brands under fire

March Against Monsanto Attracts Hundreds of Thousands Worldwide

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 27, 2013 01:16 PM

When Tami Canal created a “March Against Monsanto” Facebook page back in late February, she would have been happy to get a couple of thousand people to come out and make some noise against the seed-manufacturing giant that has been under fire for creating genetically modified plants. 

Instead, hundreds of thousands of Camal’s compatriots came out to march in over 52 different countries to show their displeasure with Monsanto, according to the Associated Press. They dressed up as bananas and devils and carried signs with slogans such as “Real Food 4 Real People” and the punning “Give Bees a Chance.”

It was also a sign that Canal's movement had arrived with global support for Occupy Monsanto as a brand-specific off-shoot of the Occupy Wall Street brand of activism.Continue reading...

brands under fire

As Death Toll Rises in Bangladesh Factory Collapse, Brands Face Scrutiny Over Ethics (Updated)

Posted by Sheila Shayon on April 26, 2013 05:33 PM

The death toll in the latest Bangladesh garment industry disaster has risen to more than 300 as rescue crews continue to pull survivors from the rubble of Rana Plaza and search for an estimated 500 workers still missing, with more than 2,500 already rescued.

In the aftermath of the garment factory collapse in Dhaka, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called for those responsible to turn themselves in. It is believed that the building owner and factory owners are in hiding after ignoring warnings from police and industry officials to forbid workers to enter the building after cracks were discovered on Tuesday. The building collapsed on Wednesday. 

"Whoever might be the culprits, and if even they belong to our party, they won't go scot-free," the impoverished nation's Prime Minister warned. (Update: The factory owners were arrested on Friday night, when the death toll had risen to 336.)

The disaster shines a light, yet again, on global apparel companies that outsource manufacturing to Bangladesh, a practice that has ballooned into an $18 billion industry as clothing companies continue to adandon manufacturing in China, where inflation and rising wages are pushing up costs. The upshot: Bangladesh and its questionable garment industry is now the world's second-biggest garment manufacturing center.Continue reading...

truth in advertising

NRA Tries to Burnish Mayors' Brand by Questioning Ad's Authenticity

Posted by Abe Sauer on April 17, 2013 01:07 PM

"Acting!" That's the NRA's much anticipated response to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's "Mayors Against Illegal Guns" ad featuring a gun owner who admits to supporting comprehensive background checks for gun purchases.

The NRA claims that because the organization will not give out the name of the ad's star, he must be an actor. Also, because he's mishandling the gun in the ad—something no real pro-gun owner would ever, ever do—he must be a plant. Now one blog is offering a bounty on the actor's identity to prove the NRA correct.

It's the latest turn in the increasingly petty back and forth between gun rights and gun control advocates.Continue reading...

Google Glass Foes Highlight Rising Privacy Concerns

Posted by Sheila Shayon on April 3, 2013 11:15 AM

Six European nations are challenging Google's privacy policies it emerged on Tuesday—just after the announcement that its privacy director was stepping down. Later this year, when Google Glass hits the market, privacy issues are already emerging as Google’s wearable tech, estimated retail price $1,500, brings seismic change to the scientific landscape and to what's possible with personal computing.

Google, on the defensive, argues that its already-filled "Glass Explorer" program of Google Glass public beta-testers "will give all of us the chance to be active participants in shaping the future of this technology, including its features and social norms."Continue reading...

brands under fire

Kraft Defends Mac ‘N Cheese Food Coloring to Cheesed Off Bloggers

Posted by Mark J. Miller on April 2, 2013 01:31 PM

For many parents, tiredly pouring the little pouch of mysterious dry ingredients that comes in your Kraft Macaroni & Cheese box into the pasta and watching the whole thing turn a scary orangish color is a rite of passage. There are some, though, who are alarmed (and awake) enough to try and put an end to it

Vani Hari mostly writes her Food Babe blog from North Carolina, but she recently traveled to Northfield, Illinois, to pay a visit to Kraft Foods HQ in Northfield, Illinois, on Monday and demand that the company stop putting yellow #5 and yellow #6 dyes in its food, as Hari noted in a blog post.

Kraft, of course, wasn’t backing down. "The safety and quality of our products is our highest priority and we take consumer concerns very seriously," a Kraft spokeswoman said in a statement, the Chicago Tribune reports. "We carefully follow the laws and regulations in the countries where our products are sold."Continue reading...

sip on this

Dunkin’ Donuts Prepares for New York Big Soda Ban as Starbucks Shrugs

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 8, 2013 03:35 PM

New York politicians are making life difficult for anybody who sells sugared beverages, but it doesn't stop there. Recently, Dunkin’ Donuts came under fire from state comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, who doesn't usually deal with what restaurants serve to their customers.

The state’s pension fund owns 51,400 shares of Dunkin’ Brands Group (worth around $2 million) and DiNapoli has been working toward getting any companies the fund invests in to be more involved in sustainable practices, the New York Times reports. As a result of DiNapoli's work, Dunkin’ said Thursday that it would announce in the second quarter a timetable for obtaining the palm oil it uses in its products from sustainable sources.

“Consumers may not realize that many of the foods and cosmetics they eat and use contain palm oil that has been harvested in ways that are severely detrimental to the environment,” DiNapoli said in a statement. “Shareholder value is enhanced when companies take steps to address the risks associated with environmental practices that promote climate change.”

Meanwhile, Dunkin’ and other coffee vendors in New York City are preparing for the difficult task ahead of informing its customers about which of its drinks have more sugar than the new Mayor Bloomberg-pushed, American Beverage Association-opposed, NYC sugary drinks ban allows. According to the Times, Dunkin’ Donuts is handing out fliers to inform its customers while Starbucks is waiting until the rule goes into effect Tuesday before taking any action.Continue reading...

brands with a cause

Marriott, Avon Help Shine UN Global Spotlight on Women

Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 4, 2013 11:10 AM

Women's issues are top of mind, with International Women's Day on March 8th and the the 57th Session the main focus of the United Nations' Commission on the Status of Women now underway in New York, with about 700 related events taking place March 4-15.

Kicking off CSW, UN Women executive director Michelle Bachelet today formally convened the 57th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (follow on Twitter at #CSW57). The recent gang-rape and murder of a student in Delhi and the One Billion Rising campaign drew global attention, Bachelet notes: "2012 demonstrated that this [violence] is a terrible reality for many women every day. I'm an optimistic woman and I believe it's clear that we can't continue in the 21st century with this terrible violation of women's human rights."

More than 6,000 UN officials, NGO workers and women's rights activists are expected in New York to debate and create action around the issues, lobbying behind the efforts to counter the work of rightwing groups and countries such as Iran, Russia and the Holy See who are already calling for “removal of key lines of this year's draft document that relate to reproductive health and rights, and those that suggest governments take responsibility for tackling gender violence,” notes the Guardian.Continue reading...

sustainability

Greenpeace Challenges Fashion Industry to Become Environmental Leaders

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 7, 2013 06:46 PM

As many high-end brands show off their latest designs at New York Fashion Week, Greenpeace has a big message for the fashion world at large: It's time to clean up your act.

The latest from Greenpeace’s global Detox campaign is its “Fashion Duel,” with Italian actress Valeria Golino leading the charge for the industry to make environmental stewardship a priority in their operations.

The "duel" sets out to rate 15 Italian and French high-end luxury brands on three areas of the global supply chain — leather, pulp and paper and toxic water pollution — and highlights their differences in policy on toxic water pollution and deforestation.Continue reading...

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