What was still the common property of pristine nature and indigenous peoples has become the object of the greed of the planet’s big banks and multinational corporations, using the hypocritical pretext of “sustainable development.”
At the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow last fall, the Financial Alliance for Zero (CO2 emissions) was consolidated.
It was presented as an alliance of banks and fund managers whose purpose is to capitalize on what they call the planet’s English “lazy assets” (literally: lazy assets), namely to bring services into the market, hitherto not commercially exploited. . this can be deduced from them.
At another conference in Borneo last year to attract investment in the natural resources of this island in the Malay archipelago, the environment was discussed as the main goal of a movement to “make money” on such assets.
As the American sociologist John Bellamy Foster denounced in his “Monthly Review” publication, speculative global finance has been trying to expand since the last international crisis in 2008/09, seeing natural assets as a great opportunity for companies and fund managers.
In 2012, the Corporate Ecoforum, an alliance of twenty-four multinational companies from CocaCola or Unilever to Disney and the Anglo-Saxons and their language always behind it – was created and published a report entitled “The New Business Must: Valuing natural capital”. ”.
According to this report, there are 72 billion worth of goods and services in the world waiting to be “monetized” for the benefit of “sustainable growth”.
It is therefore imperative to put a price on nature: the future of the capitalist economy lies in ensuring that the market pays for the previously free services the ecosystem can provide, that is, transforming them into financial assets.
But this is not new: in 2016, fifty multinational companies from different industries, including Nestlé and Shell, formed the Natural Capital Coalition, and since then there have been reports of other initiatives such as the Natural Capital Statement presented by Natural Union. Conservation of Nature.
American economist Robert Costanza has calculated that the world’s seventeen major ecosystems can generate $145 trillion a year.
Fresh water could become a much more important financial asset in the future than oil, copper, agriculture or precious metals.
The planet’s water resources therefore risk being monopolized as “natural capital” by a small but very powerful group of multinationals that will charge a market price for such a service.
Sociologist Bellamy Foster points out that 90 percent of land in sub-Saharan Africa is unclaimed: the indigenous communities that have lived there since time immemorial have no titles, facilitating corporate greed.
And as Peter Burgess, CEO of Tierra Australia, one of the entrepreneurs engaged in such activities, put it, why spend time “around the bonfire” with each indigenous community when you can negotiate with the local government’s return representative? Many times it is broken, must be added.