Green Protectionism

The Transition From Voluntary to Mandatory Pro-poverty Schemes

The Forest Stewardship Council – a Push for Global Governance

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is a member of the Empires of Collusion. The German-based NGO has chapters in over fifty countries across the globe.

Its aim? To be the monopoly provider of a kind of good-housekeeping seal of approval for trade forest products.

This is nothing short of global governance and deeply inimical to the interests of consumers across the world.

The FSC is composed of radical green groups who are hostile to forestry and committed to rolling back the global trade in forest products.  It also consists of government and industry players who stand to benefit from extending their control over the worldwide trade in forest products.

But consumers do not desire an unelected, unaccountable bureaucracy making their decisions for them.  The freedom to choose in an open marketplace is a fundamental human right. It is not one to be handed over to an ideologically-driven organization in Bonn.

CAGP resists the expansion of the FSC’s reach into policing the global trade in forest products.

Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil

RSPO was started as a voluntary means of independently verifying that palm oil was being developed in a sustainable manner while meeting the developmental needs of the nations in which it was being developed.

But RSPO is being hijacked by WWF to meet a more European view of what sustainable means – no forest conversion whatsoever, regardless of biodiversity policies or set asides for forest conservation.

WWF in this regard is pursuing the agendas of other ENGOs, including Greenpeace, which unlike WWF has a position against biofuels, while protecting European vegetable oil producers from competition.

Having RSPO enact the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) rules for sustainable development would mean that RSPO is no longer an independent voice, taking into account developing countries needs for economic growth, but another European voice against growth in the developing world.

The problem with this approach is that it risks only more destruction of tropical forest over time, not less, as indigenous people’s will reject the attempt to limit their economic advance and equate sustainability initiatives with no-growth policies. The developing world needs a voice of its own that takes into account its peoples needs, not just the desires of European elites.

Roundtable for Responsible Soy Beans

Formerly called the Roundtable for Sustainable Soy Beans when it was set up by WWF, RRSB claims it is a “global platform composed of the main soy value chain stakeholders with the common objective of promoting the responsible soy production through collaboration and dialogue among the involved sectors in order to foster an economical, social and environmental sustainability.” And OPEC is a platform for environmentally and economically sustainable oil production.

Cartelerization in the name of producing environmental and social goals is another name for restricting competition. Producers already have an incentive to produce soy beans sustainably. If they don’t, they’ll soon be out of business.

RRSB is a failure at another level as well. Radical environmental NGOs reject its allowance for genetically modified organisms and its standards for sustainable forest conversion to soy production. They want stricter standards for developing countries and demand that RRSB adopt their unscientific, uneconomic standards of sustainability.

The lesson: You can’t placate the left by slightly limiting competition; you only increase demands for more restrictions.

Fair Trade (Bananas, Coffee, Chocolate)

Fair Trade as a labeling device began about 20 years ago in the Netherlands. The reputed goal of the various Fair Trade organizations cobbled together by NGOs and others is to give growers a fair price for their commodities so their children won’t work and they’ll use more sustainable agriculture.

But there is nothing that ensures the quality of production nor encourages innovation or hard work to produce a better product. Instead, money collected at a floor price goes to cooperatives that then divvy it up to small hold farmers who are members. If a farm gets to big, it can be knocked out of the cooperative. If an agrifirm hires workers and treats them well, it doesn’t qualify. The money has to go to the network cooperative.

The Fair Trade label thus is a bit of a fraud on consumers. They are being sold an ideal that isn’t true. It is just another way of capturing a portion of the market.

Insofar as NGOs make money and gain additional influence through Transfair and Global Exchange and other networks, they are nothing more than another special interest offering consumers, as one writer put it several years ago, “absolution in their cup.” But not true economic value or advance.

True fair trade is the free and open exchange of goods and services by willing buyers and sellers. Fair trade as sold by NGOs is just promotion of cooperative cartels supporting an NGO certification and trading bureaucracy.

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