Planet Earth The Multinational Corporation
Lake Jasna, Triglav National Park The Triglav National Park is named after Mt Triglav, the nationʹs highest mountain, and it is Slovenia’s only national park. The park reached its current size of 84,000 hectares in 1981 and includes nearly all of the Julian Alps that lie within Slovenia. Although the Triglav National Park is still relatively undiscovered tourism is increasing, and in order to try and preserve the parks outstanding natural beauty the locals are keen to promote eco‐tourism. The two main bases from which to explore the park are Kranjska Gora and Bohinj.
Trade is the buying and selling of goods & services
Free trade is the system that controls most of our trade The current free trade system is flawed because it states ‐
“All economic growth is good’’ The wrong kind of growth can result in severe environmental damage such as over fishing, climate change and deforestation
‘’Trade barriers should be removed’’ Some so‐called barriers include environmental laws such as logging. Removing these barriers is good for big multinational corporations but not for the planet
‘’One system fits all’’ Rules don’t take in to account changing economic & environmental needs
The world’ leading financial markets and banks reap the rewards of economic growth. Unfortunately much of this growth is based around further depletion of the environment. Even when the greed of the bankers was recently exposed during the economic downturn, what do we do – bail them out. But their again how many of us bother to check whether or not the goods we purchase, or the banks that we invest in are ethical?
The Julian Alps, from the Vrsic Pass
For the most part the Julian Alps are comprised of limestone and are very rugged. Glaciated valleys are deeply incised between steep slopes, whilst their broad floors are filled with moraine and other deposits from the Ice and post‐glacial Ages. The Alps provide great hiking opportunities with some 52 mountain huts most of which open between June and September. Huts are never more than five hours apart and provide good accommodation with hearty food. There are twenty different ways to reach the top of Triglav, the more difficult approaches are from the north and the easier originate from Bohini. Some huts on Triglav can be unbearably crowded at weekends, especially in August and September. At such times do the trek mid‐week and phone the hut ahead if it has a mobile telephone.
How does Free‐Trade work? More than half the world’s largest 100 economies are companies rather than countries 500 the number of companies that control 2/3 of the world’s trade The 5 largest multinational corporations achieve bigger annual sales than the combined economies of the world’s 46 poorest nations For many companies the bottom line is profit Setting up in the developing world means more profit as labour is cheaper and there is less regulation of workers rights and of the environment These companies have become so powerful that they can literally make or break economies of developing countries. So when a company moves into a developing country, if the workers are poorly treated or the environment damaged the government in question is understandably reluctant to raise too many questions
Kranjska Gora Kranjska Gora is the most well known destination in the area, perhaps because in the winter it is the best ski resort in the country. It is a little more developed than some of its neighbours but still remains small enough for comfort. In the summer months it affords excellent hiking opportunities and lies closed to the beautiful lakes of Jasna and Zelenci. One thing not to miss while in Kranjska Gora is a journey over the Vrsic Pass to the Soca Valley. Accommodation is mainly in the forms of hotels although the ‘Spik’ campground lies 4km east of Kranjska Gora, and some farmhouses on the outskirts of Kranjska Gora offer affordable accommodation.
It has been said that Asia Pulp& Paper are decimating rain forests with 287,000 hectares lost in Indonesia in the past 10 years
Barclays Bank as with some other high street banks have been responsible for providing the finance to Asia Pulp & Paper Due to pressure from environmental groups Barclays no longer support Asia Pulp & Paper …… but others still do
Tesco as with some other supermarkets uses its market power to achieve the lowest possible supply costs. Subsequently some farmers, both in the UK and in some of the world’s poorest countries are forced to sell their products at below the cost of production. Tesco still purchase palm oil from regions of unsustainable deforestation
Western Governments support massive schemes in the developing countries to produce energy using fossil fuels The most influential company being Exxon (Esso) Exxon virtually dictates the US position on climate change The former head of the IPCC (International Panel on Climate Change) Dr Robert Watson stated that ‘human activity is responsible for climate change’ Not longer after this statement Exxon persuaded the USA government for Dr Watson to be displaced
Lake Zelenci Lake Zelenci can easily be reached from Kransjka Gora either by foot or bike. It is worth taking in the attractive villages of Podkoren and Ratece. If time allows it is well worth carrying on along a well‐ marked trail via Planica to Dom v Tamarju in the Tamar Valley. The Tamar hut has a restaurant and accommodation. Slovenia still remains inexpensive and one of the other nice things about the region is that not many of the locals speak English, which gives it more of a wild feeling. The main wildlife to look out for in the Triglav National Park are the Golden Eagle and the Chamois, which is a typical Alpine species. The Chamois can easily be identified by its large buttonhook horns. In summer Chamois remain above the tree line on the grassy slopes lying below the peaks of the highest summits. The park is rich in flora including wildflowers such as the pink Triglav Rose and Julian Poppy.
The World Trade Organisation (WTO) The WTO is an international body, which negotiates and polices agreements between countries There are many problems with the WTO:
Undemocratic The power and wealth of big countries means that the concerns of smaller countries are pushes aside
Sets destructive agenda Other trade agreements often use WTO rules as a starting point
Own judge and jury Disputes are judged by a closed internal ‘’court’’. The cost of raising complaints means that developing countries cannot defend themselves
Half of the poorest countries in the WTO cannot afford a single negotiator to defend their interests The US has 250 negotiators
Lake Bohinj Bohinj is the largest permanent lake in Slovenia, and although less developed than Kransjka Kora the region has much to offer. The lake is suitable for swimming albeit a little cool, and kayaking. Bohinj has numerous possibilities for some spectacular mountain biking, some of the hotels rent bikes and provide guides. There are endless hiking opportunities that vary from a short walk to the spectacular Savica waterfall, a 12km circular route around the lake, and a climb to the 1000m summit of the Vogar Highlands, which affords a marvellous panorama of the lake and the entire upper valley. For those more adventurous it is possible to ascend the south side of Mount Triglav from Bohinj. The region offers some very pleasant accommodation and has two campgrounds.
Corporate Accountability There is currently no regulation as to how multinational corporations conduct themselves
Carbon credits The carbon credit is a concept devised by the Kyoto protocol. Essentially if one company emits more CO2 into the atmosphere than is permitted it can buy credits from other companies that produce less pollution. The problem is that just as much pollution is created as companies that produce too much just buy what they need to offset their emissions. Offsetting also reduces the pressure on rich nations to develop sustainable technologies. Essentially carbon credits are a ploy for politicians to avoid making difficult decisions
There is a need to develop corporate accountability at an international level to ensure that:
Multinational Corporations cannot ride rough shod over the environment and are financially liable for any damage
Local communities are actively involved in any new development have a right to appeal receive a fair share of the profit
The Vrsic Pass The Vrsic Pass runs from Kransjka Gora to Bovec in the Soca Valley. It affords spectacular views of the Julian Alps and passes by Lake Jasna, the Russian Chapel and the botanical gardens ‘Alpinum Juliana’. The pass is open from May to October. For those without transport a bus service is available from June onwards. The Soca valley lies on the southern side of the Julian Alps and provides access to the parkʹs most remote valleys, deepest canyons and wildest waters, which gradually slow to form the most colourful of all Alpine rivers – the blue‐green Soca. Bovec is the recreational centre of the Upper Soca Valley with kayaking, mountain biking and white water rafting on offer.
Fairer trade Support local producers More of your money stays in the local economy Less climate changing fossil fuels are used in transportation Choose fair trade products Challenges the current system of ‘’free trade’’ Helps producers get a fair price Invest ethically Put pressure on companies that harm the environment or people Support progressive firms such as renewable energy suppliers The primary objective of multi national corporations is profit, which makes them vulnerable – their success depends on the consumers, so if we shop more ethically the most irresponsible companies will be forced to change
Environment Book - Chapter V