Boycott news from Ethical Consumer issue 118 May/June 2009
Rick Stein caught out by his catch of the day
Shark and marine conservation campaigners Bite-Back called for consumers to boycott Rick Stein’s restaurants and books. In October last year, the chef asserted that he would continue to sell endangered fish species in his restaurants and cast doubt over whether the species concerned were really endangered.
“Rick Stein seems to be comfortable with the concept of if it can be caught, it can be eaten”, said Graham Buckingham from Biteback, adding that this went against government guidelines and overwhelming evidence from the scientific community.
“The official guidelines for fishing certain species are there for a very good reason” he said. The boycott, launched earlier this year, had yet to get a response from Stein. “It’s been so far, so little” said Buckingham, who remained optimistic that the campaign would gather in momentum and that Stein would backtrack eventually.
Bite-back’s previous campaigns successes include persuading Wagamama to withdraw the sale of shark from its restaurants after just three weeks of campaigning. Supermarkets have also responded to Bite-Back’s campaigns on the sale of critically endangered fish.
As well as boycotting Stein’s books and establishments, Bite-Back are asking consumers to take ten seconds to email Stein directly asking him to rethink his position via the Biteback website. Visit: http://www.bite-back.com/campaigns/campaigns.htm.
If you’re a fish eater and uncertain over which fish are okay to eat, then don’t forget to visit marine conservation society’s www.fishonline.org website for more details on fish to eat and fish to avoid.
Nestlé boycott update
In January this year, while political and business leaders met in Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum, an alternative meeting was taking place in Zurich. A public meeting on 30th January on Nestlé’s malpractice was attended by international campaigning NGOs.
The meeting heard evidence from a member of the National Board of Colombia’s Union for Food Workers, Fredy Alberto Sepulveda Pineda, who gave his account of the way Nestlé workers in his country were intimidated.
Patti Rundall, policy director of Baby Milk Action attended the meeting, and asserted that the Nestlé boycott must continue. She argued that overwhelming evidence showed that Nestlé continued to be the worst offender of the baby food companies when it came to marketing its breast milk substitutes.
Back in the UK, Nestlé lost an anti-boycott referendum at Sheffield University. More about up-to-date news on the Nestlé boycott can be found on the blog http://boycottNestlé.blogspot.com or visit www.babymilkaction.org
Boycott Procter & Gamble day preparations underway
This year’s Global Boycott Procter & Gamble Day will be held on 16th May. The annual event is co-ordinated by Uncaged and is the centrepiece of the campaign against P&G’s continued animal testing. If you haven’t yet signed up to the boycott, you can still submit your boycott pledge, photo and message to the website.
To find out about events in your area – or to co-ordinate one yourself, visit http://www.boycottpandg.co.uk/. It also has more information on the reasons behind the boycott and campaign material or leaflets to download.
You can also visit: http://www.uncaged.co.uk/pgday.htm where you can download an in depth guide about the boycott day with suggestions about how you can get involved. Call Uncaged on 0114 272 2220 if you don’t have access to the internet.
US campaign against chocolate companies
Fairtrade Fortnight’s biggest coup this year was the news that chocolate multinational Cadbury’s would be sourcing Fairtrade cocoa for all of its Dairy Milk chocolate bars. While this is great news, US-based International Labour Rights Forum reminds consumers that the chocolate industry has yet to eradicate child labour in its cocoa supply.
According to the “Chocolate Company Scorecard 2009” published in February, despite major chocolate companies signing an agreement in 2001 committing to ensuring that they did not purchase cocoa beans harvested by the worst forms of child labour, children continue to work in West African cocoa farms.
The report singles out Mars, Hershey’s and Nestlé for consumers to target, arguing that they have not effectively provided tranpsparency and accountability in their supply chains. To read the report, http://www.laborrights.org/stop-child-labor/cocoa-campaign/resources/1942 . For standard letters to contact the companies directly visit: http://www.unionvoice.org/campaign/chocolate
Boycott News from previous issues of Ethical Consumer / Boycott News from the next issue.