The mission of the Business Ethics Network (BEN) is in
improving the effectiveness of corporate campaigns worldwide in order to make
business practices more ethical in terms of the environment, health, social
justice, and labor. The majority of the campaign alerts, press releases, and reports gathered here are from BEN member organizations.
BEN celebrates the achievements of all communities working to ensure that their voices are heard. The BENNY and Path to Victory awards are given to outstanding campaigns such as the ones that are showcased here.
The Sugarcane Industry and the global economic crisis
by Maria Luisa Mendonça, Fabio T. Pitta and Carlos Vinicius Xavier
An examination of ethanol production in Brazil, highlighting the role of financial capital, the territorial expansion of agribusiness and the impacts on labour relations and indigenous peoples and peasant farmers.
application/pdf iconThe Sugarcane Industry and the global economic crisis (PDF 2.11MB)
In rural Brazil, we have observed that the expansion of monocropping for the production of agrofuels, namely sugarcane ethanol, continues. Ethanol made from sugarcane is said to be Brazil's main source of agro-energy, considering the volume produced, the total area used for sugarcane production and the amount invested in the expansion of the sugar-energy industrial park.
Described as a process to open new frontiers, the expansion of sugarcane production has been concentrated, in terms of production volume, in the Centre-South region, principally in the States of Minas Gerais, Goias and Mato Grosso do Sul, Parana and Sao Paulo.
Yelp Joins With Advocacy Group ALEC to Fight SLAPP Lawsuits
by Ben Jacobs
The American Legislative Exchange Council once faced a backlash for its support of Stand Your Ground and voter ID laws, losing Coca-Cola and Kraft as members. Now the advocacy group is working with companies such as Google, Facebook, and Yelp, and taking more civil libertarian stances on technology issues than it has in the past
Standing up to Private Prisons
Private Prison Divestment Campaign
Private prisons undermine our democracy and destroy our communities by lobbying to keep immigrants and people of color locked away. Enlace and its allies are fighting back through a campaign to divest from the private prison industry.
Private prison companies like CCA and GEO Group profit when more people go to jail. Their business model depends on the success of their lobbying efforts, which result in laws that criminalize marginalized communities in order to keep people in jail. Over the past decade, immigrant detention has made millions of dollars for the private prison industry at the cost of hundreds of thousands of immigrant lives. Enlace and its allies are standing up to private prisons and calling for divestment from an industry that profits from racism and human misery.
US FDA recognises all toothfish as Chilean Seabass
COLTO thanks the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for updating their USA “Seafood List” which contains approved market names for all species of fish, to ensure both species of toothfish can legally be sold as “Chilean Seabass” in the United States.
In April 2013, the US based environmental organization Oceana published a report “Oceana Study Reveals Seafood Fraud Nationwide”. That report cited ‘widespread’ mislabeling of Chilean Seabass and implied that fraud was occurring in the USA market.
Walmart’s big lie: No, it doesn’t create jobs!
by By Kathleen Geier
Does Walmart create jobs? That question is at the heart of the debate currently raging over its plans to open stores in Washington, DC. Last month, labor groups scored a major victory when the DC City Council passed a bill requiring Walmart and other big box retailers to pay their workers a living wage of $12.50 an hour. The mega-store has threatened to pull out of DC if the bill, which requires the signature of Mayor Vincent Gray, becomes law. (Gray has not taken a position but is said to be leaning against the measure).
Victory! Court Upholds Conflict Minerals Rule
by By Shreema Mehta
If you believe corporate accountability for human rights violations is a good thing, you'll love this news: Industry interest groups looking to tie up the Dodd Frank conflict minerals rule in court lost.
This week, a federal court upheld the SEC rule that requires corporations to publicly disclose whether the minerals they source have helped finance armed groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
- See more at: http://www.earthworksaction.org/earthblog/detail/victory_court_upholds_conflict_minerals_rule#.UfhEKW3hdvi
Debt, austerity, devastation: it’s Europe’s turn
by Susan George New Internationalist Magazine
As the creditors get fatter, the innocent are punished. Susan George laments a leadership subservient to big business.
Like plague in the 14th century, the scourge of debt has gradually migrated from South to North. Our 21st-century Yersinia pestis isn’t spread by flea-infested rats but by deadly, ideology-infested neoliberal fundamentalists. Once they had names like Thatcher or Reagan; now they sound more like Merkel or Barroso; but the message, the mentality and the medicine are basically the same. The devastation caused by the two plagues is also similar – no doubt fewer debt-related deaths in Europe today than in Africa three decades ago, but probably more permanent harm done to once-thriving European economies.
BIG NEWS for the Big Apple: NY Bans Shark Fin Trade!
by by Justine Sullivan
Shark finning is a brutal practice: Fishermen haul live sharks onto boats where their fins are sliced off, and the sharks are then thrown back into the water, alive, to drown or bleed to death. While shark finning is banned in the U.S., the demand for shark fins is allowing this brutal practice to continue outside our waters. Current reports estimate that over one hundred million sharks are killed every year, most only for their fins, which are often used in shark fin soup. Once an Asian delicacy reserved for the wealthy, now, with a growing middle class, shark fin soup has become common fare at weddings, banquets and business meetings. A bowl can cost up to $320, making the fins easily the most lucrative part of the shark. Shark fin has little to no taste, and merely contributes texture to shark fin soup.
First Nations man faces $16K bill for ‘Idle No More’ blockade on CN Railway
by derrick on July 25th, 2013 10:58 pm
, WC Native News
A judge has ordered a native activist to pay more than $16,000 to CN Rail for a 13-day blockade created as part of the Idle No More movement.
Ron Plain, 51, spokesperson for the blockade in Sarnia in December and January, was ordered by Justice Bruce G. Thomas of Ontario Superior Court to pay the money because he defied an injunction to stop blocking the line.
The route serves industries in the local “Chemical Valley” complex of oil refineries and chemical plants.
SC Johnson Refuses to Respond to 52,000 Consumers
by Cassidy Randall
Have you seen that SC Johnson commercial that’s on 24/7? The one about how they’re a family company committed to “honesty” and “transparency,” and that’s why they disclose all ingredients right down to fragrance? (Except that they don’t actually tell you which fragrance ingredients are in products…)
We spoofed it. We spoofed their website, too. Watch below to get the real story.
Billion Dollar Baby: U.S. Chamber is First to Hit Lobbying Milestone
by David Steinbach on July 23, 2013
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has made big news with the filing of a simple quarterly report.
When the behemoth business trade group reported its lobbying numbers for the second quarter of 2013 on Monday, it set a new record: The Chamber became the first organization to report uschamber.jpgtotal lobbying expenditures of more than $1 billion, according to OpenSecrets.org. Reporting that it spent $19.11 million from April through June, its grand total now stands at $1,002,845,680 since 1998, when the Center for Responsive Politics began tracking lobbying data.
Walmart workers have been standing up and fighting for fair wages and working conditions. In response, Walmart retaliated against and attempted to silence them. On top of that, Walmart launched a $3 million ad campaign to cover up the truth about the "real Walmart." Really, Walmart?
Now Walmart workers are taking their message, and their stories of the real Walmart, directly to Walmart's headquarters for the annual shareholders' meeting on June 7th to show that they won't be silenced. Say you're with them, and we’ll make sure your voice is heard at Walmart Headquarters when we deliver the petitions!
Tell Home Depot and Lowe’s to stop selling bee-killing pesticides.
Bees are essential for one out of three bites of food we eat. But last winter, beekeepers reported losses of 50-70 percent of their hives -- the worst year yet since the global bee die-off began!
A growing body of scientific evidence is pointing to neonicotinoids (neonics) as the key factor in this crisis and the European Union has just imposed a two year ban on these toxic pesticides.
These neonics are everywhere -- in commercial agriculture, on the shelf of your local garden stores, and in the plants and seeds we buy from nurseries.
Comment: 1993’s Clayoquot Summer was a game-changer
by Valerie Langer , Eduardo Sousa , Maryjka Mychajlowycz , Jens Wieting and Torrance Coste.
, Times Colonist
Twenty years ago today, about 30 residents of Tofino were driving up and down the highway by Long Beach, communicating via handheld radios, tracking a helicopter carrying B.C.’s premier of the day and select media.
A local guy listening in on emergency, aviation and boat communications was transmitting the play-by-play, while the helicopter sought a quiet landing spot where the premier could make a “contained” statement about the fate of Clayoquot Sound’s forests.
Nothing that followed, however, in what was to become the Clayoquot Summer of 1993, could be construed as “contained.”
Rio Tinto accused of environmental and human rights breaches
by Rupert Neate
Protesters from around the world attacked mining company Rio Tinto for a string for alleged environmental and human rights breaches during a fiery meeting with shareholders in London on Thursday.
Native Mongolian herders claimed that a $5bn (£3.3bn) expansion of the company's Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine in the Gobi desert threatened the fresh water supply of hundreds of nomadic people and the area's unique ecology.
Nestlé: Stop trying to patent the fennel flower.
Nigella sativa -- more commonly known as fennel flower -- has been used as a cure-all remedy for over a thousand years. It treats everything from vomiting to fevers to skin diseases, and has been widely available in impoverished communities across the Middle East and Asia.
But now Nestlé is claiming to own it, and filing patent claims around the world to try and take control over the natural cure of the fennel flower and turn it into a costly private drug.
Tell Nestlé: Stop trying to patent a natural cure
Legalizing Sustainability? Santa Monica Recognizes Rights of Nature
by Reprinted from Global Exchange.
On April 9, the City Council of Santa Monica voted 7-0 to adopt the state’s first ever Bill of Rights for Sustainability, directing the city to “recognize the rights of people, natural communities and ecosystems to exist, regenerate and flourish.” Santa Monica joins dozens of U.S. communities, the nations of Ecuador, Bolivia, and New Zealand in the fast-growing movement for Nature’s Rights.
Congratulations to the 2013 Goldman Prize Recipients
On Monday, April 15, we celebrated six environmental heroes in front of an audience of 3,200 at San Francisco’s War Memorial Opera House. The ceremony was punctuated by powerful video profiles, energizing speeches from the recipients and overwhelming applause from the audience.
Following the ceremony, guests were treated to a reception at San Francisco’s City Hall, where they had the opportunity to meet the Goldman Prize recipients and members of the Goldman family.
Congratulations to the 2013 Goldman Prize recipients: Jonathan Deal, Azzam Alwash, Rossano Ercolini, Mama Aleta Baun, Kimberly Wasserman, and Nohra Padilla.
Stand Up for Strong Organic Standards
Food & Water Watch
When you buy organic, you should feel safe knowing that your food was raised without synthetic chemicals or genetic engineering. That's why we have the USDA organic label in the first place!
But, in April, the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) will meet to decide whether they want to grant organic apple and pear growers yet another extension on ending the use of the antibiotic tetracycline. Sign the petition below demanding that the NOSB protect organic standards and take a stand against the use of tetracycline in fruit production today.
Sign now and we'll deliver your petition signature to the NOSB.
PIELC 2013 Keynote Address by Thomas Linzey of CELDF
Thomas Linzey of Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) delivers the keynote address of the 31rst Public Interest Environmental Law Conference (PIELC) held at the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon, February 28 through March 3, 2013. Linzey points out the folly of the traditional avenues of redress environmental law has pursued, offering a new model to return democracy to the people currently hi-jacked by a corporate friendly legal system.
UN demands ‘immediate suspension’ of Amazon gas plans
The United Nations has demanded an immediate halt to the expansion of a major gas project in the Peruvian Amazon, over concerns that it poses a grave risk to the lives of uncontacted Indians living nearby.
In a letter to the Peruvian government, the UN’s Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) requested the ‘immediate suspension’ of plans to expand the existing Camisea gas project further into the Nahua-Nanti reserve, as it ‘threatens the physical and cultural survival of the indigenous peoples living there.’
Today on Your Call: Should plastic manufacturers be held responsible for plastic pollution?
by Ali Budner
On today's Your Call, we’ll talk about what corporate responsibility should look like for the plastics and packaging industry. Given the overwhelming amount of plastics that end up in the environment, what responsibility do the manufacturers of disposable plastic and packaging products have for limiting and cleaning up this waste? Join us at 10am Pacific Time or post a comment here. Do we need more legislation to hold corporations responsible? And who's really making the decisions in this industry? It’s Your Call, with Rose Aguilar, and You.
Keystone Public Comments Won't Be Made Public, State Department Says
by By John H. Cushman Jr.,
, InsideClimate News
WASHINGTON—When the State Department hired a contractor to produce the latest environmental impact statement for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, it asked for a Web-based electronic docket to record public comments as they flowed in each day. Thousands of comments are expected to be filed by people and businesses eager to influence the outcome of the intense international debate over the project.
But the public will not find it easy to examine these documents.
Victory! More than 739 Miles of U.S. Coastline Protected for Loggerhead Sea Turtles
Loggerheads face threats from all sides, including from pollution, degradation of foraging areas, and serious injury and death from entanglement in fishing gear. They’re also faced with the loss of their nesting habitat due to coastal development as well as sea level rise.
Loggerheads, which make some of the longest journeys of any sea turtle—across entire ocean basins—nest on beaches from Texas to Virginia, but 90 percent of U.S. loggerhead nesting occurs in Florida. This new protection means that any new beachside hotels, homes or commercial construction built on protected beaches that require federal permits would need to be reviewed to prevent harm to nesting areas.
My Toxic Couch
Toxic flame retardant chemicals are saturated in the foam inside our furniture. These chemicals are linked to serious health effects and are worthless in preventing furniture fires. We need better regulation of these chemicals to address this problem.
My search for a smartphone that is not soaked in blood
by George Monbiot
None of the campaigning groups wants companies to stop buying minerals from eastern Congo. Global Witness and FairPhone, for example, point out that mining supports many families in a country where 82% are considered underemployed. But they also insist that the trade can be dissociated from violence: if, and only if, companies ensure they're not buying minerals which have passed through the hands of militias. Given the potential damage to their reputations, you might have expected these firms to take the issue seriously. With a few exceptions, you would be wrong.
10 reasons why national parks should buck the bottle
Corporate Accountability International
You’ve probably seen them. Plastic bottles of water for sale … in some of our most pristine and naturally gorgeous places: our national parks.
You’re not alone. Every year, hundreds of millions of park visitors get the message that the only place to get safe water is from a plastic bottle. This is just wrong, because bottled water is far less regulated than tap.
Minnesota says 'no thanks' to triclosan
Good news for public health and water quality from Minnesota this week. By June of this year, state agencies and institutions will no longer be buying soaps and cleaning products containing the pesticide triclosan.
Governor Mark Dayton made the shift with an executive order signed Monday. The new policy — the first of its kind in the country — comes in response to a combination of strong science and public concern about the chemical's prevalence and harms.
Good work on the U.S. Chamber last year: Your voice needed in the continued fight ahead.
With your help we had great success with our work in 2012 to expose the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as a funnel for secret corporate money in U.S. elections. In addition to the guessers in our Guess What the Chamber Will Spend contest, working with several partners we had over 30,000 people sign our “tongue-in-cheek” birthday cards (Please insert a birthday card image) to the U.S. Chamber and scores join a rally to deliver the cards to the Chamber.
Proceed with caution when betting against environmentalists
by Martin Mittelstaedt
, Globe and Mail
Oil sands investors, it turns out, should have listened to environmentalists after all.
Placing a bet on the oil sands, once thought of as a sure path to riches, is looking like an over-hyped investment theme in the process of confronting a less glamorous reality. Stocks in companies involved in the industry have been taking on water, but they’re not yet cheap enough to make compelling buys.
The Environmental Trial of the Century
by Aaron Viles
Today, before opening remarks began in the "Environmental Trial of the Century" that will determine just how much BP and their partners must pay for the destruction they have wrought in the Gulf, I joined colleagues and activists to greet lawyers and media with a simple message: #MakeBPpay.
Of course, the BP disaster is ultimately not something that can be 'fixed' with any amount of money. The oil, the dispersant and the taint of this historically horrific event can not be scrubbed away. The bell cannot be unrung and the ecosystem can not proceed as if it was never exposed to BP's crude and corexit.
Our new report, Secret Scents: How Hidden Fragrance Allergens Harm Public Health, finds that millions of people are affected by skin allergies caused by chemicals in fragrance. Unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible for consumers to avoid specific fragrance allergens because companies keep fragrance ingredients a secret.
The solution is simple: Companies should disclose fragrance ingredients in products so that people have the choice to avoid harmful chemicals.
Kick the Habit, Congress
by By Carl Gibson, Reader Supported News
What if there were a really smart, knowledgeable, innovative guy who had dreams of curing cancer or writing a bestselling novel or recording an acclaimed album, but couldn't do any of the above because of a crippling cocaine addiction? Similarly, Congress's deadly addiction to corporate cash is the main reason Washington is unable to solve the myriad problems affecting our economy, environment and politics. If only we could help Congress kick the habit, our government could work for us again.
We luv Columbia Sportswear 4 helping 2 stop tar sands!
Roses are red, violets are blue, Columbia Sportswear: We luv U (for helping to stop tar sands, that is)!
Columbia Sportswear is the latest of 19 companies that have committed to help stop the expansion of tar sands by pushing for tar sands free transportation. This growing trend is key to protecting the forests of North America and the communities near US oil refineries from the destructive and health threatening effects of tar sands.
Join us in thanking Columbia Sportswear for their environmental leadership!
Chamber of Deceit
by Bartlett Naylor
The next time Chamber of Commerce lobbyists testify before Congress and claim fatuously on behalf of its contrived three million small business members that Wall Street reform law must be gutted, responsible senators and representatives should throw this in their face: a new poll showing overwhelming support among small business FOR the reform law.
APP commits to end deforestation! Victory!
If this policy is successfully implemented, it will be huge step towards reforming Indonesia’s paper industry, protecting its rainforests and the remaining Sumatran tigers that call that place home.
Remember our recent victories with Mattel, Lego, IGA and KFC? When big companies like these started ditching their contracts with APP, it helped persuade the company to make this new commitment.
Down here in Australia, we’ve played an incredibly important part of this win (our colleagues at Greenpeace HQ in Amsterdam often referred to us as the “secret weapon in the campaign!). As well as joining in international work against the likes of customers like Mattel, Paperlinx, KCF, Fuji Xerox and others, we’ve taken it right to the doorstep of APP subsidiaries, Solaris and Collins Debden. The loss of IGA led to a mothballing of their Australian factory.
Another bee-harming pesticide? No thanks.
While European policymakers are taking steps to protect bees from harmful pesticides, EPA is poised to approve yet another bee-toxic pesticide for use here in the U.S.
Instead of following the science and protecting bees from known harms, the agency is set to conditionally register another new pesticide known to harm bees, sulfoxaflor, for a broad variety of uses.
Sulfoxaflor is a cousin to imidacloprid and clothianidin, with shared mechanisms of action (all work on the same bee brain synapses — nicotinic acetylcholine receptors)
We have between now and February 12 to send a clear message: Bees need protection from harmful pesticides, not more exposure. EPA decisionmakers, it's time to step up!
Letter to the Arctic Environmental Ministers on Black Carbon
We, the undersigned non-governmental organizations, write to urge you to use the occasion of the historic second meeting of Arctic environment ministers to strongly encourage Arctic states to take significant action to reduce emissions of black carbon.
Last year the Arctic experienced record melting of both summer sea ice and the Greenland Ice Sheet and land glaciers, with grave implications for Arctic peoples and biodiversity, and for low-lying nations and communities around the world.
While deep cuts in CO2 remain the backbone of efforts to limit the long-term consequences of climate change, rapid reductions in emissions of short-lived climate forcers such as black carbon and methane have been identified as perhaps the most effective strategy to slow warming and melting in the Arctic over the next few decades. This is critical to give the cultures and biodiversity of the region more time to adapt and to slow sea level rise by reducing continental ice melting.
The plight of Cambodia’s garment workers
by Clothilde Le Coz
, Asian Correspondent
The plight of Cambodia’s garment workers
By Clothilde Le Coz Feb 01, 2013 4:50PM UTC
2 Comments and 11 Reactions
A striking garment worker participates in a rally in Phnom Penh. Pic: AP.
Striking workers call on Wal-Mart to take responsibility after supplier skips country owing $200,000 in wages
On Thursday morning garment workers gathered outside the US Embassy in Phnom Penh to follow up with the petition they submitted on Januray 18th, 2013 asking the US government to pressure Wal-Mart. They are owed $200,000 by Kingsland, a Hong Kong-based company that started to operate in Cambodia 10 years ago and worked with Wal-Mart and H&M suppliers.
Save Mardi Gras Pass
by Scott Eustis
Will the Corps and the state of Louisiana starve the Delta at the whim of oil and gas?
In 2011, a swollen Mississippi River re-connected itself with the marshes of Bohemia, without any help from the Corps--but it forgot to ask Shaw for a permit to restore our coast.
After 2 years, the oil company that operates in this Wildlife Management Area, Sundown Energy LP, wants to fill in this new reach of the Mississippi with limestone and pipe culverts. Perhaps it would increase their margin, but it would destroy a new branch of the Mississippi River.
Nigerian farmer wins against Shell oil
by Yvonne Ndege
Today's ruling in the Netherlands which found the Nigerian subsidiary of the Anglo-Dutch oil giant Royal Dutch Shell guilty of causing pollution, is a historic legal victory for oil producing communities in Nigeria and probably across Africa.
72 year old fish farmer Friday Akpan, from Akwa Ibom State, one of Nigeria's richest oil producing states, was one of four fish farmers who was able to prove that Shell Nigeria, the subsidiary of one of the world's most profitable companies Royal Dutch Shell, which made more than $30 billion dollars in profit in 2011, failed to properly maintain oil pipelines and other installations in Ikot Ada Udo community. Shell Nigeria's negligence led to oil spills that devastated Friday Akpan's 47 fishponds.
State of California Orders Walmart-Contracted Warehouse to Pay More than $1 Million in Stolen Wages
The state of California has ordered a Southern California warehouse that processes merchandise for Walmart and other retailers to pay 865 workers more than $1 million in stolen wages.
The California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement issued the citations Monday, Jan. 28 against Quetico, LLC, a large warehouse complex in Chino, California. Back wages and unpaid overtime total more than $1.1million and in addition the state issued about $200,000 in penalties.
Controversial Oil Pipeline Lawsuit Settled in Texas
Rising Tide NA
Determined activists to press on with resistance to pipeline construction
Eugene, OR–Twenty-nine individuals and organizations named in a civil lawsuit filed by the notorious Canadian pipeline company, TransCanada, agreed under duress today to settle, under threat of expansive injunction terms. The far-reaching Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP) was filed on the heels of record numbers of non-violent protests in Texas opposing the controversial XL Pipeline construction.
Hey Citizen, Can You Spare $1,000? How About $10 Million?
by Blair Bowie
, Huffington Post
When was the last time you contributed $1,000 to a political candidate or cause? If you’re like most people, the answer is “Never -- if I have that kind of money it’s in the college savings account.”
Well, candidates for the U.S. Senate this election got nearly 64 percent of the money they raised from individuals in contributions of at least $1,000 -- from just four one-hundredths of one percent of the population.
An Outrageous Form of Corporate Waste
by Alyce Lomax
Shareholders invest in publicly traded companies for many reasons, not least of which is to make decent returns. Generally speaking, investors hope their companies invest capital into productive channels: inventing, innovating, delighting customers with their products, and otherwise paving the road to growth, leading to fantastic financial results over the long haul.
Missouri Bill Introduced to Require GM Fish and Meat Labeling
A state Senator from St. Louis has introduced a bill requiring the labeling of genetically modified meat and fish in Missouri.
State Sen. Jemilah Nasheed (D-St. Louis) introduced Senate Bill 155 this week.
“While I understand that food production is an integral Missouri industry, I don’t feel the trend of biotechnology and genetically engineered foods is always apparent to the average citizen, “ said Sen. Nasheed. “I am merely asking for clarity in the sale of certain genetically engineered, or GE, foods to Missouri’s customers.”
Billion-Dollar Democracy: The Unprecedented Role of Money in the 2012 Elections
The first presidential election since Citizens United lived up to its hype, with unprecedented outside spending from new sources making headlines.
Demos and U.S. PIRG Education Fund analysis of reports from campaigns, parties, and outside spenders to the Federal Election Commission found that our big money system distorts democracy and creates clear winners and losers.
Do You Live in One of the 32 States that Has Been Fracked?
by Natural Resources Defense Council By Matthew McFeeley
Last month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a “progress report” on its ongoing study of hydraulic fracturing and the impacts of fracking on drinking water. The progress report contains a lot of interesting information, but one particular map caught my eye. The map shows that fracking has occurred in more states than previously known, including places like Arizona, Nevada and Maryland. All in all, we now know that fracking has occurred in at least 32 states since 2005.
Organic Seed v. Monsanto
PUBPAT encourages the public to not buy any products made with corn, soy, sugar, canola, cotton or alfalfa (this includes milk, as dairy cows eat alfalfa) unless you are certain it was made without any use of genetically modified seed. If you're not sure, call the manufacturer and ask. If they can't or don't give you a straight answer, then don't buy their product. The proponents of genetically modified seed have vigorously opposed labeling of genetically modified food here in America (although Europe and Asia have such labeling), so to make this effort easier on your fellow Americans, once you know whether certain products are derived from genetically modified seed or not, spread that information so others know. Increasing consumer awareness and demand for food not derived from genetically modified seed, even slightly, will increase the supply of the food we want, which will reduce prices and increase availability. If you want to purge genetically modified food from society, you can help do so every time you go to the grocery store or a restaurant. It's your money, spend it as you see fit.
SEC's Republicans won't back political disclosure rule
by By Sarah N. Lynch | Reuters – 20 hrs ago
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - There is not enough support among top U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission officials to advance a proposal that would require companies to disclose their political spending, a Republican commissioner said on Wednesday.
Daniel Gallagher said the agency had other priorities, and said the two Republican commissioners would not back such a measure.
With the SEC currently divided between two Democrats and two Republicans, the lack of support effectively kills for now the measure which has been pushed by disclosure activists.
ForestEthics Advocacy Responds to New Kinder Morgan Pipeline Expansion Proposal
Houston based energy giant Kinder Morgan announced that they planned to further expand their proposed pipeline through the most densely populated areas of the province of British Columbia. The company's Canadian representative held a telephone press conference yesterday announcing that they planned to formally file a proposal with the National Energy Board in late 2013 which would result in 890,000 barrels per day of tar sands oil moving through BC bringing over 400 oil tankers a day to Burrard Inlet and the Salish Sea. This represents an increase of over 100 tankers a year over their previous announced proposal.
Welcome to Blockadia!
by by Melanie Jae Martin, Jesse Fruhwirth
On January 10, Oklahomans marched on a section of the Keystone XL pipeline in Stroud, Okla., to launch a direct action campaign against the project. Just three days earlier, more than 100 activists stormed into the Houston headquarters of TransCanada, the corporation contracted to build Keystone. Meanwhile, a new tree-sit went up to block the path of the pipeline’s construction in Diboll, Texas. These actions represent the spirit of Blockadia—a vast but interwoven web of campaigns standing up against the fossil fuel industry and demanding an end to the development of tar sands pipelines.
Environmentalists, forest industry struggle to complete Great Bear Rainforest conservation plan
by Gordon Hamilton
Environmentalists are ready to give up on negotiations over the acclaimed Great Bear Rainforest conservation agreement, saying the forest industry is not moving quickly enough to achieve ecological and economic goals in the world’s largest temperate rainforest.
Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/technology/Environmentalists+forest+industry+struggle+complete+Great+Bear+Rainforest+conservation/7776998/story.html#ixzz2HpU24Wve
Leading Environmentalist Rebecca Tarbotton of Rainforest Action Network Dies at 39
Leading environmentalist and human rights champion Rebecca "Becky" Tarbotton, executive director of the organization Rainforest Action Network (RAN), has died at the age of 39.
According to RAN, Tarbotton died Wednesday on a beach in Mexico while vacationing with her husband and friends. The coroner ruled cause of death as asphyxiation from water she breathed in while swimming.
BEN webinar: Organic Food: A Fresh Look in a Year of Controversy
Presenters: Alexis Baden Meyer, Organic Consumers Association, and Jim Riddell from the University of Minnesota Southwest Research and Outreach Center
The Stanford University study questioning the nutritional value of organic over conventional food touched off a firestorm, but did it really help consumers evaluate organics or just create controversy (as evidenced by Dr. Oz's recent flip flop on the subject)? How is the Stanford study holding up to a few months of analysis? What are other recent studies showing about the importance of organics, and are they gaining the same attention? What about the impacts of different farming
techniques on our whole ecosystem as well as on our dinner table?
The Irish Media and the Corrib Gas Project
by by Foras Teamhrach
, The Speckled Blog
On the 22 April 2009, a protest was taking place at the site in Glengad, Co. Mayo where the Corrib Gas Pipeline is planned to come ashore. This site had been occupied by protesters for weeks, attempting to prevent the erection of fencing by Shell, despite the apparent lack of planning permission. Winner of the Goldman Environmental Prize and member of the Rossport 5 Willie Corduff lay under a Shell truck, preventing work from continuing. According to Mr. Corduff’s statement, in an attempt to remove him from beneath the truck, Gardaí threw stones and insulted him. At 11.30pm, what Shell to Sea describes as “a handful of protestors” unravelled some fencing surrounding the site. 
Let’s Keep Making Noise About Why Organics Matter
This is a guest post from Anne Pernick, Executive Director of Corporate Ethics International and the Business Ethics Network. The Business Ethics Network (BEN) is a project of Corporate Ethics International, a 501(c)(3) working to bring corporations back in service to and under the control of the citizenry.
This year has brought quite a dust up about organic food. The controversy tells us much more about our need to be spokespeople about the issues we care about than it does about organics, however.
Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/lets-keep-making-noise-about-why-organics-matter.html#ixzz2FBDST9Li
We got a copy of the subpoena Chevron sent a rebellious shareholder
by By Philip Bump
Chevron has a lot of money. Which is a good thing, because lawyers are expensive, and Chevron has developed quite an affinity for lawyers. And if you’re a Chevron shareholder who dares speak out, expect to hear from them.
The fossil fuel giant faces an $18 billion fine levied by a court in Ecuador stemming from massive pollution in the Amazon rainforest throughout the 1970s and ’80s. Chevron is understandably loathe to write a check for that amount, given that it constitutes almost nine months’ worth of 2011 profits (or, if you prefer, 25 days worth of revenue). Instead, it would rather unleash an army of esquires who are already on retainer.
Low-Power Radio is Open for Business: A Common Frequency Analysis
Washington – The Federal Communication Commission's (FCC's) historic 5th Reconsideration and Order, released on November 30, 2012, brings to a conclusion a decades-long struggle to fully legalize low-power (“pirate”) radio broadcasting and make unused space available to community groups for local radio services.
Stop the Silencing of Indigenous Voices in Russia
One of our Russian allies urgently needs your help!
Russian authorities shut down RAIPON, the main organization representing the indigenous peoples of the Russian Far East, Siberia, and the Arctic—because of a paperwork error.
RAIPON has long been a strong voice against Russia’s policies toward the country’s indigenous peoples. This attack on RAIPON is only the latest in a series of governmental measures designed to gain greater control over the vast, fossil fuel-rich territories of the Far North. These areas are mainly populated by indigenous peoples and federal and regional actions are increasingly targeting traditional forms of economic activity like subsistence hunting and fishing to weaken local cultures and traditions and undermine indigenous opposition to the government’s Arctic development plans.
Help us stop the attempts to silence Russia’s indigenous peoples who are fighting to maintain their traditional ways of life and to protect their communities from resource extraction projects, oil spills, and industrial pollution. Write to Russia’s President Putin today and demand that he ask Russian authorities to reinstate RAIPON and allow it to continue its important work both in Russia and internationally.
BREAKING: Sustained Hunger Strike Launched with Blockade at Valero’s Houston Refinery
UPDATE: 4:00 PM – Diane and Bob Refuse Their First Meal in Jail – The Hunger Strike Has Begun
Blockading the dirty fuel and chemicals entering the Manchester community was just the opening salvo of Bob and Diane’s action. Today the two lifelong friends begin a sustained hunger strike to demand that Valero, which has made the largest commitment to tar sands from Keystone XL, divest entirely from this dangerous project and invest that money into the health and well-being of the people of Manchester. Hunger strikers will begin their protest in theHarris County Jail.
Wal-Mart Worker Uprising: Protests Held At 1,000 Stores on Black Friday
Visit http://www.democracynow.org for the complete transcript, additional reports on this topic, and more information. Watch the independent, global news hour live weekdays 8-9am ET.
A wave of historic protests struck the retail giant Wal-Mart on Black Friday -- the busiest shopping day of the year. Workers and their supporters demonstrated at more than 1,000 stores. The Wal-Mart protests were organized in part by OUR Walmart, an organization backed by the United Food & Commercial Workers International Union. Nine people, including three Wal-Mart workers, were arrested at a protest in Los Angeles after they blocked traffic. We broadcast the voices of protesters in Secaucus, New Jersey, and speak to Josh Eidelson, a contributing writer for The Nation magazine.
To watch the entire weekday independent news hour, read the transcript, download the podcast, search our vast archive, or to find more information about Democracy Now! and Amy Goodman, visit http://www.democracynow.org.
First Nation and Metis groups denied effective access to justice
November 26, 2012 Fort McMurray, AB – Today the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) received a decision from the Alberta Court of appeal dismissing their application for leave to appeal a decision of the Joint Review Panel to not review the adequacy of Crown consultation before deciding whether to approve Shell’s Jackpine Mine expansion project. The First Nation is extremely disappointed and is currently reviewing their options to address the lack of adequate consultation with respect to Shell’s tar sands project.
Photos Show Walmart Apparel at Site of Deadly Factory Fire in Bangladesh
by Josh Eidelson on November 26, 2012 - 11:41 AM ET
NGOs are slamming Walmart following a Saturday fire that killed at least 112 workers at a Bangladesh factory supplying apparel to the retail giant. While Walmart says it has not confirmed that it has any relationship to the factory, photos provided to The Nation show piles of clothes made for one of its exclusive brands.
In a statement e-mailed Sunday night, Walmart expressed sympathy for the victims’ families, and said that it was “trying to determine if the factory has a current relationship with Walmart or one of our suppliers…” The company called fire safety “a critically important area of Walmart’s factory audit program,” and said that it has been “working across the apparel industry to improve fire safety education and training in Bangladesh.” Walmart added that it has “partnered with several independent organizations to develop and roll out fire safety training tools for factory management and workers.”
I pledge to take action on Black Friday!
By signing this petition, you're commit to contributing to a national movement for good jobs.
On the next page, you’ll find all the ways you can get involved:
Locate a planned action at a Walmart near you,
Help us make the cause go viral through Facebook and Twitter, and/or
Donate to the Action Fund to support workers on strike.
Walmart workers say that if Walmart doesn’t end its attempts to silence workers, they will make Black Friday a very memorable day for the company — complete with actions inside and outside the stores and a possible nationwide strike.
Stand with Walmart strikers now, and we’ll share with you all the great ways you can get involved.
Women's Voices for the Earth: Annual Report
Women’s Voices for the Earth is a national organization that works to eliminate toxic chemicals that impact women’s health by changing consumer behaviors, corporate practices and government policies.
Stand with Walmart Strikers on Black Friday
Across the country, Walmart employs 1.4 million people. We are not just the Associates that you see in stores, we are moms and dads, sons and daughters, husbands and wives working hard to support our families. We have been speaking out for good jobs with decent pay, regular hours, affordable healthcare and respect, but instead of working with us to make changes, Walmart has attempted to silence and retaliate against us for speaking out. Our jobs have been threatened, our hours cut, our schedules changed. Some of us have even been fired. We will not be silenced. Throughout the holiday season, including Black Friday, we will be standing up for an end to the retaliation against workers who speak out for what's right for our families, our communities and our country, and we hope that you will stand with us.
What is Community Rights? by Paul Cienfuegos
The national Community Rghts movement represents a local level cultural and legal strategy for communities, both conservative and progressive, it's not about ideology, to rein in corporate power.
If you're a single issue activist, as Paul Cienfeugos was for many years, using conventional methods, mostly regulation and protests, it's time to recognize corporate harms as merely symptoms of allowing corporations to claim constitutional "rights", sometimes referred to as corporate personhood. Join with Community Rights activists, be trained and guided, to pass enforceable laws that prohibit harms, by reigning in corporate "rights". Join 150 communities in eight states which have already done so.
Company Pledge Against Forced Child Labor in Uzbekistan Cotton
We, the undersigned companies are working to ensure that forced child labor does not find its way into our products. We are aware of reports documenting the systemic use of forced child labor in the harvest of cotton in Uzbekistan. We are collaborating with a multi-stakeholder coalition to raise awareness of this very serious concern, and press for its elimination.
As a signatory to this pledge, we are stating our firm opposition to the use of forced child labor in the harvest of Uzbek cotton. We commit to not knowingly source Uzbek cotton for the manufacturing of any of our products until the Government of Uzbekistan ends the practice of forced child labor in its cotton sector. Until the elimination of this practice is independently verified by the International Labour Organization, we will maintain this pledge.
If your company or brand is interested in signing on to the pledge, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Why Business Ethics Network?
"Through its trainings, resources and the dedication of its staff, BEN has played a critical role in my growth as a campaigner. I know that the skills I have gleaned from BEN have helped me to contribute more fully to successful campaigns. The network of leading corporate campaigners that BEN gathers together provides a wealth of knowledge, creativity and support that is unparalleled. I truly can’t imagine doing the work that I do without BEN." Tim Newman
Senior Organizer for Economic Justice, Change.org
formerly Campaigns Director, International Labor Rights Forum
We are a global network of culture jammers and creatives working to change the way information flows, the way corporations wield power, and the way meaning is produced in our society.
Tell Procter & Gamble to Strip 1,4-Dioxane Out of Tide Free & Gentle!
With a name like “Tide Free & Gentle®,” consumers trust this detergent to be safe. But it turns out that this popular product is hiding a nasty secret.
Test results in our recent report, Dirty Secrets, revealed high levels of a cancer-causing chemical called 1,4-dioxane hiding out in Tide Free & Gentle®.
CHEJ offers trainings that use different delivery options such as over the telephone, utilizing conference calls and power point tools, in communities around a particular issue or organizational need and in regional gathering with leaders in a region or across the country that have similar goals or the same issue.
Once a month a lunch time conference call is held for CHEJ group members and $100+ donors. The subject changes each month based upon a survey of group members needs. Several already held include,
Understanding & Using Social Media–Facebook, Twitter and Blogs
Successful Fundraising Events and Approaches and grant writing.
The Pros & Cons of Conducting A Health Study in Your Community
Download the 2012 Group Training Call Schedule
Non-group members are welcome to participate in one complimentary CHEJ training call. To have access to all training calls, please consider joining CHEJ as a community group, or making an individual donation of $100 or more.
Sign your name below to tell Wal-Mart to stop stocking Monsanto GM sweet corn.
Do you or anyone you know buy food at Wal-Mart? If you do, you could soon be eating Monsanto GMO corn — unmarked, unlabeled, and untested on humans — with toxins built right into the plant’s DNA.
Monsanto has released their first direct-to-consumer product, a genetically-modified (GM) sweet corn containing Bt toxin, designed to protect the plant by rupturing the stomach of any insect that feeds on it. Monsanto claims the toxin will break down before the corn makes it to your dinner table, but rats fed with the GM corn showed organ failure, and the toxin has been detected in the bodies of pregnant women.
Want to avoid this toxic product? Too bad – it will arrive on shelves unlabeled and untested on humans, starting with this years’ corn crop.
Consumers are fighting back. Thanks to consumer pressure, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and General Mills have all agreed to not use Monsanto’s GM sweet corn in any of their products. But Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest organic retailer, is holding out.
Shut Down the Corporations
Occupy Portland calls for a national day of non-violent direct action to reclaim our voices and challenge our society’s obsession with profit and greed by shutting down the corporations. We are rejecting a society that does not allow us control of our future. We will reclaim our ability to shape our world in a democratic, cooperative, just and sustainable direction.
Four ways enviros can keep Walmart in the hot seat
by Stacy Mitchell
This post concludes the “Walmart’s Greenwash” series. To check out the rest of the series, or start with the introduction.
Walmart’s sustainability campaign is not your typical corporate greenwash. It is more complex and clever than that. It has enough substance mixed in with the spin to draw you in. It’s easy to get swept up in the big numbers Walmart can roll out — like the 30 tons of plastic hangers it recycles every month — and to be charmed by the very fact of this giant company, with its hard-nosed corporate culture, using a word like “sustainability.”
The Caging of America
Why do we lock up so many people?
by by Adam Gopnik January 30, 2012
, New Yorker
Northern impersonality and Southern revenge converge on a common American theme: a growing number of American prisons are now contracted out as for-profit businesses to for-profit companies. The companies are paid by the state, and their profit depends on spending as little as possible on the prisoners and the prisons. It’s hard to imagine any greater disconnect between public good and private profit: the interest of private prisons lies not in the obvious social good of having the minimum necessary number of inmates but in having as many as possible, housed as cheaply as possible. No more chilling document exists in recent American life than the 2005 annual report of the biggest of these firms, the Corrections Corporation of America. Here the company (which spends millions lobbying legislators) is obliged to caution its investors about the risk that somehow, somewhere, someone might turn off the spigot of convicted men:
Read more http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/atlarge/2012/01/30/120130crat_atlarge_gopnik#ixzz1kuhGPsLt
Greenpeace ad labels Asia Pulp & Paper a tiger killer
Greenpeace launched an advertising campaign today illustrating the consequences of Asia Pulp & Paper’s (APP) rainforest destruction on the critically endangered Sumatran tiger in Indonesia. The tiger-themed advertisement, appearing in locations across Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, features a striking image of a Sumatran tiger skull along with the title ‘Extinct Sumatran Tiger Exhibit: brought to you by Asia Pulp & Paper.’
Our statement on recent threats to Canadian civil society
by Valerie Langer, Director of BC Forest Campaigns
Today’s stories in the press are just the next shoe to drop in a targeted campaign by the oil industry and the Harper government to silence Canadians who are concerned about the controversial Enbridge pipeline. The interests of the few, including massive multinational corporations that own large investments in the Tar Sands, are being put above the citizens and First Nations who oppose highly controversial projects like the Tar Sands that threaten the health and well-being of Canada’s future generations.
I am Canadian, and along with thousands of other Canadians I have deep concerns about the Enbridge pipeline and super tankers on our coast and am horrified that my government is threatening to disband the hearings in order to quell opposition.
State of Corporate Power 2012
Who are the global 1%? What companies do they run? How do they escape accountability? Check out TNI's powerful infographic displays that expose the social and environmental costs of global corporate power.
The economic, social and ecological crises humanity face are no accident, but a result of policies pursued by a small corporate elite that has systematically hijacked political and economic policy throughout the world.
This global elite - best known as the Davos class - meets annually in the Swiss skiing resort in the last week of January to reaffirm their faith in the orthodoxy of pro-corporate economic policies. They continue to do so, even as the costs become ever more clear in debt crises that are never resolved, rising unemployment and inequality, and an ever-pressing ecological crisis.
TNI, as part of its new Corporate Power project, is producing a series of infographics over 2012 that expose the reality of corporate power, and our need to fundamentally change direction. Please download and share these infographics, and watch out for new ones over the coming months.
Send a message to Trader Joe's CEO
You know Trader Joe’s – the grocery chain that bills itself as an ethical alternative to the big-name stores? Well, it turns out they’re not so friendly to the workers who pick the tomatoes they sell to us.
Trader Joe’s CEO is refusing to sign the Fair Food Agreement with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), a group of farm workers in Florida who have successfully pressured corporate giants like Taco Bell and McDonald’s to agree to ensure that farm workers in their supply chains get treated humanely and get paid at least one penny more per pound of tomatoes they pick.
1021 Days After Citizens United: The Election
The world has changed. This is not the democracy you were told you would grow up to inherit, a government of, by and for the people. This is a different world. Here, unlimited sums of cash flow directly into elections thanks to the newly empowered super PACs. A series of court rulings, including the infamous Citizens United v. FEC Supreme Court case, unleashed these outside spenders to favor special interests above all else. Over the last two years, these shadowy groups have gotten stronger and stronger, infecting our televisions, radios, websites, newspapers and billboards with messaging that we can’t control or track. On Election Day — 1021 Days Later — this shadowy epidemic will be raging out of control. That’s where you come in.
Shale-Shocked: Fracking Gets Its Own Occupy Movement
by Ellen Cantarow
, Tom Dispatch
This is a story about water, the land surrounding it, and the lives it sustains. Clean water should be a right: there is no life without it. New York is what you might call a “water state.” Its rivers and their tributaries only start with the St. Lawrence, the Hudson, the Delaware, and the Susquehanna. The best known of its lakes are Great Lakes Erie and Ontario, Lake George, and the Finger Lakes. Its brooks, creeks, and trout streams are fishermen’s lore.
"We the People" does not mean we the corporations.
United for the People
The Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United v. FEC has focused America's attention on the dangerous influence of corporate power in our democracy and the urgency of taking all necessary measures to undo that influence, including amending the Constitution.
Generations of Americans have amended the Constitution over the years to ensure that "We the People" means all the people, not just the privileged few. The Citizens United case, which opened the floodgates to unlimited corporate spending to influence elections at all levels of government, has brought home the importance of amending the Constitution to ensure that "We the People" does not mean we the corporations.
We believe that America works best when our government is of, by and for the people. Although we have differences in scope and tactics, all of us are united in the understanding that the Court's decision in Citizens United must be remedied by amending the Constitution in order to restore the democratic promise of America.
Representation Without Taxation: Fortune 500 Companies that Spend Big on Lobbying and Avoid Taxes [PDF]
These 280 companies spent a total of $2 billion lobbying on tax and other issues between 2008 and 2010.
The report explains why exploiting offshore tax havens is an example of tax dodging at its worst and that at least 22 of the Dirty Thirty reported subsidiaries in offshore tax havens like the Cayman Islands. Since profit artificially shifted offshore is often counted as “foreign” profits, the data likely underestimates the amount lost due to tax havens.
To stop the abusive use of tax havens, we lawmakers must end rules allowing U.S. companies to defer taxes on their offshore profits. In the meantime, there are concrete steps Congress can take that would stop the worst of the abuses by requiring more honest rules and reporting.
To limit corporate money in elections, lawmakers should:
• Require full and honest disclosure – the public should know who is funding what candidates
• Empower shareholders – the shareholders that own corporations should have a say in how corporations spend their money on elections
• Reverse Citizens United