Monthly Archives: December 2008

The Best Moments of Corporate Watchdog Radio

CWR Watchdog

On this, the last-ever episode of Corporate Watchdog Radio, we take a stroll down memory lane to revisit the best moments in CWR’s history. The exchanges that had us on the edge of our seats, straining into our headphones to hear every syllable. We hear from a crotchety Barney Frank, a reflective Frances Moore Lappe, a tentative but ultimately optimistic Bill McKibben, a hopeful George Monbiot, and an eloquent Paul Hawken. Starting in 2009, CWR is changing its name to Sea Change Radio to cover the shift to social, environmental, and economic sustainability.

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The Future of Climate Policy

John Holdren
John Holdren

Over the weekend, President-Elect Barack Obama appointed John Holdren as his Science Adviser, a move applauded by many environmentalists. Holdren is director of the Woods Hole Research Center and teaches at Harvard.  Corporate Watchdog Radio has featured him twice. We aired part of his opening address at the 2008 UN Investor Summit on Climate Risk. And in September 2006, he talked with us about the pros and cons of nukes as a low-carbon solution to the climate crisis.  This week, we reprise these shows to give a sense of Holdren’s opinions.

John Holdren

John Holdren’s Presentation at the 2008 UN Investor Summit on Climate Risk: “Global Climatic Disruption: Risks and Opportunities”

CWR March 26, 2008: “Field Report from the UN Investor Summit on Climate Risk”

CWR September 6, 2006: “Will Nuclear Power Save Us from Global Warming?”

CWR News Analysis: Nick Robins of HSBC Analyzes the Poznan Climate Talks and the EU Climate Legislation —

Nick Robins
Nick Robins

As head of the Climate Change Centre for Excellence at the major UK bank HSBC, Nick Robins attended the recent climate talks in Poznan, Poland. This was the last step for the Kyoto Protocol before talks in Copenhagen in late 2009 negotiate post-Kyoto climate agreements. And, as world leaders met in Poznan, European Union Commissioners hammered out new climate legislation. Robins, co-author with Cary Krosinsky of the new book Sustainable Investing, weighs in on these as well from the HSBC offices in the UK.

CWR ViewPoint: Real or Fake — Christmas Tree, That Is!

Ellipsos Study: Comparative Life Cycle Assessment of Artificial vs Natural Christmas Tree

The Sustainability of the War Economy?

Eugene Jarecki
Eugene Jarecki

Today’s show focuses on the intersection between sustainability and war — sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? Eugene Jarecki, author of The American Way of War: Guided Missiles, Misguided Men, and a Republic in Peril, certainly thinks so. Jarecki explains to CWR Co-Host Francesca Rheannon how the mission of the military, to protect and defend the United States, gets subordinated to the enrichment of military contractors.

CWR News Analysis:

Hunter Lovins
Hunter Lovins

Natural Capitalism Solutions Founder Hunter Lovins analyzes the sustainability of the military, focusing on the 2007 US Army Sustainability Report released in September 2008.

CWR ViewPoint :

Linda Bilmes
Linda Bilmes

Harvard Professor Linda Bilmes, co-author with Joseph Stiglitz of The Three Trillion Dollar War, discusses her blog post this week about the report issued by the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction. She says it calls the US reconstruction effort in Iraq “a massive, unmitigated fiasco and waste of taxpayer money.”

Universal Declaration of Human Rights Turns 60

UDHR60_page_logoOn December 10, 1948, the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, calling on member country governments to promote the UDHR. Now, on the Declaration’s 60th anniversary, responsibility for promoting human rights protections has expanded to include the business community. The UN codified this link in 2005 when it issued a mandate for a Special Representative on Business and Human Rights, and this year it extended the appointment of Harvard Professor John Ruggie to the post for another three years.

Annabel ShortThe year 2005 also saw the launch of the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre as a web platform covering both positive and negative news on corporate conduct around human rights. Today, we speak with Annabel Short, Head of Programme at the Resource Centre, about its innovative work promoting improvements in companies’ policies and practices on human rights.

Annabel Short of the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

UDHR 60th Anniversary

In October, the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre launched the world’s first online portal profiling human rights lawsuits against companies. We caught up with the Resource Centre’s Head of Research Greg Regaignon from its California offices to describe the Corporate Legal Accountability Portal.

Listen to the complete interview with Greg Regaignon

Corporate Legal Accountability Portal

CWR News Analysis — Labor Rights are Human Rights

Wall Street Journal: “When Will That Bailout Money Trickle Down Exactly?”
Jobs with Justice: People’s Bailout Week
Coalition of Immokalee Workers Press Release: “Subway Signs Agreement with CIW to Improve Tomato Harvester Wages, Working Conditions in Florida”
International Labor Rights Forum Press Release: “Working for Scrooge — 5 Worst Companies for the Right to Associate”
Listen to the complete interview with Jon Weissman of Jobs with Justice

CWR ViewPoint — Mandatory Human Rights Regulations for Companies

arvind ganesanWe’re excited about our new commentary partnership with Human Rights Watch. We inaugurate this collaboration today with the opinion of HRW’s director of the Business and Human Rights Program Arvind Ganesan.

The End of Food?

Paul Roberts
Paul Roberts

The 18th century British author Jonathan Swift wrote that under the enclosure movement in Britain, “sheep eat men”. That’s because large landowners threw thousands of tenant farmers off their land to make way for raising sheep on an industrialized scale, in order to feed the textile mills of the new industrial age. Something of the same could be said of our current system of producing food. It was supposed to solve the problem of hunger in the world. The so-called “green revolution”, with its massive use of herbicides and pesticides, did usher in the era of cheap, abundant food. But Paul Roberts says that era is coming to an end. In his book, The End Of Food, Roberts says the technologies meant to end hunger don’t fit the conditions in the very countries they were supposed to feed. Small farmers are squeezed off the land, their families go hungry, and suicide sweeps their ranks. Rich countries are vulnerable, too. In a globalized food system, plant diseases could wipe out major food crops like wheat, fish stocks are crashing, and antibiotic resistance threatens both our meat animals–and ourselves. Roberts says the global industrialized food system is overextended, under threat of disruptions and unsustainable.

CWR News Analysis — The 24th Anniversary of Bhopal:

International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal
EarthRights International: Bano v. Union Carbide Case History
Press Release: “Victory Against Union Carbide Corp.: Court Reverses Dismissal of Pollution Claims”
Second Circuit Appeals Court Decision in Bano v. Union Carbide
Press Release: “Chevron Found Not Liable for Killings, Shootings, and Torture of Nigerian Peaceful Protesters”
FindLaw: “Chevron Wins an Alien Tort Statute Case – But the Victory May Be Less Important than It Might Seem”

CWR ViewPoint — Are NGOs and Corporations Too Cozy?

Marc Gunther
Marc Gunther

On Monday, the Washington DC offices of the NGO Environmental Defense were “invaded” by grassroots climate activists from Rising Tide North America. Dr. Rachel Smolker, daughter of a co-founder of Environmental Defense, protested ED’s collaboration with corporations, particularly its involvement in the US Climate Action Partnership, an alliance of NGOs and big companies that advocates for carbon cap-and-trade. The activists label this a “false” solution to the climate crisis, and lampooned the NGO with “Mr. Green” and “Mr. Wash” scrubbing the ED offices clean.

Last month, Fortune magazine’s Sustainability Columnist Marc Gunther blogged and wrote an article on the “cozy” relationships between NGOs and corporations. For the Corporate Watchdog Radio ViewPoint, we caught up with Marc from his home office in Bethesda for his take on this issue.