Monday, February 22, 2010

The market, corporations and environmental damage

image courtesy the Guardian and from the Report prepared by Trucost

A recent unpublished study for the United Nations shows the cost of large corporations desire to' internalize profits' and 'externalize costs'.

The United Nations study estimates the world’s 3,000 largest corporations are responsible for over $2.2 trillion in environmental damage.The study found that the cost of and other damage to the natural environment caused by the world's biggest companies would wipe out more than one-third of their profits if they were held financially accountable.

The report comes amid growing concern that no one is made to pay for most of the use, loss and damage of the environment, which is reaching crisis proportions in the form of pollution and the rapid loss of freshwater, fisheries and fertile soils.

The report in the Guardian argues that:

"The true figure is likely to be even higher because the $2.2tn does not include damage caused by household and government consumption of goods and services, such as energy used to power appliances or waste; the "social impacts" such as the migration of people driven out of affected areas, or the long-term effects of any damage other than that from climate change. The final report will also include a higher total estimate which includes those long-term effects of problems such as toxic waste"

The unpublished report was conducted by the Principles for Responsible Investment Initiative and the United Nations Environment Programme.

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