24 TED Talks That Will Help Save the Food System
TED is a non-profit devoted to "ideas worth spreading", and you can find literally thousands of free--inspiring and awesome--talks from experts and innovators around the world. We've decided to highlight 24 TED talks specifically around food issues that we found compelling and worth sharing.
Avoiding the fire next time
by Economist Staff
, The Economist
After the Dhaka factory collapse, foreign clothing firms are under pressure to improve working conditions at Bangladeshi suppliers, or to go elsewhere. The fire that swept through the Triangle Shirtwaist factory in New York in 1911, killing 146 people, was the catalyst for big improvements in industrial working conditions in America. The collapse on April 24th of Rana Plaza—an eight-storey complex of clothing factories, near Dhaka, Bangladesh—was far deadlier, killing at least 400. Although the tragedy has led to calls for safer factories in Bangladesh and other developing countries, it is far from certain that this will happen.
G20 - People in, corporate sponsors out
It's unbelievable. The G20 -- the most powerful summit of world governments -- meets tomorrow to discuss the global economic crisis, and who is sponsoring the meeting? Banks and corporations!
No wonder the site of the meeting -- the French city of Cannes -- is completely locked down to any ordinary citizens, while banks and large corporate CEOs have all access passes to tell our governments what to do.
Wal-Mart cleared to buy South Africa's Massmart
South African competition authorities have given the go-ahead to US store giant Wal-Mart's $2.4bn (£1.5bn) bid for local retailer Massmart.
It has imposed conditions on the bid, such as a ban on firing workers in the first two years.
Nils Gilman: Deviant Globalization [video]
by The Long Now Foundation
Nils Gilman describes deviant globalization as "the unpleasant underside of transnational integration."
These are not marginal, "informal" activities. These are enormous, complex businesses straight out of the Harvard Business Review. The drug business in Mexico, for example, employs 400,000 people. A thousand-dollar kilo of cocaine grows in value by 1400-percent when it crosses into the U.S. -- nice profit margin there.
The Plundered Planet [video]
by Paul Collier
, Policy Innovations
It is a pleasure to welcome him back to this Public Affairs Program, on the publication of his latest book, The Plundered Planet: Why We Must—and How We Can—Manage Nature for Global Prosperity. This work builds upon his renowned research on developing countries and the poorest populations. The same skills that Professor Collier displayed in his earlier texts are evident once again, which is to say, straightforward explanations, humor, and accessibility. It is also a bit more personal, in that he talks about his own struggle to reconcile the quest for global prosperity with an ethical approach to the natural world.
[PDF] Human Rights and Sustainability: A Corporate Perspective
by Edward Potter & Marika McCauley Sine, Coca-Cola,
In particular, upholding internationally recognized human rights based on declarations and treaties has not been viewed as part of business activity. In our view, this is not a position on which global U.S. business can hope to survive and thrive in today’s globalized economy.
ViewPoint: The Looting of Equatorial Guinea
by Bill Baue
In July 2009, Human Rights Watch released a report entitled Well Oiled: Oil and Human Rights in Equatorial Guinea. In this commentary, HRW Director of Business and Human Rights Arvind Ganesan links this tiny Sub-Sahara African countries’ oil wealth to government corruption and human rights abuses.
Beyond the Fence: A Journey to the Roots of the Migration Crisis
by Dori Stone
Inspiring stories of Mexico’s farmer to farmer movements restoring degraded hillsides and watersheds, reclaiming old methods of seed saving and seed exchange, and incorporating the latest agroecological techniques developed by other farmers and agroecology scientists and practitioners.
Privatising water is denying people a human right: UN President
by Bobby Ramakant, Citizen News Service (CNS) Dated:
The President of the United Nations General Assembly has told delegates at the 5th World Water Forum (WWF) in Istanbul, Turkey, that, "those who are committed to the privatization of water, making it a commodity like oil, are denying people a human right as basic as the air we breathe."
Mexico state and Canadian union sign migrant worker protection pact
by United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) [Canada] Dated:
On Tuesday, February 24, Wayne Hanley, the National President of UFCW [United Food & Commercial Workers] Canada, and Governor Leonel Godoy Rangel from the State of Michoacán signed a landmark co-operation agreement to ensure that the human and labour rights of agricultural workers from Michoacán, Mexico are recognized and enforced while they work in Canadian fields and greenhouses.
Ma Jun: China's environmental patriot
...Ma [Jun] now takes the fight to polluters, shaming factories on a website run by his non-governmental organisation the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs (IPE).
Peru mining security firm faces investigation
A Peruvian security company that works for some major international mining firms faces a congressional investigation after [the National Coordinating Committee for Human Rights] accused it of beating and abusing protesters in 2005
Toward a new day for trade
Human Rights for Workers
In a letter sent to Congress on February 7, more than 350 organizations representing faith, family farm, labor, consumer, and environmental groups said they strongly support Senate and House action to “replace the failed trade policies of the past with those that deliver broadly shared benefits.”
Chevron urges U.S. to revoke Ecuador trade
by Tom Lobianco
Chevron executives are renewing efforts to have Ecuador's preferential trade status with the U.S. revoked next month…Chevron and its subsidiary Texaco have been locked in a legal battle in the South American country since 1993 when…
Does Legalizing Prostitution Work?
by H. Mees
, Policy Innovations
Prostitution is virtually the only part of the personal services industry in the Netherlands that works. One can't get a manicure in Amsterdam without booking an appointment two weeks in advance, but men can buy sex anytime—and at an attractive price. The legalization of prostitution in October 2000 merely codified a long-standing Dutch tradition of tolerance towards buying and selling sex. But is legalization the right approach?
Neo-colonialism and the farms-race
by E. Reguly
, Globe and Mail
The Arab states invest their oil fortunes in the craziest things, from the proposed Mile-High Tower in Jiddah to the indoor ski resort in dry-as-dust Dubai. Perhaps the craziest idea yet is Saudi Arabian wheat. Some 30 years ago, the lake- and river-less kingdom decided it should be self-sufficient in wheat.
Detainee deaths in Va. raise questions about immigration detention practices
Immigration advocates say the second death of an illegal immigrant being held in a Farmville, Va. jail underscores a lack accountability in U.S. detainee practices. Immigrant detainees at the Piedmont Regional Jail in Farmville, Va. have recently come forward to expose conditions of medical neglect that contributed to the November 2008 death of immigration detainee Guido Newbrough. Autopsy reports show that he died from a virulent staph infection.
Beef drives 80% of Amazon deforestation
by R. Butler
Nearly 80 percent of land deforested in the Amazon from 1996-2006 is now used for cattle pasture, according to a report released today by Greenpeace at the World Social Forum in Belem, Brazil.
Industrial pollution chokes people, crops alike
by Mirza Shakil and Pinaki Roy
, Daily Star
Ammonia mixed toxic gas and urea dust emitted from Jamuna Fertiliser Factory (JFF) in Jamalpur have allegedly been wreaking havoc on the local environment and causing debilitating illnesses among the locals.
by Siddharth Kara
Globalization has increased the supply of trafficked sex slaves, driving down prices and feeding "consumer" demand. Siddharth Kara uses a unique business analysis of the problem to show how the profitability of the supply chain can be disrupted by raising the risks and penalties for traffickers.
Treasury: deficit hits new record in just 3 months
by Martin Crutsinger
, Evansville Courier & Press
The federal government already has run up a record deficit of $485.2 billion in just the first three months of the current budget year. And economists say the imbalance for the full year could easily top $1 trillion, pushed to that eye-popping level by the spending the government is likely to do to combat the recession and the most severe financial crisis in generations.
Stuffed and Starved
If you’ve been following the debates around the international food crisis, you’ll have spotted a new and odd bit of language coming from the progressive corner. In defence of a sustainable food system, activists are summoning up a new and portentous term -- ‘food sovereignty’.
Amazon rainforest damage surges 67% in 2008
The area of rainforest in the process of being deforested — razed but not yet cleared — surged in the Brazilian Amazon during 2008, according to new figures released by Brazil's National Institute for Space Research (INPE). The announcement comes shortly after the Brazilian government reported a 4 percent increase in forest clearing for the year.
Dim Christmas spirits in Detroit
by Paul Eisenstein
But the holiday lights - the ones people have bothered to put out - seem dimmer than usual, reflecting the mood of the few folks you see at the department stores normally packed wall-to-wall in the final days before the holidays begin.
Aid Effectiveness beyond Accra: good governance & anti-corruption 2010
by Daniel Kaufman
, Kaufman Report
Let us not exult. The last minute changes are far from path-breaking. But they are encouraging because they ‘officially’ recognize the role of independent Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) as third party monitors and as active participants in the policy dialogue; they support local (not donor) ownership of development programs, and they commit to transparency in aid and to a few timelines for progress on selected areas (such as on reducing aid fragmentation and duplication).
Battle in a Poor Land for Riches Beneath the Soil
by Lydia Polgren
Until last year, the only trigger Amoumoun Halil had pulled was the one on his livestock-vaccination gun. This spring, a battered Kalashnikov rifle rested uneasily on his shoulder. When he donned his stiff fatigues, his lopsided gait and smiling eyes stood out among his hard-faced guerrilla brethren.
Why not get arrested today!
Representatives of millions of Greenpeace supporters from around the world arrived at the doorstep of the Japanese Prime Minister in Tokyo today to demand an end to the political persecution of two Greenpeace anti-whaling activists, and an end to Japan's whaling in the Southern Ocean. Embassy actions are scheduled around the world today and tomorrow.
Hervé Kempf on Corporate Watchdog Radio [w/AUDIO]
by Hervé Kempf, Bill Baue, Francesca Rheannon
, Chelsea Green
Some view the negative impacts of economics and environment as separate. But Hervé Kempf sees financial inequality and environmental destruction as inextricably linked. The author of How the Rich Are Destroying the Earth, Kempf says the wealthy of the world are living unsustainable lifestyles, and everyone else is also trashing the Earth trying to keep up with the rich Joneses. The solution? Move away from materialism and growth.
Wal-Mart: A bully benefactor
by Marc Gunther
- Children who are forced to pick cotton in Uzbekistan, farmers scratching out a living in Guatemala and salmon fishermen in Bristol Bay, Alaska, would not seem to have much in common. But all are feeling the global impact of Wal-Mart.
The Little REDD Book
Global Canopy Programme
Ahead of the the UN Climate Change meeting on Dec 1st in Poznan, the "Little REDD Book" is a guide to aid understanding of the UN mechanism for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD). The mechanism will be a major issue of discussion at Poznan and getting it right represents the single biggest opportunity to help halt deforestation in developing countries.
In China’s Mining Region, Villagers Stand Up To Pollution
by Zhou Jigang and Zhu Chuhua
After decades of living with fouled rivers and filthy air, residents of China’s Manganese Triangle are rising up and refusing to accept the intolerable conditions created by illegal mining activity. Their bold protests have shone light on the dark side of China’s economic boom. From Sichuan province, Chinese journalists Zhou Jigang and Zhu Chuhua report.
The Wealthy Farm Africa
In the face of food shortages and with demand for biofuels growing, an increasing number of wealthy nations are buying up land in developing countries, particularly in Africa, to ensure a steady supply of crops.
All Starbucks' coffee to be Fairtrade
by Martin Hickman The Independent
Starbucks is to make every cappuccino, mocha and latte it sells in Britain Fairtrade in an attempt to reverse a sales slump that has hit its global expansion
The (Tuna) Tragedy of the Commons
by Andrew Revkin
There was new evidence early this week that the world has not yet absorbed just how deeply humans have depleted our “exhausted oceans.” At the latest meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, created under a treaty 42 years ago to manage shared fisheries in that ocean, European governments ignored a strong recommendation from the group’s own scientific advisers for deep cuts in some harvests of the Atlantic bluefin tuna.
The grades are in! TV manufacturers put to the test
With only three months to go until the digital TV conversion, the Electronics TakeBack Coalition (ETBC) today released its new TV Recycling Report Card, grading the major TV manufacturers on their efforts to establish national programs to take back and recycle their old TVs. More than half of the 17 companies ranked scored a failing “F” grade, because they have no recycling program in place. Sony received the highest grade, a B minus, with other companies scoring C's and D's.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) turns 60 on 10 December 2008. On Human Rights Day 2007, the United Nations Secretary General launched a year-long UN system-wide advocacy campaign to mark this important milestone. The initiative celebrates the Declaration and the promise that has made this document so enduring: “Dignity and justice for all of us”.
Myanmar jails dissidents for 65 years
by Aung Hla Tun
Myanmar's military junta sentenced at least 11 dissidents involved in monk-led protests last year to 65 years in jail on Tuesday, opposition figures said, a major blow to the pro-democracy movement before a 2010 election.
NRG rejects Exelon's $6.1B buyout offer
by Mark Williams
Power generator NRG Energy Inc. on Sunday rejected an unsolicited $6.1 billion all-stock bid from nuclear power giant and utility operator Exelon Corp., calling the offer that would create the nation's largest power company too low.
IEN-Canadian Indigenous Tar Sands Campaign
"If we don't have land and we don't have anywhere to carry out our traditional lifestyles, we lose who we are as a people. So, if there's no land, then its equivalent in our estimation to genocide of a people." George Poitras, Mikisew Cree First Nation
Agency calls on Mexico to protect migrants
Mexico's National Human Rights Commission asked legislators on Sunday to change the country's laws so that police would no longer have to ask migrants about their legal status when they file criminal complaints.
President Obama’s Big Climate Challenge
by Bill McKibben
And so our eight-year interlude from reality draws to a close, and the job of cleaning up begins. The trouble is, we’re not just cleaning up after a failed presidency. We’re cleaning up after a two-century binge.
Mexico Pays Fishermen to Help Save a Species
by Elisabeth Malkin
About 800 fishermen in the northernmost crook of the Gulf of California have taken up the government’s offer of payments to stop fishing with nets and, in some cases, to stop fishing altogether, Mexican conservationists said on Tuesday.
London is THE Fairtrade city!
Hundreds of London-based businesses have given their backing to a campaign that will see the capital become the world's largest Fairtrade City.
Experts Call For Environmental Action In Arab World
Arab leaders should take urgent action to address water shortages, air and marine pollution, and other environmental problems, a new report warns. Released at the annual conference of the Arab Forum for Environment and Development in Bahrain, the report is a first-ever look at the region’s eco-challenges by independent experts.
Bananas and guns
After the factual proffer was filed in the case against Chiquita Brands International before the US District Court of the District of Columbia on March 14, 2007, in which it was verified Chiquita Brands International, through its subsidiary in Colombia, Banadex S.A., made monthly payments for over six years to the paramilitary structures in the regions of Urabá and Santa Marta,
Shadow and Light
Photographer Ed Kashi has documented the stark contradictions between the abundance of Nigeria’s oil and the poverty that overshadows daily life in the Niger Delta. Asume Isaac Osuoka is an advocate for transparency and accountability, and works to ensure that extractive industry revenues benefit the people who live amid Nigeria’s vast natural resource wealth. In this multimedia piece produced by OSI and partner Revenue Watch Institute, Kashi and Osuoka describe the struggles of the Niger Delta’s citizens and the dire need for fair and responsible revenue management.
Zero Issue 2008: The World Food Crisis and the Right to Food
There is currently no international publication that monitors the concept of food as a human right and keeps track of patterns of right to food violations while also monitoring their impact. The Right to Food and Nutrition Watch is therefore the first publication of its kind as it provides a systematic compilation of best practices for the realization of the right to food and also documents where violations have been committed.
Indonesian Officials Unveil a Deal to Protect Forests
by James Kanter
All 10 provincial governors of the island of Sumatra agreed to a deal to protect endangered forests, a move that could help control planet-warming emissions, Indonesian authorities said Thursday at a global conservation conference here.
Nature loss 'dwarfs bank crisis'
by Richard Black
The global economy is losing more money from the disappearance of forests than through the current banking crisis, according to an EU-commissioned study.
Body Shopping: The Economy Fuelled by Flesh and Blood
by Donna Dickenson
, Buy at Powell's * Support BEN
Our tissues, genes, and organs are becoming, in the words of the head of one pharmaceutical company, 'the currency of the future'. From the trafficking of women for their eggs to 'beauty junkies', Dickenson reveals the ingenious ways that body parts are converted into profits. Drawing on 20 years of insider knowledge, Dickenson's sweeping exploration goes beyond the horror stories to suggest a range of strategies to bring the global biotechnology industry to heel.
Wal-Mart China Unions!
Within two months of starting an intense campaign to get Wal-Mart China stores to sign collective contracts, the Chinese labor union has declared success.
Cotton Symbolises Global Trade System’s 'Iniquity'
by Francis Kokutse
The international cotton trade has been a sad tale for West African countries. The region produces five percent of the world’s cotton and 15 percent of the global cotton fibre trade. Yet West African cotton farmers are among the poorest in the world.
Hungry for Justice: How the World Food System Fails the Poor
Inequalities in the world's food system have been aggravated by recent developments to create the much talked-about food crisis. But what is behind the headlines? This new series delves into agrofuels, trade policy, corporate concentration, climate change, and rising demand to help sort out the real causes of the crisis and what needs to be done about it.
Human Trafficking and Abusive Conditions ~ for WalMart
National Labor Commitee
There are approximately 1,400 guest workers at the Mediterranean factory—from Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and India. All of the guest workers are currently on strike due to the abusive conditions and gross violations of their fundamental rights. The workers sew clothing for Wal-Mart (White Stag label) and Hanes (Champion).
Illegal People: How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants
by David Bacon
, Buy at Powell's * Support CEI/BEN
For two decades veteran photojournalist David Bacon has documented the connections between labor, migration, and the global economy. In Illegal People Bacon explores the human side of globalization, exposing the many ways it uproots people in Latin America and Asia, driving them to migrate. At the same time, U.S. immigration policy makes the labor of those displaced people a crime in the United States. Illegal People explains why our national policy produces even more displacement, more migration, more immigration raids, and a more divided, polarized society.
India Grapples With How to Convert Its Farmland Into Factories
by Somini Sengupta, New York Times
Barely a month before Tata, one of India’s most powerful conglomerates, was due to roll out the world’s cheapest car from a new factory on these former potato and rice fields, a peasant uprising has forced the company to suspend work on the plant and consider pulling out altogether.
China Plans Massive $3.5 Billion GM Crops Push
by Jeremy Elton Jacquot, Los Angeles
Driven by the increasingly pressing need to provide a stable food supply for its surging population (1.3 billion and growing), China has decided to engineer its own "Green Revolution" by embarking on a massive $3.5 billion GM crops R&D initiative, reports Science's Richard Stone.
Two Chevron Lawyers Indicted in Ecuador
by Alison Frankel The American Lawyer
Chevron's Ecuadorean quagmire got deeper and dirtier Friday, with the announcement that two longtime lawyers for the company have been indicted by the Ecuadorean government.
With White House Push, U.S. Arms Sales Jump
by Eric Lipton
, NYT Online
The Bush administration is pushing through a broad array of foreign weapons deals as it seeks to rearm Iraq and Afghanistan, contain North Korea and Iran, and solidify ties with onetime Russian allies.
Planet of Slums
by Mike Davis
, Buy at Powells * Support CEI/BEN
According to the United Nations, more than one billion people now live in the slums of the cities of the South. In this brilliant and influential book, Mike Davis explores the future of a radically unequal and explosively unstable urban world.
The truth about GM
by Colin Tudge
, The New Statesman
Will GM technology feed the world - or destroy farming, and human health, in the name of corporate profit? How can we tell, when the science is up for sale?
Is America Losing At Globalization?
by Daniel Gross
In the just-completed summer Olympics, America's status as the globe's athletic hegemon was clearly under attack. The United States won the overall medal race, edging out China 110 to 100.
Bayer Pesticides Cause Mass Death of Bees
OCA/Coalition Against Bayer
The German Coalition against Bayer Dangers today brought a charge against Werner Wenning, chairman of the Bayer Board of Management, with the Public Prosecutor in Freiburg (south-western Germany). The group accuses Bayer of marketing dangerous pesticides and thereby accepting the mass death of bees all over the world. The Coalition introduced the charge in cooperation with German beekeepers who lost thousands of hives after poisoning by the pesticide clothianidin in May this year.
Immigrants, Unions and the New U.S. Labor Market
by Immanuel Ness
In recent years, New Yorkers have been surprised to see workers they had taken for granted—Mexicans in greengroceries, West African supermarket deliverymen and South Asian limousine drivers—striking, picketing, and seeking support for better working conditions.
Doha Talks Breakdown; USDA on CRP
Alan Beattie and Frances Williams reported yesterday at the Financial Times Online that, “The Doha round of global trade talks, now in its seventh year, broke up without agreement on Tuesday after nine days of tense negotiations.
The Supermarket Revolution Moves Into Honduras
by Dan Charles
· With food prices soaring and more people going hungry, many developing countries are trying to boost their food production. But it's not enough to grow more food; farmers also need better ways to sell it. Small farmer, meet Wal-Mart.
Shipping Costs Start to Crimp Globalization
by Larry Rhoter
, New York TImes Online
When Tesla Motors, a pioneer in electric-powered cars, set out to make a luxury roadster for the American market, it had the global supply chain in mind. Tesla planned to manufacture 1,000-pound battery packs in Thailand, ship them to Britain for installation, then bring the mostly assembled cars back to the United States.
Gender, Climate Change & Human Security
Commissioned by the Greek chairmanship (2007-2008) of the Human Security Network, this study explores the interlinkages between gender, climate change and human security. Authors: Irene Dankelman, Khurshid Alam, Wahida Bashar Ahmed, Yacine Diagne Gueye, Naureen Fatema and Rose Mensah-Kutin. (2008)
U.S. Government OK's Illegal Trafficking in Hazardous Electronic Waste
Basel ACtion Network
On the opening day of the 9th Conference of Parties to the Basel Convention, taking place in Bali, Indonesia, the Basel Action Network (BAN) today slammed the US Environmental Protection Agency for sponsoring and funding the development of a U.S. e-waste recycling standard that knowingly allows US "recyclers" to continue to export some lead-tin soldered circuit boards to countries that are likely to forbid their importation from the US.
Project KALEIDOSCOPE Report
As You Sow
As You Sow, Disney, McDonald’s and Other Investors Took Part in Project Kaleidoscope, Multi-Year Project to Improve Working Conditions in Corporate Supply Chains
Gaveling Down the Rabble:How "Free Trade" Is Stealing Our Democracy
by Jane Anne Morris
In Gaveling Down the Rabble, author/activist Jane Anne Morris explores a century and a half of efforts by corporations and the courts to undermine local democracy in the United States by using a "free trade" model. It was that very nineteenth-century model that was later adopted globally by corporations to subvert local attempts at protecting the environment and citizen and worker health.
Senate Vote Shows Growing Support for Global Warming Legislation
Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS)
48 senators voted to end a filibuster and allow a meaningful debate on the Lieberman-Warner-Boxer Climate Security Act of 2008, but there was not enough support to overcome the tactics of senate obstructionists. Despite the fact that the Senate did not move forward today, the debate demonstrated growing momentum for passing a national global warming policy, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).
No more bananas?
by Johann Hari
, Seattle Pi
Below the headlines about rocketing food prices and rocking governments, there lays a largely unnoticed fact: Bananas are dying. The foodstuff, more heavily consumed even than rice or potatoes, has its own form of cancer. It is a fungus called Panama Disease, and it turns bananas brick-red and inedible.
Grand Inga: Leaving Africans in the Dark?
The potential to profit from the world's largest dam project – the Grand Inga hydropower scheme, proposed for the Congo River – drew bankers, engineering firms and industrial interests to London in April 2008 to discuss financing for the $80 billion project.
Does Being Ethical Pay?
by Remi Trudel and June Cotte
, Wall Street Journal Online
For corporations, social responsibility has become a big business. Companies spend billions of dollars doing good works -- everything from boosting diversity in their ranks to developing eco-friendly technology -- and then trumpeting those efforts to the public.
Food and Water Watch
After a series of safety scares about imported seafood in 2006 and 2007, U.S. consumers are recognizing that more than 80 percent, about 10.7 billion pounds of the seafood they eat, comes from outside the United States. Much of it is imported from Asia and Latin America, regions that have potentially unsafe production practices. Claiming to have discovered the solution to U.S. reliance on imported seafood, the Bush administration is promoting legislation that would allow federal ocean waters to be leased out for industrial fish farming, also known as offshore aquaculture, open water aquaculture, or open ocean aquaculture.1
PROMOTION AND PROTECTION OF ALL HUMAN RIGHTS,
by John Ruggie
, Special Representative of the Secretary-General
Responding to the invitation by the Human Rights Council for the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises to submit his views and recommendations for its consideration, this report presents a conceptual and policy framework to anchor the business and human rights debate, and to help guide all relevant actors. The framework comprises three core principles: the State duty to protect against human rights abuses by third parties, including business; the corporate responsibility to respect human rights; and the need for more effective access to remedies. The three principles form a complementary whole in that each supports the others in achieving sustainable progress.
Global Unions Challenging Transnational Capital through Cross-Border Campaigns
by Kate Bronfenbrenner
, Buy at Powells / Support BEN
Bronfenbrenner (director of labor education research, School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell U.) presents ten papers form the February, 2006 conference, "Global Companies--Global Unions--Global Research--Global Campaigns," which brought together representatives of labor unions, non-governmental organizations, and academia with the overall goal of strengthening labor's ability to conduct corporate research and run cross-border campaigns against transnational companies.
The Naked Employee - buy from UCS and support CEI/BEN
by Frederick S. Lane III
, UCS Labor Catalog
This is an important book for any worker or union activist who has reason to be concerned about workplace privacy issues, ranging from the monitoring of telephones and computers to the trend toward the required wearing of electronic badges that trace your every movement -- even to the point of monitoring how long you’re in the bathroom or washing your hands.
In Justice Shift, Corporate Deals Replace Trials
by Eric Lichtblau
, New York Times
In 2005, federal authorities concluded that a Monsanto consultant had visited the home of an Indonesian official and, with the approval of a senior company executive, handed over an envelope stuffed with hundred-dollar bills. The money was meant as a bribe to win looser environmental regulations for Monsanto’s cotton crops, according to a court document. Monsanto was also caught concealing the bribe with fake invoices.
The World Bank - Dirty linen
DENOUNCING sleaze and kickbacks has long been fashionable among the bosses of the World Bank. Back in 1996, James Wolfensohn piously vowed to root out the "cancer of corruption" and even made some modest internal efforts at reform. His successor, Paul Wolfowitz, also made the issue a priority, linking it to his goal of making aid effective. Both men genuinely tried to tackle the scourge. And yet this week saw yet another bank boss, Robert Zoellick, forced into the spotlight by yet another scandal.
We are all Chinese
by Peter Bosshard
, SF Chronicle
China is rapidly buying up the world's resources. The new global superpower is exploring oil fields in Africa and Central Asia, drilling for gas in Burma, building hydropower dams in the Mekong region, prospecting for minerals in the Congo and cutting down forests in Indonesia.
The Cost of Power: Coal Mining and Human Rights in Colombia
by Aviva Chomsky and Orlando Acosta
I’m going to talk about Drummond, because it is a North American company. It arrived in Colombia in 1987. It obtained a claim to exploit coal in a region of ten thousand hectares in the Caribbean region of Colombia. This mine is in Cesar province. In 1995, when the shaft was opened, the workers, because of the company’s pressures and violations of their rights, became unionized in order to resist. This is open-pit mine. When they took away the top layer of land to get down to where the coal is, the communities living in the areas surrounding the mine were displaced. Moreover, the water sources in those areas were removed, obstructed, so the ecosystem changed as well.
Japan's Obstructionist Position On Illicit Trade Protocol Earns Marlboro Man Award
Negotiations toward a protocol on illicit tobacco trade to the global tobacco treaty, formally known as the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), opened yesterday. While many countries voiced their commitment to a protocol that will require tobacco corporations to assume responsibility for their supply chains, provide financial disincentives to the illicit tobacco trade, and prevent government collaboration with the tobacco industry, Japan earned the first Marlboro Man Award of the protocol negotiations.
Rocky Shoes sweatshop abuses shed light on failed trade model amid primary contest
Human rights and labor organizations in Ohio today called on presidential candidates and Governor Ted Strickland to adopt "sweatfree" purchasing policies to stop tax dollar support for sweatshop abuses that have sent thousands of Ohio jobs overseas. The call comes as the groups exposed workplace abuses in a Rocky Shoes-contracted facility in China, where as many as 4000 workers went on strike last month to protest non-payment of wages.
The Responsibility Paradox
by Gerald F. Davis, Marina V.N. Whitman, and Mayer N. Zald
, Stanford Social Innovation
In Early 2007, thousands of cats and dogs in North America fell ill with kidney ailments. Many of the pets had dined chez Menu Foods Inc., a company in Ontario, Canada, that manufactures pet foods for more than 100 brands, including Procter & Gamble, Iams, Colgate-Palmolive’s Science Diet, and Wal-Mart’s Ol’ Roy. By mid-April, investigators had traced the animals’ illnesses to melamine, an industrial chemical that tainted a few of Menu Foods’ raw ingredients. They then followed the thread to two suppliers in China, which had spiked the ingredients to cut costs and boost profits.
Three Thousand Workers Strike in Jordan Sewing for Wal-Mart and Other Companies
Since Monday, December 10, 2007, three thousand foreign guest workers, 50 percent of them young women--1,500 from Sri Lanka, 900 from Bangladesh, 400 from India and 100 from Nepal - - have been on strike. At least 10 workers were beaten by the police. Before going on strike, the workers had written to the Jordanian Ministry of Labor seeking help, but received no response.
The War on Bugs
by Will Allen
, Buy at Powells and Support BEN
Will Allen is an organic farming visionary. A true activist, entrepreneur, and expert, he understands the complexities of farming first hand and the impact that commercialization has had.
Sharing the Harvest: A Citizen's Guide to Community Supported Agriculture, Revised and Expanded
by Elizabeth Henderson
, Buy at Powells and Support CEI
To an increasing number of American families the CSA (community supported agriculture) is the answer to the globalization of our food supply. The premise is simple: create a partnership between local farmers and nearby consumers, who become members or subscribers in support of the farm. In exchange for paying in advance—at the beginning of the growing season, when the farm needs financing—CSA members receive the freshest, healthiest produce throughout the season and keep money, jobs, and farms in their own community.
If Nature Had Rights
by Cormac Cullinan
, Orion Magazine
IT WAS THE SUDDEN RUSH of the goats’ bodies against the side of the boma that woke him. Picking up a spear and stick, the Kenyan farmer slipped out into the warm night and crept toward the pen. All he could see was the spotted, sloping hindquarters of the animal trying to force itself between the poles to get at the goats—but it was enough. He drove his spear deep into the hyena.
U.S. Timber law clears first hurdle.
Environmental Investigatin Agency
The House Committee on Natural Resources this morning unanimously passed the bipartisan Legal Timber Protection Act (LTPA), H.R. 1497. The vote propels this landmark bill to combat the United States’ role in the global illegal logging problem one key step closer to becoming U.S. law.
Companies not doing enough to protect rights of indigenous peoples, says EIRIS
Ethical Investment Research Services (EIRIS) and the Centre for Australian Ethical Research (CAER) today released a joint report exploring the challenges and opportunities faced by companies operating in areas where the rights of indigenous peoples are threatened. The report also analyses the measures companies are
implementing to address indigenous and land rights issues.
A Backlash for Big Retail in India
by Madhur Sing
, Time/New Delhi
October is the beginning of India's festive season, a time when shopkeepers' profits soar amidst the gift-giving and all-round revelry tied to Hindu holidays like Dussehra and Diwali. Last week however, some 7,000 small shopkeepers, street vendors and traders shuttered their businesses to gather in the district of Azad Maidan in south Mumbai (formerly Bombay). Carrying placards saying SAVE SMALL RETAILERS, they forewent the day's earnings in order to march in protest against big national and international chain stores like Reliance Retail and Wal-Mart, who the shopowners say are threatening their livelihoods.
ADM, Bunge, Cargill: the ABCs of Rainforest Destruction
, Rainforest Action Network
Oct. 10th, 2007-Today, the Rainforest Action Network turned up the heat on US Agribusiness giants ADM, Bunge, and Cargill. Early this morning, when employees arrived at the Chicago Board of Trade, they were met with a massive banner, reading: “ADM, Bunge, Cargill: the ABCs of Rainforest Destruction.”
Manifestos on the Future of Food and Seed
by Vandana Shiva,Michael Pollan, Carlo Petrini
, Buy at Powells and Support BEN
Manifestos on the Future of Food and Seed lays out, in practical steps and far-reaching concepts, a program to ensure food and agriculture become more socially and ecologically sustainable. The book harvests the work and ideas produced by thousands of communities around the world. Emerging from the historic gatherings at Terra Madre, farmers, traders, and activists diagnose and offer prescriptions to reverse perhaps the worst food crisis faced in human history.
Protestors Rage Against North America Summit
Agence France Presse
A meeting of US, Canada and Mexico leaders on Monday and Tuesday has attracted “an eclectic group” of demonstrators united in opposition to further integration of North America.
Hundreds of anti-globalization protestors, environmentalists, peaceniks, and civil rights groups joined to taunt Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper, US President George W. Bush, and Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon.
A Country That Works: Getting America Back on Track
by Andy Stern
, Buy at Powells and Support BEN
As the newsmaking president of the fastest-growing, most dynamic union in America, he has led the charge for modernizing the "house of labor" — taking unions out of the past and into the twenty-first century. He has spearheaded the campaign against the "Wal-Marting" of jobs and has innovated transformative solutions to the daunting problems facing Americans, from job insecurity to runaway health care costs. In this powerful critique and call-to-arms, he offers a revelatory dissection of the gathering threats to our standard of living — threats that our politicians have failed utterly to address — and he puts forth a bold, unassailable plan for making vital reforms...
Dictionary of Globalization
by Andrew Jones
, Buy at Powells and Support BEN
The Dictionary of Globalization provides a critical overview of the contemporary globalization debate, bringing together all the disparate elements of a vast and ever-growing literature.Framed by a lively introductory chapter which examines the emergence and propulsion of this concept into widespread usage, the dictionary comprises an A-Z of entries covering every major aspect of the globalization debate from 9/11 to Zapatistas, the World Bank to the World Social Forum...
The New Rulers of the World
The film looks at the new rulers of the world -- the great multinationals and the governments and institutions that back them -- the IMF and the World Bank. Under IMF rules, millions of people throughout the world lose their jobs and livelihood.
Not for Sale
Not for Sale is an engaging documentary that explores some little known aspects of global trade agreements like the WTO. Patents and other intellectual property rights are expanding what corporations can own and control -- from things like machines, to knowledge and even living creatures. What does this mean for the environment, our food supply, and human rights?
Local action: a new initiative aims to deglobalize the Bay Area's economy
by Jeff Goodman
, San Francisco Bay Guardian Online
January 3rd, 2007
"In what some experts are hailing as a first for sustainability movements in the United States, a coalition of policy organizations has unveiled a comprehensive campaign to reduce the Bay Area's reliance on global markets in favor of a more locally based economy..."
Fences & Windows
by Naomi Klein
, Buy at Powells and Support BEN
This is a history of the rise of the anti-globalization movement, from Seattle to September 11th, 2001. The text charts the group's most notable successes and its failures and is international in scope. It covers all aspects of the topic, social, legal, and political...
Destroy and Profit: Wars, Disasters and Corporations
Focus on the Global South
January 1st, 2006
"The essays in this volume provide a remarkable portrait of the hothouse
brew of corruption, cronyism, unilateralism, neoliberal rhetoric,
protectionism, and good old American nationalism that has marked the
Bush administration’s approach to post-war and post-disaster reconstruction..."
by Avi Lewis & Naomi Klein
"In the wake of Argentina's dramatic economic collapse in 2001, Latin America's most prosperous middle class finds itself in a ghost town of abandoned factories and mass unemployment. The Forja auto plant lies dormant until its former employees take action. They're part of a daring new movement of workers who are occupying bankrupt businesses and creating jobs in the ruins of the failed system..."
Community Redress and Multinational Enterprises
by Alice Palmer
, Foundation for International Environmental Law and Development
November 1st, 2003
"Christian Aid and Friends of the Earth have commissioned this paper to examine the obstacles
and options for international approaches to community redress for the harmful effects of
multinationals’ activities on people and the environment. Encouraged by the recent adoption by
UN experts of human rights norms for business, Christian Aid and Friends of the Earth are also
looking beyond the social and environmental obligations that bind business to consider what can
be done to guarantee communities redress when harm is done. Compared with small and
medium-size enterprises, multinationals have the greatest capacity to cause harm to people and
the environment on a global scale and to use political, financial and legal leverage to avoid being
brought to account..."
Corporate Breakdown- The Retail Giants Global Expansion and Local Concerns
by Petra Kjell
, New Economics Foundation
April 2nd, 2003
"The world’s largest company by revenues is no longer an oil-company - it is a supermarket. Wal-Mart’s revenues reached $218bn in 2001, overtaking both Exxon Mobil and General Motors, and are expected to continue rising. Much has happened since the early days of the supermarket, when independent local retailers got together under control by its consumer members in the co-operative movement..."
Transnational Corporate Beneficiaries of World Bank Group Fossil Fuel Project 1992-August 2002
by Jim Vallette
, Sustainable Energy and Economy Network a Project of the Institute for Policy Studies
September 1st, 2002
"SEEN’s ongoing study of World Bank Group financing for fossil fuels finds that the big
winners of this globalization game are some of the largest transnational corporations in
the world. Of the world’s ten largest corporations , five are among the WBG’s top 15
private welfare recipients. Shell, the world’s eighth biggest corporation, benefited from
over $1.93 billion in World Bank projects since 1992, and ranks third among all firms.
BP-Amoco and Exxon Mobil , the world’s second and fourth largest corporations,
benefited from around $900 million in WBG financing a piece..."
Enron's Pawns: How Public Institutions Bankrolled Enron's Globalization Game
by Jim Vallette & Daphne Wysham
, Sustainable Energy & Economy Network
March 22nd, 2002
"Since 1992, at least 21 agencies, representing the U.S. government,
multilateral development banks, and other national governments,
helped leverage Enron’s global reach by approving
$7.219 billion in public financing toward 38 projects in 29
The now-fallen giant, until recently the country’s seventh
largest corporation, marched into risky projects abroad,
backed by the “deep pockets” of government financing and
with the firm and at times forceful assistance of U.S. officials
and their counterparts in international organizations. Enron’s
overseas operations rewarded shareholders temporarily but
often punished the people and governments..."
Water for Sale
War on Want
February 1st, 2002
"Here in the UK we know only too well how the privatisation of essential
public services has led to a deterioration of standards and attacks on worker’s
pay and conditions of service.UNISON has been at the forefront in
campaigning for good quality public services as our Positively Public Services
campaign has shown.
However it is clear that the battle for public services extends beyond these
shores.The pressures to privatise essential services like water and sanitation
remain considerable and show no signs of abating..."
Public Disclosure of the Sweatshop Practices of American Multinational Garment/Shoe Makers/Retailers: Impacts on Their Stock Prices
by Michael T. Rock
, Hood College
August 1st, 2001
"The anti-sweatshop movement burst in the American public's consciousness in the 1990s. By the late 1990s, an eclectic group of 43 American NGOs and a growing number of international organizations were engaged in the movement. But, as yet, there are no rigorous empirical studies of the impact of anti-sweatshop actions on those firms accused of relying on sweated labor. This paper addresses this lacuna by using the event study technique to empirically assess the impact of public disclosure of firms' sweatshop practices on their stock prices. The paper finds that public disclosure does indeed cause firms' stock prices to fall, sometimes substantially. This, no doubt, explains the rush by these firms to voluntary codes of conduct..."
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