Wednesday, 23 April 2014

WWF: Seductive songs of sustainability

Last week the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef met in Brisbane and in various media leading members were at pains to give assurance that there was nothing to fear. It is interesting how the language has changed from the original roundtable meeting in Denver 2010, to the presumptuous launch of the Australian Roundtable [ See: here & here ] at Beef week 2012 that failed after grassroots resistance, to the current day. All in the effort to entice Australian beef producers to the GRSB sustainability principles.

In last week’s issue of the Queensland Country Life Ruaraidh  Petre, Executive Director, GRSB, in a lot of feel good words carefully avoided any mention of the roughly 15 other commodity roundtables both active and proposed and the instigator of them all WWF. Petre repeats the current GRSB mantra that its critics are fearful and adds the charge of conspiracy theorists.
Senator Ron Boswell on the facing page strongly warns against involvement with GRSB. Boswell is at the end of a long distinguished career. He has no need to whip up any fear campaign for re-election; this is more a question of legacy, a deep felt desire that an agreement perilous to the long term future of the beef industry does not slip in at the end of his watch. Boswell, as has Property Rights Australia, has done research beyond the confines that Petre and Cattle Council Australia would like to keep our attention. Our warnings are based on real data.

Then on the opinion page of last week’s issue are the words of incoming Senator David Leyonhjelm. He outlines the familiar course used in creating a commodity roundtable; once in place fees introduced, standards raised and governments pressured to make the code mandatory. Leyonhjelm writes that the beneficial promises made for sustainability certification will be mere noise and the downside of not participating, bluff.

 PRA urges beef producers to be very sceptical of the assurance that WWF is but one voice on the roundtable. WWF had gained ascendancy over the major players even before it was convened. The last resistance was supressed in the lead up to the soy roundtable. [See: here, here ]The campaign against soy was based largely on production in Brazil. Nowadays the environmental groups have so much control that Jason Clay from WWF’s Market Transformation Initiative can blazingly state in public that WWF will instigate a finance roundtable which will include principles for sustainable lending in Brazil first because, “that is where we have the most traction.” It appears the traction is so complete in Brazil that Greenpeace was recently reported as directing beef processors including JBS where they could or could not buy cattle from.
Beware that our industry does not become shipwrecked listening to the sirens singing seductive songs of sustainability.

Previous published related post
Are they awake?  

1 comment:

  1. I have been researching WWF's market transformation initiative for over 3 years and the information in Alan Oxley's opinion article in The Australian, April 23 is correct.
    Green thuggery is holding agribusiness to ransom

    "Australian law is among the most environmentally stringent in the world. It doesn’t need regulatory overlay concocted by US and foreign non-government organisations. Queensland Nationals senator Ron Boswell has warned beef producers of the danger.

    The Cattle Council appears not to be hearing. Why? Because McDonald’s, a big buyer of beef, has told it that it must go along. Greenpeace, which plays bad cop to WWF’s good cop (terminology used by the NGOs themselves) twice attacked McDonald’s in Britain. It claimed McDonald’s supported deforestation in Brazil by buying soybeans there that was grown on former forest land. McDonald’s now appears to do whatever WWF asks."


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