Are environmental initiatives undermined by corporate sponsorships?
Many enviornmental campaigns gain corperate sponsors. For example Hopenhagen is sponsored by CocaCola, SAP and Simens. These campaigns appeal to corporations as a way to show they are socially consious and associate themselves with a good cause while still getting their brand out. This does not necessarily mean that they do anything in their own company to reduce emissions or make themselves more green.
You can also add to the debate by leaving a comment at the end of the page.
Business lobbying against severe limits on emissions
It is often business who are the ones arguing against their nation going further on reducing carbon emissions. This is because they themselves will have to make deep cuts in their emissions which will be costly to business. In the developed world this is seen as another way in which the developing world will be cheaper - as they dont need to cut their emissions so much. This would hit profits. Germany is a good example of this; although an early leader on climate change as one of the largest investors in renewables german industry has persuaded Merkel to go slow on climate change and not offer further action unless other countries do so first - Both SAP and Simens sponsors of Hopenhagen are german companies (this is not to say that these particular corporations are involved attempting to persuade Merkel to not be ambitious).
Industry, especially major polluting industries such as energy production, oil, steel making etc have to be expected to be againts a deal that would hit their bottom line, however leaders should equally be argueing that this is about larger interests than these industries. There are other industries who will benefit and are making an effort to be green, particularly Banking, IT and other services.
Sponsoring environmental campaigns is simply part of corporations strategys of greenwash. To be green is to be seen as socially consious as well as cool and hip, connected to the younger generations - in short the coustomers corporations want to attract are the ones most intersted in the environment, show that your company has a social consious and the youth will be more willing to buy from you. This does not mean they have to do much that is substantive as most consumers are not going to look deeply into what a company is doing. This is how companies get away with sweatshop labour, causing localised environmental disasters and ripping people off, they have done it before and will continue to do so, money combined with indiference is an effective method of pulling the wool over many people's eyes.
Many companies do not engage in greenwash but really do clean up their act. It may not happen immediatly as companies, like countries, take a while to change course, but they will act. Getting a reputation for being genuine is good for business too!
Campaigns need money.
If there are to be large scale environmental campaigns they need money. Particularly they need some money up front before much happens. Individuals will not contribute until they see what a campaign is doing and they are inspired by it. Big corporations have the money to get a campaign off the ground right from the start, they can provide the money to make the campaign a sucess all in one go in a way that other sources cannot.
There are now many ways to raise money for a campaign. The campaign to elect Barak Obama as President of the United States has shown that there are other ways of finding enough money to run a campaign. It can come from individuals, or from other NGO's, from green investment funds or from government. There is no need to go to big polluters.
May encourage the corporation to act.
Even if a corporation is not very green before supporting a campaign being involved in a campaign can make them wish to go further and make themselves greener in order to provide substance for the image they are trying to project. At the same time the campaign can tell them what needs to be done to do this.
It is equally likely that being involved in such a campaign will persuade a company not to clean up its act. If it can be involved in such campaigns while not being green and get the benefits of being seen as green without being green then why go green?
What do you think?