|Sacked any workers lately? James Shaw with The Warehouse CEO Nick Grayston.|
Green co-leader James Shaw last year described The Warehouse as 'a good corporate citizen.' That 'good corporate citizen' has just sacked some 900 workers.
THE ANNOUNCEMENT by The Warehouse that it plans to shed some 900 workers as well as drastically reduce work hours for the remaining staff is nothing more than good old venal capitalism at work. Yet this is the same company that Green Party co-leader and Climate Change Minister James Shaw was hailing for its 'enlightened' brand of capitalism barely more than a year ago.
In February last year Shaw congratulated The Warehouse for its 'commitment and contribution towards reducing New Zealand's greenhouse emissions.'
What got Shaw all excited was that The Warehouse had announced that it had become 'carbon neutral'.
'Achievements like this, and the leadership being shown… is vital if we are to become a carbon-neutral economy by 2050,' said Shaw , ignoring the fact the 2018 Intergovernmental Report on Climate Change says we've got no more than twelve years, or until about 2030, before the planet reaches the point of no return.
But The Warehouse had not achieved zero carbon by actual changing its business practices but rather by purchasing carbon credits in order to 'achieve' carbon neutrality. It was nothing more than an accounting sleight of hand. I wrote at the time:
'The Warehouse, with the active encouragement of James Shaw, are engaged in greenwashing. The company is presenting itself as an environmentally responsible corporate citizen but actually doing little of any real consequence. The retailer is doing little more than trying to 'neutralise' the environmental impact of its products and activities through carbon offsetting.'
Despite all the claims made by James Shaw about The Warehouse acting as 'a good corporate citizen', when profit margins are threatened Shaw's 'good corporate citizen' is more than ready to dispose of a large chunk of its labour force while worsening working conditions for the remaining staff.
James Shaw, as Climate Change Minister and who holds to the false ideology of 'green capitalism', has consistently peddled the notion that corporate capitalism can lead us into a brighter future using profit as its most potent tool. But the recent behaviour of The Warehouse proves, once again, that corporate capitalism's only loyalty is to the financial bottom line.
What we need is a Green New Deal that will overhaul a failing capitalist economy and off the path of environmental destruction and toward a sustainable future with jobs for all. What The Warehouse's corporate self-interest has highlighted is that James Shaw's corporate environmentalism does little more than protect corporate interests while ensuring that policy is straitjacketed within the narrow confines of the market economy.