brands under fire
Posted by Barry Silverstein on May 29, 2013 11:31 AM
Walmart's brand has taken a steady battering over the past year, and part of it is related to sustainability.
Last March, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance issued a report called "Walmart's Greenwash" that said the leading retailer's sustainability campaign "has done more to improve the company's image than to help the environment." According to the report, Walmart's greenhouse gas emissions are increasing rapidly and its energy efficiency and renewable projects are "too modest" for the size and scale of the company's operations.
Add to that Walmart's latest environmental slap in the face: On May 28, the company pleaded guilty to dumping hazardous waste in California and Missouri, agreeing to pay more than $81 million in fines. In the greater scheme of things, the money is the least significant portion of the problem for Walmart. With $27.87 billion of operating profit last year, The Atlantic estimates that $81 million is little more than a single day's worth of profit for the retailer.Continue reading...
brands under fire
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
Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 10, 2013 03:47 PM
Greenpeace is targeting Coca-Cola in its latest campaign, a crowd-funded TV ad that is a call-to-action for Australia’s "Cash for Containers" recycling program, which they say the giant bottler has sabotaged. “Behind Coke’s slogans and sunshine, the beverage giant is trashing Australia,” said Reece Turner, senior campaigner at Greenpeace Australia Pacific.
In March, Coca-Cola won its court case to stop a recycling refund scheme in the Northern Territory—a program that doubled recycling rates and has run successfully in South Australia for more than 30 years, according to Greenpeace. The program added 10 cents to retail prices for manufacturers like Coke, but consumers would get a refund for recycling the containers in appropriate bins.
Clean Up Australia estimates that Australians use between 13 to 14 billion drinks containers a year and that 45 percent of the plastic waste that is collected on Clean Up Australia Day is beverage industry-related. “This loose rubbish is estimated to affect up to 65 percent of Australian seabirds. Some mistake the plastic for food. When they swallow too much, their tiny stomachs become so full they're unable to ingest any food—literally starving to death on a full stomach,” according to Greenpeace.Continue reading...
brands under fire
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...
brands under fire
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...
what girls want
Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 18, 2012 10:30 AM
What do girls want? For one big sister this holiday season, the right for her brother to have the same toys in a non-stereotypical design. Almost 45,000 signatures and a slew of international headlines later, McKenna Pope, the 13-year-old who started the online petition at Change.org to convince Hasbro to consider boys in their marketing and design scope for the Easy-Bake Oven, has scored a big win for gender equality.
McKenna and her family met with execs at Hasbro on Monday and came out all smiles. Execs at the Pawtucket, R.I., HQ of the toy manufacturer, as AP reports, were deighted to show her design prototypes for Easy-Bake ovens colored black, silver, or blue — ready for her brother and other boys eager to get Easy-Baking.
Pope’s quest had started when she wanted to get her four-year-old brother, Gavyn Boscio, an Easy-Bake Oven for Christmas. After all, he had shown a love for food prep by attempting to “cook on top of a lamp's light bulb” at their New Jersey home. Pope only found ovens in pink or purple and the boxes only featured girls in its marketing images.
So Pope went out and scored more than 40,000 signatures on a Change.org petition, the support of a slew of male celebrity chefs such as Bobby Flay, and a meeting with Hasbro, which now says it is going to unveil the new oven at the annual Toy Fair in New York this coming February. Consumers who are looking to purchase Easy-Bake ovens that aren’t pink and purple will be able to snag them next summer. Plus, the new ovens will come with a boy or two pictured on the box as well.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 17, 2012 12:03 PM
All PR is good PR, right? Getting your brand name in front of as many eyeballs as possible can’t hurt, especially if the eyeballs are attached to bodies that are participating in a fun, engaging activity and so moved to purchase? Well, no.
The eyeballs of Britain have been staring down hard at Starbucks after it surfaced that that the coffee giant has paid only £8.5m ($13.8 million) in tax in the UK since entering the country 14 years ago despite having £3bn ($4.8 billion) in sales in that same time. In the last three years, the company paid exactly nothing in corporate tax in the UK. Some financial wizards at the company (or that the company consulted) figured out a way to make this a legal possibility. It involves the UK division of the company buying its coffee from the Swiss division in order to circumvent the tax charges.
Starbucks has agreed to voluntarily cough up £20m ($32.4 million) over the next two years to help make amends, but the dust-up hasn't settled yet. It's sponsoring an ice skating rink at London’s Natural History Museum, where Jessica Alba took her daughter for a spin. A big screen is pulling in Twitter messages with the hashtag of #spreadthecheer — and some wags took the opportunity to #spreadthesneer.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 13, 2012 02:01 PM
Following in the wake of Zara's capitulation, Levi’s is now the 11th brand to bow to pressure from Greenpeace's global Detox campaign. The denim giant has committed to eliminate releases of all hazardous chemicals throughout its supply chains and products. Still being pressured: Calvin Klein, Gap, and Victoria’s Secret as part of the green campaigner's goal “to expose brands until the use - and abuse - of hazardous substances is totally eliminated.”
The world’s largest denim brand, has agreed to eliminate all releases of hazardous chemicals throughout its entire supply chain and products by 2020. The commitment comes eight days after Greenpeace launched its “Toxic Threads: Under Wraps” report targeting global fashion brands releasing toxins in Mexico's rivers, resulting in a digital groundswell with more than 210,000 people calling on Levi’s to Detox, tens of thousands taking action on Facebook and Twitter, and over 700 people protesting outside Levi’s shop fronts in over 80 cities worldwide.
As part of its Zero Discharge Commitment, Levi’s (as outlined in a blog post) will start requiring 15 of its largest suppliers in China, Mexico and elsewhere in the Global South to disclose pollution data as early as June 2013, followed by compliance from 25 additional major suppliers by the end of 2013.Continue reading...