OT (Globalism) Global group presents "Earth Charter" for future

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Global group presents "Earth Charter" for future

PARIS, March 14 (Reuters) - Environment advocates from around the world unveiled an "Earth Charter" on Tuesday designed as a new code of conduct for government, business and private citizens in the globalised age.

The activists, who include former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and former Dutch Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers, said their 16 principles reflected growing global demand for more moral and ethical values in business and public affairs.

The anti-globalisation protests at last year's World Trade Organisation summit, consumer campaigns against companies using child labour and proliferation of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) all reflected this new mood around the world, they said.

Convinced that this sense of global interdependence was growing, they said they would present the Charter over the next few years to the United Nations, governments, businesses, schools and NGOs as the basis for new laws and codes of conduct. "We need a moral and ethical recovery, not just an economic recovery," Maurice Strong, co-chairman of the Earth Charter Commission, said after the group agreed on the final text following a three-day meeting in Paris.

Steven Rockefeller, a U.S. academic and philanthropist, said the world was moving in two different directions, with booming economies in developed countries and persistent poverty and environmental destruction in the Third World.

"These two trends cannot continue without engulfing us all," he said. "The Earth Charter presents an integrated vision."

Participants told a news conference in Paris that many of the broad principles outlined in the Earth Charter had already been espoused by NGOs and used to pressure large corporations and associations to change their ways of operating.

"CEOs and boards of directors are beginning to understand they have to change and need new codes of conduct," said Lubbers, noting how Shell responded to criticism of its plan to sink the Brent Spar oil platform or Nike came under fire for alleged child labour in its Asian shoe factories.

Strong said groups as diverse as the World Federation of Engineering Associations and the World Tourism and Travel Council had inserted Earth Charter principles in their policies.

The Earth Charter, which grew out of the Rio summit's failure to draw up a binding charter on the environment, aims to be a long-term basis for environmental policies similar to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for democratic policy.

Its principles are broadly worded guidelines such as "respect Earth and life in all its diversity" and "build democratic societies that are just, sustainable, participatory and peaceful". "The Earth Charter is a vehicle for changing the mentality of generations to come," said Alexander Likhotal of Russia, who represented Gorbachev at the meeting.

-- Possible Impact (posim@hotmail.com), March 14, 2000


Thanks for the post. I'll tell you one thing, most of the U.S. corporations will have to be dragged kicking and screaming to complying with environmental and human rights codes of conduct, even though it has been proved that being a responsible company produces good will, more jobs and more profits.

-- gilda (jess@listbot.com), March 14, 2000.

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