How do corporations affect the environment?
Some food for thought
Database search tip: if you're searching for academic articles about corporations and the environment, try such search terms as "corporate responsibility", Environmentalism--Economic aspects, Business--Environmental aspects, or "social responsibility of business".
When you find an article that seems relevant to what you want to learn about, check its "subject headings" to see the labels that have been assigned to each article that interests you, and click on them to find all the other articles given that label. Come ask a librarian if you're not sure where to find the subject headings.
To see how corporations present what they do from their own perspective, and how they report their earnings and upcoming projects to stockholders, you can visit their websites. Annual reports are often found under sections labelled "investor relations" or something similar.
Some companies who have been publicly criticized for pollution, for promoting harmful practices, and/or for damaging the environment while extracting resources, may also devote part of their websites to defending their actions and promoting what they have done for the environment.
Just a few examples of corporations that may be of interest to research regarding environmental issues:
Monsanto and Syngenta are very powerful corporations in agricultural business that are especially important to research if you are interested in GMOs (genetically modified organisms) and other agricultural issues.
Dupont is a major chemical, agriculture, and biotechnology corporation.
Tyson, Cargill, Smithfield Foods, and other corporations involved in the mass production of meat, and Heinz and Kraft (which are about to merge) and other corporations that make and sell processed food may all be of interest if you want to research issues related to treatment of animals, use of resources for livestock and agriculture, and food consumption.
Some news organizations that are more likely to report from a point of view sympathetic to corporations include:
Major newspapers like The New York Times and The Washington Post may be seen by many to be more "neutral", and their reporting is widely respected. However, as you're reading, do keep in mind these ideas from linguist and social critic Noam Chomsky:
What are our laws about protecting the environment?
This page from the United Nations helps put international treaties and conventions on climate change into context.
Some key international agreements:
The Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, issues a list of the top 100 toxic air polluters, using guidelines from the EPA that evaluate how particular types of pollution cause risks to people's health.
The Greenwashing Index takes a crtical look at environmental claims made by companies in their advertising.
Some news organizations that are more likely to report from a point of view that is critical of corporations include:
Mother Jones, a non-profit news organization.
The Nation, a monthly magazine that focuses on political, social, and economic issues.
WBAI, New York's radio station that is part of the Pacifica network. (You can search for past programs on the environment using their search box).
CorpWatch, independent journalists with a special focus on critically investigating corporations.