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Education should come from non-profit international scientific, health and environmental organizations. They would be most widely respected and would have more access to both the TNCs and the host and origin country governmental bodies. They can educate the corporations on the practicality of policing their own people and actions. They can educate government bodies on how to include these considerations in political decisions. They can be resources for The United Nations and the WTO to help them decide on their programs. Finally they can help the educate the global populace via global media, especially independent educational media.
The last suggestion is one way to approach using public relations. Another is to incite the press and various other media to report the good and the bad actions of TNCs. His makes for interesting news for their audiences, and good public service for the media. In essence, Fowler has said much of this in his journal article:
Environmental matters are one exception to this trend. In this area, there appears to be a broad consensus that it is appropriate and desirable to develop standards to guide or direct TNC behavior.(18) A parallel and related recognition has emerged in free trade negotiations, where the proposed global agreement emerging from the Uruguay Round of GATT and regional agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) have been recognized to require specific, additional measures concerning environmental, health, and safety matters.(19) However, considerable uncertainty exists about how to apply environmental standards to TNCs in this new era of free trade, liberalization of national economies, and promotion of FDI. TNCs are key players in terms of development activity, and the perception that they operate in a vacuum between ineffective national laws and non-existent or unenforceable international laws has heightened concerns about the current reach and effectiveness of environmental regulation, particularly where TNCs are operating in developing countries. A considerable amount of attention has been devoted in recent years by TNCs and others to the notion of self-regulation of environmental, health, and safety matters.(20) This may in part reflect a belief that TNCs are beyond any form of regulatory control and should develop their own rules to meet public expectations. It may also constitute an effort by TNCs to anticipate further regulation, either by forestalling it or by being prepared in advance to comply with it. "
His suggestion that promoting self-regulation among the TNCs is not without merit, since it is the most immediate method and probably the most long lasting. Therefore, our efforst should concentrate upon identifying those areas which need attention and providing guidance for self-regulation. This is not to say that we should not continue with effort in the U.N. And the W.T.O.,but that we should offer our well considered plans and rules to the TNCs first and give them first crack at taking action, while we struggle with other solutions.
So while it is evident that environmental protection is an important area where we really need to apply some control to TNCs, doing so may be problematic. Since TNCs are such powerful global forces, we need to convince them that protecting the environment everywhere is in their best interests, because any damage anywhere will have a ripple effect everywhere. We can do this with education using respected non-profit international entities in the health, science and environmental protection communities. At the same time, our best hope of creating any rules with enforceable consequences lies within the U.N. Or the W.T.O., and these same organizations which we should be using for education can also provide advice to these entities. In fact, a set of reasonably well thought out and scientifically supported rules should provide a framework for organizations to use to police themselves, and since they need customers, public education and disclosure is a hefty stick we can wave.
Fowler, Robert J. "International Environmental Standards for Transnational Corporations." Environmental Law 25.1 (1995): 1-30. Questia. 14 Dec. 2006 http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=5000274495.
Ietto-Gillies, Grazia. Transnational Corporations: Fragmentation Amidst Integration. London: Routledge, 2002. Questia. 14 Dec. 2006 http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=108115153.
Thomas Donaldson, The Ethics of International Business 31 (1992).[continue]
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