issue 128

Boycott News from Issue 128 of Ethical Consumer magazine January/February 2011


Kick Nuclear - Boycott EDF

In October campaign group, Kick Nuclear launched a nationwide call to boycott EDF Energy. Kick Nuclear is part of a network of anti-nuclear groups from around the UK who joined forces earlier this year to alert the public to the dangers of building a new generation of nuclear power stations.

The boycott has been launched in an attempt to raise public awareness about the government’s plan to give the green light to a new generation of nuclear reactors next Spring. Campaigners say “this is the most dangerous, dirty and expensive option the government could have chosen.” The boycott entails asking domestic customers of EDF Energy to switch their energy provider. The campaign website gives a point-by-point guide on how to do this online and the various choices that can be made regarding cheap/green alternatives.

The website can be found at or contact Boycott EDF Kick Nuclear c/o 5 Caledonian Road London N1 9DX.


Students boycott RBS

In October the University of Manchester Students Union (UMSU) passed a motion to boycott the Royal Bank of Scotland. Students claim that the company is in breach of the Union’s ethical policy. The boycott will require the company to vacate premises currently leased in the UMSU building on Oxford Rd, and for RBS to be barred from any marketing or recruiting opportunities at all UMSU events.

The boycott has been called in response to the bank’s heavy investment in fossil fuel projects such as tar sands and new coal-fred power stations. Last year, RBS provided £117 million worth of loans and equity to Cairn Energy who have recently began drilling off the coast of Greenland. This operation has proved particularly controversial, since the area has not been exploited for oil before, only becoming possible as climate change has caused icebergs in the region to melt.

Amanda Walters, Campaigns Offcer for UMSU said, “RBS is in breach of our ethical and sustainable code. We can no longer have a fnancial relationship with RBS because they are one of the biggest investors in fossil fuels which worsen people’s lives due to climate change. RBS is 84 per cent owned by the UK taxpayer. It’s outrageous that this public money is being used to destroy our future. Edinburgh University has recently switched to banking with RBS. We encourage them, and all other Students Unions to boycott the Royal Bank of Scotland.”

By Robbie Gillett



Companies that support the Tory cuts

The day before George Osborne delivered his comprehensive spending review, 35 business leaders wrote to the Telegraph to praise the cuts to public spending that the review proposed. A boycott has now been launched of the 35 companies in the list.

According to the campaign: “The Tories’ cuts will effect child benefts, the social housing budget, and the amount of money paid to universities...The letter said it would be a ‘mistake for Chancellor George Osborne to water down his programme for reducing the budget defcit in Wednesday’s Spending Review’.”Thirty-fve is a lot to remember, so the boycott organisers are choosing three retailers a month to avoid.

The three for December are Marks and Spencer, Next and GlaxoSmithKline (Ribena, Horlicks, Sensodyne, Aquafresh, Lucozade) in addition to Boots, Mothercare and ASDA from November.


Botswana Boycott

A number of celebrities including Gillian Anderson, Quentin Blake, Joanna Lumley, Sophie Okonedo, and Mark Rylance have pledged not to travel to Botswana or wear its diamonds until its indigenous community of Bushmen are allowed to live on their ancestral lands in peace.

In 2002, the Bushmen were illegally evicted from their lands to make way for diamond mining. According to campaign group Survival the government denied that a signifcant diamond deposit existed on their land. However eight years on Gem Diamonds, which bought the concession from De Beers, is in negotiations to construct a $3.3 billion mine in an area once inhabited by the Bushmen.

Survival’s director, Stephen Corry, said today, ‘Botswana’s diamond industry is the ‘Siamese twin’ of the government. People should know that far from being an expensive token of eternal love, Botswana diamonds are a symbol of the nasty oppression of southern Africa’s frst people’.

More information from:

Boycott news from the previous issue of Ethical Consumer / Boycott news from the latest issue of Ethical Consumer Magazine

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Tar Sands - RBS