Conservation International boasts some nice celebrity names: Its board of directors includes actor Harrison Ford, Queen Noor of Jordan, President of Botswana Ian Khama, Skydance Production’s David Ellison (the company behind True Grit and the new Mission Impossible) and HRH Prince Charles. Jimmy Buffet and the Dixie Chicks are supporters.
As are a vast number of corporations like BP, Shell, Monsanto and Chevron. The charity has an over 62% rating from Charity Navigator. But CI also seems to have some eyebrow-raising business practices. Don’t Panic magazine decided to see what would happen if they posed as corporate wonks from “Lockheed Martin” looking to improve their corporation’s image by adopting an endangered animal species as a mascot. Preferably from the Middle East.
Lockheed Martin’s bombs and rockets have featured prominently in the Gulf Wars and the war in Afghanistan, as well as other conflicts around the globe. The week the video was shot a damning video of Lockheed Martin missles was released to British TV.
CI’s representative suggested not only a species (birds of prey because you know, that aviation tie-in is so brilliant), but also some expensive corporate programs for “Lockheed Martin” (including access to a list of fragile ecosystems which Don’t Panic says can be viewed for free through the United Nations!). But when the Don’t Panic rep asked if someone form CI could help make the LM corporate office more green and explore ways to make their munition recycling program (bombs and small arms!) more efficient, CI had no suggestions or referals.
But CIhad no qualms about trying to sell “Lockheed Martin” a chunk of rain forest in Madagascar to help offset the pollution, damage, environmental and human, along with loss of lives, caused by the company’s weaponry.
Greenwashing? Yes. Does CI make deals with the devil, with attempts to save some areas and species by taking corporate money form major polluters? Do companies actually gain anything but looking good and feeling fuzzy from the hundred of thousands of dollars of pretty stamps of approval, seminars and information CI provides about environments, ecosystems and lifeforms affected by corporate activities like tar sand reclamation, oil drilling, fracking and blowing stuff up?
Well gosh, BP had plan of action to save the walruses if there was an oil spill in Gulf of Mexico….