Yesterday at the 7 o’clock news there was an item about 75 CEOs of companies and NGOs who signed an open letter (Dutch) to our federal government. Some of them are Bond Beter Leefmilieu, Delhaize, Electrabel, Natuurpunt, Nestlé Belgium, Siemens, Solvay, UCB, Umicore and WWF. Truly a mishmash of NGOs and big companies. They apparently want to play a more active role to reduce emissions and even to take the lead in doing that.
I have no problem with that, if they really want to, they can just do that. Why even have a fancy reception and writing an open letter to the federal minister? In the news report there were high words like far reaching commitment, becoming leaders in transition, opportunities abroad, the first / the best / the quickest in the battle against greenhouse gases, the urgency to act, jobs, innovation, yada, yada.
What jumped out to me was that loads of hype words were used in the news report: climate policy and climate deal (hey, as if politicians have the power to control the climate), carbon reduced (I think they mean carbon dioxide, not carbon), climate resistant economy (what the hell is that). Impressive words, but quite meaningless.
My immediate reaction while watching the story: where is the catch!?!? As far as I know, none of those companies or NGOs are charities.
So I went looking for that open letter. In the many reports in the media there was strangely no link to that open letter. Searching for it had no results initially, but in the end I found the open letter “Message from Belgian stakeholders in support of the COP 21”. It was hard to find because it was written somewhat different from how it was reported in the media. In the beginning I even thought that I had the wrong document. Reading it I understood why no links were given. The open letter has high PR value, but is pretty low on substance.
The letter was rather short (about 50 lines) and it wasn’t written in the form of a letter, more like some pamphlet from WWF or the like.