BP partnered with The Nature Conservancy & other big green groups

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 2010:
WASHINGTON D.C.–“The Nature Conservancy lists BP as one of
its business partners,” observed Washington Post staff writer Joe
Stephens on May 23, 2010. “The organization also has given BP a
seat on its International Leadership Council and has accepted nearly
$10 million in cash and land contributions from BP and affiliated
corporations over the years.
“The Conservancy,” wrote Stephens, “already
scrambling to shield oyster beds in the region from the spill, now
faces a potential backlash as its supporters learn that the giant oil
company and the world’s largest environmental organization long ago
forged a relationship that has lent BP an Earth-friendly image.
Until recently, the Conservancy and other environmental groups worked
alongside BP in a coalition that lobbied Congress on climate change
issues. And an employee of BP Exploration serves as an unpaid
Conservancy trustee in Alaska.”

Commented Dean Zerbe of the Chronicle of Philanthropy,
“The Nature Conservancy believes in having working relationships with
corporations active in certain environmentally sensitive industries.
However, it is not the relationship with BP but rather how the Nature
Conservancy has mishandled its relationship that has caused it harm
and damaged its reputation,” Zerbe said. “The Nature Conservancy
wore kid gloves in handling its relationship with BP at the beginning
of the spill–to the detriment of its role as a leader in
environmental issues and the consternation of many donors.”
Eventually, Zerbe continued, “after much damage to the
charity, the Nature Conservancy stated on its Web site that it is
revisiting its relationship with BP and the actions of BP before and
after the spill.” Zerbe praised “the correct decision,” but added
that “The Nature Conservancy board and leadership shouldn’t have
taken this long to arrive at the obvious.”
Wrote Stephens, “The Nature Conservancy is far from the only
environmental nonprofit with ties to BP. Conservation International
has accepted $2 million in donations from BP over the years and has
partnered with the company on a number of projects, including one
examining oil extraction methods. From 2000 to 2006, John Browne,
who was then BP’s chief executive, sat on the board of Conservation
“The Environmental Defense Fund, which has a policy of not
accepting corporate donations,” Stephens noted, “joined with BP,
Shell International, and other major corporations to form the
Partnership for Climate Action, which promotes ‘market-based
mechanisms’ to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“About 20 energy and environmental groups,” Stephens
continued, “including the Nature Conservancy, the Sierra Club, and
the National Audubon Society, joined with BP Wind Energy to form the
American Wind and Wildlife Institute, which works to protect
wildlife through ‘responsible’ development of wind farms.
“Years ago,” Stephens finished, crediting research by
fellow Washington Post staffer Alice Crites, “a 2001 Nature
Conserv-ancy internal study found that most members saw a partnership
with BP as ‘inappropriate.’ Many members felt a relationship with an
oil company was ‘inherently incompatible.’ To a minority of members,
accepting cash from these types of companies was viewed as ‘the
equivalent of a payoff.'”

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