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Corruption within Sustainable Development

September 22, 2012
Global Patriot


Regretfully, this world is full of unfortunate flaws which hamper most efforts in making the world safer and more inhabitable; one of such defects is human nature. Due to this unavoidable phenomenon there has been a series of corruption which hinders development and increases poverty. Our nature promotes us–for some more than others–to think about one’s self in order to survive and excel even if other people pay the costs. This directly contributes to the problem of corruption which is a result of human nature, in some instances. The Corruption Perceptions Index 2011[1] (Transparency International, 2012) showed–in great detail–the countries that are most infected with corruption, these results showed that much of Central and South America are among the worst as well as several countries in Asia and Africa. These regions are, by majority, developing countries and most of which have heavy consequences from the lack of sustainable development due to corruption.

One of these corrupt corporations is SG Sustainable Oils Cameroon, Ltd. (SGSOC)[2], which is associated with Herakles Farms, headed by Bruce Wrobel. The evidence is all stacked against them. The business went into a contract with the Republic of Cameroon that shows obvious signs of manipulation and deceit. Within the convention, between the government and SGSOC, there exists a clause that states “the rights, obligations and duties of a party shall be deemed to be those set forth in this Convention.” (Mousseau, 2012) This allows the company to bypass Cameroon law which allows them to perform heinous crimes against the local farmers who had survived from the land that was taken from them. There is definitely something suspicious about that decree by the Cameroon government, to disregard their own laws for a profit driven “foreign” company is unthought-of in normal circumstances. This underhanded activity is one of the main examples of what Stephen C. Smith–author of Ending Global Poverty–calls “poverty traps”[3] (Smith, 2005). This “common property mismanagement trap” (Smith, 2005) explains that the reason for poverty is, indeed, because of corruption and manipulation. A company with a higher status or more money is making it so that the people around this organization suffer due to their greedy actions; often times they try and most of the time they succeed in exploiting the local population for their own gain. This is happening all around the world, especially in developing countries and states that are prone to the influences of international corporations.

Another growing concern in regards to corporate corruption is the underhanded use of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) for company gain. Some of the NGOs that were founded for the purpose of helping an issue are being used for other, more covert, things. They are being used as “fronts” for companies with the purpose of looking innocent and trustworthy for the local populations. For communities that are being helped by other NGOs on food or development, they see NGOs as trustworthy and helpful organizations. When one of these organizations is sponsoring a project by a company there are no suspicions. These uses of NGOs are also decreasing the effectiveness of credible organizations because these groups will no longer be trusted to help others; thus, the prior existing struggle of non-state actors gets worse after these selfish acts.

“[I]ntegration of economic and ecological systems is crucial” (Griffiths, O’Callaghan, & Roach, 2002) for a country to have sustainable developments. Thus, the manipulation that had been done by the companies disrupts the connection which does not help but hinders such advancements. There are efforts being made to prevent and fight such abuse one of such tactics would be awareness. The institutions, like Oakland Institution, gather information and statistic to spread awareness towards the growing problems in sustainable development; in turn, a domino effect starts. There is also policy changing international institutions which gather as a think tank and try to give solutions to governments, with the attempt of ending the problems that occur. For example, the United Nations has multiple committees that deals with these problems or issues that affect such problems, one of which is the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)[4].

Although this world is being hampered by something we cannot be rid-of, there are factors that help us contain such dilemmas. Through these institutions, factors, we are creating equilibrium between human nature and human responsibilities which will improve sustainable development. As a result we are giving the human race, as a whole, prosperity and a higher standard of living.


Griffiths, M., O’Callaghan, T., & Roach, S. C. (2002). International Relations: The Key Concepts. New York: Routledge.

Mousseau, F. (2012, September). Oakland Institute. Retrieved September 16, 2012, from Oakland Institute.Org:

Smith, S. C. (2005). Ending Global Poverty: A Guide To What Works. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Transparency International. (2012). Corruption Perception Index 2011. Retrieved 09 15, 2012, from Transparency International: The Global Coaliton Against Corruption:

United Nations. (2012). United Nations: Economic and Social Council. Retrieved September 17, 2012, from United Nations:

[1] The Corruption Price Index is the research done by Transparency International that measure, by ranks for countries, how much corruption is perceived in their public sector from the information collected.

[2] SGSOC is a large developing industry of palm oil plantations and refineries.

[3] Smith’s “poverty traps” describe the reasons for being poor; he emphasizes that it’s not because of laziness or lack of initiative but, because of external influences. These traps make it so that people in those situations have a very difficult time getting out of poverty without outside help.

[4] “[ECOSOC’s concerns are] the world’s economic, social and environmental challenges” (United Nations, 2012).