Boycott News from Issue 113, July/August 2008
Boycott List Updates
In our latest status check, most of the boycotts were found to be still active. Boycotting is still an important part of an ethical consumer’s tactics but today’s sophisticated campaign groups often don’t explicitly call for a boycott.
Greenpeace’s recent campaign focusing on Unilever’s Dove brand, for example, achieved spectacular results within a fortnight whilst stating “Unilever is more sensitive to public exposure and debate than a consumer boycott”.
However it’s obvious that Unilever is responding to a threat to its bottom line. Greenpeace’s tactics mean it is in a position to quickly turn campaign success into corporate engagement. But individuals can make their own minds up about when a multinational deserves the reward of their hard earned cash.
BUAV has changed tactics from calling for the boycott of specific companies involved in animal testing to directing people to ‘cruelty free companies’ approved under its Humane Cosmetics Standard. M&S, for example, signed up to the Household Products Standard in March, creating the largest range of ‘cruelty free products’ on the high street.
None of the companies on our original BUAV boycott list have become ‘cruelty free’. So you can make your mind up whether to buy products from Colgate Palmolive, Proctor & Gamble, Reckitt Benckiser, SC Johnson or Unilever. See www.gocrueltyfree.org or call 020 7700 4888 for alternatives.
Donna Karan and the DKNY brand have come off the list because of a welcome campaign success from the National Mobilization Against Sweatshops and the Chinese Staff and Workers Association.
US workers in supplier factories came to a settlement with the company over their claims of discrimination and failure to pay minimum wages or overtime. However, readers are unlikely to be delighted by Karan’s crocodile skin handbags and continued use of fur.
Karan has twice promised People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to stop using fur in her designs, but she has not followed through.
According to PETA, when an activist recently got to show her footage of what happens to the animals killed for her fur coats Karan commented: “I’ve seen all these videos, but for me it’s just purses and accessories.”
The Coalition to Abolish the Fur Trade (CAFT) asked us to add Harrods, Guess and Atlantic Fashions and luxury fashion group Escada to the list (contact CAFT on 0845 330 7955 email@example.com).
The De Beers boycott has been called off by Survival international after the company sold its diamond deposit at Gope on the lands of the Kalahari Bushmen. New owners Gem Diamonds says it is currently formulating its policy regarding allowing the Bushmen back onto their land and obtaining free and informed consent before mining goes ahead. Survival is monitoring progress.
The Barclays boycott for its financing of the Narmada Dam in India is no longer active. But the bank that likes to be boycotted is subject to two active divestment campaigns.
Survival international are calling on the bank, along with Coutts, Standard Life, Abbey National and HSBC to divest from FTSE-100 listed Vedanta - unless the mining company abandons plans in India which, says Survival, will destroy the remote Dongria Kondh tribe. SI head office: 020 7687 8700.
The International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons are calling on Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland to pull their investments out of companies that produce depleted uranium (DU) weapons.
To find out more about DU and for a full activist’s tool kit to allow you to challenge your bank to disinvest and isolate companies involved in DU weapons manufacture go to www.bandepleteduranium.org or call 0161 273 8293 / 8283.
New Burma ‘Dirty List’
In June Burma Campaign UK (BCUK) updated their ‘dirty list’ of companies that are directly or indirectly helping to finance Burma’s brutal military dictatorship. BCUK call on people to contact companies listed and urge them to sever business ties with Burma.
And, where appropriate, let them know you’ll be boycotting their products until they do. Fifty new companies have been added including BBC Worldwide, Toyota, Qantas, and TATA.
BBC Worldwide owns a 75% stake in Lonely Planet travel guides. Lonely Planet vigorously defends its publication of a guide to Burma, despite Aung San Suu Kyi and the Burmese democracy movement’s call for tourists to stay away.
Tourism is a vital source of income to the military junta. According to BCUK, BBC Worldwide maintains that Lonely Planet will continue to publish its Burma guidebook. View the Dirty List - or call Campaigns Officer Johnny Chatterton on 020 7324 4714.
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