The Unsuitablog

Exposing Ethical Hypocrites Everywhere!

Get Stuffed Hopenhagen!

Posted by keith on December 11th, 2009

Corporate Partners Of Hopenhagen

I thought the dirty tricks and fake grassroots activism being pushed by the group known as Hopenhagen couldn’t get any worse, and then I hear this from Johann Hari, who is currently in Copenhagen, lending an ear and column inches to the people who will be worst affected by climate change:

Every delegate to the Copenhagen summit is being greeted by the sight of a vast fake planet dominating the city’s central square. This swirling globe is covered with corporate logos – the Coke brand is stamped over Africa, while Carlsberg appears to own Asia, and McDonald’s announces “I’m loving it!” in great red letters above. “Welcome to Hopenhagen!” it cries. It is kept in the sky by endless blasts of hot air.

Yes, “Welcome to Hopenhagen”, that’s the rallying cry of the media executives who work for the corporations that will do anything to dominate the proceedings at this last-ditch attempt for politicians to show they have a desire to make things better. As Johann goes on to say: “This plastic planet is the perfect symbol for this summit.” The politicians of the Industrial world have their agendas set by the corporations, who are kindly sponsoring the efforts of the Hopenhagen organisation, which just happens to be run by the International Advertising Association.

Back in June, I said: “This raises a hell of a lot of questions: not least that if Hopenhagen is the brainchild of an industry that depends on continuous consumer spending for its existence, how could it be sustainable in any way?” As they promised, the campaign has been ramping up and up, with their billboards, their viral ads and their Facebook group, for which there are 42,000 members largely dancing to the tune of the corporate world. One person just posted the following: “The title is Hopenhagen, Let’s try to keep the comments toward the hopeful and not rant at everyone. If we all put a little effort into making small changes, we can make big changes. Peace”

To which I responded:

The IAA wants the corporations of the world to thrive otherwise it’s members would suffer: Hopenhagen is currently being promoted in Copenhagen with billboards covered in corporate logos. One of Hopenhagen’s key sponsors, DuPont was a founder member of the climate sceptic Global Climate Coalition. Coca Cola suck India and Mexico dry; Gap exploit workers for cheap clothing; BMW make overpowered gas-guzzlers; Seimens have a nice line in oil and gas exploration – all of these partners of Hopenhagen.

I have nothing more to add. But you might want to say something…

14 Responses to “Get Stuffed Hopenhagen!”

  1. Sandra Storr Says:

    Yeah – I hold my hands up, I was probably one of the first people to join before I realised that it was as it is.

    I just wanted to say, though, let’s go easy on people who have continued to be members and haven’t yet seen through the gloss. They most likely joined for the best of reasons – enlighten them yes, but let’s not be condescending about it and belittling genuine comments that they make, that’s not helpful or enlightening.

  2. keith Says:

    I have really tried to pass on the message about their corporate connections, Sandra; sending hundreds of IMs to members so they knew – you won’t be surprised at the number of people who either ignored the message or supported them. Also, there are hundreds (if not thousands) of 2members” who are employed by the advertising agencies that Hopenhagen is run by. No chance of getting through to them. Sometimes vinegar is the only option – too much honey makes me feel ill ;-)

  3. Steve Says:

    With regard “to going easy” on people, i feel the time has long since passed when this sentiment is a valid response to people who REFUSE to acknowledge the destruction that industrial civilization is wreaking on the Earth. They only have to use their eyes to know the facts. There are no longer any excuses. What they really want is to “green up” the present system-very few are interested in fundamental change. The time is well passed for being “nice”. Shock tactics are the only thing that will work now and Mother Earth has plenty in her arsenal.

  4. dvd Says:

    Thanks for the tip off keith, I have added a little something to their wall as well to get people thinking…

  5. keith Says:

    I saw ;-)

  6. Sandra Storr Says:

    Steve I’m not talking about going easy on people who refuse to acknowledge destruction to the planet!! I’m talking about going easy on people who believed they were doing the right thing by joining Hopenhagen, thinking that they were joining an organisation that would push for change.

  7. Sandra Storr Says:

    Oh well Keith – we’ll have to differ because too much sour and caustic vinegar makes me feel sick and alienates me.

  8. Steve Says:

    Sandra, I realise that. But what i was getting at is that it appears that by joining up they are just after a “feel good” about themselves factor. Many organizations promote this method of superficial “greening” and to encourage some folk to feel like they are “doing something”. You cant change this system from within; its an insane system, so being co-opted by its well meaning (in a few cases)handmaidens is just going to dissipate any concrete action that people may otherwise take in defence of the assault on all life.

  9. Sandra Storr Says:

    But I see that a lot of respected and intelligent friends who have been climate activists for some considerable time are members (and still are!). You will never convince me that dissing people’s ideas and actions, being smug and belittling their (apparently genuine) comments is going to serve any useful purpose.

    Still, that is obviously the ‘Modus Operandi’ here and it doesn’t suit me – sorry!

  10. John Theodorou Says:

    @ Sandra
    Ok I understand the point about not dissing people who have become green activists for the best of reasons, as you say, even if their intentions are misguided.

    Now explain to them what deep cuts (80-110%) to emissions actually mean to their lifestyles in the future. It means no driving, no flying, no air-con, no heavy industry (i.e. no consumer products), power rationing, local food production (market gardens where THEY do the heavy work, not machines) etc, and see what their reaction is, because that is what is necessary to keep emissions from spiraling out of control.

    Personally I don’t see a snowball’s chance in hell of a billion rich westerners agree to living like this, let alone 6-8 billion people in the developing world accepting that they can never even come close to attaining those once affluent lifestyles, so nature will have to do the modifying instead. Unfortunately her prescriptions, although effective, will no be pleasant, for anyone.

  11. Ian Says:

    John, there is no point in being so fatalistic. If we accept we are heading for disaster then we make it so. The stakes are too high, at least for someone like me in my twenties, to just throw up my hands. It would be insane not to try to prevent the worst from coming to pass.

    I don’t think it is beyond the bounds of possibility to build a social movement to implement just and effective climate action. Rob Hopkins came up with Transition towns, essentially a marketing strategy that seems to have some success in the UK to convince people that the situation you outline is both inevitable and even somewhat desirable.

  12. Some stories from Copenhagen. « @ash_anderson Says:

    [...] influence. Coca Cola was the main sponsor of “Hopenhagen“, which was the unscrupulous PR campaign commissioned by the UN to turn the main square of the city of Copenhagen into a concert space, [...]

  13. Ashley’s Report from Copenhagen | Peaceful Uprising Says:

    [...] influence. Coca Cola was the main sponsor of “Hopenhagen“, which was the unscrupulous PR campaign commissioned by the UN to turn the main square of the city of Copenhagen into a concert space, [...]

  14. Ashley's Report from Copenhagen | Peaceful Uprising Says:

    [...] influence. Coca Cola was the main sponsor of “Hopenhagen“, which was the unscrupulous PR campaign commissioned by the UN to turn the main square of the city of Copenhagen into a concert space, [...]

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