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While many groups dedicated to saving the planet have green-colored logos and pleasant, naturey-sounding names, where they get a percentage of their funding from may surprise the most ardent environmentalist. Most of the money these organizations receive is, in-fact, from regular people like you and I who feel we are doing the right thing by donating a few of our hard-earned bucks to a cause we care about. But that doesn’t mean that some rather large corporate conglomerates aren’t giving these groups money as well, expecting silence and good public relations cover in exchange. “Dirty money”, as I call donations from polluting companies, plays a major role and influence in the NGO (non-governmental agency) world – but does that mean that it should?
No one would begrudge GMO king Monsanto from attempting to donate millions to environmental groups; that’s just smart business. But should environmental groups, purportedly dedicated to protecting our natural world, accept money from Monsanto which is doing everything it can to control and thus destroy our food supply? It’s a heavy debate and one I have quite often. And it’s in that spirit that I bring up some environmental groups taking dirty money and put this question to you: Is this the way these groups should be funded?
The Sierra Club, one of the biggest, most popular eco-groups accepting donations made headlines when it was published earlier this year that they took $26 million from the natural gas industry. They also have partnered with Clorox, makers of toxic bleach.
While Sierra may be a major player in the public eye, The Nature Conservancy is one of the biggest recipients of corporate monies. They have taken money from and/or partnered with some of the biggest names in the dirtiest industries – BP, Monsanto, Cargill, Dow Chemical, Coca-Cola, Kraft Foods, Shell Oil, Chevron, and Altria (parent company for Philip Morris). One would have to search high and low to find any negative publicity coming from TNC about any of their corporate donors’ behavior.
|World Wildlife Fund has partnered with Coca-Cola (polar bear Coke cans anyone?) and came to the defense of IKEA when it was discovered that wood used in some of their products was harvested from protected forests. WWF is a financial partner of IKEA. Conservation International has partnered with Fiji bottled water, Shell, BP,Chevron, Cargill, Texaco, Walmart, Exxon, Monsanto, McDonald’s, Shell, and Pepsi. Seems their list is a whos-who of dirty money, all of which benefits from some good PR karma by setting up shop with a group like Conservation International.
Maybe some good comes out of some of these partnerships and maybe it doesn’t. For my dollar, I believe much of this dirty money being poured into environmental NGOs is for publicity only; no change will ever come out of it. After all, Monsanto has been giving millions to these groups – yet their path of destruction continues to this day with no end in sight. It’s hard to find public complaints from these eco-goups about any of their own corporate partners, even if you dig around the internet for hours.
While the title of this article is “Should Environmental Groups Take Money From Dirty Polluters?”, I presume you can conclude that I don’t think they should. But I want to know what you think:
- Do you think it’s an okay practice?
- Or do you think that these kind of groups should stick to non-corporate donations like Greenpeace and the Natural Resources Defense Council do?
- If they can make it without these kinds of donations, can’t the rest of the groups?
I look forward to you weighing in.