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RE: [GreenYes] Fwd:Corporate highjacking of Rio+10 Summit
Doug, 

I sometimes paint too broad a brush, and I appreciate your additions,
especially the idea of the timeline and hammer ... but who's hand is
bringing the hammer down?

One point you made which I must point out is a MYTH... and that is that
the NGO's and the Govt interests are the same, as you imply when you
combine the two sectors in your statement:
"If the corporate interests are strong and the NGO/government interests
are weak..."

There are THREE major player "sectors" in the world...the for-profits,
the government sector and the mission-driven NGO's.  Sometimes the
interests of the govt and NGO's overlap, but far less than most people
realize.  And when they do, it's usually at the "local" level, less at
the state level, and rarely at the national level.

The future shows us that the power and influence of global
"privatization" of markets will expand (i.e. globalization of economic
systems), and as it does, the interests and voices of the civil society
will emerge and rise as an energetic cry for change... and that will
have real power because it will have credibility.  I believe the
corporate strategists know this ... they know where the threat lies
ahead for them and they are moving now to infiltrate and co-opt it.  

Eric Lombardi
Executive Director
EcoCycle, Inc
Boulder, CO
www.ecocycle.org
303-444-6634


-----Original Message-----
From: Doug Koplow [mailto:koplow@indecon.com] 
Sent: Wednesday, May 08, 2002 2:22 PM
To: eric@ecocycle.org; gary@garyliss.com; greenyes@grrn.org
Subject: Re: [GreenYes] Fwd:Corporate highjacking of Rio+10 Summit

I think is it important to draw a distinction between dismissing
incremental change (see Eric's original e-mail) and dismissing the
multi-stakeholder, voluntary group hugs that seem to be so much the rage
these days.  

Incremental change, even in environmental areas, is often very
appropriate.  The ability of society to develop alternatives and to
absorb change is limited, and fits well with an incremental model.
Furthermore, technology is often discontinuous. Thus, small incremental
changes that shift relative prices of technologies by 20 or 30 percent
can often trigger widespread shifts in patterns of private R&D,
technology deployment, etc.  Had there been real incremental change
beginning in 1992 at Rio, rather than a continuing erosion of most
indicators, we would be in a far better place today.  

The issue with multi-stakholder processes, as was brought out so clearly
in the original e-mail (cut out here to make this one shorter), is that
it is a political battle of wills and power.  If the corporate interests
are strong and the NGO/government interests are weak, you end up with a
"consensus" skewed towards the more powerful participants; or with no
results; or, more often, with an arduous, multi-year process that drags
on and on with little to show.  Unfortunately, many of the governmental
processes have had a similar outcome, which I suspect is one genuine
driver for alternatives.

Edward Demming, often viewed as the father of total quality management,
was famous for his statement that "if we can't measure it, we can't
manage it."  This seems to be the core of what is needed at WSSD.  Any
agreement, be it by a government or a voluntary coalition of NGOs and
businesses, must have a hammer.  Terms need to lay out tasks and
explicit timelines.  The timelines can be incremental ones, though the
pace of change needs to be reasonably robust.  Mechanisms to measure and
publicize progress (or lack thereof) need to be implemented from the
outset of Rio +10.  Slippage in the schedule must then bring in stronger
actions, committed to in advance.  It is kind of like what begins to
happen if you default on your mortgage.  One possible hammer can be that
voluntary arrangements suddenly become mandatory.  Another can be the
institution of financial penalties that help pay for action by external
parties to help make up for slippage in what was supposed to occur.
There are many more possibilities.

Aside from examples where enormous and widespread action is needed to
stem irreversible damage (for example, protecting global biodiversity
hot spots), achieving reasonable and measurable incremental progress
would not be such a bad thing.  

Of course, operating against this noble goal are the political realities
of specific governments and specific corporations, some of which very
much wish for another symbolic agreement with no teeth.  In my view, it
is better to have no agreement at all than a puffed-up wish document
that pretends to do it all without any real capability to do anything.  

-Doug Koplow

_______________________________
Doug Koplow
Earth Track, Inc.
2067 Massachusetts Avenue - 4th Floor
Cambridge, MA  02140
Tel:  617/661-4700
Fax: 617/354-0463
E-mail:  koplow@indecon.com


>>> Eric Lombardi <eric@ecocycle.org> 05/08/02 03:12PM >>>
Wow... this was long, but very important stuff in here... the "Type II"
outcomes that corporations are seeking at the next Earth Summit are the
real
enemy here folks ... it is an offer of "incremental" change for the
better,
when the planet and the people actually need "widespread systemic"
change to
begin reversing the trends and re-generating our biosphere.

We need, as a community of activists working on different fronts, a
unified
"words and images" campaign to expose the Big Lie that incremental
change is
acceptable.  And, since the roots of all significance lies in
comparision,
we need to create a positive and alive image of our call for large-scale
leaps of progress !!!      This will be a touch task since the Corporate
Task II partnerships between business and NGO's will represent real
progress
forward... but in tiny steps.

This is the next evolution of greenwashing ... incremental progress to
keep
the government regulators at bay...

I'm not sure what we do ... but learning from the great Coke Broke Their
Promise campaign of the last 5 years is essential.  We need to
understand
how that worked, and build on it...

Eric

-

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