The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that climatic changes already cause over 150,000 deaths annually, with this number expected to increase dramatically as the climate catastrophe worsens.
It is shocking to consider, therefore, that many of the world’s most powerful organisations actually profit from practices that are destroying the planet and accelerating climate change. We are facing not only degradation of the climate but also degradation of trust in science and information, as we enter a climate of uncertainty and misinformation. Recent reports have revealed that big oil companies have been lobbying politicians and funding anti-climate change campaigns for decades to skew the science around climate change. In order to save our planet from ecological destruction we need strict global standards that force companies away from profit-grabbing strategies that put the environment and vulnerable people at risk. One of the latest allies to join the CEE Bill Alliance is Global Witness - an organisation that focuses on the link between natural resources, conflict and corruption.
Deforestation for palm oil plantations (Source: Global Witness)
Set up 25 years ago to end corruption around the exploitation of the world’s natural resources, Global Witness collaborates with allies and activists to evoke impactful campaigns to call for swift meaningful action on the climate and nature crisis. Their aim is to push for new laws to hold companies accountable for their environmental impact and their involvement in human rights abuses. Their incredible work focuses on abusive actors, the misuse of power, financial flows and how these all interconnect with the climate and nature emergency.
Global Witness implements a range of campaigns that aim to hold governments accountable for environmental destruction and failures to conserve human rights. Their main aims are listed below:
- To curb the flow of finance enabling destruction of climate-critical tropical forests
- To challenge industry efforts to present fossil gas as climate-friendly
- To end corporate complicity in environmental and human rights abuses
- To protect land and environmental defenders standing up to climate-wrecking industries
- To tackle the spread of division, hate and disinformation on digital platforms
- To end corporate corruption and ensure companies in the natural resource sector can no longer operate above the law
Global Witness has succeeded in exposing important issues and through advocacy they shape laws and changes in business practice to help build a more just and sustainable future. For example, in 2020 they conducted one of the most ambitious data-driven investigations to date: Beef, Banks and the Brazilian Amazon, uncovering the illegal deforestation linked to Brazil’s biggest beef companies. As a result, they exposed the global system behind rainforest destruction, uncovering influential financial institutions that are bankrolling beef traders- revealing how the destruction of vital rainforest is directly linked to the food we purchase in our supermarkets. These findings are then utilised to call for governments to take action and hold these businesses to account.
Global Witness & The CEE Bill
If the CEE Bill was passed in parliament, it would ensure that the UK takes responsibility for its entire ecological footprint. This means preventing adverseimpacts on ecosystems and human health caused by consumption, trade, financing and production in the UK and internationally—including via the extraction of raw materials, deforestation, land
degradation, pollution and waste.
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