Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg called gay marriage without federal benefits a skim milk marriage. The same label can be applied to CSR that is delivered to a deserving class of people rather than developed in partnership with that class of people. We can see this in carbon offset programs. Almost all contracts for the purchase of the rights to the carbon in forests are drafted by attorneys representing the buyers, not the sellers… the indigenous communities that live in those forests.
I have been fortunate to be part of the treaty development team for the Milennium Consumption Goal Initiative. Being part of this has helped me think more deeply about sustainability. The more I think about it, the more I realize that of all the good intentioned measures that are being developed to help people find consumer choices that have less impact, none of them address the most critical issue. We need to find ways to help people change their perspective about who they are.
There will be several discussions on Sustainable Consumption and Production (CSP) at the Commission on Sustainable Development meetings taking place at the United Nations this week and next week. I will be a panel member at one of those events. One of the issues being addressed is what role the United Nations should play in setting consumption guidelines or for the world.