Boycott news from issue 119 of Ethical Consumer July / August 09
Nottingham campaign ‘Shut Down H&K’ is calling for a boycott of financial services mutual LV= (formerly know as London Victoria). LV= sells insurance, life insurance and savings and investment products.
Campaigners discovered that LV= is the landlord of the world’s second-largest manufacturer of hand guns, assault rifles, machine guns and grenade launchers, Heckler & Koch. The aim of the boycott is to secure a commitment from LV= to disinvest from the arms industry and turf out their anti-social tenants.
Activists also discovered that LV= owns a small business park on an industrial estate in Nottingham which is home to H&K’s UK head office. Campaigners say that their involvement with the arms company “seems shockingly incompatible with LV=’s friendly, caring image”. The so-called ‘friendly society’ has a Corporate Social Responsibility programme that aims to raise awareness of ‘everyday safety and good citizenship’ and its website proudly proclaims that ‘Our focus is on doing the right thing’.
According to the campaign website, H&K weaponry has been used:
• In Darfur where the Janjaweed militia have been armed with H&K assault rifles;
• In Iraq and Afghanistan where the guns were used by “notoriously trigger-happy corporate mercenaries Blackwater”;
• In Kenya in the 2008 post-election massacres, and
• In Kosovo, Serbian police used H&K guns to attack Albanian villagers.
Campaigners wrote to LV= asking them to consider not renewing the H&K lease. LV= replied unequivocally. Not only will they be continuing to act as landlords but they added that they were also ‘pleased to have invested’ and have ‘no wish to disinvest’ in Heckler & Koch and were not prepared to make any statement that may be seen as ‘victimising’ a business. They also refused to meet with campaigners.
For more information visit www.shutdownhk.org.uk
EU bans seal fur trade
On May 5th the European Parliament voted 550 to 49 in favour of a ban on the trade of seal products within the EU. The ban will forbid the sale of seal products for profit within the EU, with an exception for the products of Inuit and other indigenous peoples.
The Canadian commercial seal hunt is the largest marine mammal hunt in the world. Last year more than 217,000 seals were killed, 99.8% of which were pups under three months old.
The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) applauded the decision as a victory in their 40-year campaign to end Canada’s cruel commercial seal hunt. Robbie Marsland, UK Director of IFAW, said: “The Parliament has hammered the final nail in the coffin of the sealing industry’s market in the EU.”
MEPs had received tens of thousands of emails, postcards and messages from people across the EU imploring them to vote through the legislation. A total of 30 countries have now banned the sale of seal products, including seven of Canada’s top 10 export markets.
In March, Russia announced a ban on hunting seals younger than one year old in the White Sea area, effectively ending the Russian seal hunt. IFAW says it will now focus on Canada, where Senator Mac Harb recently introduced a bill to end commercial sealing.
IFAW is calling on the public to increase pressure on Canada by contacting their Canadian embassies and demanding an immediate end to Canada’s commercial seal hunt.
For more information, including Canadian embassy contacts, please visit www.stopthesealhunt.org or call 020 7587 6708
Respect for Animals is still calling a boycott of all Canadian fish and seafood products and all tourism to Canada.
You can contact Respect for Animals via their website (www.respectforanimals.co.uk), on the phone (0115 952 5440), or by email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Cruise announces fur-free policy
On May 2nd, fashion chain Cruise announced that they will no longer sell fur in any of their stores. The decision came after a significant campaign headed by CAFT (Coalition to Abolish the Fur Trade), that included demonstrations, boycotts and a letter writing campaign.
A national day of action, organised for later in May, was cancelled. Demonstrations had been planned at Cruise stores in 10 towns and cities.
In a further gesture of their commitment to the new policy, the company is replying to all those who wrote to them demanding a change in policy. CAFT are now asking people to write and congratulate Cruise on their decision.
Their address is: Cruise Head Office, 180 Ingram Street, Glasgow G1 1DN.
Telephone: 0844 800 4622.
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