60-70 trillion as of 2015). The Ceres (partner of the “We Mean Business” project, as well as a partner and advisor of the 350.org divestment scheme) “Clean Trillion” campaign “encourages investors, companies and policymakers to invest an additional $1 trillion per year globally in low-carbon energy alone.” The development projects are contingent on furthering extractive industries (all of which are dependent on fossil fuels from cradle to grave). The most important items to note here are the following:

1) the “global goal” to unleash developments projects that “enable growth without negatively impacting the environment and humanity” is a proven and irrefutable oxymoron, and

2) most critically, the main pillar of the “new economy (“global goals”) is the financialization of nature. That is, privatizing and assigning monetary value to all services on the planet that nature provides. Make no mistake, the financialization of nature is the unspoken, yet absolute key goal of the United Nations (in servitude the oligarchy) that today is being implemented behind closed doors.

“Paris is not the end point. It’s a launching pad”, said Robert C Orr, principal policy advisor to the UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon.” — Paris Meet will be a Launching Pad: UN official, March 8, 2015

 

“Nick Henry, CEO of Climate Action, said: “Climate change not only presents the single largest threat to mankind, it also creates the greatest economic opportunity since the industrial revolution. ” —  Businesses and Investors Pioneering the Green Economy Highlight Multi-trillion Dollar Opportunity in Tackling Climate Change, December 7, 2015

The emphasis at the retreat was the building of societal consensus for the Paris outcome by establishing new climate “leaders” and “subgroups”, the incorporating of “storytelling”, and the further targeting of youth, as identified in the highlights:

Climate change messaging should be reframed and rebranded. Messages of despair ought to be transformed into scenarios for hope and opportunity, particularly in the context of sustainable development.”

 

Increasing mobilization and amplification are critical leading up to COP21. This will include new media strategies as well as outreach to new audiences and advocates.”

 

“Identifying leaders of all kinds in their respective spheres of influence will heighten awareness for newly acknowledged subgroups of climate change actors as well as political leaders; storytelling will incorporate a personal, emotional element of climate change that has been missing from the narrative.”

 

“It is widely agreed that engaging youth is of central importance to encourage future constructive climate action—for the youth of today are the decision makers of tomorrow.”

For anyone who believes local grassroots groups are not prone to be influenced, led or even manipulated by international organizations, the following “broader approach” highlighted in the report demonstrates otherwise: participants acknowledged that the agreed upon broader approach “can then be tailored at the local level so that the varied campaigns are connected”.

To further the continuous targeting of youth, the retreat participants identified key targets “to deepen the pool of activists by mobilizing leaders across the world in their respective spheres of influence and reaching out to even more groups of stakeholders”. The two key “international actors” identified to achieve this goal were trade unions and public-private partnerships. [12]

One particular campaign strategy identified in the report was the shared aspiration to develop a “ribbon symbol” (“create a climate change symbol that is equally pervasive and can be used broadly across all public campaigns to escalate collaboration and solidarity.”) Here, one can recall the “Climate Ribbon Campaign” of the People’s Climate March and Cop21 Paris. Although the document identified blue as the sought colour for the ribbons, the end result was red as outlined in the 350.org “Redlines for Climate Actions Manual Draw the Line for Climate Justice” document. [13]

“Symbols are powerful, inspirational and instantly recognizable. When harnessed effectively by companies, symbols can have a strong impact on corporate culture, recruiting, morale and brand longevity.” — Forbes

 

“No matter what action you do, please also share your action on social media?so the rest of the world can see it. Take a photo or video and post on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook (if it’s on Facebook, please make sure it’s public) ­­and then use make sure you add #D12 or #redlines. You can also send an email to socialmedia@350.org

[COP21 – Wear Red. Further reading on the Climate Ribbon Campaign: Standing Rock: Profusion, Collusion & Big Money Profits [Part 3]]

“We perceive, understand, and negotiate the world around us by investing meaning in all manner of signs and symbols.” — The History of Logos and Logo Design by Dan Redding

“As people interact with a symbol — whether brand, religious, or otherwise — it gets packed with meaning. It becomes a heuristic of what’s to come.” — Make Your Brand Iconic: The Power of Symbols in Branding, Sticky Branding website

United Nations Development Programme, A Look at the Sustainable Development Goals, 2015

Other essential tasks as highlighted in the report are to “identify business leaders who are willing to take the spotlight and reveal their support for climate change efforts up to and beyond COP21”. This is more than simply greenwashing. Short-term, this is the growing strategy to bring corporate power into the fold of “activism”. The Avaaz partner, Ben & Jerry’s, owned by Unilever and a client of Purpose, is a prime example of this mind-fuck. Long-term, as the  financialization of nature is implemented at a global scale, financial markets and business will be assigned as the new “stewards of national natural capital.” Hence, the transformation (in appearance only) of corporations from psychopathic institutions into our future “stewards of nature” has already commenced.

Here, it is of special interest to note the role of media. Journalists are simply to be trained. From the report:

“Train media and establish a rapid response team: Spend time with media organizations to train them on climate change messaging.”

Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary, UNFCCC at launch of ‘We Mean Business’ at the Climate Week NYC 2014

The report identifies specific language that can be utilized by all NGOs. Repetitive language has long been key to successful social engineering. Consider the “de facto slogan”, agreed upon by the participants: “together we can, together we must, together we will“.  Examples of the agreed upon terminology have been utilized by the NGOs and can be found in the following excerpts:

“I believe that with clear leadership together we can, and we must, continue to deliver multilateral breakthroughs time after time after time,” — Christiana Figueres, July 18, 2016, former UN climate chief, B Team leader

 

“It will take all of us. But together, we can — and we will — blaze a bright path through this dark day.” — May Boeve 350, November 9, 2016

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Here it is critical to reflect upon the “leadership void”, a concern highlighted by those in attendance at this retreat and their allies, such as The B Team. To this end, there are no limits on who or what the elite and market forces are prepared to exploit in order to fill the niches that will further advance their desired agendas. As par for the course for the further expansion of industrial civilization, Indigenous People will, as always, be on the front lines of those most impacted by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Hence, in regard to the aforementioned need of the NPIC to “reach new audiences and advocates”, to have an Indigenous face as an exotic veneer to one’s brand is a marketing achievement of such grandeur, it is fetishized by those that comprise the non-profit industrial complex. An Indigenous face to brand/market the SDGs – is the ultimate acquisition.

Activism is the New Sex – But Sex Still Sells

Photography Dan Martensen, “Xiuhtezcati wears Jeans, belt and bracelets (worn throughout) model’s own.”

“That’s the crux of successful marketing today: activism is in. ‘Our activism is currently mediated by brands,’ says Will Fowler, creative director of Headspace. ‘Brands are allowing people to pat themselves on the back without them personally having to sacrifice anything.'” — Sex Doesn’t Sell Any More, Activism Does. And Don’t the Big Brands Know It, February 3, 2017

Today, selling “environmentalism” utilizes the same successful formula utilized to sell designer blue jeans decades ago – as well as the same formula used to promote white superiority in the mid-1800’s.

“This childish figure, outfitted in a short skirt, with pretty moccasins on its dainty feet and a single feather in its long, flowing hair, represents a quintessential, sexually undifferentiated Indian—although the bare breasts and the bow and arrows strewn along the ground reveal this to be a nonthreatening male Indian. The woman is pointing at a map in a book held open in her lap. Following her gaze, the Indian is also looking at the book, and his posture, more than the unreadable expression of his face, suggests that he is open to, if not exactly eager for, the instruction about to be dispensed.” — White Women’s Rights, evolution, woman’s rights, and civilizing missions, page 23

Consider the case of the 17-year-old Indigenous youth Xiuhtezcatl Martinez made famous by the media, who made his debut in the “environmental movement” at age six. Today, Martinez is the youth director of Earth Guardians, a worldwide conservation organization – an NGO which at COP21 shared the stage at the United Nations with international NGO “leaders” including Al Gore (The Climate Reality Project) and 350.org’s May Boeve. Martinez has been sought by, coddled and courted by those most powerful and influential including Barack Obama, Leonardo DiCaprio, The United Nations, Mark Rufallo, Bill McKibben, etc. etc.

At the tender age of 15, Martinez was photographed for a VICE feature (July 11, 2016), with images that deliberately seek to invoke a suggestive, hip prowess. One may recall a very contentious 1980 Calvin Klein ad featuring a 15-year old Brooke Shields (shot by photographer Richard Avedon). What was controversial in 1980 is today lost in a system where sexualisation is used to sell most everything including so-called environmentalism. Jeans yesterday. Faux environmentalism today – both in servitude to capital. The sexualization of children and teens is not so much problematic as it is sought, idolized, and even worshipped by a culture in decline. With almost four consecutive decades of social engineering and conditioning, this exploitation and sexualisation is not only of very little interest, it is rarely, if ever, noticed at all.

“His work has been featured on PBS, Showtime, National Geographic, Rolling Stones, Upworthy, The Guardian, Vogue, Bill Maher, Skavlan, CNN, MSNBC, HBO, VICE, and more. In 2013, Xiuhtezcatl received the 2013 United States Community Service Award from President Obama, and was the youngest of 24 national change-makers chosen to serve on the President’s youth council. He is the 2015 recipient of the Peace First Prize, recipient of the 2015 Nickelodeon Halo Award, 2016 Captain Planet Award and the 2016 Children’s Climate Prize in Sweden. Bill Mckibben of 350.org calls Xiuhtezcatl ‘an impressive spokesman for a viewpoint the world needs to hear.'” —  Earth Guardians Website

“Viewing sexualized images tend to elicit a variety of sensations that lead one to making an association of possible pleasurable outcomes for him/herself.” (Adams 1916)

Xiuhtezcatl Roske-Martinez, Earth Guardians speaks at UN Climate Reception – 21 April 2016

 

“Now that you’ve been denied your former way of life, and can only play at being Indian, let me teach you some geography in accordance with our remapping of a wilderness that once was yours.” — White Women’s Rights, evolution, woman’s rights, and civilizing missions, page 23

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Rebranding Capitalism. Above: The future is here: Corporations as the new “stewards of national natural capital.”

 

The Final Act

 

At this juncture, we must take a moment to circle back to 2014. In the report (Towards a Plan B for Business, June 2013-June 2016) on page 32 we find the section titled Fostering Collaboration by Joshi. Here, we can examine exactly why the This Changes Everything project (strategically launched in September of 2014 in unison with the People’s Climate March and the UN Climate Summit) was financed by The Rockefellers, Ford, etc. and how they’ve successfully utilized it.

“We can achieve great things when unlikely bedfellows come together, like last December at COP21 when the Executive Director of Greenpeace International, Kumi Naidoo, joined leading CEOs, including The B Team, to call for an ambitious, long-term goal in the Paris Agreement, standing in solidarity with low-lying island communities in calling for ‘1.5°C to stay alive’.” — The B Team Progress Report June 2013 – June 2016, p. 11 [Source]

The 350.org/Klein slogan This Changes Everything (“to change everything we need everyone”) launched simultaneously with the hype surrounding the 2014 People’s Climate March, served as the foundation to merge corporate ideology with modern day activism – which is now reduced to nothing more than anthropocentrism. This pathology, which has gone largely undetected, is today completely normalized. Full collaboration (and even adoration) of those at the forefront of environmental devastation and exploitation of the most vulnerable, is gradually becoming “the new normal“. This is a prime example of successful social engineering and behavioural change – the foundation of public relations firm Purpose.

“Today’s leaders increasingly recognize that we are all in this together. Transforming the economic system is impossible without enlightened consumers, innovative progressive companies, brave politicians, and visionary civil society leaders working together, putting individual interests aside for collective gain.” — The B Team Progress Report June 2013 – June 2016, p. 11 [Source]

Here we can also reflect on how those that funded Klein’s This Changes Everything Project – formerly marketed as “The Message” – is successfully utilized by the elites to rebrand capitalism. Following the 2014 People’s Climate March, in which Klein’s book served as an integral part of the “new economy” launching pad, “caring capitalism”, “breakthrough capitalism”, “ethical capitalism”, “compassionate capitalism” and a host of other grotesque and paradoxical phrases sanitizing the word “capitalism” came pouring out of the floodgates. By far the brand with the most money behind it (those present represented one-third of the world’s investable assets, approx. £18tr.) is the Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism (the coalition held its first conference on May 27 2014, just ahead of the release of Klein’s book and The People’s Climate March that would follow approx. 4 months later). This highly orchestrated strategy by the global elite is unsurprising since after all, what brand could be more inclusive to build on the motto of the People’s Climate March “to change everything, we need everyone” than the idea of “inclusive capitalism”? Not sure? Perhaps ask 350.orgs Jamie Henn, “deep practitioner” for We Mean Business, or Klein herself. After all, Klein, deep in the pockets of 350.org, (which merged with 1Sky, a Rockefeller incubator NGO in 2011, when Klein joined the board) has clearly stated: “But I have never said that we need to “slay” “ditch” or “dismantle” capitalism in order to fight climate change.”

It was never about “inclusive capitalism” or other “compassionate forms of capitalism, it was always about saving the global capitalist economic system, which is hovering close to stall speed. With nowhere else to go. Hence, the financialization of nature (natural capital/payments for ecosystem services) that very few within the NPIC speak of (although most are fully aware), is achieving its goal of creating and reaching new untapped markets. This task is at the front and centre of most all institutions, foundations, corporations, investment firms, banks and governments on Earth.

“The Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism was founded in 2014 by Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild. Beside her in this noble task are, according to the Coalition’s website, a Working Group comprised of such luminaries of social justice as Sir Evelyn de Rothschild of E.L. Rothschild, Dominic Barton from McKinsey and Company, Ann Cairns of MasterCard, Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles of HSBC, Paul Polman of Unilever, along with CEOs of various pension plans and philanthropic foundations, like the eponymous Ford and Rockefeller foundations.” — Cynthia McKinney, September 15, 2015

 

“Prince Charles, Mr Clinton and Mr Carney will make speeches, along with the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, and Larry Summers, the former US Treasury secretary, who is now a Harvard professor. Panellists include the chief executive of Unilever, Paul Polman; the chief executive of GlaxoSmithKline, Sir Andrew Witty; Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt; Prudential chief executive Tidjane Thiam; Sergio Ermotti, group chief executive of the investment bank UBS; and Sir Charlie Mayfield, chairman of the John Lewis Partnership.” — London hosts world leaders in debate on ‘fairer’ capitalism, May 26, 2014

Should we be surprised that Klein’s book slogan would be used to advance capital? Should we be surprised that key funders of The Inclusive Capitalism, the Ford Foundation and The Rockefeller Brothers Funds also financed “The Message” project and the This Changes Everything film? [14] Don’t be. It’s all par for the course. This is how the system is designed. This is why today’s “leading activists” are 6-figure jet-setters if not multi-millionaires, or even billionaires. This is why the NPIC exists. It’s not a coincidence that Klein’s book was released in the year that the re-branding of capitalism by the world’s most powerful oligarchs took centre stage. The scripts are written years if not decades in advance by those we pretend to oppose, to advance or implement what we pretend to oppose. Or at least what we would have opposed in another lifetime. Behavioural change works wonders on the collective psyche.

And to illustrate how the next generation of leaders have been schooled in the proper rhetoric, consider Joshi’s vision for the Ford Foundation on “reimagining  capitalism.” Even the task of re-branding capitalism is instead re-framed as redesigning capitalism.

“We believe there is a bright future for business—an inclusive model of capitalism that could really drive sustainable prosperity. It looks like a world in which business has the right aspirations, where we’re celebrating the right kind of leadership and where there’s true accounting.” — Rajiv Joshi on Reimagining Capitalism for the Ford Foundation

In a desire to elicit converts to this project of “redesigning” capitalism,  the “to change everything we need everyone” image accompanying Rajiv Joshi’s “Fostering Collaboration” article (highlighted in The B Team 2013-2016 report) speaks volumes in regards to the propaganda being utilized to appropriate converts to this ultimately benign message of impossible reformation:

Photo Courtesy: Alisdare Hickson, entitled To change everything we need everyone.

Narcissus Redux – To Catch A Glimpse Of Our Beautiful Self No Matter The Cost

In an interview with Avaaz co-founder Ricken Patel, December 9, 2011, it is noted that Avaaz was embarking on a 20-year planning cycle. In the same interview, Patel also disclosed that “Avaaz is also studying organizational models not typically followed by civil society organisations – such as Apple and Walmart.”  Note the last sentence cited in the paragraph below: “…thus its potential to influence politics and opinion at a global level is completely unprecedented.”

Interview with Avaaz co-founder Ricken Patel, December 9, 2011 [Source:  Pathways to Systemic Change]

The B Team is a shining example of what could be described as a “shell NGO”. A virtual construct with its “headquarters” in the real world, better known as the Purpose public relations firm. An office where the architectural drawings for the further destruction and privatization of nature, are drawn up by The B Team and carried out by the groomed “up-and-comers”. The main institutions that propel the desires of hegemonic power can be recognized throughout reports, founders bios, boards, advisory and executive committees. In the previously mentioned B Team report (2013-2016) honourable mentions include Heather Grady who works at the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors and also serves as advisor to The B Team. One of the original founders of The B Team, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is the former Minister of Finance of Nigeria and Coordinating Minister for the Economy. She was also Managing Director of the World Bank and Finance Minister and of Foreign Affairs Minister in Nigeria. Currently, she is chair and member of boards including the UN’s Post 2015 Millennium Development Goals High-level Panel, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the ONE Foundation (the brainchild of singer Bono and Microsoft owner Bill Gates). The same report boasts glowing reviews/endorsements for The B Team from those such as Gillian Caldwell, (p. 18) [15] co-founder of 1Sky (A Rockefeller incubator NGO that merged with 350.org in 2011) and current CEO of the elite financed Global Witness. Over and over, we see this interlocking directorate which essentially creates the “ties that bind”.

Perhaps the most sobering analysis and insight as to what drives the non-profit industrial complex itself comes from The B Team’s Joshi himself, as highlighted by the Ford Foundation:

“We live in a world where most of the world’s population doesn’t have the ability to participate in the economy. The opportunity to market your services to the 3.5 billion people who are not currently participating actively in the economy is the biggest economic opportunity of our generation.” — Rajiv Joshi for the Ford Foundation

And this fact is vital.

Although the global economy is nothing less than sacrosanct in the west which is in direct contrast to the 3.5 billion people at the bottom of the food chain, the global economic system, the capitalist economy, the green economy, the new economy – regardless of whatever lovely term is assigned to rebrand it, is completely irrelevant to the well-being of at least half the planet’s human population. They have everything to lose – and nothing to gain. Further, to non-human life, the global economy has zero benefit whatsoever – but only the severest of repercussions. Hence, we are sacrificing all life on Earth, including our own, to serve an economic system that benefits a very small percentage of people (a mere 1-5%) – the same people responsible for the bulk of ecological devastation and the vast majority of greenhouse gas emissions. (The approx. 45% that do actively participate do not so much as reap benefit, but are merely and most effectively trapped.)

In the Ford Foundation interview series “#InequalityIs”, Rajiv Joshi speaks to “how inequality hurts business.” This statement is inane – yet in a world now completely conditioned to steady-state insanity, such a ludicrous statement is not only questioned, it is even presented as genius. The capitalist system is built upon, and dependent on the exploitation of those most vulnerable. Exploitation & capitalism – one cannot exist without the other. Joshi’s corporate ideology is so strong, he views short life spans of those most disenfranchised not as unjust in a social justice context, but rather as an impairment to corporate profit. His observation that business cannot thrive in a planet whereby those most affected by inequality have life spans that “are so short that they’re not able to provide the value companies need” is refreshing in its brutally honesty although chillingly cold. Note that in the same Ford Series we find other alleged luminaries, such as May Boeve (Avaaz, Res Publica, 350.org, ), Richard Branson (B Team), and Paul Polman (Unilever, The B Team, We Mean Business, chair of The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), co-founder of the Business and Sustainable Development Commission), and Gloria Steinem (C.I.A.) in amidst Hollywood celebrities and global institutions.

The Ford Foundation (incidentally, one of the main financiers of Naomi Klein’s documentary film This Changes Everything) and the hegemonic realm it resides in, does not give a flying fuck about environmental protection, ecological preservation, mitigation of climate change or social justice. What they care about is creating new avenues whereby they can successfully exploit those not yet fully exploited – under the guise of sustainability and alleviation of poverty. Targeting and preying upon those not living up to their “free market potential” in a global economic system in crisis – a system that continues to barely sustain itself as it is on the brink of collapse.

This “new economic paradigm” extolled by the NPIC is also the very reason for the recent and feigned new “concern” over equality for women – and the manufactured movement designed to access women’s labour for global economic growth and new markets for the expansion of consumer goods. [“Keeping women out of the workplace costs the global economy around US$17 trillion, the head of a leading NGO in Canada has told the International Monetary Fund.” Source] Women represent another source not yet tapped to their full exploitation potential. Another recently identified and now sought solution to expand a suicidal economic system so intertwined and dependent on infinite growth, it will eventually fail at the very moment such growth comes to a grinding halt.

“Furthermore, it seems there exists a significant cognitive dissonance between liberal universalism proclaimed through cosmopolitan humanitarianism, and liberal imperialism expressed through high-sounding principles of humanitarian intervention that, in reality, functions as a vehicle through which all forms of life that do not conform to liberal ideals are eradicated or expelled (McCarthy, 2009: 166).” [Source]

Further, and perhaps even most important, is the recognition that 3.5 billion people “are not currently participating actively in the economy”. This means that all the hype for so-called “green” consumerism, eco-tourism, electric cars, wind turbines, solar, etc. etc. – serve only half the global population –  with only 1% of this population (anyone that can afford to get on a plane) creating 50% of greenhouse gas emissions. Meaning – our race to “save” the Earth today, must be considered “anthropocentrist economics”. We give a fuck about no one and nothing if it should interfere with our privilege in any way, shape or form. The economic system, for which a tiny portion of people are willing to trade nature, all sentient and biological life, and the lives of entire non-Anglo populations – inclusive of children – is sacrosanct. Appointed, falsely labeled environmental leaders that assure us more growth is necessary and can also be “green”, are our gods who conveniently cleanse away the guilt. Those who dare speak out against a fourth industrialization are divisive iconoclasts. In the age of acquiescence and apathy, our collective priorities constitute phones, cars and flat screen televisions . Eco-luxury homes and wood-fired Jacuzzi tubs for everyone. We want it all and more. We want shiny, beautiful, and perfect at any and all cost. Plastic opulence for plastic people. We stare hypnotically into the gleaming screens, in love with our own reflection. Fuck nature, fuck the Congolese, fuck the Earth’s last vestiges of sand and the sand wars we hear nothing about.

Payback is going to be a bitch.

 

End Notes:

[1] “Co-chaired by Richard Branson and Jochen Zeitz, the Board of 20 Leaders provides the overall governance for The B Team and sets the high-level strategic direction. An Executive Committee, comprising the Executive Chair Jochen Zeitz, three Senior Partners, Jean Oelwang, Joanna Rees and Keith Tuffley, and Managing Director Rajiv Joshi,

oversees the organisation’s strategy. The Managing Partner & CEO, Keith Tuffley, manages the day-to-day operations of The B Team.”

[2] Robert Gass is co-founder of the Rockwood Leadership Institute, where he designed and delivers “Leading from the Inside Out,” a year-long leadership training for top social change leaders. Graduates of this program form the core of STP’s network. He is the former President of ARC International, a global consulting and training company specializing in transformational change with Fortune 500 companies. Robert has a doctorate in Clinical Psychology and Organizational Development from Harvard University. [Full bio]

[3]Judith Ansara:  A former facilitator for the Rockwood Leadership Institute’s The Art of Leadership trainings, she has facilitated organizations and leaders including Search for Common Ground, Center for Community Change, Global Fund for Women, Avaaz, Witness, Just Vision, Spitfire Strategies, UNICEF, the University of Colorado and the City of Boulder. Judith has taught Transpersonal Psychology at Naropa University and Strategic Communications at the University of Massachusetts. [Full bio]

[4] Maura Bairley: Leads the Organizational Development Team for Move to End Violence, a project of the NoVo Foundation and serves as a Plan Consultant with Flexible Leadership Awards Program of the Haas Jr. Fund, the 21st Century Fellows Program of the Pipeline Project, and on CoreAlign’s consultant design team for the Speaking Race to Power Fellowship. [Bio]

[5] Ian Bassin Former Associate Counsel to President Obama, Ian Bassin is General Counsel and Campaign Director at Avaaz, Current director of United to Protect Democracy [“United to Protect Democracy, which draws its name from a line in President Barack Obama’s farewell address that urged his supporters to pick up where he was leaving off, has already raised a $1.5 million operating budget, hired five staffers and has plans to double that in the coming months. They’ve incorporated as both a 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4), allowing them to operate as a nonprofit but participate in some forms of political advocacy as well.”][Source] Signatory to the Economic Security Project. “[M]ost recently a member of the education policy working group for the transition team. He earlier served as the Florida policy director for the Obama Campaign for Change.”[Source]

[6] Paul Hilder bio: Avaaz: Imperialist Pimps of Militarism, Protectors of the Oligarchy, Trusted Facilitators of War | Part II, Section III

[7] Joanna Kerr: Greenpeace Canada (GPC) as Executive Director. Former  Chief Executive of ActionAid International, a global development organization based in South Africa and operating in 45 countries. Policy Director at Oxfam Canada. Executive Director of the Association of Women’s Rights in Development. Senior Researcher at The North-South Institute. [Source] [Source]

[8] Esra’a Al-Shafei is a Bahraini civil rights activist, blogger, and the founder and executive director of Mideast Youth and its related projects, including CrowdVoice.org.  Recipient of the Berkman Award for Internet Innovation from Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School in 2008 for “outstanding contributions to the internet and its impact on society.” In 2012, she received a Shuttleworth Foundation Fellowship for her work on the open source platform CrowdVoice.org.Recipient of the Monaco Media Prize, which acknowledges innovative uses of media for the betterment of humanity. In 2014, she was featured in Forbes’ “30 Under 30” list of social entrepreneurs making an impact in the world. The World Economic Forum listed her as one of “15 Women Changing the World in 2015.” That same year, she won the “Most Courageous Media” Prize from Free Press Unlimited.Selected as a 2017 Director’s Fellows at the MIT Media Lab. [Wikipedia]

[9] [Tracy Raczek, Climate Policy Advisor, Secretary-General’s Climate Change

Support Team, United Nations and Dan Thomas, Senior Communications Officer, Secretary-General’s Climate Change Support Team, United Nations]

[10] Elaine Schilling, Program Assistant, Jennifer Smyser, Director of Policy Programming, Richard H. Stanley, Chair, Board of Directors

[11] Callum Grieve is global director of communication for The Climate Group (co-founder of We Mean Business) and Communications Director at Sustainable Energy For All – ?Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL).

[12] “Participants agreed they could expand their current partnerships, reaching out to an increased variety of international actors (e.g., trade unions). They recognized that public-private partnerships in particular can leverage a great deal of influence in the decision-making process to affect policy change.

[13] “Ribbon Tree: What is your red line? We all have things we are not willing to compromise on, we all have things we love too dearly to let be lost to climate change without putting up a fight. Inspired by the Climate Ribbon Project, organize an event where you invite people to answer the question: “What do you love and hope to never lose to Climate Chaos?” Invite them to write their response on a strip of red fabric and hang them on a tree in a public space. Invite people to read out what others have written out loud, to share the sense of what we risk losing if our planet’s ecological limits are crossed. People can also tie the ribbons around their wrist as a reminder of their commitment to organise for climate justice. Invite press, and invite kids ­ they often have the best sense of how big this crisis is and the details we risk losing. Be sure to upload your photos to TheClimateRibbon.org” [Source.]

[14] “This film was supported by major grants from: JustFilms|Ford Foundation, The Seth MacFarlane Foundation, The Schmidt Family Foundation, 11th Hour Project, The Park Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Wallace Global Fund, Vivienne Westwood, Pamela Anderson Foundation, Chorus Foundation, Oak Foundation.” [Source]

[15] “The B Team has played a lead role in making the business case for beneficial ownership transparency, and their strategic interventions have bolstered international efforts to combat corruption at a critical time. Their leadership has been a vital element of our combined efforts to ensure transparency and accountability become the guiding standards for business and  governments around the world.” — Gillian Caldwell, CEO, Global Witness

 

 

 

 

 

Beautiful Delusions [McKibben’s Divestment Tour – Brought to You by Wall Street [Part XVI of an Investigative Report]

June 27, 2017

By Cory Morningstar with Forrest Palmer

Part sixteen of an investigative series

 

Breakthrough Capitalism and Volans

Breakthrough Capitalism – where business is referred to as an ecosystem:

“The first thing to say is that this website is one of several that are part of our close business ecosystem. These include: Volans, Breakthrough Capitalism, The Zeronauts, SustainAbility” — John Elkington Website

“A revolution of capitalism”:

“We need a revolution of capitalism,” said Peter Bakker, former CFOI and CEO at TNT and now President Of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.” – Volans Press Release, Breakthrough: How Business Leaders Can Create Market Revolutions, March 7, 2013

In the 2012 David Blood lecture (video),”Breakthrough Capitalism Forum – David Blood”, one notices the sponsorship in the background. At the top of the screen we can identify speakers/sponsors Jeremy Leggitt of Solar Century & Carbon Tracker, and Jennifer Morgan of WWF, to name two. [See full list of partners.]

Breakthrough Capitalism  is a key project of Volans, a driver of market-based solutions. On the growing list of Volans partnerships, one finds Shell Foundation, Dow, Generation, GRI (Global Reporting Initiative) (Ceres, UN), Tellus Mater, The B Team (A Richard Branson NGO now being operated/managed by public relations firm Purpose, sister org. of Avaaz) and many others. On the Volans Board of advisors we find none other than Robert Massie, former President and CEO of New Economics Institute. [“Our early relationships with partners and clients have critically informed our evolution; the Skoll Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, Allianz and HP, Atkins, Bayer, F&C, Nestlé, PPR and Recyclebank.”] [Source] [Note: Jeff Skoll co-founded EBay with Pierre Omidyar.]

“As public money gets pulled out of health care and education and all of this, NGOs funded by these major financial corporations and other kinds of financial instruments move in, doing the work that missionaries used to do during colonialism—giving the impression of being charitable organizations, but actually preparing the world for the free markets of corporate capital.” — Arundhati Roy, REVEALED: The head of Omidyar Network in India had a secret second job… Helping elect Narendra Modi, May 26, 2014

Showmanship over Science and Facts

Of interest regarding the influence these men have on the environmental movement is that both Skoll (Participant Media) and his EBay co-founder/partner, Omidyar financed the film, “Merchants of Doubt” (acquired by Sony Pictures) [2]

To illustrate how these institutional relationships develop and explain the mainstream media representations we need to look no further than Omidyar. Omidyar’s ties to the previous Obama administration run deep [Source] as does his vast network within the humanitarian industry complex. Humanity United is one such example. Consider that the Omidyar Network has made more investments in India than in any other country since 2009, according to its portfolio. [Source] More recently, Omidyar was a key player in the 2014 coup d’état carried out against Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych having co-funded Ukraine “revolution” groups with USAID and National Endowment for Democracy. [Source] [Source]

The Skoll-Omdiyar film, Merchants of Doubt, which is a condensed cinematic representation of the book it is based upon (published in 2010), focuses on the web of highly financed climate change deniers. The press release states: “Filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the curtain on a secretive group of highly charismatic, silver-tongued pundits-for-hire who present themselves in the media as scientific authorities – yet have the contrary aim of spreading maximum confusion about well-studied public threats ranging from toxic chemicals to pharmaceuticals to climate change.” Note that this same description also aptly describes those at the helm of the non-profit industrial complex (NPIC). It is of interest that at this late juncture in anthropogenic climate disruption, billionaire “philanthropists” decided to highlight the players who reap the profits by burning carbon, rather than the players who stand to make trillions under the guise of an illusory “new economy.” The same new economy both Skoll and Omdiyar stand to reap further profits and market share from. A main prerequisite of the liberal left is that an “other” must always exist. For the divestment campaign the “other” is the fossil fuel industry – the said enemy. For Western imperial states, the “other” is the “terrorist”. For this particular film, the “others” (plural) are the deniers who can shoulder all the blame. For the NPIC as a whole, it matters little, who the “other” at this moment may be, just as long as it means not looking at our own reflections in the mirror.

“Omidyar Network is a philanthropic investment firm dedicated to harnessing the power of markets to create opportunity for people to improve their lives.”– Omidyar Network, “A World of Positive Returns”, website

In the Variety September 4, 2014 film review, the author observes that “Kenner is particularly fascinated by the phenomenon of self-described “grassroots” organizations that are actually shilling for specific corporate and political interests (the Koch Brothers-funded Americans for Prosperity, the Exxon Mobile-financed Heartland Institute, etc.).” This blatantly obvious (and accurate) observation, “the phenomenon of self-described ‘grassroots’ organizations that are actually shilling for specific corporate and political interests…” is one that could easily apply to the movements manufactured by and belonging to the NPIC. The shilling in this instance for The Rockefeller Foundation, The Clinton Global Initiative, etc. In the same review, the author writes that by “[P]roviding an accessible, somewhat facile framing device, professional magician Jamy Ian Swiss describes how all sleight-of-hand (including the card trick he performs and demystifies onscreen) is predicated on the audience’s willingness to be deceived.” This same predication fits America’s self-described environmental activists like a velvet glove.

The authors of Merchants of Doubt  found that “one way to effectively remove public fear around a particular issue is to create fear elsewhere — something the tobacco industry managed by aligning itself with the flame-retardant industry, as if unprotected furniture, not cigarettes, were to blame for house fires.” This same tactic is utilized in the building of acquiescence for the “new economy”. It is not the industrialized capitalist economic system causing our environmental crisis, ecological collapse and the Sixth Great Extinction. Rather, it is the lack of technology via “clean energy” infrastructures global in scope (which in reality would/will only further industrialization, thus accelerating both greenhouse gas emissions and planetary environmental degradation).

In a final observation, the reviewer concludes that “There’s perhaps a necessary element of hypocrisy in this approach, given the film’s point that too many Americans, by and large, prefer showmanship over science.”

Above: “Showmanship over science.”

Today’s ever-devolving Western society continues to demonstrate its preference for showmanship over science, celebrity over substance, technology over nature, liberal ideology over radical ideology, human life over all other life, white skin over non-white.

Volans

 

“It’s all very well for me to say the future is environmental excellence, green consumerism, the triple bottom line or breakthrough capitalism, but the many movements and communities of which we are part deserve a deeper explanation of the thinking and experiences that brought us to these conclusions.” — John Elkington, Co-Founder of Environmental Data Services, SustainAbility and Volans

 

“We see signs of breakthrough in … Generation Investment Management CEO David Blood’s spotlighting a five key steps to sustainable capitalism, and in the alliance between Richard Branson of Virgin and former PUMA CEO Jochen Zeitz—who are building The BTeam.” — Volans Press Release, Breakthrough: How Business Leaders Can Create Market Revolutions, March 7, 2013

Partners publicly disclosed upon announcement of “The Breakthrough Capitalism” Program are listed as follows: Generation, Tellus Mater Foundation, Autodesk, HewlettPackard, The Value Web and Innovationarts.

The first “follows” chosen upon the set-up of twitter accounts are always revealing and Breakthrough’s twitter account is no exception. The first four follows are founders, co-founders, directors and the social media outreach of Volans. The fifth person chosen to follow is a partner at Generation Investment. Number six is John B Elkington? (founder and Executive Chairman of Volans and author/creator of zeronauts; a project of Volans). Seventh is Jeroen van Lawick, international consultancy for “transformative CSR” (“corporate social responsibility”) and organization development, as well as founder of Zijn Werkt!. Eighth is David Willans, marketing director at Futerra. Number nine is none other than 350.org’s Naomi Klein who was chosen ahead of number ten: Jeremy Leggett (Solarcentury, SolarAid, and Carbon tracker).

“Breakthrough Capitalism” asks the question as to how to engage the “1,100 or so companies that now control half of the world’s market capitalization.”

Whereas Volans and Generation would have us believe we should give these corporations even more power, the truth is that these very 1,100 corporations more than likely represent the first ones that should be targeted for dismantlement.

“Volans is part think-tank, part consultancy, part broker and part incubator. Based in London and Singapore, Volans works globally with entrepreneurs, businesses, investors and governments to develop and scale innovative solutions to financial, social and environmental challenges. Our Pathways to Scale program aims to identify, map and remove barriers that slow the scaling of innovative solutions to governance, economic, social and environmental challenges.” [Source]

John Elkington is the founding partner and Executive Chairman of Volans, as well as the co-founder of SustainAbility (1987) and Environmental Data Services (ENDS, 1978). He is recognized as a world authority on “corporate responsibility” and “sustainable development.” In 2004, Businessweek described him as “a dean of the corporate responsibility movement for three decades.” In 2008, The Evening Standard named Elkington “a true green business guru,” and “an evangelist for corporate social and environmental responsibility long before it was fashionable.” Of course, only those who serve to benefit from such false narratives bestow these titles and accreditations. For example, “corporate responsibility” is the strategic means to increase corporate domination via marketing.

In addition to the aforementioned credentials, Elkington is identified as a B Team “expert” on The B Team website. [Full bio.]

Elkington’s latest book utilizes/promotes Branson’s The B Team organization. The book titled Tomorrow’s Bottom Line: The B Team Playbook for Market Gamechangers, co-authored with B Team co-founder and former PUMA CEO Jochen Zeitz, was released in 2014.

Elkington has served as a juror for the first Gigaton Awards, developed by Richard Branson’s non-profit Carbon War Room – dubbed the ‘Oscars of sustainability.’ As well, he has completed a Fellowship at the Bellagio Centre awarded to him by The Rockefeller Foundation.

Elkington serves/has served on 70 boards and advisory boards. He co-chairs the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) Breakthrough Innovation Advisory Council, chairs the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Technology Consortium, and is a member of the Advisory Board of the Global Commission on Business & Sustainable Development (GCBSD). He is a member of the Board of the Social Stock Exchange (SSX), and chairs its Admissions Panel. He is also a member of the Boards of organizations such as the Biomimicry Institute and The Ecological Sequestration Trust (TEST), and a member of Advisory Boards for organizations such as 2degrees Network, Aviva, The B Team, Nestlé, Tesco, Guardian Sustainable Business, and Zouk Capital (cleantech fund). [Source]  Elkington has also served as strategic advisor to Bayer Material Science, Gaia Energy, Instituto Ethos, One Earth Innovation, Polecat UK; senior Advisor to the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre; board member of EcoVadis, Recyclebank Sustainability Advisory Council; the Evian Group Brain Trust and the Newsweek Green Rankings Advisory Board.

Elkington’s first involvement in the corporate environmental sector was raising funds at the age of 11 for the newly formed World Wildlife Fund (WWF), where he has for many years served on the Council of Ambassadors. He has written or co-authored 17 books, including The Gene Factory: Inside the Genetic and Biotechnology Business Revolution (1985), Double Dividends? US Biotechnology and Third World Development (1986), The Green Capitalists: Industry’s Search for Environmental Excellence (with Tom Burke , 1987), and The Power of Unreasonable People: How Social Entrepreneurs Create Markets That Change the World, co-authored with Volans co-founder Pamela Hartigan (2008).

In 2005 Elkington received the “Social Capitalist of the Year” award from Fast Company, later to be awarded a 3-year, $1 million field-building grant from the Skoll Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, at SustainAbility and Volans.

In September of 2016 Elkington launched “The Breakthrough Innovation Platform” to advance the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in partnership with UN Global Compact. “The ultimate target of the SDGs is the privatization of Indigenous and public resources worldwide.” [Source]

“Aligned with the UN Global Compact’s priority of translating the new SDGs into business action, the aim of the Breakthrough Innovation Platform is to challenge and stretch prevailing business mindsets into the opportunity spaces offered by the SDGs.” — UN Global Compact and Volans Announce Strategic Partnership on Breakthrough Innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals, May 31, 2016

Beautiful Delusions | Zeronaut

Illustration by Stephanie McMillan for Wrong Kind of Green

“Zero offers a powerful key to unlocking tomorrow’s growth markets.” – Zeronaut

Zeronaut was launched in April, 2008. It was founded by John Elkington.

Sophisticated and seductive marketing which appeals to an audience comprised of privilege is of critical importance. The marketing strategist executive, set with the task of selling an illusory “new economy”, employs both market-centric and human-centric terminology, which is alluring when paired with an underlying white saviour pretext – a prerequisite to successfully gloss over and elude the true extent of capitalism’s inherent violence and destructiveness. Market-centric language is strategically enticing as it invokes a “new’ economy” avec with new profit centres, inclusive of carbon emissions credits,  carbon capture storage, and most critically, today, the financialization of nature.

It is important to note that the Zeronaut mission/philosophy/marketing scheme is beguiling: “a new breed of innovator, determined to drive problems such as carbon, waste, toxics, and poverty to zero.” Yet, such beautiful delusions can only be afforded by the privileged. Not those who are oppressed under the capitalist economic system. Not the earth herself whose natural resources are destroyed in the creation of commodities for capital. Not for those now referred to as “human capital”. Not for those murdered by empire in the race for what’s left of our planet’s rapidly declining rare Earth minerals and resources.

Those praising the Zeronaut book include (in the order that they appear) Paul Hawken, David Blood (Goldman Sachs, Generation Investment), Jochen Zeit ( The B Team co-founder/Chairman of PUMA), David Grayson, Chair and Director of the Doughty Centre for Corporate Responsibility and Peter Bakker, the President of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

The Zeronaut 2012 Roll of Honor list includes Bill and Melinda Gates (GMO seeds), Al Gore and David Blood (Generation Investment, environmental markets), Ban-Ki Moon (environmental markets, carbon markets, methane extraction, REDD+), James Hansen (nuclear), Paul Hawken (“natural” capitalism), Pavan Sukhdev of TEEB (The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity – commodification of the commons) and many more of those in elite positions of power and influence. [Full list.]

An example of the ideology espoused by Zeronaut, is highlighted in the sample chapter formerly found on its website. The author tells the reader that the Kraft Corporation has achieved “zero waste” at 36 food plants, thus “it’s happening.”

In the Kraft Beaver Dam plant in Wisconsin (that manufactures Philadelphia Cream Cheese) Kraft built an anaerobic digester – the digester processed waste into energy that was fed into the local grid. Yet, this is hardly a solution for Kraft’s toxic waste. Rather, it is a mechanism that serves to perpetuate the production of excess waste, because the excess waste has become profitable.

Kraft plants in Cikarang and Karawang, Indonesia, where plastic packaging film creates most of the waste, found a recycler that turns the material into bags and buckets. Yet another market was found. Yet, what about the oil required to produce the film in the first place? The planet continues to be drilled and decimated. The bags and buckets which need infinite growth, to consume the infinite waste, also require infinite consumptive patterns.

Kraft plants in Fresno and San Leandro, California that make a variety of Kraft products including Cornnuts, Capri Sun and Kool-Aid (toxins in, toxins out), have collected more than 100 tons of food waste like corn skins to be used as animal feed since 2009. Yet this food, not fit for human consumption, is therefore certainly not fit for animal consumption either. Further, one can be almost certain that these corn skins are derived from genetically engineered corn, as will be the soy, sugar beet and canola. In addition, we must take into account other hazardous, chemical intensive, biodiversity destroying industrialized crops.

The deluge of half truths and misinformation propagated by the NPIC is the reason why it is necessary to analyse and define what the term “zero waste” truly means. In that regard, what is not mentioned is the mandatory mass-consumption of the product leaving the manufacturing plants and warehouses. Of no mention or consideration is the waste of energy to produce this “food” and transport this “food” that very likely has little to no true nutritional value. In fact, one could quite easily make the argument such processed foods and “edible” oils, key products/ingredients of Kraft, actually poison whole societies, inducing cancers, sickness/disease, and obesity. (In essence, products under the guise of “food” that amount to no more than toxic sludge.)

Of course reducing waste may add to Kraft’s bottom line, but even more so if they can achieve this by finding markets for their waste – which they have. In 2012, at a Kraft coffee plant in Vienna, Austria, the facility sent 250 tons of used coffee bean husks to a local biomass plant that generates heat and electricity. Yet biomass is a false solution with the waste externalized onto our health. “Biomass incineration is one of the most expensive, inefficient and polluting ways to make energy — even dirtier than coal in some ways. Forests are destroyed, the climate is cooked, crop lands are wasted, resources are destroyed and low-income communities and communities of color suffer increased health problems from this unnecessary dirty energy source that poses as renewable energy.” [Source]

Kraft’s direct and/or indirect support of the corporations that push monoculture and/or genetically engineered crops, is complicity to the immense social and environmental impacts destroying both communities and life of every form.

In 2012 a Kraft coffee plant in St. Petersburg cut waste sent to landfills by 90 percent by reusing coffee bean shipping bags and pallets and by sending off 15,000 tons of coffee grounds to be turned into fertilizer for farms in the area. The reusing of the bags and pellets is common sense and good practise. Yet, one must also remember this same 15,000 tons of coffee contained pesticides and chemicals which would have leached into the earth’s soil, underground aquifers, water systems, our air and inevitably, our bodies and the bodies on non-human life. This is not to mention Kraft, like all multinational food corporations, make billions on the backs of farmers. Starbucks five dollar lattes are full to the brim with the blood and sweat of the farmers that barely survive under the industrialized capitalist system. Support of corporate power dominating agriculture ensures the continuance of exploitation while furthering negative social and community impacts.

Therefore, beneath the layers of Kraft’s zero waste “feat” is little more than green washing with highly evolved and a most sophisticated marketing.

http://killercoke.org/

According to the excerpt, Coca-Cola has also achieved “zero waste”. Yet corporate media fails to report Coca-Cola distributing free “fertilizer” in India, later analyzed to be nothing more than toxic waste. Does the BPA (a known carcinogen) that lines the Coca-Cola cans not qualify as waste? How much one-time use, disposable (including recycled) packaging by Kraft and Coca-Cola alone, ends up in landfills and oceans once it leaves the processing plants? Recycling, a billion dollar energy intensive industry which also creates massive volumes of waste, is not a true solution to the real problem: that of producing items that are simply not necessities in any way shape or form. As a further concern to the environmental issue which is the human rights violations committed by this corporation, do the union leaders assassinated under Coca-Cola’s reign of terror in Columbia constitute waste – or is “human capital” nothing more than a tax write-off under the “third industrial revolution”, that being the “new economy”?

The idea that the same corporations that have brought the apocalypse to or doorstep are the same corporations who will now usher in a new green utopia is just that – a utopian fantasy.

Under an industrialized capitalist economic system, zero waste cannot and will not ever be achieved. To varying degrees, every one of these corporate entities, and the junk they produce (which are things we do not need to survive), have to go. Bare essentials in the most radical sense must be our collective goal.

Next up: Part 17

 

Cory Morningstar is an independent investigative journalist, writer and environmental activist, focusing on global ecological collapse and political analysis of the non-profit industrial complex. She resides in Canada. Her recent writings can be found on Wrong Kind of Green, The Art of Annihilation, and Counterpunch. Her writing has also been published by Bolivia Rising and Cambio, the official newspaper of the Plurinational State of Bolivia. You can follow her on twitter @elleprovocateur]

[Forrest Palmer is an electrical engineer residing in Texas.  He is a part-time blogger and writer and can be found on Facebook. You may reach him at forrest_palmer@yahoo.com.]

McKibben’s Divestment Tour – Brought to You by Wall Street [Part VIII of an Investigative Report] [The “Social Capitalists”]

The Art of Annihilation

January 9, 2015

Part eight of an investigative series by Cory Morningstar

Divestment Investigative Report Series [Further Reading]: Part IPart IIPart IIIPart IVPart VPart VIPart VIIPart VIIIPart IXPart XPart XIPart XIIPart XIII


“Of all our studies, it is history that is best qualified to reward our research.” — Malcolm X

 

Prologue: A Coup d’État of Nature – Led by the Non-Profit Industrial Complex

It is somewhat ironic that anti-REDD climate activists, faux green organizations (in contrast to legitimate grassroots organizations that do exist, although few and far between) and self-proclaimed environmentalists, who consider themselves progressive will speak out against the commodification of nature’s natural resources while simultaneously promoting the toothless divestment campaign promoted by the useless mainstream groups allegedly on the left. It’s ironic because the divestment campaign will result (succeed) in a colossal injection of money shifting over to the very portfolios heavily invested in, thus dependent upon, the intense commodification and privatization of Earth’s last remaining forests, (via REDD, environmental “markets” and the like). This tour de force will be executed with cunning precision under the guise of environmental stewardship and “internalizing negative externalities through appropriate pricing.” Thus, ironically (if in appearances only), the greatest surge in the ultimate corporate capture of Earth’s final remaining resources is being led, and will be accomplished, by the very environmentalists and environmental groups that claim to oppose such corporate domination and capture.

Beyond shelling out billions of tax-exempt dollars (i.e., investments) to those institutions most accommodating in the non-profit industrial complex (otherwise known as foundations), the corporations need not lift a finger to sell this pseudo green agenda to the people in the environmental movement; the feat is being carried out by a tag team comprised of the legitimate and the faux environmentalists. As the public is wholly ignorant and gullible, it almost has no comprehension of the following:

  1. the magnitude of our ecological crisis
  2. the root causes of the planetary crisis, or
  3. the non-profit industrial complex as an instrument of hegemony.

The commodification of the commons will represent the greatest, and most cunning, coup d’état in the history of corporate dominance – an extraordinary fait accompli of unparalleled scale, with unimaginable repercussions for humanity and all life.

Further, it matters little whether or not the money is moved from direct investments in fossil fuel corporations to so-called “socially responsible investments.” The fact of the matter is that all corporations on the planet (and therefore by extension, all investments on the planet) are dependent upon and will continue to require massive amounts of fossil fuels to continue to grow and expand ad infinitum – as required by the industrialized capitalist economic system.

The windmills and solar panels serve as beautiful (marketing) imagery as a panacea for our energy issues, yet they are illusory – the fake veneer for the commodification of the commons, which is the fundamental objective of Wall Street, the very advisers of the divestment campaign.

Thus we find ourselves unwilling to acknowledge the necessity to dismantle the industrialized capitalist economic system, choosing instead to embrace an illusion designed by corporate power.

+++

 

Ceres: “The Social Capitalists”

The Clinton Foundation, along with the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, was an integral participant in the creation of 1Sky. 1Sky (which officially merged with 350.org in 2011) was, in fact, an incubator project of the Rockefeller fund at its inception. Like 1Sky, Ceres would also receive accolades from the Clinton administration:

“It is immensely gratifying that our unique skills and leadership are being noticed. Our project with Yale and Marsh was saluted this fall by former President Clinton at the Clinton Global Initiative and this month Ceres received a prestigious Social Capitalist Award from Fast Company magazine. We also were honored to receive a 2006 Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship.” [Source: 2006 Ceres annual report]

Note that in 2009 (as disclosed in the SKOLL FUND CO SILICON VALLEY COMMUNITY FOUNDATION 990) the Skoll Foundation awarded Ceres with a $2,000,000 grant for the “Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship.”

Ceres Key Partnership: The World Climate Summit

“The World Climate Summit provides a unique opportunity to build collaboration among investors, businesses and governments on the steps needed to enable the necessary flows of private capital to achieve a low-carbon global economy.” — Mindy Lubber, President, Ceres and Director, Investor Network on Climate Risk.

Ceres’s INCR is a founding industry partner of The World Climate Summit (WCS) (2010) [1], now operating under the auspices of World Climate Ltd, a private company registered in England and Wales (No. 07186968) [Doha: World Climate Summit 2012 | 2012 Partners] WCS founding partners include the planet’s most powerful corporations and institutions with access to more than 60 industry associations, 100 chambers of commerce, 2,500 corporations, and more than 530 investors representing more than $64 trillion in assets under management. [See screenshot below: UNEP FI Soft Launch: Conference in Cancun]

[Video: Climate Solutions – World Climate Summit 2013 – COP19 – Interview with Ursula Mathar – BMW]

Ceres Key Partnership: The United Nations

Since 2003, Ceres, the United Nations and the United Nations Fund for International Partnerships has hosted a bi-annual Investor Summit (on climate risk & energy “solutions”). The Investor Summit convenes over 520 global investors controlling tens of trillions of dollars in assets from four continents “who understand that climate change creates enormous economic risks and also know that it represents one of the great financial opportunities of our time.” [Source]

64 trillion

World Business Council for Sustainable Development

“Another major policy planning group emerged in the mid-1990s with an increased focus on environmental issues, called the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), which ‘instantly became the pre-eminent business voice on the environment’ with a 1997 membership of 123 top corporate executives, tasked with bringing the ‘voice’ of big business to the process of international efforts to address environmental concerns (and thus, to secure their own interests).” [Source: “Global Power Project, Part 2: Identifying the Institutions of Control”] Sourcewatch states: WBCSD was officially “formed in January 1995 through a merger between the Business Council for Sustainable Development (BCSD) in Geneva and the World Industry Council for the Environment (WICE) in Paris,” both of which were founded by billionaire industrialist Stephan Schmidheiny and Maurice Strong. “According to critics, this group was part of a strategy to dislodge the United Nations Center on Transnational Corporations as it moved towards enforceable rules governing the operations of multinational corporations.” [Source: Taking Strong Action For Capitalist-Led Environmental Destruction]

WBCSD’s corporate partnerships are extensive. Major WBCSD water partnerships include but are not limited to: Ceres, AquaFed, the international federation of private water operators, CEO Water Mandate, GEMI , International Water Association, IPIECA, the global oil and gas industry association for environmental and social issues, Stockholm International Water Institute, UN Water and World Resources Institute.

“WBCSD collaborated with Ceres to develop a publicly available framework to help investors understand how water-intensive companies are positioned to manage water-related risks and opportunities.”

The WBCSD governance is comprised of individuals representing Unilever (chairman), ACCIONA, Toshiba, Royal Dutch Shell (vice chairmen). Members includes representatives of Toyota, Infosys, Lafarge France, Fibria Brazil and China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec). Stephan Schmidheiny serves as honorary chairman.

In 2012 Schmidheiny, heir, former executive and key shareholder in construction firm Eternit, was found guilty of negligent behavior in exposing Eternit’s workers and citizens to asbestos that resulted in over 3,000 asbestos-related deaths blamed on contamination. The guilty verdict resulted in a 16-year prison sentence. Schmidheiny failed to present himself in court during the two-year long trial and was not present for the verdict. In 2013 a third appeal upheld the conviction. The court increased the prison term to 18 years from the 16-year prison term handed down by a lower court in 2012 and awarded victims €88 million in damages. Again Schmidheiny appealed. On November 20, 2014 the Italian Supreme Court acquitted the convicted Schmidheiny and overturned his 18-year prison sentence stating the evidence in the case was out of date. His acquittal has set a precedent for other corporations whose CEOs are currently being held responsible for environmental and health damages.

“With this verdict, money and power won again. Eternit’s flagrant disregard for public health and the environment is reprehensible and criminal.” — Linda Reinstein, President of the US-based Asbestos Disease Awareness Organisation

Watch: Background: Looking back at the Eternit case:

http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/embedded/looking-back-at-the-eternit-case/41124758

In an October 2014 interview with Joppe Cramwinckel (WBCSD) in response to the question “In Europe there has recently been a strong campaign for public water supply: what is your position? Do you think it is right to privatize the management of a resource like water? If so why?”

WBCSD makes it clear the shared intent on the commoditization of Earth’s natural resources (by both corporations and the non-profit industrial complex (NPIC) under the guise of corporate responsibility via careful linguistics:

“We don’t have an opinion about privatizing water services, that is a choice individual countries have to make. We do believe however that a key approach to improve water management is ‘water valuation’ coupled with charging the ‘full cost’ of using water through better pricing policies. Government regulations may also enforce, or at least encourage, valuation of water. In addition, growing stakeholder and supply chain demands are likely to grow as perceptions evolve in relation to growing sustainability awareness. This whole movement towards better understanding and pricing the true value of water will have significant implications for all businesses – both in terms of risks and opportunities.”

WBCSD Members:

wbcsd org member banner

Higher Fuel Economy Standards = More Growth

In February 2008, Ceres and the United Nations Foundation brought together 450 global investors managing $22 trillion in assets to a 3rd Investor Summit on Climate Risk. [2][3] One of the highlights that came from this summit was a joint Citi/INCR research report (2007) that highlighted the growth opportunities for U.S. automakers based on higher fuel economy standards.

“In July Ceres, along with a dozen other nonprofit partners, was an invited guest at the White House ceremony where President Obama announced stronger fuel-efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions standards for new cars and trucks. Increasing fleet average fuel economy standards to 54.5 miles per gallon for cars and light-duty trucks by model year 2025 will make a significant difference for the environment and our economy.” (2010-2011 annual report)

Obama announces in 2008 that stronger fuel-efficiency that will come into effect in 2025? Seventeen years into the future? Who cares!? To add insult to injury, consider that in 1908, the gas efficiency of a Ford Model T was 25 MPG, while in 2008, 100 years later, the EPA average of fuel efficiency on all cars was 21 MPG. Further, the EPA figure was inflated, as “most drivers achieve only about 75 percent of the [EPA mileage] figures.”

Ceres – Teeming with Religious Entities

“However, to read last week that the head of the Catholic Church, His Holiness the Pope, has cautioned mankind against greed while urging world leaders to tackle the problem of climate change was so surprising that I was sure I was reading a parody of events.… Large investments with everyone from the Rothschilds of America, Britain and France to some of the most powerful multinational corporations like Shell and General Motors, the Catholic Church has and still does benefit from a free market global economy that is solely motivated by profit. — Left Foot Forward, November 28, 2014

If 350.org really wants divestment he should start with the Catholic Church. [May 31, 2011: Catholic Church has billions invested in BPI, Philex, San Miguel.] To suggest that 350.org target religious entities about divestment first and foremost is not without reason. The fact is that 350.org’s “friends on Wall Street” (Ceres) are actually teeming with wealthy religious organizations. Ceres faith-based coalition members include religious organizations such as Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, National Ministries, American Baptist Churches, Presbyterian Church (USA) and United Methodist Church, Board of Pension and Health Benefits (2003). Ceres’s faith-based board of directors includes representation from The United Methodist Church, Mission Responsibility Through Investment, Presbyterian Church (USA) and many others. [View all religious affiliations 2001-2010: 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010]

“Among our most valuable coalition members is the United Methodist Church General Board of Pension and Health Benefits, one of the nation’s largest denominational pension funds representing 74,000 clergy and lay members with over $14 billion in assets.” [CERES 2008 Annual Report]

Surely the churches need no convincing by 350.org nor any other NGO on the virtues of morality and ethics … so why is it they have not already divested from fossil fuels? The investments held by the Catholic Church demonstrate that religious entities are just as guilty of rapacious greed and racism as the corporation itself, which is easily defined as having the very same characteristics of a full-blown psychopath.

350.org, McKibben, Ceres, Nike and Friends | Ego Uber Alles

Bill McKibben (founder and former chair of 350.org) has been an esteemed guest of Ceres conferences in 2007, and again in 2013.

An example of 350.org’s delusional idea of environmentalism from its inception is the continuous accolades for corporate social responsibility (as if there were such a thing) such as the “greening” of Nike. This is the same Nike that exploits sweatshop workers in Southeast Asia (April 20, 2011):

“Today from 12-1pm EST, ClimateCounts.org, Ceres.org and 350.org are supporting the Bard Center for Environmental Policy’s Campus to Corporation (C2C) campaign by tweeting during Bard’s open dialogue with Sarah Severn, Stakeholder Mobilization Director of Sustainable Business and Innovation at Nike Inc.

 

“For the third year in a row Nike topped the ClimateCounts.org scorecard and last year made headlines by resigning from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Board over climate disputes.

 

“In December of 2010 at the release of the latest ClimateCounts.org scores, Wood Turner, ClimateCounts.org Executive Director, noted that, ‘There’s an emerging top tier of innovative companies leading on climate.’ Turner went on to state that ‘Climate action may have bogged down in Washington, but these companies know they can build successful businesses while tackling the climate crisis.’

 

“ClimateCounts.org and partners will be encouraging climate-conscious consumers to join the open dialogue today and tweet using the #Nike hashtag to learn more about the climate action Nike is taking.”

March 8, 2012:

” …according to War on Want, an anti-poverty charity accusing the sportswear giants of exploiting their workers in Bangladesh. In Race to the Bottom, a report released on Monday, the organization documents evidence of illegal work hours, dismal wages, sexual harassment, and physical violence in six factories contracted by Adidas, Nike, or Puma.”

In stark contrast to 350.org et al, the UK Feminista group took to the streets when it observed such exploitation:

“The group is asking people to stand in solidarity with the women producing Nike’s sportswear for the 2012 Olympics who are systematically being denied their rights. New research released by War on Want shows that Bangladeshi garment workers, 85% of whom are women, are being cheated of their maternity rights, face sexual harassment, and receive poverty pay.”

Yet this should be of little surprise. The NPIC is patriarchal; those at the helm could care less that women suffer the most under the industrialized global capitalist system. Those exploited the most, and in particular women, will suffer the most as climate impacts intensify. There is a reason 350.org no longer uses the term “climate justice.” The reality is that climate and justice will not and cannot coincide under the current economic system, as violence and exploitation are inherently built into the system.

Capitalism Doesn’t Care if Anyone Divests

“At Ceres, we understand that capitalism and sustainability are deeply and increasingly interrelated. Whether it’s energy and water needs, workplace conditions or nutrition, businesses must pay attention. These issues pose risks that must be managed proactively. They present opportunities that must be leveraged immediately.” Ceres Annual Report 2005 & Beyond, Ceres, 2006

 

“The essence of capitalism is to turn nature into commodities and commodities into capital. The live green earth is transformed into dead gold bricks, with luxury items for the few and toxic slag heaps for the many. The glittering mansion overlooks a vast sprawl of shanty towns, wherein a desperate, demoralized humanity is kept in line with drugs, television, and armed force.” ? Against Empire

 

All money, like water, will flow somewhere. Meaning that at the end of the day even (“direct”) divestment from fossil fuels (asked to take place within a 5-year time frame) will only change the flow of investments. Examples include divesting from traditional fossil fuels to investing in the exploitation/drilling of “green” methane hydrates, rapid expansion of bio-fuels and other dangerous false solutions. The divestment campaign is of no threat to the fossil fuel industry at large because it has and will continue to expand into all the niche markets under the paradigm of the illusory “new economy.”

Campaigns of Distraction

Fossil fuel corporations will continue to rake in billions of dollars in revenues and profit. Investment funds understand that these stocks are secure. No risk. The notion of a carbon bubble in this respect … essentially referring to fossil fuels that cannot be burned – is laughable. Who is going to say no to the consumption of these fossil fuels because they are no longer part of our “carbon budget” – the U.S. military perhaps? We have not stopped on our own since climate talks began in 1979 (February 12-23, 1979 in Geneva); meaning, we’ve had 35 years to stop, and instead, only massively accelerated our consumption – an imperative under our suicidal economic system simply because the system would collapse with perpetual/infinite growth. One would be delusional to believe that we will in the future, on our own accord, make any meaningful attempt to address our consumption fetish – even as resources disappear at an accelerated rate. In the United States of Megalomania, and beyond, new generations are indoctrinated by design to be super-consumers – almost from the moment they can walk. The system demands it. Today, like deadly cancer cells, the western culture is permeating most all other cultures on our finite planet. Why would an investment firm (or their stockholders) believe that continued investment in fossil fuels would place their investments at risk when the American anthem “we will not apologize for our way of life” has become the empty dream to aspire to around the globe? The fossil fuel it takes to run an industrialized global economy built upon (and dependent upon) planned obsolescence is absolutely massive. Americans cannot even begin to comprehend the amount of fossil fuel necessary to allow such consumption to continue.

There is a reason such discussion and comments, such as the one which appears below, are highlighted on the Ceres website:

“Now, some people’s response is to demand that we end all coal production now – they say “End Coal.” Never mind that such a thing is simply not going to happen – there is no substitute now for metallurgical coal and if we stopped burning coal this afternoon and cut the power in the U.S. grid by 50 percent, as Mayor Bloomberg advocates, he’d be reading handwritten memos by candlelight this evening.”

We can cry “stop the Keystone XL!” and “Save the planet!” and “Action on climate change!” all we want. Yet, until we are willing to completely and collectively starve the corporate-machine that hums beneath our capitalist system, we remain chained to our demise. This includes but is in no way limited to: the most minimal amount of community-owned/cooperative energy (as clean and safe as possible) to meet only our most very basic needs; local and regenerative plant-based agriculture based on permaculture principles; trade/cooperative banking, etc. etc. etc. Yet, here there is a critical distinction that must be made.

Is “community-owned/cooperative energy (as clean and safe as possible) to meet only our most very basic needs” better than what we have at present? Yes. It would be difficult to argue otherwise. And yet, the question that arises is this: why are we looking (through tunnel vision) at (a global proliferation of) renewable energy infrastructure (the creation, transporting of and maintenance of, all dependent on fossil fuels) when the very societies (predominantly Euro-American) marketing/advocating the 100% renewable energy campaigns (via NGOs), the same societies creating 50% of all global greenhouse gas emissions, have not even succeeded, let alone even attempted, to cut our current consumption/emissions by at least half? (50% being a starting point only). After all, renewable energy infrastructure on a global scale is further ecological destruction (on a massive scale) to a planet in which planetary boundaries, feedbacks and tipping points have already being crossed.

Massively cutting our energy consumption for essentials such as heat will be very difficult if not impossible. Virtual zero carbon emissions would appear to be no easy feat. But deep and immediate cuts in emissions would be achievable simply by the eradication of, or even the collective rejection of, energy-intensive products, flying [critical][4] and energy-intensive food sources. Think no more “Black Friday.” Think the relinquishing of air conditioners, personal automobiles, fast food, flying, gadgets and everything else we believe we need, but which are in reality, for the most part, no more than short-sighted wants.

Considering that a massive amount of all energy is unnecessarily wasted (over 40% in the U.S.) while over 50% of all global greenhouse gas emissions are from industrialized factory farming, this could perhaps be achieved – but the fact is that we have not done so. Industrialized factory farming is perhaps the most taboo subject (along with the lethal military-industrial complex) among the liberal left and in particular the NPIC, much to the detriment of our children and billions of other sentient beings. Also not spoken of is the multitude of health benefits (let alone the immense environmental benefits) of a collective transition to a plant-based diet. We don’t talk about it despite a frightening epidemic of childhood diabetes (due to obesity) in America. One in three children born today in the U.S. is expected to develop diabetes in her/his lifetime, with black and Hispanic children having the highest risk.] Of course, such a transition (which requires no legislation) will never be championed by the NPIC simply because 1) it costs people nothing (therefore there is no profit to be made), 2) it threatens corporate power (leaving factory farming a reprehensible act of the past), and finally, 3) such a transition would leave the pharmaceutical industrial complex in the cold. Why prevent disease when we can “treat” it, further lining the pockets of big pharma? What foundations would fund such nonsense? The same foundations financing the national campaign to cut your consumption by 50%: none. Another barrier is the fact that 350.org et al, as well as the NPIC as a whole, understand their target audience well. Middle class, privileged, predominantly white. The NPIC employs and depends upon multi-million-dollar marketing companies to poll reactions – more importantly, reactions to specific language and phrases – prior to launching any campaign. They don’t “lead” with progressive/radical ideologies – they cater to corporate-driven and celebrated individualism. In other words, they give the people what the people want to hear. And to suggest to the American populace that it would be in their best interest to not eat dead animals three times a day or to consume/purchase only what is vitally necessary is to risk being nailed to a stake and burned alive.

One must question how it is at all sensible to believe the solution is “green” energy, when there have been zero attempts to curb our consumption to date. More is simply more. It is a fact that as all new “renewable” energies have come online, the end result has been more energy consumed. Perhaps one could argue for (or even believe) in “100% energy for 100% of the people” if we had achieved massive cuts in our emissions/consumption to date or even if such a process was now being taken on with war-time mobilization efforts. But they have not and are not. No doubt one will argue that once the renewable infrastructure is in place, we will de-commission all the fossil fuel plants. Yet what evidence is there that at any time we (the 1% creating 50% of the GHG emissions) will give up any energy – or anything at all? If we haven’t by now, and we certainly haven’t, why would the future be any different? The illusion of a future that runs on “clean,” “renewable” energy (by 2050) is allowing us to ignore (and continue) our rapacious consumption today. The “100% renewable” campaign serves the same purpose as the carbon “budget” (30 more years to “safely” burn) and the zero emissions by 2050 “goal.” The carefully constructed phrases, marketed and normalized by the tentacles of empire, deliberately serve the illusion that we can keep consuming, keep burning, keep killing, keep growing, as per usual. Today’s emergency is kept locked away in the future. It is easy to promise zero in 2050 when by this time the Earth will likely be uninhabitable, with little to no life, human or otherwise.

100-per-cent-for-the-one-percent-lg

The slogan that appeared for the “People’s Climate March” – “100% energy for the 100%” – is nothing but a phrase that serves to alleviate guilt. A sign/phrase based on reality would read “100% energy for the 1-3%” (the 1% being anyone who can afford to get on an airplane). Most all “renewable” energies will flow to the very same people who have always had the energy since the beginning of the industrial revolution: the empire states, the Annex I states, the privileged few. As an example, the October 29, 2014 article “Solar Power Plant in Africa to Supply Europe” states that “by 2018, a large solar power plant in the Tunisian part of the Sahara desert may start sending power to energy-hungry Western Europe.” This is nothing new. This is the norm. This is imperialism – the highest stage of capitalism. Beautiful Africa, the most resource-rich continent on Earth, ravaged and terrorized for her abundant wealth, her people purposely impoverished by colonial and imperial states. Consider that nearly 97% of the people on the planet that are without access to electricity live in sub-Saharan Africa and developing Asia – and then ask yourself why African solar is being transported to Europe, part of the 1% that already creates 50% of the GHG emissions.

It’s not what we need to add to “the existing” that should be our initial effort. Our initial effort/focus should be on what we can live without. An extraordinarily massive amount LESS. The relinquishing of what we don’t need is far more important than using what little remains of Earth’s natural resources to create additional infrastructure. The planet has already been raped and pillaged to the max. Climate science aside, humans are rapidly exhausting all Earth’s natural resources. July 7, 2002: “Earth’s population will be forced to colonise two planets within 50 years if natural resources continue to be exploited at the current rate, according to a report out this week… In a damning condemnation of Western society’s high consumption levels, it adds that the extra planets (the equivalent size of Earth) will be required by the year 2050 as existing resources are exhausted. The report, based on scientific data from across the world, reveals that more than a third of the natural world has been destroyed by humans over the past three decades.” October, 2010: “…our demand on natural resources has doubled since 1966 and we’re using the equivalent of 1.5 planets to support our activities. If we continue living beyond the Earth’s limits, by 2030 we’ll need the equivalent of two planets’ productive capacity to meet our annual demands.” Is it any surprise we would rather focus all of our energies on how much more/what more we need in order to be “sustainable” (an oxymoron if there ever was one), rather than focus on what we can cut out of our lives in an attempt to be sustainable … starting today. Not because it will save us, but simply because it is the right thing to do. The fact that we do not do so and will not do so reveals much about our western societies and ourselves… perhaps more than we can bear to look at. Is this critical? Consider the response by Administrator of NASA, Charles Bolden speaking at the Humans to Mars summit: “If this species is to survive indefinitely we need to become a multi-planet species. We need to go to Mars, and Mars is a stepping stone to other solar systems.” (Note that the quest to place greenhouses on and colonize Mars is well underway.)

A transition from our suicidal economic system to a system in which knowledge, dignity, courage and compassion serve as our shared foundation is paramount. We must start somewhere. Even if the beginning of such a transition is shared collectively in ideology alone, this would represent a true turning point toward a society grounded in humility and decency with purpose.

Until we do, we remain modern day slaves numbly intoxicated with 21st century soma. Our actions speak louder than words, “likes” and clicks.

Quiet Now

Illustration by Katharina Rot via social media. Attached were the words from a daughter to her father: “love this daddy” to which the father replied: “[Y]our girl will do this someday.”

The only way to stop an uncaged monster hurtling us towards oblivion faster than the speed of light is to starve it. This requires the participation of the masses – led by those at the margins. Together, we must starve the monster to the best of our ability, until it loses strength. At this point, when the system is weak and on its knees, in a valiant and united effort, we must do everything in our power to destroy it, shifting the existing power structures back to where they belong: with the people.

 

Good for people – bad for Wall Street.

 

 

+++++++++++++

 

Next: Part IX

 

[Cory Morningstar is an independent investigative journalist, writer and environmental activist, focusing on global ecological collapse and political analysis of the non-profit industrial complex. She resides in Canada. Her recent writings can be found on Wrong Kind of Green, The Art of Annihilation, Counterpunch, Political Context, Canadians for Action on Climate Change and Countercurrents. Her writing has also been published by Bolivia Rising and Cambio, the official newspaper of the Plurinational State of Bolivia. You can follow her on twitter @elleprovocateur]

 

EndNotes:

[1] Established in 2010, the World Climate Summit (WCS) worked with three categories of partners: Founding, Industry and Media Partners. “WCS is building the most comprehensive coalition of companies, investment, government, industry and media partners to come to the Summit during UNFCCC COP 16.” WCS founding partners are TIME, CNN International, Financial Times, Wall Street Journal Europe, Dow Jones, The Prince of Wales Corporate Leaders Group [a  TckTckTck partner that is no longer made public on the tcktcktck.org website], The Climate Group [a Rockefeller NGO], UN Global Compact, Bright Green, United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), The World Bank, The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Club of Beijing, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, Sir Richard Branson’s Carbon War Room, and the support of the Mexican Government’s Trade and Investment Promotion Agency, ProMexico. The World Climate Summit held access to more than 60 industry associations, 100 chambers of commerce, 2,500 corporations, and more than 530 investors representing more than $64 trillion of assets under management.

[2] “Ceres’ investor and NGO partners are already channeling the Roadmap into concrete action, including dozens of face-to-face meetings with companies. Our recent UN climate summit brought together investors who manage $22 trillion, many of whom called on the U.S. and other countries to move quickly to reduce global carbon emissions.” (2009-2010 annual report)

[3] INCR brought together 450 investors representing $22 trillion at the United Nations for the fourth Investor Summit on Climate Risk in 2010 – a fifth Ceres-sponsored Investor Summit is coming to the U.N. in January 2012. (2010-2011 annual report)

[4] Particulates, not CO2, are perhaps the greatest contributor to the melting of the Arctic. Mark Jacobson, professor of civil and environmental engineering in Stanford’s Atmosphere and Energy Program, believes that soot is the primary cause of melting arctic ice, stating that “[C]ontrolling soot may be the only way to significantly slow Arctic warming over the next two decades.” In a study published in 2012 Jacobson led a team of scientists to calculate the monetary cost to reroute the flights around the Arctic circle. The study found rerouting would increase costs by approx. one hundred million dollars a year in higher fuel and operating costs (47 to 55 times less than the global warming costs to the U.S. alone which would occur without doing so). The result of rerouting would be the reduction of the jet fuel emissions of black carbon by approx. 83% in the Arctic Circle. This would not only delay the loss of the Arctic sea ice but also reduce warming worldwide on a global average by 2%. [Source]

“Air traffic is the biggest source of pollution in the Arctic. Ever since cross-polar flights became commonplace in the late 1990s, flights crossing the Arctic Circle have risen steadily, surpassing 50,000 in 2010. While cross-polar flights account for only a tiny percent of total global emissions from aviation, the standard cruising altitude for commercial planes in the Arctic is the stratosphere, an extremely stable layer of the atmosphere. Black carbon and other emissions get trapped in this layer and as a result remain in the atmosphere longer, causing far more damage than emissions from flights at lower latitudes, scientists say. The research team gathered emissions data from 40,399 cross-polar flights in 2006 and used computer simulations to compare what would happen over the next 22 years if those flights skirted the Arctic rather than following their current routes.” [2012 New York Times]

 

 

McKibben’s Divestment Tour – Brought to You by Wall Street [Part II of an Investigative Report] [The “Climate Wealth” Opportunists]

Ceres & the Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR)

cereslogo1

March 10, 2014

Part two of an investigative series by Cory Morningstar

Divestment Investigative Report Series [Further Reading]: Part IPart IIPart IIIPart IVPart VPart VIPart VIIPart VIIIPart IXPart XPart XIPart XIIPart XIII

 

 “Of all our studies, it is history that is best qualified to reward our research.” — Malcolm X

 

Preface: A Coup d’etat of Nature – Led by the Non-Profit Industrial Complex

It is somewhat ironic that anti-REDD climate activists, faux green organizations (in contrast to legitimate grassroots organizations that do exist, although few and far between) and self-proclaimed environmentalists, who consider themselves progressive will speak out against the commodification of nature’s natural resources while simultaneously promoting the toothless divestment campaign promoted by the useless mainstream groups allegedly on the left. It’s ironic because the divestment campaign will result (succeed) in a colossal injection of money shifting over to the very portfolios heavily invested in, thus dependent upon, the intense commodification and privatization of Earth’s last remaining forests, (via REDD, environmental “markets” and the like). This tour de force will be executed with cunning precision under the guise of environmental stewardship and “internalizing negative externalities through appropriate pricing.” Thus, ironically (if in appearances only), the greatest surge in the ultimate corporate capture of Earth’s final remaining resources is being led, and will be accomplished, by the very environmentalists and environmental groups that claim to oppose such corporate domination and capture.

Beyond shelling out billions of tax-exempt dollars (i.e., investments) to those institutions most accommodating in the non-profit industrial complex (otherwise known as foundations), the corporations need not lift a finger to sell this pseudo green agenda to the people in the environmental movement; the feat is being carried out by a tag team comprised of the legitimate and the faux environmentalists. As the public is wholly ignorant and gullible, it almost has no comprehension of the following:

  1. the magnitude of our ecological crisis
  2. the root causes of the planetary crisis, or
  3. the non-profit industrial complex as an instrument of hegemony.

The commodification of the commons will represent the greatest, and most cunning, coup d’état in the history of corporate dominance – an extraordinary fait accompli of unparalleled scale, with unimaginable repercussions for humanity and all life.

Further, it matters little whether or not the money is moved from direct investments in fossil fuel corporations to so-called “socially responsible investments.” The fact of the matter is that all corporations on the planet (and therefore by extension, all investments on the planet) are dependent upon and will continue to require massive amounts of fossil fuels to continue to grow and expand ad infinitum – as required by the industrialized capitalist economic system.

The windmills and solar panels serve as beautiful (marketing) imagery as a panacea for our energy issues, yet they are illusory – the fake veneer for the commodification of the commons, which is the fundamental objective of Wall Street, the very advisers of the divestment campaign.

Thus we find ourselves unwilling to acknowledge the necessity to dismantle the industrialized capitalist economic system, choosing instead to embrace an illusion designed by corporate power.

The purpose of this investigative series is to illustrate (indeed, prove) this premise.

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CERES

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 “One recent weekday afternoon, three men walked out of the Environmental Defense Fund’s midtown Manhattan office on their way to have lunch together. On the left was EDF’s senior economist. On the right was an environmental expert in the Soviet government. Between them was a businessman, a trader in the nascent enterprise of buying and selling pollution rights. Together that trio forms a picture of how the new environmentalism is shaping up: global, more cooperative than confrontational – and with business at the center.” — ENVIRONMENTALISM: THE NEW CRUSADE, CNNMoney Fortune, February 12, 1990

The present can only be fully understood if one understands the past. Therefore, in order to understand the present day 350.org divestment campaign, we must look at the inception/creation of 350.org’s partner: The Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies (Ceres).

Who is Ceres? Ceres is the 21st century puppeteers of Wall Street who, most recently, are pulling the strings behind the 350.org divestment campaign. Ceres represents the very heart of the nexus: millionaire liberals, their foundations, the “activists” they manage, and most importantly, where the plutocrats invest their personal wealth and that of their foundations. [“As a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, Ceres relies on support from foundations, individuals and other funders to achieve our mission to integrate sustainability into day-to-day business practices for the health of the planet and its people.” (Source: Ceres 2010 Annual Report)

On the Ceres Board of Directors we find key NGO affiliations: Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Sierra Club, World Resources Institute, Ecological Solutions Inc. and Green America, to name a few. (The history of the Ceres board of directors is discussed at length, further in this report.)

 “Building climate change risks and opportunities into Wall Street research and analysis is a top Ceres priority.” — Ceres Annual Report 2006

Exxon Valdez: Opportunity Knocks

 “… sceptics of the effectiveness of a voluntary environmental ethics question whether or not the Valdez principles contain more smoke than substance.” — The Valdez Principles. Is it Time to Put Bambi in the Boardroom? California Journal, November 1990

On March 24, 1989, one of the most devastating man-made environmental disasters in Earth’s history, the Exxon Valdez oil spill, shook public confidence in corporate America to the core. This catastrophic event, 5 years after the atrocious man-made disaster in Bhopal, brought corporate misconduct to the forefront. Corporate America found itself in the midst of an unprecedented public relations disaster.

 “…not long after the Exxon Valdez spill, 41% of Americans were angry enough to say they’d consider boycotting the company.” — The Valdez Principles. Is it Time to Put Bambi in the Boardroom? California Journal, November 1990

Within six months of the Exxon disaster, the late Joan Bavaria, then-president of Trillium Asset Management, had formed a coalition that included high profile environmentalists. The Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies (CERES) was formed with its 10-point code of conduct in hopes of reigning in corporate power. [Note that in 2003, the organization dropped the CERES acronym and rebranded itself as “Ceres”.] Presented to the public as The Valdez Principles [1] on September 7, 1989, the strategic name brilliantly exploited the Valdez crisis (the Principles are said to have actually been written before the Valdez spill, in 1988) to build its own brand recognition and value. Ceres would be the watchdog and savior, reigning in corporate power and making it behave. Although corporate America was reluctant, due to the growing hostility and resentment from the public it also recognized that this coalition offered a strategy (“a voluntary mechanism of corporate self-governance”) as a means of re-establishing public trust, securing brand reputation and most importantly, protecting profits and power. Its influence was enhanced by the fact that member institutional investors controlled over $150 billion in assets. Yet, the risks did not go unrecognized:

“A new basis for environmentally-related derivative suits may now be emerging. Various social-activist groups are successfully sponsoring shareholder resolutions at many major corporations to mandate greater environmental accountability by the corporations. These resolutions require the implementation of ‘Valdez Principles,’ which call for the corporations to curtail air and water pollution, conserve energy, market safe products, pay for damage caused to the environment, and make regular reports on environmental matters to the shareholders. If directors and officers of corporations which have adopted these Valdez-type resolutions fail to comply with their mandate, derivative suits against the directors and officers are likely to follow.” — ACE Bermuda News, July 1991

Corporate America held out. Ceres eventually buckled. The Valdez Principles became the CERES Principles (a 10-point code of environmental conduct) [2], with the most powerful language watered down and abolished. This was fully understood by Bavaria, who recognized that without the annual public audits in particular (principle #10), the principles would be meaningless. November 1990:

“Joan Bavaria, co-chairperson of CERES, believes that the first 8 principles are meaningless without the tenth principle allowing public accountability. The difference between having the company develop their own principles, then monitoring them internally is like putting a fox in the chicken house.” — The Valdez Principles. Is it Time to Put Bambi in the Boardroom? California Journal, November 1990

In the meantime, environmentalism was changing and becoming big business. The world had embraced Neoliberalism (or had it shoved down their throats by the IMF and World Bank) with a statement of neoliberal aims being codified in the Washington Consensus in 1989. This was to be the means of liberating the market from state intrusion, which would instead serve to shield the expanding corporatocracy. Neoliberalism would prove to be the instrumental tool of choice in what would serve, protect and expand the power of the oligarchy.

From the CNNMoney Fortune article: ENVIRONMENTALISM: THE NEW CRUSADE, February 12, 1990:

“Far fewer activists of the 1990s will be embittered, scruffy, antibusiness street fighters. AS AN EXAMPLE of the new breed, consider Allen Hershkowitz, who freely drops the names of his CEO acquaintances. As a solid-waste-disposal expert at the litigious Natural Resources Defense Council, Hershkowitz has won many legal battles with business. Now high-ranking executives of major companies regularly make the pilgrimage to his office in the elegant, airy, and amply funded New York City headquarters of NRDC, coming to him lest he go after them. As he explains, ‘They come in here to see what they’ve got to cover their asses on. ‘The cocky 34-year-old Ph.D., who serves as an adviser to banks and Shearson Lehman Hutton, among others, elaborates, ‘My primary motivation is environmental protection. And if it costs more, so be it. If Procter & Gamble can’t live with that, somebody else will. But I’ll tell you, Procter & Gamble is trying hard to live with it. ‘Still, for all his militancy, Hershkowitz is no fanatic or utopian. He understands that a perfect world can’t be achieved and doesn’t hesitate to talk of trade-offs: ‘Hey, civilization has its costs. We’re trying to reduce them, but we can’t eliminate them.’

 

Environmentalists of this stripe will increasingly show up even within companies. William Bishop, Procter & Gamble’s top environmental scientist, was an organizer of Earth Day in 1970 and is a member of the Sierra Club. One of his chief deputies belongs to Greenpeace. Eager to work with business, many environmentalists are moving from confrontation to the best kind of collaboration. In September an ad hoc combination of institutional investors controlling $150 billion of assets (including representatives of public pension funds) and environmental groups promulgated the Valdez Principles, named for the year’s most catalytic environmental accident. The principles ask companies to reduce waste, use resources prudently, market safe products, and take responsibility for past harm. They also call for an environmentalist on each corporate board and an annual public audit of a company’s environmental progress. The group asked corporations to subscribe to the principles, with the implicit suggestion that investments could eventually be contingent on compliance. Companies already engaged in friendly discussions included DuPont, specialty-chemical maker H.B. Fuller, and Polaroid, among others.

 

Earth Day 1990, scheduled for April 22, the 20th anniversary of the first such event, is becoming a veritable biz-fest. ‘We’re really interested in working with companies that have a good record,’ says Earth Day Chairman Denis Hayes, who predicts that 100 million people will take part one way or another. Apple Computer and Hewlett-Packard have donated equipment. Shaklee, the personal and household products company, paid $50,000 to be the first official corporate sponsor. Even the Chemical Manufacturers Association is getting in on the act, preparing a list of 101 ways its members can participate. The more than 1,000 Earth Day affiliate groups in 120 countries propose to shake up politicians worldwide and launch a decade of activism. THE MESSAGE that leading environmentalists are sending, and progressive companies are receiving, is that eco-responsibility will be good for business. Says Gray Davis, California’s state controller, who helped draft the Valdez Principles and who sits on the boards of two public pension funds with total assets of $90 billion: ‘Given the increasing regulation and public concern, there’s no question that companies will eventually have to change their ways. The first kid on the block to embrace these principles will increase market share and profit substantially.'”

The primary NGOs involved in the Valdez Principles from inception were the Sierra Club, The National Audubon Society and the National Wildlife Federation. The necessity of the “environmental movement” as the face and foundation of Ceres cannot be understated. In 1989 it was well understood by all players that NGOs were very much perceived as legitimate in the eyes of the public. The non-profit industrial complex was perhaps the only entity in the position of lending the much needed legitimacy and credibility that could mollify the public and allow the corporate world to continue their raping and pillaging, unregulated, under voluntary compliance. And while there is little doubt that well-intentioned individuals with sincere intentions were present in the formation of Ceres (as the corporate watchdog), many such “activists” will never admit to themselves that they are enablers of the very systems collectively destroying us. There is no acceptable excuse for such lack of judgement and foresight – for if it is ignorance, it is willful. Privilege has a convenient way of convincing one’s self to be blind.

“The New York Times/CBS News poll regularly asks the public if ‘protecting the environment is so important that requirements and standards cannot be too high, and continuing environmental improvements must be made regardless of cost.’ In September 1981, 45% agreed and 42% disagreed with that plainly intemperate statement. Last June, 79% agreed and only 18% disagreed. For the first time, liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, profess concern for the environment in roughly equal numbers.” ENVIRONMENTALISM: THE NEW CRUSADE, CNNMoney Fortune, February 12, 1990

The Valdez Principles, which morphed into the completely watered down Ceres Principles, became the perfect antidote to appease an outraged populace. Corporations could breathe a sigh of relief for a continued voluntary system of corporate self governance – freshly laundered in a light green wash. At a time when public support for environmental protection was unprecedented, restrictive federal regulation power would be avoided. Corporate supremacy would continue apace.

CERES: Clearing House for the Institutionalization of Private Governance

 “It is high time that myths were called what they are. They are stories which may help explain our feelings but they are stories nonetheless and they do us no good.” — Margaret Kimberley

The CERES “Sustainable Governance Project” (SGP) was officially announced to the public in Washington, DC, 2002. The non-profit industrial complex was and continues to be an instrumental tool in building public acceptance for expansion of neoliberal policies. Hence a key focus of SGP in 2001 (prior to the official launch) was “expanding collaboration with climate change experts at groups such as The National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, Redefining Progress, Sierra Club, Union of Concerned Scientists, World Wildlife Fund, and many others.” (Source: 2001 Annual Report) Jump forward to 2013 and the Ceres network includes over 130 NGOs.

Today, Ceres serves as the underwriter and clearinghouse for the institutionalization of private governance. Such transformation is now well under way and evolving as witnessed under the guise of the “green economy.” Such strategy is calculated and requires tactical execution. For such transformation to be successful, key critical elements must coalesce: the real or perceived (manufactured/purposeful) decline of public regulatory power; the appearance of “civil society” (self-appointed NGOs) to emanate a patina of legitimacy, credibility and trust; the perception of “caring” corporations (see “Who Cares Wins“); and lastly, media to disseminate the compiled elements in endless waves. When these elements coalesce seamlessly, fertile ground is laid for private regulatory institutions to emerge. By stressing the “risks” (i.e. water scarcity, crumbling infrastructure, etc.) Ceres successfully lays the groundwork for corporate takeover of goods, services and now ecosystems.

The Ceres Network Companies (the first pillar) make up the crème de le crème (approx. 70 corporations) of the corporate world. Examples include Citi, Bloomberg, Coca-Cola, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Suncor and Virgin. The Ceres Coalition (the second pillar) is comprised of more than 130 institutional investors, environmental and “social advocacy” groups, and public interest organizations. Examples of coalition members are Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth, Rockefeller Financial Asset Management, NRDC, World Wildlife Fund, Rainforest Action Network, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) (a founder of Avaaz) and The Carbon Neutral Company.

 

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Leadership Circle

Image above: Just a few of the 2009 and 2013 Ceres Conference Sponsors.

The Ceres Coalition represents: the Ceres Network Companies, Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR) (publicly launched in November 2003 at the first Institutional Investor Summit on Climate Risk held at the United Nations) and Business for Innovative Climate & Energy Policy (BICEP: a coalition of more than 20 leading consumer brand corporations.) [Ceres Membership Requirements] [3]

“Ceres is a national network of over [130*] investors, environmental organizations and other public interest groups working with companies and the capital markets to address sustainability challenges such as global climate change. Coalition members serve on our board of directors, participate on company stakeholder teams and engage with the Wall Street community to incorporate social and environmental costs into their research practices. More than [100*] companies worldwide, many of them Fortune 500 firms, make up the Ceres Network of Companies.” [4] [*Updated to reflect current status]

The network of Ceres companies represents a broad range of corporate interests, including oil and gas, electric utilities, and financial services. More than one-third of the company members are in the Fortune 500. Members include McDonalds Corporations, Bank of America Corporation, PG&E Corporation, Citi Bank, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Nike, PepsiCo, Suncor, Sunoco, Coca-Cola, Walt Disney, Virgin America, and Time Warner, to name just a few. Ceres has close ties with high-level leaders at the New York Stock Exchange, United Nations, World Economic Forum, Clinton Global Initiative, American Accounting Association, the American Bar Association and many of the world’s most powerful corporations. The forté of Ceres is briefing/advising powerful corporate boards, from Nike to American Electric Power, on risk and opportunity.

In addition to working with investors in the Ceres Coalition, Ceres directs the Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR):

“INCR members, whose collective assets total about $[11*] trillion, include many of the world’s largest pension funds and asset managers.” [*Updated to reflect current status]

INCR has grown from 10 institutional investors managing $600 billion (2003) to 100 institutional investors managing more than $11 trillion in assets (2012).

In 1997 CERES launched the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), now the de facto international standard for corporate voluntary sustainability reporting implemented by more than 1,800 corporations worldwide.

Benefits for corporations adopting GRI “standards” included/include guideline tools for “brand and reputation enhancement, differentiation in the marketplace and protection from brand erosion resulting from the actions of suppliers or competitors, networking and communications.” [Source] Since releasing its first Reporting Guidelines in 2000, its global network has grown to more than 600 organizational stakeholders and over 30,000 people representing different sectors and constituencies. GRI has also developed key strategic partnerships with the United Nations Environment Programme, the UN Global Compact, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the International Organization for Standardization. [Source]

Mindy Lubber is the president of Ceres (2012) and a founding board member of the organization. She also directs Ceres’ INCR. Mindy Lubber’s blog “Sustainable Capitalism” is integrated with Forbes. Lubber is a contributing blogger for Huffington Post (acquired by Time Warner in 2011) and Forbes. Lubber has been honored by the United Nations as one of the “World’s Top Leaders of Change.” (Other award winners were the corporations Coca-Cola, Nike, Walmart and Reebok). Lubber was named one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Corporate Governance” by Directorship magazine and is a recipient of the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship.

Skeletons (and Skolls) in the Ceres/1Sky Closet

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Photo [Source: Skoll Foundation]: Green capitalist Al Gore with (left to right) Chris Fox of Ceres, Gillian Caldwell of 1Sky (350.org officially merged with 1Sky in 2011), Sally Osberg of the Skoll Foundation and Alessandro Galli of Global Footprint Network.

In 2009, 1Sky’s campaign director, Gillian Caldwell, a lawyer by training, was paid $203,620 (US) through the Rockefeller Family Fund. Although McKibben often refers to 350.org/1Sky as a “scruffy little outfit” – a salary of more than $200,000 is hardly typical of a legitimate grassroots organization.

In the Dec 3, 2009 article Prepping for Copenhagen as found on the Skoll Foundation website, the author reports, “The Skoll Foundation, along with a number of Skoll social entrepreneurs and partners, will be participating in the Copenhagen meetings on climate change later this month. Reflecting the high caliber of environmental leaders in the Skoll portfolio, some 10 Skoll social entrepreneurs and/or their organizations will be at Copenhagen: ACORE, Amazon Conservation Team, BioRegional Development Group, Ceres, EcoPeace/Friends of the Earth Middle East, Fundacion Gaia, Global Footprint Network, Health Care Without Harm, IDE-India, and Gillian Caldwell (formerly of Witness), representing 1Sky.” [Emphasis added.]

In the December 15, 2009 article More from the Ground in Copenhagen, also featured on the Skoll Foundation website, Skoll CEO Sally Osberg reports:

 Just a couple of highlights from the Climate Leaders’ Summit: Leadership on climate change – both moral and real – is coming from the sub-nation state levels and small countries.

What Osberg neglects to report is the fact that these very states were deliberately and grossly undermined by the non-profit industrial complex, with corporate TckTckTck, 350.org(1Sky) and Avaaz at the helm of the elitist fifth column. [Further reading: The Most Important COP Briefing That No One Ever Heard | Truth, Lies, Racism & Omnicide | Who Really Leads on the Environment? The “Movement” Versus Evo Morales]

 Who Cares Wins

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 “To address the tough environmental and social issues facing global corporations today, we need to hear from a diverse group of stakeholders who challenge us to innovate and operate in a sustainable manner. No one has access to such a vast network of valuable, independent input as Ceres.” — Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO, PepsiCo

It is clear why branded agencies such as 350.org, SumofUs, Avaaz et al, who dominate social media, are heavily financed (and in many cases were created by) the oligarchs. Who Cares Wins – The Rise of the Caring Corporation, by David Jones, founder of One Young World, (recently a featured speaker at the 2013 World Form on Natural Capital), makes the case that “social media and corporate social responsibility are not two separate subjects; rather, they are intrinsically interlinked. Businesses that embrace the new rules are set to both make more money and become forces for good in the world.”

“Grow Through Karma Off-Setting: Consumers will actively buy from companies who are good, so they feel that they themselves don’t have to personally undertake social projects, as they have done good by making their purchase with you. Good brands provide a moral alibi for buying.” — Who Cares Wins – The Rise of the Caring Corporation, by David Jones, Global Chief Executive, Havas Worldwide, Creator of the “TckTckTck” campaign and Co-founder of One Young World.

Those born into today’s “young world” are indiscriminately lusted after and seduced by predatory marketing agencies bankrolled by the world’s most powerful corporations and oligarchs, via their foundations. Thus, in stealth synchronicity, the brilliant (albeit pathological) sycophants have created a world where corporate pedophilia runs rampant and indoctrination of youth is perfected and normalized. One cannot deny such a virtuoso performance. Nor can one deny the profound repercussions of such vulturesque exploitation. For adults who willingly offer up their children as sacrificial lambs to appease the corporate gods, denial must be considered the preferred opium of the 21st century.

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The name of the game is this: Corporations present themselves as humble and caring elements integral to society with a fierce determination to “do better.” Rather than refusing to comply with ethical environmental and social conduct, which only serves to tarnish brand image, the corporations embrace and welcome all criticisms. This stratagem is made even more effective when CEOs unabashedly take the first opportunity in any given situation to point out the harmful impacts of their industry, articulated with deep concern, followed by a laundry list of all the magnificent things the corporation is looking at for the future that they believe will alleviate environmental degradation and unbridled exploitation.

 

Next: Part III

 

[Cory Morningstar is an independent investigative journalist, writer and environmental activist, focusing on global ecological collapse and political analysis of the non-profit industrial complex. She resides in Canada. Her recent writings can be found on Wrong Kind of Green, The Art of Annihilation, Counterpunch, Political Context, Canadians for Action on Climate Change and Countercurrents. Her writing has also been published by Bolivia Rising and Cambio, the official newspaper of the Plurinational State of Bolivia. You can follow her on twitter @elleprovocateur]

 

 

EndNotes:

[1] The Valdez Principles: In September 1989, the Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies set forth the following ten broad principles for evaluating corporate activities that directly or indirectly affect the biosphere.

1. Protection of the Biosphere

We will minimize and strive to eliminate the release of any pollutant that may cause environmental damage to air, water, or earth or its inhabitants. We will safeguard habitats in rivers, lakes, wetlands, coastal zones and oceans and will minimize contributing to global warming, depletion of the ozone layer, acid rain or smog.

2. Sustainable Use of Natural Resources

We will make sustainable use of renewable resources, such as water, soils and forests. We will conserve nonrenewable natural resources through efficient use and careful planning. We will protect wildlife habitat, open spaces and wilderness, while preserving biodiversity.

3. Reduction and Disposal of Waste

We will minimize the creation of waste, especially hazardous waste, and wherever possible recycle materials. We will dispose of all wastes through safe and responsible methods.

4. Wise Use of Energy

We will make every effort to use environmentally safe and sustainable energy sources to meet our needs. We will invest in improved energy efficiency and conservation in our operations. We will maximize the energy efficiency of products we produce or sell.

5. Risk Reduction

We will minimize the environmental, health and safety risks to our employees and the communities in which we operate by employing safe technologies and operating procedures and by being constantly prepared for emergencies.

6. Marketing of Safe Products and Services

We will sell products or services that minimize adverse environmental impacts and that are safe as consumers commonly use them. We will inform consumers of the environmental impacts of our products or services.

7. Damage Compensation

We will take responsibility for any harm we cause to the environment by making every effort to fully restore the environment and to compensate those persons who are adversely affected.

8. Disclosure

We will disclose to our employees and to the public incidents relating to our operations that cause environmental harm or pose health or safety hazards. We will disclose potential environmental, health or safety hazards posed by our operations, and we will not take any action against employees who report any condition that creates a danger to the environment or poses health and safety hazards.

9. Environmental Directors and Managers

At least one member of the Board of Directors will be a person qualified to represent environmental interests. We will commit management resources to implement these Principles, including the funding of an office of vice president for environmental affairs or an equivalent executive position, reporting directly to the CEO, to monitor and report upon our implementation efforts.

10. Assessment and Annual Audit

We will conduct and make public an annual self-evaluation of our progress in implementing these Principles and in complying with all applicable laws and regulations throughout our worldwide operations. We will work toward the timely creation of independent environmental audit procedures which we will complete annually and make available to the public.

[Source: A New Agenda for Managers, The Challenge of Sustainability]

[2] Ceres Principles:

1. PROTECTION OF THE BIOSPHERE: We will reduce and make continual progress toward eliminating the release of any substance that may cause environmental damage to the air, water, or the earth or its inhabitants. We will safeguard all habitats affected by our operations and will protect open spaces and wilderness, while preserving biodiversity.

2. SUSTAINABLE USE OF NATURAL RESOURCES: We will make sustainable use of renewable natural resources, such as water, soils and forests. We will conserve non-renewable natural resources through efficient use and careful planning.

3. REDUCTION AND DISPOSAL OF WASTES: We will reduce and where possible eliminate waste through source reduction and recycling. All waste will be handled and disposed of through safe and responsible methods.

4. ENERGY CONSERVATION: We will conserve energy and improve the energy efficiency of our internal operations and of the goods and services we sell. We will make every effort to use environmentally safe and sustainable energy sources.

5. RISK REDUCTION: We will strive to minimize the environmental, health and safety risks to our employees and the communities in which we operate through safe technologies, facilities and operating procedures, and by being prepared for emergencies.

6. SAFE PRODUCTS AND SERVICES: We will reduce and where possible eliminate the use, manufacture or sale of products and services that cause environmental damage or health or safety hazards. We will inform our customers of the environmental impacts of our products or services and try to correct unsafe use.

7. ENVIRONMENTAL RESTORATION: We will promptly and responsibly correct conditions we have caused that endanger health, safety or the environment. To the extent feasible, we will redress injuries we have caused to persons or damage we have caused to the environment and will restore the environment.

8. INFORMING THE PUBLIC: We will inform in a timely manner everyone who may be affected by conditions caused by our company that might endanger health, safety or the environment. We will regularly seek advice and counsel through dialogue with persons in communities near our facilities. We will not take any action against employees for reporting dangerous incidents or conditions to management or to appropriate authorities.

9. MANAGEMENT COMMITMENT: We will implement these Principles and sustain a process that ensures that the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer are fully informed about pertinent environmental issues and are fully responsible for environmental policy. In selecting our Board of Directors, we will consider demonstrated environmental commitment as a factor.

10. AUDITS AND REPORTS: We will support the timely creation of generally accepted environmental audit procedures. We will annually complete the CERES Report, which will be made available to the public.

[3] [Ceres Membership Requirements: All coalition members must be approved by the Ceres Board of Directors. All coalition members pay annual membership dues that are scaled from $50 to $2,000, depending upon the size and type (non-profit, grant making, or investment firm) of the organization. Coalition members are also strongly encouraged to participate in Ceres’ engagement work, including through our multi-stakeholder dialogue processes, investor engagements and other opportunities.] “The primary direct costs of endorsing the CERES Principles are the payment of annual dues and the completion of the annual CERES report form. The dues for a company differ according to the size of the company, but, for a large multinational corporation, are usually in the range of $50,000 dollars a year. The costs associated with dues are not prohibitive considering the size and the budget of the companies.” [Source.]

[4] “Once companies officially join Ceres, they gain access to exclusive benefits, such as a customized stakeholder advisory team that provides advice on sustainability reporting, strategy, policies and specific initiatives.”