For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

Paul de Clerck, Corporates Campaign Coordinator, Friends of the Earth International
Tel + 32 494 38 09 59 or email

Rio+20: Friends of the Earth International to Meet with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon: "Stop the Business Lobby at the UN"

WASHINGTON - On June 22 Friends of the Earth International chair Nnimmo Bassey will meet UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and deliver a civil society statement denouncing the corporate domination of the United Nations.[1]

More than 400 civil society organizations representing millions of people from around the world signed the statement -initiated by Friends of the Earth International and nine other organisations- which will be delivered in the sidelines of the UN Rio+20 Earth Summit. [2]

Nnimmo Bassey will meet Ban Ki-moon in a meeting with the organisers of the alternative Peoples Summit in Rio, which include Friends of the Earth International.

The statement is part of a Friends of the Earth International campaign 'Reclaim the UN' which features the launch on June 19 of a new report exposing the increasing influence of major corporations and business lobby groups within the UN. [3]

The report 'Reclaim the UN from Corporate Capture' presents a number of cases that clearly expose how UN policies and agencies are excessively influenced by the corporate sector, for instance oil company Shell, Dow Chemical, Monsanto, the Coca Cola company, and the Chinese oil giant PetroChina.

“Governmental positions have been increasingly hijacked by narrow corporate interests linked to polluting industries and business sectors seeking to profit from the environment, the climate and the financial crises,” said Nnimmo Bassey, chair of Friends of the Earth International.

The report shows how this damages the ability of the UN to solve the various problems it is tasked with, removing its willingness to address the role of major corporations in causing many of the environmental, social, food and economic problems that the world faces today.

According to the new report, the positions of national governments in multilateral negotiations are increasingly influenced by business; business representatives dominate certain UN discussion spaces and some UN bodies; business groups are given a privileged advisory role; UN officials move back and forth to the private sector; and – last but not least - UN agencies are increasingly financially dependent on the private sector.

The new report also states that the UN has been working very closely with big business in developing and promoting the concept of ‘Green Economy’ which is selling out nature and people, and greenwashing a broken and unfair economic system at the expense of sustainable development.

“The fact that the UN is increasingly catering to the demands of corporate interests diverts the UN from tackling the root causes of environmental, social and economic problems. The UN and this Rio+20 Summit should listen to the demands of the alternative Peoples' Summit in Rio and take measures that will hold corporations accountable for their negative impacts,” said Lucia Ortiz, Economic Justice International Program Coordinator at Friends of the Earth International.

“The many examples of corporate capture are detrimental to the good work being done by many UN agencies and officials worldwide for the protection and empowerment of people. Allowing this to happen is putting both the UN’s and its member states’ credibility and integrity at risk. In fact this threatens to undermine the mission of the entire UN system and must be stopped, “ said Paul de Clerck, Corporates Campaign Coordinator at Friends of the Earth International.


  • The Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) initiative is being decided by an unaccountable, handpicked group, dominated by representatives of multinational corporations and fossil fuel interests, virtually without any involvement from or consultation with global civil society. In its current form, SE4All will spectacularly fail in its goal of tackling climate change and poverty.
  • Support for agriculture and food policy appears to be compromised by corporate links at the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). It is promoting technologies that endanger peoples’ rights and access to food.
  • The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is increasingly driven by corporate actors interested in the financialization of nature and not by the need to conserve biodiversity.
  • Private sector interests are increasingly seeking ways to treat water as a tradable commodity while depriving people of their universal right to water and endangering access to water and sanitation for millions of people worldwide.
  • The UN Global Compact allows companies to boost their image by (mis-)using the UN flag for their own benefit, yet fails to deliver real improvements in business behaviour.
  • The UN has been working very closely with big business in developing and promoting the concept of ‘Green Economy’ which is selling out nature and people, and greenwashing a broken and unfair economic system at the expense of sustainable development.


Paul de Clerck, Corporates Campaign Coordinator, Friends of the Earth International
Tel + 32 494 38 09 59 or email

Lucia Ortiz, Economic Justice International Program Coordinator, Friends of the Earth International (in Brazil)
Tel: + 55 51 98 41 87 07 or +55 21 6968 7826 or email

Nnimmo Bassey, chair of Friends of the Earth International:
Tel: +55 21 69 68 78 24 (Brazilian cell from June 15-23 only) or +234 803 727 4395 (Nigerian cell), or email


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Friends of the Earth is the U.S. voice of the world's largest grassroots environmental network, with member groups in 77 countries. Since 1969, Friends of the Earth has fought to create a more healthy, just world.

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