Thousands of Women Slam Rio+20's 'Green Capitalism'

UN's 'green economy' label a 'smokescreen' to privatize, marketize nature, say critics

Thousands of women marched in Rio on Monday to rail against the push for green capitalism labeled as the "green economy" at the Rio+20 sustainable development summit. Critics see the so-called "green economy" as the "marketization of nature" and a "smokescreen" to mask the commodification of the commons.


"No to green capitalism! Yes to an economy based on solidarity, yes to people's sovereignty," said one activist at the march.

The anti-poverty group World Development Movement adds that "a corporate green economy would lead to the privatization of land and nature by multinational companies, taking control of these resources further away from the communities which depend on them."

The protesters' message is echoed in a report released today from Friends of the Earth International, which states that "the overall market-based approach is flawed" and ignores "the role of major corporations in creating the current multiple crises. "

The report says that what is needed is "a shift towards genuine sustainable initiatives that put people and planet before corporate profits."

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Agence France-Presse: Women march in Rio to protest 'green economy'

Thousands of women representing social and farm movements marched in central Rio Monday to rail against the "green economy" advocated by the Rio+20 conference on sustainable development.

Behind a large banner from the international peasant movement Via Campesina proclaiming "the peoples are against the mercantilization of nature", they marched several miles to the Flamengo park, the venue for the "People's Summit" organized by civil society groups on the sidelines of the Rio+20 event.

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World Developement Movement: Green economy or greedy economy?

A true green economy would embrace economic justice - the right of poor communities to determine their own path out of poverty, and an end to harmful policies which put profit before people and the environment. It would end our obsession with economic growth and unsustainable consumption and replace these with a focus on how everyone's needs can be met in a truly sustainable manner.

However, industrialised countries like the UK, alongside banks and multinational companies, are using the phrase 'green economy' as a smokescreen to hide their plan to further privatise the global commons and create new markets in the functions nature provides for free.

Out of this Trojan horse will spring new market-based mechanisms that will allow the financial sector to gain more control of the management of the global commons.

Instead of contributing to sustainable development and economic justice, this corporate green economy would lead to the privatisation of land and nature by multinational companies, taking control of these resources further away from the communities which depend on them.

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Friends of the Earth International report: Reclaim the UN from Corporate Capture

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has been key in developing the 'Green Economy' concept. It launched a 700 page 'Green Economy' report (GER) in February 2011, arguing that the environment can be saved and faster growth achieved if governments cut environmentally damaging subsidies (fossil fuels, fisheries, etc.) and use these funds to invest in new technologies. This could enable the transition from a 'brown' to a 'green' economy, the report argued.

The report has been criticized heavily by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) because it ignores the deeper causes of the ecological crisis and places the emphasis on economic growth, technology and market-based approaches. This emphasis may not be surprising considering the role of investment banker Pavan Sukdhev. Mr Sukdhev, the report's chief spokesperson, drafted the report while on sabbatical from Deutsche Bank (one of the world's largest derivatives traders). [...]

The approach ignores the lessons from the carbon trading debacle, despite the fact that the European Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) - the largest carbon market mechanism in the world - has failed to deliver genuine carbon emissions reductions. Instead it has allowed companies to make massive profits out of the system without changing their business model or cutting carbon emissions. Leaving nature to the market undermines the opportunities of communities and states to protect the commons.

The report also puts all its faith in markets, despite the recent financial and economic crises. The lessons provided by the chronic failure of deregulation and market-based approaches have been ignored.

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