Greenwashing Privatization of Public Utilities
Greenwashing the privatization
of public utilities has become the
fashion when it comes to self-serving and unethical pay-the-rich
schemes by governments and their agencies, including government-run
financial institutions and investment companies. A good example is the
Canada Pension Plan Investment Board's (CPPIB) greenwashing of its
privatization of Rio de Janeiro's public water system, presented as
supporting "sustainable projects and clean tech solutions in Brazil."
Senior Vice President of Infrastructure & Renewable Resources
the Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo), which
collaborated with the CPPIB in the privatization, said the investment
management company was "excited" with the outcome of the auction and
"for the opportunity to invest further in the business alongside
like-minded partners to increase the service levels in water
distribution and sanitation in the State of Rio de Janeiro." He called
the acquisition, via its holdings in the private water and sewage
company Iguá Saneamento, "an excellent addition to our
infrastructure portfolio that is well-aligned to meeting our clients'
Does anyone believe that
sector workers, presumably the clients being referred to, would have as
an investment objective for their pension fund the privatization of
public services in Brazil or anywhere else?
Latin America director of the CPPIB, who enthused in a press
release about the "new legal framework" established to facilitate the
auctioning off of Rio's public water system, was similarly excited
about the acquisition which he said would be followed by many more.
According to him, the private sanitation sector with its captive market
offers the prospect of a consistent and stable payback, and is
"perfectly compatible with our expectations, as long-term investors."
He added that Iguá was well positioned to be a powerful
competitor in most or all future auctions as nearly a thousand
Brazilian municipalities were expected to privatize, or seek
concessionaires, in the next few years.
public utilities as fast as neo-liberal governments in
Brazil, Canada and elsewhere put them up for sale is but one of many
anti-social projects Canadian workers' pension funds have been used to
finance. Investment managers of the funds do their "fiduciary duty" of
investing workers' money where prospects of amassing maximum
capitalist profit are highest no matter the consequences. Everything
can be justified in the name of high ideals and this must change.
It is high time that working people themselves decide where
pension funds should be invested. The direction of the economy should
be set by working people, not financial markets, financial institutions
and financial elites. Pension funds come from the social wealth that
workers produce but do not control. It is this lack of control by the
workers, who are the producers, over what is produced and how it is
produced that is at the heart of the problem.
social wealth produced by workers must be reinvested in a
socially responsible manner to build a diverse economy at home that has
an internal self-reliant strength and trades with others for mutual
benefit and development. Such an economy must have the aim to guarantee
the rights and well-being of all, and humanize the social and
This article was published in
September 17, 2021 -