The Unsuitablog

Exposing Ethical Hypocrites Everywhere!

The Nature Conservancy: Partnering With Poisoners

Posted by keith on April 19th, 2008

Nature Conservancy Business

I sometimes get the feeling I’m shooting fish in a barrel, writing this blog — not that I would ever shoot a fish — with the targets getting easier and easier to pick off. This is never so true as with the “environmental” charities that huddle up, all cosily, with business in the vain attempt to get them to play nicely.

They really don’t get it — business doesn’t want to “play nicely”, business wants to do business, and will not do business if it doesn’t make a profit. In order to make a profit the business must get more more out of a process than it puts in; and if you are a manufacturer or a producer of raw materials then that extra either comes from cheap labour or the extraction of something you didn’t have before — like oil or timber. If you are a retailer or an investment bank, the profit you gain is dependent on selling something for a greater value than you bought it — you are dependent on the manufacturer or producer of raw materials having something you can resell at a profit, so they must reduce their costs as much as possible. In order for these costs to be reduced they must cut corners, so they treat workers badly; pollute the land, water and atmosphere; use their commercial muscle to ensure they don’t have legislation to comply with…and so on. If you are an advertiser or PR company, your job is to make all these companies look good.

In short, business is unsustainable, at all levels.

If you are the Nature Conservancy, one of the largest and most respected environmental charities in the world, then it would make sense not to work with profit making businesses, especially not the most damaging of them…you know, companies like Alcoa, BP and Cargill — really, really bad companies.

Actually, if you are the Nature Conservancy, you say the following:

The Nature Conservancy works with the business community to find common ground between conservation and industry. We accept their financial and land donations, engage in cause-related marketing, foster direct conservation action, and participate in event sponsorship.

As you can see, they really think there is common ground between business and conservation, and will happily provide branding for any company that pretends they are doing good things. They are good enough to provide a list of these companies — here are some really nasty ones:

Alcoa — massive polluter and consumer of energy
American Electric Power — coal burning (73%) electricity producer
Bank of America — will invest in anything, regardless of impact
BP — oil giant and greenwasher supreme
Cargill — food giant, GMO user on massive scale
Caterpillar — provides military equipment to repressive regimes

And many more, including Monsanto, Proctor & Gamble and Georgia-Pacific. All of the nasty companies The Nature Conservancy have partnered with continue to be nasty — but look great, because of their links with TNC.

In fact the history of the Nature Conservancy shows that they were only able to grow as they did in the 1960s because of a cash injection from Ford Motors, which allowed them to employ an IBM executive as their first President. Now please humour me and read this web page about their cosy relationship with General Motors, and tell me if I am being paranoid:

I think I need to lie down…

15 Responses to “The Nature Conservancy: Partnering With Poisoners”

  1. The Sietch Blog » The Nature Conservancy: Partnering With Poisoners Says:

    […] [Read the rest at The Unsuitablog] […]

  2. Russ Says:

    I always get frustrated with this particular manifestation of the Enlightenment myth – that if the combatants could only be brought to sit down together and talk, you’d find they had lots of common ground from which to work toward a mutually acceptable compromise.
    The simple problem with this is, it is often just not true.

    Just to give an example from America and the presidential campaign: America desperately needs REAL health care reform (I’d say more like revolutionization), a necessary part of which is the end of the private health insurance industry, which is as purely parasitic an industry as you’ll ever see – it adds literally nothing constructive, only complexity and cost. So it follows by definition that a real reformer knows he cannot “sit down” with them and look for that hallowed “common ground”, since it does not exist. It is truly a zero sum game.
    Yet both Democratic candidates, though claiming to want real reform, still (to varying degrees) treat the health insurance industry as a legitimate participant. So we know they’re either lying or hopelessly naive.

    This seems to be a common, congenital trait among environmentalists. Sometimes I wonder if enviros, on the whole, are just too “nice”, too enamoured of compromise and believing that deep down all people are good, and that there are consensual, “civilized” solutions to all these problems.

    It’s not that I want a cesspool of negativity, mind you, but I look around and feel like everyone looks at the worst horrors and stays so “cool” and “reasonable” when I want to explode, and wherever it seems anger and even hate are appropriate, Americans seem to be capable of only irony, sarcasm, “snarkiness”. I guess that’s from everybody having their brains and emotions rotted by television.

  3. keith Says:

    Russ, the nail has rarely been hit so squarely on the head. I’m hearing a lot of good stuff going around; I now know I’m not the only person saying and thinking it.


  4. Harley Nomes Says:

    The Nature Conservancy is neither a “charity” nor “most respected”. If you look closer you will find that The Nature Conservancy is a the world’s largest multi-billion tax-exempt land broker with a long history of scandals, shady partnerships and mis-use of public funds. Their track record on management ethics makes most for-profit corporations look like alter boys. The Nature Conservancy has never been recognized as a charity by the U.S.

    The Nature Conservancy is, however, one of the most successful marketers of modern times whose lobbyists, mass marketers and PR Department have created a spin machine that has captured America’s fascination with going green and makes The Nature Conservancy look like the good guy. A conversation with anyone who knows the organization’s tactics will tell a different story. I cover this topic in “The Nature Conservancy Scandal Blog” at

  5. keith Says:

    Nice to be vindicated. Good link too.

  6. Jason Stills Says:

    No wonder Steve McCormick left TNC in such a hurry. Chances are he got out just in time – before the you-know-what hits the fan. TNC has wanted to buy Big Springs (the largest cold water spring in Siskiyou county, CA) very badly, especially after getting out bid on the Ballabaca property by the Westland Water group – and by now probably has it. Look for TNC to compromise with a large bottler (the area already has three, with another in the wings) to recoup their investment. They already buy land with money they get from large corporate donors. More of a money laundering operation that gets corporate money into the hands of psuedo environmental groups, TNC should consider a name change to “The Nestle Channel”. God forbid Steve gets replaced by someone like Brian Stranko, who rules his Cal Trout minnions with an iron fist. It seems that legitamacy can be bought, as long as you’re willing to pay for enough “studies”.

  7. The Green Decoder Says:

    Has the world gone completely mad?

    How dare those nasty companies suggest they should make a profit! Wait a minute, that is the purpose of those organization, to provide a service or product to the world that is viable and marketable and makes money in the process (the reason you have for-profit and not-for-profit). Many businesses do play nicely, just not nicely enough to meet the standards of the Environmental Elites (see my blog for more on this).

    Lets look back before the industrial revolution. There was rampant poverty, disease, wars, etc. As businesses began to make products, standards of living improved and the world became the modern civilization we know today. As a world culture, we are at a crossroads. You can not expect everything to change over night. Sure, there is a lot of room for improvement, but no measure of improvement is good enough for the ELITE. If a company begins to recycle, the response is that they use too much energy in the process. If they add a solar array to power the facility, they still use diesel to run deliver the product to market. If they go all hybrid, they go out of business because they can’t compete and the guy doing nothing to save the world makes more money and continues to pollute and diminish natural resources.

    Look at the websites of the list of companies here on your list. They each are working toward something better. Maybe there is more that can be done, but you can’t turn a ship on a time. Small course corrections until they are headed in the right direction.

    Are you suggesting that any organization that pollutes should close there doors tomorrow? Maybe you are. So, let’s end any housing development in the future, even a green development generates waste, pollution and toxic effects on the earth. If you need a place to live, well that is just tough you better move in with your family or friends. You need transportation. Well, we shut down the steel and aluminum foundries because they pollute too much, so no more new trains, buses, cars, etc. You better buy a horse. Of course, we have outlawed most live stock because they produce too much methane. There won’t be any sustainable power companies because we can’t produce the materials needed to build them.

    You want what you want and let the rest of the world suffer. Why not try a new approach? Look at what, say Alcoa is doing today. Really investigate it, don’t just read the rhetoric printed in your buddies blog. Then, make suggestions for the future to improve their organization. Too often we demonize companies because they didn’t do enough, instead of encouraging continual improvement.

    All you are doing here is complaining about the things you don’t like. Channel the energy into action and see if we can’t accomplish more to better the world.

  8. keith Says:


    You do realise that globally we need at least a 60% reduction in total greenhouse gases by 2030, and in the USA and most other industrial nations over a 90% reduction by that same year. Not idle speculation, just based on the current warming, melting and acidification projections.

    How many of those businesses are reducing their direct and indirect emissions by 90% by 2030. Answer: none of them, and of those that are reducing, none of them are even suggesting more than 50%, and of those how many of them actually intend to get there?

    Profit = additional resource consumption / additional GHG emissions. It’s so simple, but only people like me who complain and see through the bullsh*t (as opposed to running with the corporations like good little consumers) are saying this simple truth because most of the other so-called environmentalists are too scared to undermine the civilized world they have got so used to.

    “There was rampant poverty, disease, wars, etc.” Only under other civilizations; the rest of the world was self-determining and relatively free of those things – such as those Native Americans the lovely civilized Europeans corralled, infected and shot into oblivion, all in the name of progress.

    Do I want the rest of the world to suffer? No. That’s why I want to stop it being crushed under the anvil of industrial civilization – and why we have to get rid of it too.

    BTW: There is no such thing as a “green” development. On that much we agree.

  9. The Green Decoder Says:

    Room for you, but not the rest of the world. I have found one of the leaders for the Elite. You walk the walk, talk the talk.

    This “so-called environmentalist” would rather work with people than force fear, hate and regression on a nation. This civilized world is a part of our culture and no, I do not plan to give up the industrial civilization. Are you ready to pull the plug from your computer (because even if you are using solar power at home, the many servers and service providers are using fossil fuels to run the internet)? Stop using any fossil fuels? Farm all your own food (no more grocery stores and markets)?

    It is convenient to use these technologies to “get the word out”, but at the end of the day, you don’t want to live without them either.

  10. keith Says:

    Cool, I’ve never been an Elite :-/

    Read this please, before commenting further:

  11. keith Says:

    P.S. “Has the world gone completely mad?”

    Yes. That’s why we may not have a future.

  12. The Green Decoder Says:

    Well, enjoy your return to the 18th century. Good luck to you. Personally, I think there is a balanced combination of responsible living with sustainable technology.

    I, however, will continue to build homes for families that need them, utilizing the best products and practices available.

    You and I will never see eye-to-eye as we have very different ideas of how to live responsibly in the world today. I think it is naive to expect people to revert to a world without technology and for companies to shut down because they are making a profit. So, I will continue to encourage change and more sustainable work and living.

  13. keith Says:

    I don’t expect “people” to revert, I expect quite a sizable minority will change, and the dependent majority to suffer badly (this is not of my choosing) when the infrastructure collapses. This is not just about repairing the planet, it is about survival. I give civilization 2-3 generations before the crash (the current economic blip is a minor inconvenience in comparison) and it will be of our own making. I would rather this didn’t happen, but it will – we can make the landing soft or hard; our choice.

  14. James Says:

    I would like to thank you for this post of yours, at the moment I am righting an essay about my opinion on the Nature Conservacny, for my Grade. 12 Bio class. This blog post as well as the links made by the others who have sommented in this, will certainly my essay an intersting read.

    – Thank you

  15. Blair Says:

    Most corporations are NOT interested in making progress, they’re interested in squeezing AS MUCH money as possible out of the current business model. Energy and chemical companies ACTIVELY astroturf to prevent meaningful reform from taking place. They fight against fuel economy standards rather than invent better cars (the Model T had better MPG than our current fleet). They suck out as much oil and bulldoze as much coal as quickly as possible, rather than investing their billions of dollars in profit in renewable forms. The very nature of corporations make them the equivalent of psychopaths. Absolute selfishness with no concern as to the harm done to others.

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