|Globecology: Environmental Intervention in the
Report Prepared By
TABLE OF CONTENTS
II. Globalization and its Benefits
III. What has gone wrong with Globalization?
IV. Globecology: Uniting environmentalism and globalization
V. CERES Principles and Globecology
VI. Where there's a will, there's a way
VII. References Cited
November 27, 1999 marked a dark day for the World Trade Organization. On that day, thousands of demonstrators gathered in Seattle to protest the WTO trade conference. The conference, comprised of delegates from 135 nations, was to be used as a platform to discuss open trade through the elimination of several "non-tariff barriers." However, the conference was deemed a failure amidst extensive riots which occurred through December 3, 1999. It signaled to the Geneva-based WTO and the world as a whole that globalization had its opponents. It further aided in strengthening opposition to the pro-business WTO.
It will not be the purpose of this paper to discuss the challenges facing the WTO. Rather, this commentary will identify some of the key benefits to globalization followed by an extensive analysis of where globalization has gone wrong. In today's society, there is an ever-growing trend towards economic development and expansion yet we think very little in terms of how our actions impact the environment. I will thus provide a prescriptive measure, which is referred to as globeclogy, to provide the reader with an action plan which supports sustainable development. Globecology will focus on promoting partnerships between multinational corporations and environmental advocacy groups.
II. Globalization and its Benefits
Thomas Friedman defines globalization as "the spread of free-market capitalism to virtually every country in the world...globalization has its own set of economic rules- rules that revolve around opening, deregulating and privatizing your economy, in order to make it more competitive and attractive to foreign investment."(Friedman, pg 9) Evidently this definition focuses on the liberation of non-democratic governments and the opening up of markets to what is referred to as the "electronic herd." Globalization is essentially a movement defined by an accelerated interdependence of world nations in the era of the technology revolution.
Friedman goes on to say, "Globalization is not just a phenomenon. Today it is an overarching international system shaping the domestic politics and foreign relations of virtually every country, and we need to understand it as such." (Friedman) Globalization can be a tool to generate rapid economic growth. It can accelerate third world countries into the era of modernization by "exploiting" resources within those nations. Additionally, it can contribute to the rise of technology, the spread of democracy, and the explosion of scientific knowledge to the world. Globalization can also provide opportunities to the poor in an era focused on expanding the capital pie. Evidently, there are many supporters of globalization who believe that its benefits outweigh any negative outcomes. However, many of its strongest advocates are multinational organizations who want to expand the capitalist movement and their own market share to the rest of the world. This is one of the dilemmas of globalization. It argues that it provides benefits to third world nations but its primary advocates are capitalists from powerful nations.
Globalization can be empowering but it can also be coercive. It has the potential to homogenize cultures while enabling people to share their individuality to a wider group of nations. It is thus clear that we need to look beyond the benefits of globalization. We need to understand how this era will shape our future and more specifically how it will alter the environment we live in. In essence, Friedman has been a proponent of globalization but has overlooked its environmental impact to the nations of the world..
III. What has gone wrong with Globalization?
Some critics of globalization have indicated that it is essentially "a race to the bottom." Capital is moved throughout the world until it finds the cheapest labor and lowest environmental standards.
Globalization can generate rapid economic growth but it does not do so in a uniform manner. There are always losers in this era of modernization. Perhaps, one of the biggest losses has been in the environmental impact of globalization. I will cite some of the negative implications followed by specific examples which Lori Wallach highlights in her book titled, The WTO: Five Years of Reasons to Resist Corporate Globalization.
Advocates of globalization have argued that the world will prosper under this new movement as nations gain access to capital, education, and advanced communications. This argument is superficial to an extent. It is not inherent among the cultures of the world. Perhaps one of the greatest challenges will be to actually provide the benefits of globalization to the outcasts of the world. At some point, globalization is not really global. Rather, it is a local phenomenon which has negative implications to many of the world's inhabitants.
First, globalization has lead to the disempowerment of many indigenous communities throughout the world including Brazil's indigenous tribes who have battled development projects on the Amazon River and the deforestation of their land. Additionally, globalization is driven by a capitalist movement which has paid little attention to issues relating to the natural environment. It is thus inevitable that this mindset will lead to continued environmental degradation in many areas of the world unless something is done. One of the most significant impacts ties in well to the above points. Essentially, we are seeing a trend where our biodiversity is being endangered, global warming is rampant, and our forests and oceans are being depleted. The greater implication is that we are not supporting an environment of sustainable development as we move down this path of destruction. Eventually, there may a depletion of resources beyond sustainability for future generations of human beings. It is thus essential to begin to look at alternative means to globalization.
There are several other concerns with globalization which have been cited in the literature. Specifically, many of the concerns relate back to the symbol of globalization, the World Trade Organization. Critics say that the WTO is undemocratic and undermines social protections. Environmentalist have accused the WTO of weakening environmental laws in the pursuit of maximum profit for transnational organizations. Ralph Nader has even said that multinational corporations have shaped the globalization of commerce and finance. (Nader, pg 7) He goes on to argue that the WTO's undemocratic nature undermines the importance of land conservation and natural resource sustainability. All these arguments are valid and need to be reaffirmed to the general public. Other critics of globalization cite the extensive scrutiny given to "non-tariff barriers" many of which have been based on hard fought environmental protection laws. Examples cited include challenges to the U.S. Clean Air Act and EU eco labels.
But beyond the arguments of environmental destruction, we can begin to understand the true impacts of globalization on the environment through a real-life example. In 1988, the U.S. banned the domestic sale of tuna caught with purse-seine nets. Over a 30 year period, the nets were responsible for the death of seven million dolphins! (Wallach, pg 30) However, three years later the predecessor to the WTO, General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), overruled the law which prevented the importation of tuna citing the irrelevance to the process by which the tuna was caught. GATT argued that it was an "unfair practice" to discriminate between products based on "how they are produced." (Wallach, pg 30) In 1997, President Clinton implemented the GATT order essentially gutting the tuna protection law. The passage of the order was made amidst a high level of public scrutiny and intense media attention from environmental groups. The environmental cries went unheard until a few years later when the original GATT order was overruled in what some have termed "Tuna 2." However, this example clearly represents the challenges facing our environment today. It also sets a precedence for passage of future bills which will attempt to undermine environmental policy in order to satisfy the corporate culture. For example, in 1998, a WTO panel went against the U.S. Endangered Species Act permitting the domestic sale of shrimp caught in nets not equipped with turtle excluder devices. The original provision was challenged on the same basis as the tuna case. Essentially, WTO members argued that the process by which a product is obtained provides for "discrimination" which is prohibited under WTO guidelines.
It is evident that we face many environmental challenges in the near future and that these challenges are exacerbated by the over-exuberance of our capitalist economy. Daniel Seligman of the Sierra Club has even said that its not trade and the globalized economy that upsets environmentalists, but rather it's the way in which the WTO rules work to promote trade. The rules are set up in such a manner to reduce environmental protection through a process which allows national governments to challenge certain laws. For example, a ban on U.S. beef treated with growth hormones in EU was overturned because the EU could not identify specific harm caused by the hormones.
Globalization worries environmentalists. Many argue that the WTO favors the growth of trade over public safety and environmental advocacy. The examples cited above serve as fuel for these arguments. However, we need to work collectively (non-profits and private organizations alike) to be able to support the world and the environment. There are alternatives to globalization or at least prescriptive measures which can reduce its negative impacts. This is the theme of the next section.
IV. Globecology: Uniting environmentalism and globalization
Globecology, by its very nature, strives to merge the benefits of globalization and environmental advocacy. Essentially, it is a concept which bridges the gap between industry and nature. It's primary focus is ecocentric in nature. It identifies the importance of environmental conservation but also contains a humanistic element. Globecology understands that today's society is distinct from the previous century. We are in an era where the Internet is king and technology is rampant. Globecology does not look to diminish the benefits derived from this technological movement but it strives to increase social responsibility among private investors. Each one of us has a responsibility to the environment and we must be able to understand this simple concept in order to prevent the exploitation of our natural resources. Globecology is not simply a theory. It is an advocacy movement with an educational framework. Its ideals are being applied in today's society among several different organizations including the CERES network which I will discuss in the following section. What are the themes underpinning this movement? I highlight the key factors which form the basis of globecology below.
Mutual agreement between industry and environmental groups to discuss environmental concerns on the same side of the table
Joint assessment of negative externalities derived from industrial organizations on the environment (including environmental impact assessments and monitoring)
Clearly defined objectives of each group as it relates to supporting the environment (this phase will be critical in identifying shared interests and goals among all parties)
Government support for collaboration efforts between private organizations and environmental groups in cleaner technologies which will support sustainable development and reduce negative externalities
The above principles are critical for the success of globecology. The first principle focuses on the importance of having open discussions between environmental advocacy groups and multinational corporations. I have placed environmental advocacy groups in an umbrella of sorts although my vision would be to have key representatives from different environmentalist groups. This core group of environmentalists would establish a working draft of environmental concerns derived from globalization. The concerns would have to be concrete in nature citing specific examples such as the tuna-dolphin case or pollution from electronic components. A Globecology newsletter highlighting the key objectives would be used as an intervention method. The ovverriding themes of the newsletter would be based on the key beliefs discussed in the introductory paragraph of this section. It would also indicate the need to have non-adverserial discussions with key multinational organizations on globalization and environmental policy. One benefit for the private organizations would be favorable media attention. Perhaps the greatest challenge will be to gain interest from the private sector firms. However, the movement would also help private sector organizations to perform socially-responsible investing which would aim to maximize efficiency while supporting the environment's well-being.
The globecology movement will evidently have to evolve from a movement to a formal organization in order to realize some of its objectives. However, it will not be the intent of this paper to identify how the globecology movement evolves into an environmental organization. Rather, we will see shortly that there already are organizations which adhere to many of the globecology ideals. For now, it only important to identify the key attributes to globecology.
Another critical element of globecology ties into the collaborative effort between the private and public sector. Specifically, it is essential that this movement educate transnational firms about the environmental impacts of their actions. Instead of advocating environmentalism just for the sake of the movement, it is critical to identify how the actions of private firms impact the environment. Hence, this phase will be characterized by a "buy-in" of sorts whereby the movement convinces private sector firms that environmental issues need to be addressed and that success can only be achieved through collaborative efforts. There may be a triggering event which will aid in gaining buy-in from the private firm. Gary Flomenhoft has alluded to this in his "Eco-Illogical Cycle." (Flomenhoft, PA395 Day 2) Initially there is an environmental problem which is attributed to a certain industry activity. The industry initially denies the issue but then there is a "smoking gun" placing pressure on the firm to modify its practice. Some examples cited include the DDT effect on birds and the impacts of CFCs on the ozone layer. The triggering event may be used as leverage by the globecology movement to justify its concerns. It may be more effective if it points out a particular environmental issue and is then able to place pressure on the particular organization.
The objective identification phase is another key element. This phase would focus on understanding the objectives of the private firms and the environmental groups. The previous phases have alluded to this fact but this phase will be critical in clearly defining those objectives. Specifically, what are the key goals that the private sector wants to attain? Do they want to be viewed by their customers and the general public as being socially and environmentally responsible? On the environmental end, the focus will be on prioritizing issues that have been outlined in the working draft of environmental concerns. This phase will be challenging as it will require an extensive amount of work and more importantly consensus building among several different players. However, if these groups are able to bridge the gap and find some common interests, they may better be able to meet their own needs while supporting the other side.
One final component worth noting is the support that the globecology movement will need from the national government. This type of support may only be educational or it could also serve to allocate funds for this movement. Perhaps the globecology movement could even be initiated from an organization such as the EPA. This may be going beyond the scope of this discussion however it is important to note that government support may be able to further aid the globecology movement.
I have highlighted some of the key attributes to globecolgy and indicated the need for strategic partnerships between private sector firms and environmental groups. There are two other concepts worth noting under this movement. The first is the idea that there are alternatives to globalization. These alternatives will also serve as the building blocks for globecology. Specifically, the movement would serve to look at ways in which we can support third world countries without adhering to the negative consequences of globalization. Of course this would be an extensive undertaking and it would be more of a grassroots focus. However, the intent would be to begin with alternative solutions to specific environmental concerns and extend the objectives as progress ensues. The solutions for example may look at alternative, more efficient system for agriculture or transportation. The ideas would be asserted in such a manner as to promote sustainable societies through self-managment and empowerment of local communities. It is important to note that the strategy that will be used to achieve these alternatives will be a combination of incrementalism and rationalism. Essentially, this type of strategy is what Etzioni refers to as mixed scanning. In this approach, incremental decisions are the means to attain a fundamental end. By employing this approach, alternative programs can be made more effective through consensus building and better strategic management. For example, a program could be initiated to reduce the dumping of toxic wastes into an Asian waterway. The fundamental goal may be to restrict overall pollution in a given waterway however the means by which this is met may be incremental. Essentially, the program may first educate the "polluters" on the negative effects of chemical dumping and look at incremental alternatives as a solution until the fundamental goal is met. In essence, by using the mixed scanning approach to policy implementation we may be better able to achieve improved environmental conditions while reducing the reliance on globalization.
The second idea is more theoretical in nature. It looks to reframe the perception of globalization and the environment. The focus is on establishing an ecologically sustainable environment. In order to do so, multinational firms and the general public need to be systematically retrained through educational programs on how they can support a healthy environment. The programs would move away from the economic policy of competitive advantage and would instead strive to achieve sustainable development.(IFG) Additionally, it would look to understand the negative impacts that globalization place on indigenous people all over the world. By doing so, it will provide a more humanistic approach which is less focused on "maximizing shareholder wealth" and more focused on "maximizing environmental responsibility." Finally, the shift in perceptions would aim to move our world away from the false theory of unlimited economic growth and instead embrace a philosophy of efficient resource utilization.
Globecology is a movement which can be applied in the organizational setting. This will become evident when I discuss the CERES principle in the following section. However, at this point it is important to indicate some of the strategies that can be used to achieve success through this movement. Additionally, we need to be able to understand the challenges that globecology will face in policy implementation.
In terms of strategies, I have already highlighted the use of the mixed scanning approach to support alternatives to globalization. I have also indicated that its effectiveness will be partly based on its ability to form a partnership with multinational corporations. Essentially, there needs to be a focus on participatory environmentalism through direct action. However, the direct action should not be tied to an adversarial strategy. On the contrary, the adversarial strategy inherently threatens the delicate link between environmental and private groups. Rather globecology should embrace a combined strategy of transformational and exemplary actions. It can be transformational in the sense that it educates the private sector on issues relating to the environment. It can also be exemplary if it focuses on aiding private firms to use socially responsible investing.
One of the key challenges to globecology is based on the "zig-zag" theory of environmental change. (Flomenhoft, pg 7) In this theory, there are periods of time where business is favored while other periods of time that the environment is favored. Quite often, the shifts in favoritism is based on the economic climate along with presidential views. In today’s society, market development and economic growth is highly valued. That is not to say that an environmental event may not reach the national agenda and gain greater power. However, it is an important factor to note and one which can not be easily overcome. Another key challenge lies in what the fathers of policy implementation, Jeffrey Pressman and Aaron Wildavsky refer to as the “multiplicity of participants and perspectives.” In this theory, they argue that differences in opinions and priorities lead to different measures of success. These measures of success are based on how close a particular stakeholder is in attaining their goals. University of Southern California professor Daniel Mazmanian goes on to say that the “achievement of a program goal is contingent upon a number of technical prerequisites, ....and an understanding of the principal causal linkages affecting the problem.”(Implementation and Public Policy, p 21) Therefore, the challenge to policy implementation is aligning globecology's objectives with the multinational firms. Also, MSU professor Malcolm Goggin highlights that implementation beyond capability is the most frequent cause of policy failure.(Ventriss 2002) Hence it is important to ensure that there is goal congruence that can be achieved through incremental steps to achieve a fundamental end.
Perhaps the greatest challenge facing globecology will be its ability to legitimize its concerns to the private sector and convince them to reframe their views of the environment. Unless globecology is able to change individual perceptions of the environment, it will fail in policy implementation. Carnevale highlights this dilemma when he discusses the fact that people's perceptions of an organization do not reside at the tip of the iceberg. Rather, people's emotions, opinions, and perceptions are well below the surface. Essentially, the realities facing a given organization are deep and not immediately visible. (Carnevale, p 42) Hence, one can see how difficult it is for the globecology movement to promote learning if private sector management is unwilling to analyze its own misconceptions.
Some of the challenges facing the environmentalist movement are overwhelming. However, there needs to be an understanding of the multiple objectives and perceptions in order to increase environmental awareness and promote learning. Essentially, policy learning can be achieved through incrementalism, dedication, and collaboration. It can further be promoted through a pluralistic approach to globecology. In other words, the environmental group is formed based on concerns over current public policy and forges coalitions to "alter the distribution of power within the political system." (Flomenhoft, pg 15) In terms of globecology, the political system can refer to equalizing the power of multinational corporations through "environmental intervention" and promotion of environmental awareness.
V. Ceres Principles and Globecology
Globalization has created an environment where the role of corporations are critical for the future of our environment. In order to have a successful environmental future, the cooperation of corporations is critical. This is one of the overriding themes of globecology. Multinational firms are the drivers of the globalization era and it is thus essential to form alliances with them to attain environmental sustainability. The early environmentalist movements may have been more successful had they realized the importance of collaboration with the private sector. Today's environmental leaders however are beginning to realize this important fact.
The Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies (CERES) dates back to 1988 when a group of "socially responsible investment firms" established an alliance to promote environmental sustainability with investment dollars. If there was a triggering event which moved CERES into the spotlight it was the Exxon Valdez oil spill of 1989. Shortly thereafter, CERES established its ten point code of environmental conduct as a framework for an environmental mission statement. It would be four years later in 1993 when Sunoco would endorse the CERES principles followed by several other Fortune 500 companies. Today, CERES has over 50 companies which adhere to the CERES principles including Ford, American Airlines, and General Motors. Additionally, there are over 70 environmental organizations which have aligned with these socially responsible investors to form the leading coalition for a sustainable future.
CERES is an exemplary model of globecology in action. Recall, that gloebecology strongly believes in the importance of SR investing and collaborations with the private sector. It believes in the importance of participatory environmentalism and accountability. However, it frames it activities in a way which looks to form strategic partnerships and not opponents to environmental advocacy. These qualities are evident in the CERES culture. Beyond the alliances, there are several underlying themes to the CERES principles which tie directly into globecology.
Globecology alludes to the importance of accountability by multinational firms. It suggests that there needs to be a joint assessment of negative externalities from industrial activities. CERES aligns with the private sector accountability by identifying "management commitment" as one of its key principles. Essentially, it requires that executive management is informed about environmental issues and their responsibility for environmental policy. This principle allows us to overcome one of the key challenges to policy implementation, bureaucratic accountability. By informing management of key environmental policy issues, they are held responsible for their actions and hence are more committed to fulfilling the CERES principles. Globecology also identifies the importance of common interests across key stakeholders. The CERES Principles are embraced by all within the network. Hence, they are able to increase environmental awareness and accountability while facilitating environmental policy implementation. The "shared vision" which is often discussed in the organizational setting is applicable in the CERES network. It is the stepping stone which allows globecoogy to prosper and environmental learning to occur.
A final CERES principle worth noting relates to public accountability. Primarily, this principle understands that it is critical to inform the public about environmental issues impacting them. Members of CERES are required to be environmental advocates and support employees who highlight environmental concerns within a transnational firm. The positive implications of this principle are staggering. First, it promotes an environment which allows environmental empowerment to its employees. Secondly, it increases public awareness of environmental issues and thus has the potential effect of reducing opposition to a particular firm. Essentially, CERES members can actually protect themselves from litigation and environmental lobbying (to an extent) by adhering to this principle.
It is clear that globecology is not simply a theory. It has its applications and perhaps the best model is the CERES network. CERES has gained worldwide recognition as the leader in a sustainable environment. Additionally, it has done so not through adversial means but rather through collaborative efforts with multinational corporations. It has been able to bring together diverse interests and seek creative solutions to environmental issues. It has aided in private policy implementation which supports both globalization and environmentalism. Essentially, CERES is the ultimate definition of globecology.
VI. Where there's a will, there's a way
I started off this paper by highlighting the opposition to the WTO and the globalization movement. Globalization has its benefits but it does not benefit everyone the same way. There are always losers in this race and its typically those nations who lack the resources to support the electronic herd. Additionally, globalization favors capitalism over environmentalism. Its ideals are ingrained in the belief that the benefits to society will always outweigh the losses and that the movement of capital around the world takes precedence over environmental issues. The tacit assumption which globalization makes is that economic growth will not have a significant impact on our environmental resources. I refer to resources in the broad context to include not only the land that we live in but also the biodiversity of the Earth.
Globalization hurts our environment. There is no way around this statement. However, there needs to be an understanding that there is a solution through sustainability. Additionally, we need to realize and advocate the critical nature of partnerships with unlikely allies. The environmental movements of the first and second generation did not fully understand the importance of alliances. We are in an era where technology is king but we need to move into an era where globalization does not take over our environment. Rather, there needs to a prescriptive measure that aligns this new globalization era with the environmental era. This measure is globecology.
VII. References Cited
Activists to WTO: Put people over profits, Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/US/9911/29/wto.seattle.02/
Amital Etzioni, Mixed scanning: A Third Approach to Decision Making (1967), p 385-392
CERES Network, Retrieved from http://www.ceres.org/
Curtiss Ventriss, PA313 Notes on Policy Implementation
Daniel Mazmanian and Paul A. Sabatier, Implementation and Public Policy, The Politics of Policy Implementation, p 18-32
David G. Carnevale, Organizational Development in the Public Sector (USA, Westview Press, 2003), p 12-13, 24, 39, 42-43, 54, 67, 94-95
Gary Flomenhoft, PA395 Notes (June 2003)
IFG, Retrieved from http://www.ifg.org/
Jeffrey L Pressman and Aaron Wildavsky, Implementation (USA, University of California Press Ltd., 1984)
Keith Porter, Globalization: Good or Bad?, Retrieved from http://globalization.about.com/cs/whatisit/a/gzgoodorbad.htm
Lori Wallach and Michelle Sforza, The WTO: Five Years of Reasons to Resist Corporation Globalization (1999), p 27-32
Milbrey Wallin McLaughlin, Learning From Experience: Lessons From Policy Implementation (1987) p 171-178
Ralph Nader, "Introduction by Ralph Nader" from The WTO: Five Years of Reasons to Resist Corporation Globalization (1999), p 6-12
Schien, “Chapter 1. Defining Organizational Culture” in Organizational Culture and Leadership (1985), p 3, 11
Thomas L. Friedman, The Lexus and the Olive Tree (First Anchor Books Edition, 2000), p 9-43