From Sourcewatch – “The titan of green groups, the Nature Conservancy sits on nearly a billion dollars in assets and is awash in cash, thanks to a tidal wave of corporate donations, much of it from notorious polluters such as Arco, Archer-Daniels-Midland, British Petroleum, DuPont, Shell and Freeport-McMoRan.”
The Nature Conservancy is now one of the world’s richest environmental groups, amassing $3 billion in assets by pledging to save precious places. The 52-year-old charity preserves millions of acres across the nation. However, there is another side.
The Conservancy has logged forests, engineered a $64 million deal paving the way for opulent houses on fragile grasslands and drilled for natural gas under the last breeding ground of an endangered bird species.
Its governing board and advisory council now include executives and directors from one or more oil companies, chemical producers, auto manufacturers, mining concerns, logging operations and coal-burning electric utilities.
In Virginia, the Conservancy has invested in a number of for-profit businesses on the Eastern Shore: a bed-and-breakfast, an oyster-and-clam farm, an “heirloom” sweet-potato-chip operation, a seaside home development. The businesses failed, leaving a $24 million debt.
A Conservancy focus group study found that a few participants said accepting corporate cash in certain cases would be “the equivalent of a payoff.”
Drilling on the Texas Gulf Coast – not only did some endangered birds die after the Conservancy started drilling, but the charity also sold natural gas owned by someone else and kept the profits. The Conservancy and its partners settled a resulting lawsuit last year for $10 million.
The group likes to call itself “Nature’s real estate agent,” , where the Nature Conservancy purchases private land and then sells it to state and federal agencies, usually at a considerable mark-up. Last year, the group violated its apolitical policy to concoct the compromise rewrite of the Endangered Species Act with a secret coalition of corporations and trade associations, including the National Homebuilder’s Association and timber giant Georgie-Pacific.
The group is led by John Sawhill, former energy aide to Nixon; Ford has enjoyed lucrative positions on the boards of Procter & Gamble, North American Coal Company and Pacific Gas & Electric. Budget: $337 million Staff: 1,200 Members: 720,000 individuals; 220 corporations Salary of CEO: More than $196,000, including benefits.”
 Data provided here is from The Washington Post Special Report titled BIG GREEN which as series of investigative articles exposes the corporate infestation of The Nature Conservancy and “documents on the organization’s transformation from a grassroots group to a corporate juggernaut.”