Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0

Can corporate-NGO partnerships save the environment? Part 2

By Glenn Prickett - posted Wednesday, 2 July 2003

This is part two of a two part series. Part one is available here


As the harvest of agricultural commodities on land threatens biodiversity, so does the harvest of fish and other marine life from the world's oceans. Overfishing has pushed three-fourths of marine fish stocks to their biological limits. Coral reefs and other marine and coastal ecosystems around the world are suffering from destructive fishing and aquaculture practices, as well as pollution from agricultural runoff and other land-based sources.

Unilever, the world's largest buyer of seafood, partnered with WWF to establish the Marine Stewardship Council in 1997. The MSC developed a standard for "sustainable and well managed" fisheries and a label for products from fisheries complying with the standard. McDonald's is working with the Center for Environmental Leadership in Business to assess fishing practices and identify actions that the company and its suppliers can take to protect marine biodiversity in key fisheries.

Energy and Mining

As global demand for energy and minerals grows, oil, gas, and mining companies expand into biodiversity-rich ecosystems around the world, risking biodiversity loss by land clearing, habitat conversion, pollution, and agricultural colonization along access roads and pipeline corridors. Global energy and mining companies have become prime targets of environmental advocacy groups. ExxonMobil, Shell and Freeport McMoRan have been the targets of international criticism for the environmental impacts, conservation and human rights abuses.

Some companies have begun to form partnerships with conservation organisations to reduce the ecological footprint of their operations and to contribute to conservation. Mobil has worked with Conservation International, Shell with the Smithsonian Institution, Chevron partnered with the WWF and Rio Tinto has worked with a number of research institutes and NGOs.

In 2001, a group of leading energy companies and conservation organisations launched the Energy & Biodiversity Initiative. The EBI is convened by the Center for Environmental Leadership in Business and its partners include BP, Chevron Texaco, Conservation International, Fauna & Flora International, The Nature Conservancy, Shell International, the Smithsonian Institution, Statoil, and the World Conservation Union (IUCN). In 2002, the newly formed International Council for Mining and Metals announced that it would work with IUCN to develop biodiversity best practices for the global mining industry.


Tourism can be a cause of environmental damage as well as a positive force for conservation. One of the world's largest industries, it is projected to expand four-fold from its 1996 levels by 2010. Nature-based tourism in areas with significant biodiversity is increasing more rapidly than the industry as a whole.

Tourism involves major infrastructure development, increased demands for water, energy and waste disposal, and an influx of new people, ideas and cultures. The tourism industry has perhaps the strongest incentive to conserve biodiversity as the future of its business depends on protecting the natural beauty and cultural richness its customers pay to visit.

Despite the strong business case for conservation, the industry has been slow to develop partnerships with conservation organisations, due in part to the structure of the industry, which is highly decentralized.


Seventy per cent of cruise ship destinations are within the global biodiversity hotspots. The industry has made significant investments in waste disposal and pollution prevention but other impacts have been largely ignored, especially those outside U.S. waters. These impacts include damage to coral reefs from ships' anchors and tourist diving expeditions, and pollution and habitat degradation associated with port development

Conservation organisations should partner with developers to reduce the impact of new hotels and resorts in sensitive coastal regions. The International Hotels Environment Initiative (IHEI), a program of the Prince of Wales International Business Leaders Forum, was established in 1992 to improve the environmental performance of the global hotel industry. IHEI recently launched a program with the Center for Environmental Leadership in Business to develop guidelines for the siting, design and construction of hotels and resorts, with special emphasis on the biodiversity hotspots.

Global tour operators control a significant flow of tourist traffic through bulk purchases and are important sources of leverage to influence the environmental practices of local hotels. The United Nations Environment Program launched the Tour Operators' Initiative for Sustainable Tourism Development (TOI) in 2000. It now includes 26 of the world's leading tour operators.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. All

This is an edited version of a paper given to the New America Foundation on 20 November 2002.

Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Glenn T. Prickett is a Senior Vice President at Conservation International and Executive Director of the Center for Environmental Leadership in Business.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Glenn Prickett
Related Links
Center for Environmental Leadership in Business
Conservation International
New America Foundation
Photo of Glenn Prickett
Article Tools
Comment Comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy