Issue 156


Boycott news from Ethical Consumer magazine, Issue 156 Sep/Oct 2015



Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel

FedEx boycott

Amazon boycott update




Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel



Church group divestment

The United Church of Christ, a Protestant denomination in the USA with around a million members, unanimously approved an Israel divestment resolution in June. Their General Synod voted 508-124 in favour.

Reverend James Moos, executive minister of UCC Wider Church Ministries and co-executive of Global Ministries, told Business Insider that the vote was representative of the church’s commitment to peace in the Middle East.

“The United Church of Christ condemns all forms of violence and anti-Semitism, and affirms Israel’s right to exist within secure and internationally recognized borders,” Moos said in a statement. “We similarly assert the right of Palestinians to have a sovereign, independent and viable state within secure and recognized borders.”


Investment in Israel falls

Israel lost around 50% of its foreign direct investment in 2014 due largely to its attacks on Gaza that summer and the growth of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

The World Investment Report, published by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), shows that €5.7 billion was invested into the country in 2014 in comparison with €10.5 billion in 2013. Dr Ronny Manos, one of the report’s authors, told Israeli news website Ynet News: “We believe that what led to the drop in investment in Israel are [the Israeli Defence Forces’] Operation Protective Edge and the boycotts Israel is facing”.

Orange pulls out of Israel

Mobile phone network operator Orange has ended its partnership with Partner Communications, with which it had a licensing deal that allowed the Israeli telecoms firm to use the Orange brand name.
Campaign groups say that Partner is active in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. Orange CEO Stephane Richard said he would back out of an agreement with Partner Communications in a speech he made while in Egypt.

Mr Richard said the decision was made because of Orange’s ties to Arab countries. “I know that it is a sensitive issue here in Egypt, but not only in Egypt,” he said. “We want to be one of the trustful partners of all Arab countries.”




FedEx boycott

FedEx Boycott

A number of Native American organisations have started a boycott of delivery service FedEx in the hope it will pressure a Washington- based American football team into changing its racially-charged name. The Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska initiated the boycott of FedEx as long as it continues to sponsor the Redskins.

“This isn’t anti-FedEx. We are exercising our strength financially,” tribal president Richard Peterson said. “If you actively support entities, in this case specifically a sports franchise that has a mascot and name derogatory to our people, we’re going to spend our dollars elsewhere – that’s us voting with our dollars.”

“It’s like anybody else using the N-word; it’s like calling our women squaws,” Peterson said. "It may have been popular... with colonial, backwards-minded people back in the day, but I don’t think it’s appropriate and we need to be a voice and a champion."

“FedEx has closely followed the dialogue and difference of opinion regarding the Washington Redskins team name,” FedEx spokesman Jim Masilak told Perform Media, “but we continue to direct questions about the name to the franchise owner.”



Amazon Boycott update


Amazon Tax AvoiderFigures released by Amazon in June showed that despite booming  sales in 2014 the company paid just £11.9 million in corporation tax in the UK.Amazon’s sales increased more than 14% to £5.3 billion but were routed through its Luxembourg unit, meaning that the HMRC didn’t get a slice.

The company’s 2014 accounts claim that its British subsidiary did not sell to British customers; rather it provided services to its Luxembourg subsidiary. It claimed its UK operations made £34 million, and only provided warehousing and shipping facilities.

The number of staff employed in its British warehouses increased from 5,912 in 2013 to 7,722 in 2014 as sales continued to soar. In May the company apparently voluntarily decided to end the Luxembourg arrangement, claiming that it had started to book retail sales through its UK branch.

However, campaigners remain sceptical. “Amazon’s announcement, on its own, is no guarantee that the company will play fairly with the tax authorities,” according to Leonie Nimmo of Ethical Consumer magazine.

She added: “Without transparent country by country reporting it is impossible to know exactly how much the exchequer should receive. The Ethical Consumer boycott will remain in place until evidence of fair payment is in the public domain.”