Who will control the Green Economy? (ETC)

ETC Group / November 2011

ETC Group Who will control the Green EconomyThis report argues the “green economy” and the “great green technological transformation” will mean a shift where industrial production is based on biomass instead of fossil fuels. According to ETC Group biomass includes food and fibre crops, grasses, forest residues, plant oils and algae.

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Major companies in several sectors including energy (Exxon, BP, Shell etc), pharmaceuticals (Roche etc), food and agriculture (Unilever, Cargill, Monsanto etc) and chemicals (Dow, DuPont etc) are making moves to control this new bio-economy. A key theme of the report is that this increasing focus on biomass will lead to land grabs affecting poor farmers.

ETC say several insufficiently tested technologies will be used such as Nanotechnology, Synthetic biology and genetic engineering. These technologies are very appealing to governments and companies because they will not mean major changes to production and consumption levels.

Selected quotes from the report

As governments prepare to sanction a Green Economy at Rio+20, ETC Group provides an update on corporate power and warns that the quest to control biomass will perpetuate the Greed Economy.

Many of the actors promoting the bioeconomy are also calling for market-based mechanisms to allow the quantification and then commodification of the Earth’s natural processes, rebranded as ‘ecosystem services’ (the cycling of carbon, soil nutrients and water, for example). What we’re witnessing is the birth of a greatly expanded life industry. Companies are no longer content to control the genetic material found in seeds, plants, animals, microbes and humans (i.e., all living things); they also want to control the reproductive capacity of the planet.

The goal is not to reject the Green Economy, but to build sustainable economies based upon the appropriate use of biodiversity to meet human needs and safeguard planetary systems.

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This summary was prepared by Why Green Economy?. The views expressed have been paraphrased. See the original source for more information.

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