Selling the forests to save the trees

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  • Published 20110131
  • ISBN: 9781921656996
  • Extent: 264 pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm), eBook

LONDON EXCEL, SITUATED in the now gentrified old docklands of the British capital, is a huge empty space designed for the meeting convenience of the global insider class. Inside the conference centre the street is kept distant as delegates, dwarfed by outsized internal walkways, gather to talk, listen, network and access their PDAs, cloistered from the great metropolis′ polyglot commotion.

In July 2010, London Excel hosted the inaugural Global Business of Biodiversity Symposium. The halls – ‘large enough to accommodate two 747 jumbo jets′ – easily swallowed the thousand or so embodied suits who attended the curious event. Among the throng were bureaucrats, academics, civil society, UN staffers and a few politicians, but most came from private enterprise. The vibe was commercial swagger meets moral self-satisfaction, a combination epitomised by the corporate social responsibility ethic of ‘doing well by doing good′.

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