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Put an end to
Tell Apple to protect its workers from dangerous chemicals.
Samsung is the most popular cell phone manufacturer in the world. In 2013, Samsung sold an estimated 550 million phones worldwide or nearly twice as many phones as the US population. The story behind these flashy, high-tech gadgets, however, is a disturbing one.
Workers in Samsung’s facilities in China and Korea work long hours for little pay and often do not have adequate safety training or equipment to keep themselves safe on the job. Hundreds of former Samsung workers have become ill after working with dangerous chemicals in its plants in Korea. Most upsetting of all, children younger than 16 were recently found to be working in a Samsung facility in Dongguan, China.
These abuses are in violation of national laws, international labor law, and Samsung’s own Global Code of Conduct, which states that the company will treat workers in a fair and legal manner, will not endanger worker health and safety, and will not hire underage workers.
Hundreds of thousands of people are estimated to work in Samsung’s supply chain around the world. No company should be able to get away with endangering so many people or employing young children, just to turn a profit. And, with profits of $36 billion last year, it is completely shameful that Samsung is relying on child labor.
Join Green America and China Labor Watch in holding Samsung accountable so that no more workers are mistreated or endangered while making Samsung’s products.
An estimated 1.4 billion Capri Sun pouches are landfilled or littered each year in the United States. Stacked end to end, that’s enough pouches to wrap around the Earth almost five times (121,527 miles). It’s nearly half-way to the moon!
Capri Sun pouches are made by bonding aluminum and several layers of plastic together making them difficult or impossible to recycle. Only an estimated 2% are collected nationwide, which means that nearly every Capri Sun pouch has been wasted or littered since they were introduced in the 1970s.
These single use products have to be constantly manufactured from scratch, requiring more energy use and extraction of virgin natural resources. They are also a huge problem for the oceans. Food and beverage containers like Capri Sun pouches are among the top 5 items found on beaches and coastlines.
Please join with Green America’s Better Paper Project and the Make It, Take It Campaign to tell Capri Sun manufacturer Kraft Foods to take responsibility for its packaging waste.
Dominion Resources, an electric power and energy company, is seeking to construct a massive facility at Cove Point, MD to liquefy and export fracked natural gas. The facility, on the imperiled Chesapeake Bay, would export gas to Asia. Exporting Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) is the wrong national policy and will significantly increase global warming.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has released a draft “Environmental Assessment” of the $3.8 billion fracked gas export proposal that Dominion Resources has put forward. This weak assessment fails to capture the range of dangers inherent in the project.
FERC should serve the public interest -- not the interests of the gas industry. FERC’s Environmental Assessment for Cove Point is far less thorough than a full Environmental Impact Statement would be, and concludes that the LNG plant won’t “significantly” affect the “quality of the human environment.” Ask the people who live nearby, subject to a range of impacts from pollution to possible explosions, if they agree.
Exporting Liquefied Natural Gas uses tremendous resources that we should instead deploy for clean energy development. Approval of the Cove Point facility will only worsen the climate crisis and encourage fracking throughout the mid-Atlantic region.
We need Americans in every state to contact FERC to oppose the Cove Point LNG plant! If Cove Point is built, it could open the door for more plants to be built nationwide. Exporting LNG is a model that will not serve our nation or the planet. FERC is now accepting public comments – please send your message today urging FERC to reject Dominion’s Cove Point application.
Submit your public comment today – Deadline is June 13!
Protect Workers from Dangerous Chemicals?
Here's the App for That!
*By pushing this button you are signing our letter to Apple to protect workers in their supplier factories from toxic chemicals.
Is there something that all Americans can get behind these days? A way to protect our health and communities for generations to come? We can achieve this with a clean energy future!
How can we help make a clean energy future a reality? One way is by investing in clean energy and energy efficiency technologies.
A new, innovative way to expand investment in solar, wind, and other proven technologies is through a proposed, new Treasury bond called the Clean Energy Victory Bond. On April 8, 2014, Representatives Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Doris Matsui (D-CA) introduced the Clean Energy Victory Bonds Act of 2014 to build our clean energy economy.
Modeled after World War II Victory bonds (one of the most successful fundraising efforts in US history), Clean Energy Victory Bonds (CEVBs) will allow citizens to invest directly in the deployment of renewable energy in the United States.
Backed by the full faith and credit of the United States, CEVBs will allow any American to invest as little as $25. We expect the sale of the bonds to raise up to $50 billion, which would leverage an additional $100 billion from private and public investors. The money raised would fund essential tax credits to renewable sources like wind, solar, and geothermal, as well as companies specializing in energy-efficiency. These investments have the potential to lessen the demand for fossil fuels, reduce the amount of CO2 poured into the atmosphere, and create one million good US jobs that cannot be shipped overseas.
The bill - H.R. 4426 - is currently co-sponsored by 29 representatives, listed at right.
If your representative is NOT on this list, please take our action below to urge her or him to support Clean Energy Victory Bonds. Please also consider calling your rep to share your support for CEVBs by phone. If your representative is ALREADY listed as a supporter, you may edit our letter below into your own expression of thanks.
The Inspector General’s Office of the Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a March 2014 report documenting the failure of the DOJ and the FBI to prioritize prosecuting those responsible for the massive mortgage fraud that helped to tank our economy. Millions of Americans continue to suffer the consequences of greed-driven and illegal banking practices that contributed to our nation’s worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.
The new report states that “DOJ did not uniformly ensure that mortgage fraud was prioritized at a level commensurate with its public statements. For example, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Criminal Investigative Division ranked mortgage fraud as the lowest ranked criminal threat in its lowest crime category.”
Incredibly, “According to FBI Criminal Investigative Division officials, certain complex financial crimes are not assigned a priority ranking.” That is pretty incredible when you consider our nation lost $3.4 trillion in real estate wealth from July 2008 to March 2009. The report also found that despite congressionally approved budget increases, “the number of FBI agents investigating mortgage fraud as well as the number of pending investigations decreased” during the period covered by the budget increase.
So now we see even more clearly why the banking executives who gambled with our economy have not been brought to justice. But there is still time for justice to be served.
Please sign the letter below to Attorney General Eric Holder, demanding that the DOJ make mortgage-related crimes an immediate top priority. Senator Elizabeth Warren and Representatives Elijah Cummings and Maxine Waters are now urging the Attorney General “to ensure that the (DOJ’s) efforts to identify and prosecute those responsible for fraudulent mortgage practices are equal to the harms such crimes have caused our constituents.”
Take action today to demand justice for the millions of Americans foreclosed upon since the financial crisis began.
Ask Starbucks to commit to serving only organic milk from cows not fed GMOs at all of its locations.
Starbucks. Easily one of the world’s most popular and widespread coffeehouse brands, Starbucks has paved the way for the modern mass coffeehouse industry with its promotion of its corporate social responsibility and consistently strong branding.
One area of improvement? Starbucks dairy milk.
While not genetically modified themselves, dairy products are not immune to the insidious impacts of GMOs. Cows living in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are fed a grain diet comprised almost entirely of genetically modified corn, soy, alfalfa, and cotton seed. These crops degrade the quality of our land and water, perpetuate corporate-controlled agriculture, and have potentially negative health impacts on livestock. Additionally, the overuse of antibiotics in industrialized farming is contributing to the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, putting us all at risk.
With biotech giants Monsanto, Dow Chemical, and Syngenta lending power to industrialized agriculture, the future of our food system rests in the hands of profit-driven corporations, while people and the planet come last on the list of priorities.
Starbucks boasts nearly 20,000 retail stores in over 60 countries. With its global presence, Starbucks must prove its true dedication to sustainability and provide organic dairy milk at all of its locations to support a sustainable future for all.
Starbucks is already a leader in the coffee shop industry by serving rBGH-free dairy and using only USDA-certified organic soy milk. By setting the same organic standard for dairy milk, Starbucks can demonstrate a serious commitment to providing environmentally and socially conscious products.
Ask Starbucks to step up to the plate and commit to serving organic dairy milk at all of its locations.
Seventy-five percent of the world’s population owns a cell phone, billions of which are made in China. In the United States, there are nearly 330 million active cell phones, more than one phone per person. As manufacturers rush to meet the rising demand for new and ever-cheaper consumer electronics, they often sacrifice the health and safety of workers.
Smartphones are regularly made in factories where workers do not have adequate training or protective gear for handling toxic substances. Exposure to dangerous chemicals can lead to cancer, leukemia, nerve damage, liver and kidney failure, and reproductive health issues, depending on the chemical and level of exposure.
There are hundreds of chemicals that are routinely used in electronics manufacturing processes—some are known carcinogens and reproductive toxins, and others are largely untested. Manufacturers do not readily disclose the chemicals they are using. Protective gear and rigorous trainings on safe handling are needed but often not enforced, and problems of exposure are sometimes not detected until workers are already sick.
An estimated 1.5 million people work in Apple’s supplier factories in China. Committing to eliminate benzene, n-hexane and other chemicals known to be harmful to human health from Apple’s supply chain would help prevent more workers from losing their lives or livelihoods because of occupational illnesses from making iPhones.
Join Green America in calling on Apple to ensure that no more workers are poisoned while making Apple products and that workers who have become ill receive adequate treatment.
Put an end to
Tell Apple to protect its workers from dangerous chemicals.
As of Jan. 8, 2014, the EPA has posted its much-delayed carbon pollution standards for new power plants to the Federal Register, which means the public has 60 days to submit comment. (UPDATE, 3/10/14: Comment period now extended through May 9, 2014.) Already, those who oppose the new rule are mobilizing to flood the EPA with comments critical of the "Obama War on Coal." We need to show that citizens coast-to-coast support limits to the carbon pollution new coal-fired power plants may emit.
According to the EPA's own report, electric power plants produce the largest share of the atmospheric CO2 emitted in the US, and at present there are no national limits these emissions from power plants. The proposed new limits would impose a standard of environmental responsibility that would encourage innovation and investment in lower-carbon technologies, new energy infrastructure, and increased energy efficiency.
Please take our action below to send a message of support directly to the EPA, or check out the EPA's own guidelines for submitting comment on this proposal.
There's great news to start 2014.
There’s no more GMOs in "original" Cheerios!
This is all due to the constant pressure that GMO Insiders kept on the company for one year.
On a page posted on the Cheerios website at the beginning of the year, the company states: “It’s the unique and simple nature of original Cheerios that made this possible – and even that required significant investment over nearly a year.” It also says “we were able to change how we source and handle ingredients to ensure that the corn starch for original Cheerios comes only from non-GMO corn, and our sugar is only non-GMO pure cane sugar.”
This is thanks to all of you who took our actions throughout the last year - calling, e-mailing, posting on Facebook, and participating in our Cheerios "Send Back Attack." Cheerios’ Facebook page has been awash in concerns around GMOs for months, and over 37,000 people wrote to the company to ask for no more GMOs in Cheerios.
Please take a moment to thank General Mills for its first step in taking the GMOs out of original Cheerios, and as a next step, ask General Mills to get Cheerios 3rd party verified. General Mills listened to YOU. Please let them know you appreciate it.
The holidays are upon us and our country is entering the biggest buying season of the year. Americans will spend a total of $586.1 billion dollars in November and December — and an average of $646 per person on gifts alone.
The impact on people and planet of all our consumption is staggering.
America's most irresponsible corporations profit hand-over-fist, without regard to the true environmental cost, labor injustice, or excessive waste.
But it’s not all bah, humbug… You do have a choice.
Please stand with Green America and pledge to shift 20% or more of your holiday spending away from cookie-cutter consumerism and one-use waste—instead supporting local, green, handmade and homegrown businesses!
When you include organic and Fair Trade ingredients in holiday meals, make your own gifts and gift wrap, and choose greener gifts — it’s a great way to show the joyous side of going green.
I pledge to consume less and spend wisely this holiday season.
When I do make holiday purchases, I pledge to shift 20% or more of my spending away from cookie-cutter consumerism and one-use waste; and towards local, green, Fair Trade, handmade and homegrown businesses that produce sustainable goods for people and the planet.
Together, if all American households shift just 20% of our holiday spending to green purchases, we could steer nearly $11.6 billion toward green jobs and the green economy.
That's $5.8 billion toward businesses that build community… $5.8 billion toward recycling, composting, and reuse… $5.8 billion toward reduced energy use… $5.8 billion toward fair supply chains that protect workers and stop sweatshop abuses.
It's my way of telling big-box stores and greedy CEOs it's time to start investing in a clean energy future, paying fair wages, valuing local communities, and protecting the planet we all share!
Dean Foods. You might not have heard their name, but as one of the largest processors and direct distributors of dairy products in the U.S., you might have bought one of their products before. Garelick Farms, Alta Dena, Country Fresh, Berkeley Farms, Mayfield Dairy - all brands owned by Dean Foods.
Land O'Lakes is also one of the nation's largest dairy companies, boasting nearly 4,000 producers in its member-owned cooperative. Though not owned by Dean Foods, Dean Foods licenses a variety of Land O'Lakes products.
The one thing that all of these brands have in common? GMOs.
While not genetically modified themselves, dairy products are not immune to the insidious impacts of GMOs. Cows living on industrialized farms, or concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), are fed almost entirely GMO crops like corn, soy, alfalfa, cotton seed, and/or sugar beets. In fact, 98% of GM soy and 49% of GM corn goes to feeding livestock and poultry. Animals, like humans, are deeply impacted by the quality of their diets. A recent study showed that pigs fed a GMO diet suffered from severe stomach inflammation compared to pigs given non-GMO feed. Additionally, while the dairy industry claims that genetically modified particles are broken down in the digestive tracts of the animals that eat them, GM particles have shown up in the organs and milk of animals fed GMOs, the same milk that humans then consume.
Dean Foods and Land O'Lakes work hard to promote an image of family-friendly dairy, but actions speak louder than words. Dean Foods claims that their white milk does not contain GMOs, while sourcing their dairy from cows raised on genetically modified feed. Land O'Lakes claims dedication to helping consumers make informed decisions, but contributed nearly $100,000 to defeat I-522 in Washington. Land O'Lakes is also the proud owner of Forage Genetics, the co-developer of genetically modified alfalfa.
To quote Dean Foods from their website: "Pure and simple, we ensure Mother Nature's most perfect food finds a place in every home." Not so "pure and simple", after all.
It's time to hold Dean Foods and Land O'Lakes accountable to the true quality of their products. Join us in calling on Dean Foods and Land O'Lakes to shift to non-GMO feed for their cows, and help us accelerate the shift to a non-GMO food system!
Godiva, the 85-year-old premium chocolatier, is a company on the rise. Acquired by the Turkish conglomorate Yildiz Holding in 2007, the company enjoyed sales of more than $500 million. This year, Godiva CEO Jim Goldman says the company is on track to achieve sales of more than $765 million, thanks in part to rapid product expansion in recent years, including new Godiva chocolate bars in supermarkets, and new Godiva-coated products like pretzels and Oreos.
But one thing that hasn't changed in recent years is Godiva's failure to protect vulnerable workers at the beginning of its supply chain. While other high-end chocolate companies use third-party certifcation to ensure that their products aren't tainted with child slave labor and the exploitation of cocoa-producing communities, Godiva does not.
The company insists that it requires its suppliers "to be in compliance with labor laws," and donates some of its growing profits to organizations providing charitable work in cocoa-producing nations, but these efforts are no substitute for actually building a fair supply chain. For this reason, we are urging Godiva to go Fair Trade. No West African child should be forced to endure grueling cocoa-field labor for low or no pay so that American children can enjoy Godiva-coated Oreos.
Please sign our letter to Godiva telling them to go Fair Trade.
UPDATE: March 2014... There's still a chance to revive the Production Tax Credit!
Though the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind energy expired at the end of the 2013, members of Congress are working to bring it back. On March 21, 144 representatives and senators sent letters to their colleagues urging the PTC's renewal.
“Like all businesses, the wind industry seeks certainty and predictability so that long-term project decisions and investments can be made,” wrote Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.), along with 24 other senators. “Without that stability, we once again risk losing many of the jobs, infrastructure and investment that the wind industry has created.”
The renewable energy Production Tax Credit (PTC) has been a major driver of the growth of wind power in the United States. At the end of 2012, Congress almost let the program expire before extending it for just one year as part of the "fiscal cliff" negotiations. But last-minute saves and short-term extensions are ineffective in boosting clean energy. Wind farms require 18 to 24 months for project planning, and North American Wind Power reports that the 2012 delay and brief extension resulted in only 1.6 MW of wind power installed in the first six months of 2013 - the capacity equivalent of one turbine.
That's why this year we're asking you to join us in demanding that Congress implement a meaningful extension of the Production Tax Credit -- for ten years or more. Keeping the PTC in place will protect American wind installation and manufacturing jobs, keep the US competitive in the worldwide clean energy market, reduce US greenhouse gas emissions, and prevent air and water pollution from coal and natural gas.
Tell Congress today that we need to renew the PTC.
As 2014 began, after over a year of Green America and the GMO Inside campaign asking General Mills to remove the GMOs from Cheerios, General Mills stated original (yellow box) Cheerios no longer has GMOs. They are not, however, verified by a third party. Join Green America and the GMO Inside campaign in calling on General Mills to continue its response to consumer demand by removing GMOs from Honey Nut Cheerios and getting third-party verification. (Or read the letter here first.)
BREAKING: Companies blocking consumer "Right to Know" are forced to reveal how much they contributed.
Washington state Attorney General, Bob Ferguson, succeeded in forcing the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) to disclose which companies contributed to the "Defense of Brands Strategic Account" fund which was dedicated to fund "No on 522". Using his subpoena power, something that wasn't available to the mom and activists who filed the original complaint against the GMA—Ferguson uncovered strong evidence that the GMA executed an intentional scheme to sidestep Washington state election law that requires groups raising money for a specific political campaign to reveal the donors.
So who are the companies vehemently opposed to giving consumers the right to know what is in their food?
PepsiCo, Inc. $1,620,899
Nestle USA Inc. $1,052,743
The Coca-Cola Company $1,047,332
General Mills Inc $598,819
ConAgra Foods $285,281
Campbell Soup Company $265,140
The Hershey Company $248,305
The J.M. Smucker Company $241,091
Kellogg Company $ 221,852
Mondelez Global LLC $144,895
FlowersFoods Inc $141,288
Abbott Nutrition $127,459
Pinnacle Foods Group LLC $120,846
Dean Foods Company $120,245
Join us in sending a message to some of the worst offenders: Pepsi, Nestlé, Coke, General Mills, Kellogg's, Hershey, and Abbott Laboratories. We won't let them get away with it this time!
Tell Chobani and Cheerios (General Mills) to get the GMOs out of our breakfast.
This is an action to test the Salsa social media sharing functions.
In the spring of 2013, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) introduced the Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act, bipartisan legislation that would require the FDA to label all genetically modified foods.
“Americans have the right to know what is in the food they eat so they can make the best choices for their families,” Senator Boxer said. “This legislation is supported by a broad coalition of consumer groups, businesses, farmers, fishermen and parents who all agree that consumers deserve more – not less – information about the food they buy.”
In fact, surveys have shown that more than 90 percent of Americans in support of labeling GM foods. And while the Right-to-Know Act has attracted more than 50 co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle, Congressional leaders are looking for even more co-sponsors now in order to advance the bill.
Please call the office of your senators or representative today to ask them to co-sponsor this right-to-know legislation, or take our action below to send a message via e-mail. (Thank your Congress members if they already co-sponsored. See the list of co-sponsors below.) Feel free to edit our message to include relevant details such as your hometown and reasons for your interest in labeling GMOs, to make a more personal connection with your representative.
Every day, tens of thousands of workers labor on farms across the US under substandard conditions, often working 12-14 hours a day for sub-poverty wages, denied basic rights such as overtime pay, and in the worst cases, threatened by physical violence or confiscation of their identification documents so they can not leave.
The tomato industry in Florida was sadly one in which these abuses were far too common for far too long.
Not everyone has turned a blind eye to these injustices. The Coalition for Immokalee Workers has created the Fair Food Program, a partnership among tomato growers, farmworkers, and eleven of the top corporations in the food industry. The Fair Food Program ensures justice at every level of the food production chain, including for the workers in the fields picking the products that end up on your table. By committing to the Fair Food Program, corporations demand more humane labor standards from their Florida tomato suppliers, paying a small premium to improve workers’ pay, and purchasing exclusively from growers who meet the Program’s higher standards.
However, one major restaurant chain has held back on improving farmworker livelihoods in Florida: Wendy’s.
While four out of the five top fast food brands in the nation -- McDonald’s, Subway, Burger King, and Taco Bell -- have committed their business model to the Fair Food Program, Wendy’s has refused to participate. Wendy’s has responded to consumers’ calls to join the Fair Food Program by saying “[W]e pay a premium to our tomato suppliers in Florida, and expect them to take care of their employees.”
The truth is, whatever premium Wendy’s may be paying is not the Fair Food Premium, it is not likely going to the workers, and it is not being monitored by the Fair Foods Standards Council. Wendy’s claims cannot be verified because Wendy’s, unlike its competitors in the Fair Food Program, does not have to reveal its tomato suppliers. Nor does Wendy’s have to suspend its purchases from any participating grower found out of compliance with the Fair Food Code of Conduct. These are the dual linchpins that give the Program its teeth. That's why we’re calling on Wendy’s to join the Coalition of Immokalee Workers' Fair Food Program.
Chobani, the most popular maker of Greek yogurt in the US, markets itself as being “real” and “natural” when in fact its yogurt is likely made with something very unnatural: GMOs.
While not genetically modified themselves, dairy products are not immune to the insidious impacts of GMOs. Cows living on industrial farms, eating two to three times every day, are fed almost entirely GMO crops like corn, soy, alfalfa, cotton seed, and/or sugar beets. In fact, 98% of GM soy and 49% of GM corn goes to feeding livestock and poultry.
Animals, like humans, are deeply impacted by the quality of their diets. A recent study showed that pigs fed an entirely GMO diet suffered from severe stomach inflammation when compared to pigs given non-GMO feed. Additionally, while the dairy industry claims that genetically modified particles are broken down in the digestive tracts of the animals that eat them, these GM particles have shown up in the organs and milk of animals fed GMOs, the same milk and meat that humans then eat.
Chobani takes pride in adding no GM ingredients directly to its yogurt, and yet sources its primary ingredient – milk – from cows most likely eating loads of GMOs. Chobani said on Facebook that it is carefully monitoring its customers' concerns when it comes to GMOs, so now is the time to speak up!
Join us in calling on Chobani to shift to non-GMO feed for their cows, to help accelerate the shift to a non-GMO food system! We and the cows thank you.
Good news for bi-partisan clean-energy solutions!
Right now, a pair of bills -- one in the House, and one in the Senate -- may be on their way toward correcting a bias written into the tax code that favors fossil-fuel investing over clean-energy investing.
The Master Limited Partnerships (MLP) Parity Acts would end restrictions on clean-energy ventures seeking to organize as MLPs, opening up access to easy, low-cost capital previously reserved only for the fossil-fuel industry.
"Our bill just allows renewable energy projects to compete fairly," says Sen. Chris Coons (D, Delaware), sponsor of the Senate bill. "It gives an equal chance for success for projects using energy from wind and the sun, the heat of the Earth, and biomass; breakthrough technologies for affordable homegrown energy for generations to come."
However, as currently written, the MLP Parity Acts would extend not only to clean energy companies, but also to additional dirty energy sources not previously included as eligible for MLP status. Because we must focus future energy development in this country on low-carbon and sustainable sources, Green America urges that only proven low-carbon and sustainable sources of energy be given MLP status by these bills.
Please send a message to your representative and senators today, urging them to support expanding MLP-restricted benefits to clean and renewable energy projects, without expanding benefits for high-carbon energy projects at the same time.
The Senate bill is sponsored by Sen. Coons, along with Jerry Moran (R, Kansas), Lisa Murkowski (R, Alaska), and Debbie Stabenow (D, Michigan). The House bill is sponsored by Ted Poe (R, Texas), Corey Gardner (R, Colorado), Chris Gibson (R, NY), Mike Thompson (D, California), and Peter Welch (D, Vermont. You may edit your letter to make it more personal.
Her name was Shaheena. She went to work at dawn that fateful April morning, even though her brother-in-law urged her to stay home. A single mom, Shaheena worked grueling hours to support herself and her son. When this mother was faced with the decision of returning to work at a potentially unstable clothing factory or the risk of not being paid, and therefore not being able to provide milk or shelter for her infant son, it must have seemed like no choice at all.
Sadly, Shaheena is just one of the more than 1,100 workers who tragically lost their lives in the recent, and preventable, Rana Plaza building collapse - the deadliest catastrophe in the history of the garment industry.
Rana Plaza factories are linked with the production of clothing for Walmart, JCPenney, The Children’s Place, Dress Barn, and Cato Fashion. These brands are not the only ones responsible for this tragedy. Nor is this incident the first of its kind. Already in the past eight years over 700 workers had lost their lives in factory fires and building collapses, sewing garments for brands such as Gap, Walmart, VF Corporation, and Sears, to name a few.
Fires and building collapses will not end unless retailers are committed to improving working conditions and safety standards. There are currently 4 million garment workers in Bangladesh, the vast majority of them are women, like Shaheena, struggling to feed their families. It is the responsibility of every company manufacturing in Bangladesh, to ensure that the people producing their products are working in safe conditions.
There is a solution - the proposed and legally binding Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh.
So far, 40 companies, almost all European brands, have committed to support the agreement. PVH Corp., (owner of Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein) and Abercrombie & Fitch are thus far the only US companies to sign on. The Gap is notably missing from the list and refuses to sign the agreement because of its binding nature.
Join us in calling on the largest companies making clothing in Bangladesh to sign on to the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh so that the deadliest catastrophe in the history of the garment industry will also be the last.
“The last thing you want to worry about first thing in the morning is whether the products that make us and our children clean and comfortable also contain cancer-causing chemicals.” So said Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) of the bill he's co-sponsoring with Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL). “From diaper cream to deodorant, our medicine cabinets are filled with personal care products that may contain harmful ingredients. This bill will help close the gaping holes in federal law.”
At present, the FDA does not review the ingredients in the broad category of "cosmetics" (including soaps, shaving cream, lotions, and many other products), which means the majority of the products we use on our bodies may never have been safety tested. The FDA does require manufacturers to disclose most of their ingredients, but companies can hide hundreds of chemicals under a single vague term like "fragrance." The bill sponsored by Markey and Shakowsky aims to close many of these loopholes, and establish greater oversight authority for the FDA.
“The simple truth is that everyday products that women, men, and children use contain ingredients that can cause cancer as well as reproductive and developmental harm,” said Rep. Schakowsky. “Consumers think the Food and Drug Administration is a watchdog preventing harmful ingredients from being in their shampoos, cologne, makeup, deodorants, lotions, and other products, but the truth is, the FDA has little power under current law. This bill will remedy that.”
Among other advances, their legislation would:
Tell your Representative that you want safe personal care products for you and your family. Ask him or her to sign on as a co-sponsor of the Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act. Or, if you're represented by Reps. Schakowsky or Markey, send them your thanks! Feel free to edit and amend our short note to make your message to your representative reflect your personal connection to this issue.
Abbott Laboratories, Mead Johnson Nutrition, and Nestlé are exposing American and Canadian babies to unhealthy and under-studied GMOs (genetically modified organisms).
Their top-selling products, which combined account for 90% of formula sales in the US, contain corn, sugar, soy—all ingredients, that are highly likely to be genetically engineered in the US.
GMOs have never been proven safe for human consumption and the inadequate research that has been done on GMOs does not look at long-term effects in humans, let alone infants.
Babies are particularly vulnerable when it comes to eating GMOs. According to pediatrician Michelle Perro, infant livers do not reach maturity for about two years and therefore are less equipped to process toxins in the body, such as the herbicides used on genetically modified foods. (Read Dr. Perro’s explanation here.)
Adding insult to injury, these companies all spent money to vote down GMO labeling in California in 2012, thus obstructing parents' right to know whether or not the first food they are feeding their newborns contains GMOs.
So who are these companies peddling these risky infant formulas?
Abbott Laboratories (ABT), a pharmaceutical company and maker of Similac, accounts for roughly 43% of the market for infant formula in the US. Similac varieties contain corn, soy, and sugar. In 2012, Abbott Laboratories brought in more than $39 billion in sales and spent $334,500 to turn down Prop 37 in California.
How much did Abbott Laboratories make in 2013? $21 billion in sales
How much did Abbott Laboratories spend in anti-labeling in 2013 (WA, I-522)? Abbott Nutrition (part of Abbott Labs) $127,459
Mead Johnson Nutrition (MJN) is the maker of Enfamil and also responsible for 40% of infant formula sales in the US. Enfamil varieties also contain corn, soy, and sugar ingredients. In 2012, Mead Johnson brought in 3.9 billion in sales and spent $80,000 against GMO labeling in California.
How much did MJN make in 2013? $4.2 billion in revenue
How much did MJN spend in anti-labeling in 2013 (WA, I-522)? Withdrew from financing anti-labeling efforts
Nestlé, who already has a bad track record when it comes to marketing infant formula to mothers as being superior to breast milk, makes “Gerber Good Start” which contains high-risk GMO ingredients such as corn, soy and sugar. Good Start represents 15% of infant formula sales in the US. Worldwide, Nestle had over $92 billion in sales in 2012 and spent $1,461,600 against the consumer’s right to know about GMO ingredients in California*.
How much did Nestle make in 2013? $92.2 billion in sales (global)
How much did Nestle spend in anti-labeling in 2013 (WA, I-522)? Nestle USA: $1,052,743*
*Cumulatively, between Prop 37 and I-522, Nestle contributed $2.9 M dollars
Join GMO Inside in taking action – Our babies deserve better than GMOs!
AquaBounty Technologies has developed the first genetically engineered animal, AquAdvantage Salmon, which has been proposed to the FDA for market approval. The deadline to submit public comments to the FDA regarding the safety assessment of the genetically engineered salmon is quickly approaching. (April 26, 2013)
We hope the FDA will agree with the hundreds of thousands of individuals and organizations who have already submitted concerns about the negative health and environmental impacts of introducing GE salmon to the marketplace. However, should the FDA let us down we have a backup plan.
GMO Inside, in partnership with the Coalition for GE-Free Seafood, is calling on retailers and restaurants to send an even stronger message—to the FDA, to the makers of AquAdvantage Salmon, and to the marketplace—we won’t sell genetically engineered salmon!
National retailers, including Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, as well as dozens of local grocers, have already vowed not to carry GE salmon. This preemptive ban will surely sink the advancement of GE salmon, regardless of what the FDA deems to be safe.
Without market demand for this product, and no retail outlets, GE salmon won’t sell.
Please join retail outlets across the country and pledge not to carry GE salmon!
AquaBounty Technologies has developed the first genetically engineered animal, AquAdvantageSalmon, which has been proposed to the FDA for market approval.
This salmon has been genetically altered to produce extra growth hormones, allowing it to grow faster and bigger than natural salmon. There are no independent studies on the salmon’s safety. The FDA instead relied on the false assumption that genetically engineered (GE) foods are “equivalent” to natural foods, as well as data provided by the company that created, and stands to profit from, the GE salmon. At the same time, the FDA ignored the concerns raised by thousands of Americans and dozens of legislators and scientists, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The FDA has issued a draft environmental assessment which is open for public comment until April 26, 2013.
If approved, AquaBounty’s GE salmon would be the first genetically engineered animal to be sold for human consumption and could appear in restaurants and supermarkets without a label.
We need hundreds of thousands of individuals and organizations to share their concerns with the FDA about this issue. The deadline for comment is quickly approaching and we need to add your voice.
Below is a sample of the comments that we will send in on your behalf to the FDA, Please add your own comments if you wish to make your statement even more powerful.
On October 3rd 2012, Hershey announced that by 2020 it would transition all its chocolate products to certified cocoa sources to address labor and environmental issues. The announcement resulted from hundreds of thousands of people calling on Hershey to end its reliance on forced child labor in West Africa.
After Hershey’s announcement, the Raise the Bar, Hershey Campaign called on Hershey to reveal the details of this 2020 plan including which certifiers Hershey planned to work with and what the timeline would be for transitioning to ethically certified cocoa. A public plan with clear benchmarks is essential to ensure that Hershey stays on track to meet this commitment, and so that the public can hold the company accountable, should Hershey once again drag its feet.
Now, six months later, Hershey has made no further announcements about ethically certified chocolate offerings. Nor has Hershey revealed any further information on its plan to shift its entire cocoa supply to ethically certified sources of cocoa.
For too many years, the chocolate industry, and Hershey in particular, has delayed taking action on the worst forms of child labor on West African cocoa farms.
The Raise the Bar Hershey coalition is calling on Hershey to provide a public plan to reach it 2020 goal of 100% ethically certified cocoa. Seven years may seem like nothing to a more than 120-year-old company, but it’s an excruciatingly long time for a child working on a cocoa farms through the day and night in the Ivory Coast or Ghana. That’s why Hershey needs a plan to start going child-labor free with its biggest selling products soon.
This plan should include:
1. Clear Benchmarks: A public, clear, and transparent timeline, with incremental benchmarks to meet the 2020 100% certified commitment. We need to see one major product, or at least 20% of Hershey’s cocoa certified by 2014.
2. Transparency: A commitment to report publicly and annually about progress, in relation to the timeline/benchmarks set to shift to ethically certified cocoa (from #1 above), and the actual impacts achieved for farmers, children, and communities (including quantitative measures).
3. Stakeholder Process: Hershey will agree to meet with stakeholders at least semi-annually to provide updates on progress made or not made.
4. Credible Certification: A commitment to using a third-party certification that meaningfully addresses child labor issues, including identification, monitoring, and remediation (the certification body can work in partnership with local NGOs and government, but there must be a systematic approach to handling child labor if and when it arises) and provides for secure farmer incomes, with a set floor price for cocoa that is announced publicly.
The Raise the Bar, Hershey! Coalition will continue to hold Hershey accountable for the treatment of cocoa laborers, especially the youngest of them, with the smallest of voices. And, we need the help of thousands of consumers to make sure Hershey takes action to address child labor.
Please join us in sending a message to Hershey today. Please send Hershey an email today!
“We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children… [I]f Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will.” -- Barack Obama, February 12, 2013
On Friday, March 1, the US State Department issued its Supplementary Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) on the proposed Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline, claiming that KXL will not “likely result in significant adverse environmental effects.”
This claim stems largely from the report’s blanket assumption that tar sands oil will be extracted and burned anyway – by somebody -- regardless of US action. In other words, somebody’s going to wreck the climate anyway, and the wreckage won’t be any worse if it’s us.
Such fatalistic reasoning minimizes the terrible climate-change consequences of processing and burning tar sands, which even the SEIS report admits generates far more greenhouse emissions than regular oil. Perhaps even more significant, the report also admits that the US can meet its energy needs over the next decade without relying on tar sands — then supports the pipeline anyway.
Ultimately, however, this decision rests with President Obama. And while a thumbs-up from the State Department could encourage him to green-light the project, it’s not in any way a done deal. According to the New York Times (which urgred the president to block the pipeline), the president is unlikely to make a decision before midsummer; meanwhile, public comment on the SEIS report is open through mid-April.
Please take a moment to send the letter below (or edit it to say in your own words that the KXL is a climate disaster and will create very few permanent jobs). We need to let the president know that we will hold him accountable for his promises to act on behalf of future generations to respond to the threat of climate change.
While it is generally accepted that sugary drinks and highly processed foods are not particularly healthy, there is growing recognition that a hidden danger in these products adds to their nefariousness – genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have made it clear that they would like to keep these dangers hidden from those who purchase their products. These corporations, two of the most well-known and successful food and beverage providers in the world, are doing their best to deny consumers in America the right to know what is in the food they eat. In November of 2012, the two corporations spent more than $4.1 million combined to oppose GMO labeling, with PepsiCo spending $2,485,400 and Coca-Cola spending $1,700,5001.
Adding to this injustice is the fact that both companies provide non-GMO versions of their products in Europe, where the labeling of genetically modified ingredients is required. (See Coke’s UK product page.)
The main ingredients in Coke and Pepsi beverages are often corn syrup, sugar, or both. Both of these sweeteners are derived from the most extensively genetically engineered crops: corn and sugar beets. In the United States, 95% of the sugar beet crop and more than 85% of the corn crop is now genetically modified, according to the Non-GMO Project. Even soda consumers that choose diet options in an attempt to avoid corn syrup or sugar are unable to avoid GMOs. This is because aspartame, the most common artificial sweetener, is made from genetically modified bacteria.
Looking beyond soda, these companies own a long list of juice brands you may have thought were a better option than their sodas. The Coca-Cola Company owns Simply Orange, Fruitopia, Minute Maid, Hi-C, and Odwalla and PepsiCo owns Tropicana, Lipton, Gatorade, and Naked Juice. Some of these soda alternatives also contain high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, sugar, and aspartame – and therefore are just as likely to contain genetically modified ingredients.
Coke and Pepsi do not limit themselves or their use of GMOs to just beverages either. Pepsi owns Frito-Lay and a host of brands and products you might recognize but not realize are connected to Pepsi: Aunt Jemima, Life Cereal, Hostess, Tostitos, and many others. Some products from Frito-Lay even go so far to be labeled "natural" despite containing genetically modified corn and vegetable oils, including corn, soybean, and canola.
GMOs have never been proven safe for consumption, and a growing body of studies is raising concerns around the health effects of eating them. GMOs are also increasing the use of toxic herbicides and causing harm to farmers in the US and abroad.
If GMOs have never been proven safe, why should Pepsi and Coke be allowed to put items containing them onto market without labels? Also, if it’s so simple to make products without GMOs in Europe, why can’t Coca-Cola and PepsiCo do it here?
Please join GMO Inside and tell Coca-Cola and PepsiCo it is time to do what is right and get genetically modified ingredients out of their products!
What’s a fair amount of interest to pay on a loan?
Think of your answer, and then ask yourself another question: Could you do business with a bank that you know is charging some customers as much as 365 percent interest on a loan?
That’s exactly what is happening at some corporate mega-banks offering new loan products with names like “Checking Account Advance” or “Direct Deposit Advance.” These products offer a customer an “advance” on the next direct deposit into their checking account, which is then deducted automatically by the bank – at a hugely inflated interest rate – upon their customer’s direct deposit. These are nothing more than payday lending schemes by other names. They carry very little risk for the lending bank (which has control over the direct deposit) while keeping low-income borrowers in an endless cycle of debt and borrowing.
Can you take a moment to send a message to four mega-banks offering payday products, and tell them you don’t approve of their unfair practices?
Please sign on to our letter below, and visit BreakUpWithYourMegabank.org to find a community development bank or credit union with a commitment to treating borrowers fairly.
Every year, around this time, entire aisles at grocery stores and drug stores turn red with seasonally branded Valentine’s Day candy. In fact, after Halloween, Valentine’s Day is the single largest candy-consuming day all year in the Unites States.
Almost as ubiquitous as the red and pink wrapped Valentine’s Day treats at this time are the genetically engineered ingredients within these products. Some of America’s favorite sweets, even dressed-up in their Valentine’s Day best, are still chock full of ingredients that are highly likely to be genetically engineered.
Much of these treats are made by Hershey and Mars, the oldest and largest chocolate manufacturers in the US. Together they comprise nearly 70% of the US Chocolate Market, and they have another thing in common—their love affair with GMOs.
WARNING: May contain GMOs
Reese’s Peanut Butter filled Hearts (Hershey) contain sugar, soy lecithin, and cornstarch
Hershey Hugs contain sugar, soy lecithin and corn syrup solids
Valentine’s Colored M&M’s (Mars) contain sugar, soy lecithin, cornstarch, and corn syrup
Valentine’s Snickers (Mars) contain soy lecithin, corn syrup, sugar, and partially hydrogenated soybean oil
Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have never been proven safe for consumption, and a growing body of studies is raising concerns around the health effects of eating them. GMOs are also increasing the use of toxic herbicides and causing harm to farmers in the US and abroad.
In Europe, where genetically modified ingredients are already required to be labeled, Hershey and Mars have had to adapt their recipes to formulate Kisses and M&Ms without GMOs. According to Confectionary News, Hershey products made for distribution in Europe will be formulated without GMO Ingredients, in order to meet the requirements of major retailers which ban the sale of products with genetically modified ingredients and to satisfy increasing consumer concern about the safety of GMOs.
If it’s possible to make the same candy without GMOs in Europe, why can’t Hershey and Mars do it here?
Rather than listen to consumer demand in the United States, Hershey and Mars together spent more than a million dollars to oppose GMO labeling in California last election. Hershey is reported to have spent $518,900 to defeat Prop 37 and Mars spent $498,350.
Unless you can buy these treats for your sweetie in Europe, there is a high chance you could be giving your true love a Valentine that endangers their health and the environment because of GMOs. This year, you should choose organic certified chocolate or non-GMO verified treats to show the loved ones in your life you really care. Even sweeter, you should look for fair trade products that ensure workers are treated fairly. And, make sure to tell Hershey and Mars you expect them to ditch the GMOs from all their candy, all year long.
It’s America’s #1 breakfast cereal: Honey Nut GMOs.
While oats, which are not genetically modified, are the primary ingredient in Honey Nut Cheerios, the second and third ingredients listed on the box are sugar and corn starch. Along with Vitamin E (which is used to preserve freshness), “natural” flavors, and canola oil, these ingredients are most likely derived from genetically modified sources.
GMO Insiders took the food industry by storm in 2012, when the campaign to remove GMOs from original yellow-box Cheerios began. Just one year later, after a groundswell of consumer demand, General Mills announced its decision to remove GMOs from Cheerios, which took a year of investment and changes in operation. Non-GMO Cheerios are expected to hit shelves in early 2014.
So what about Honey Nut Cheerios? While original Cheerios contains only one gram of sugar per serving, Honey Nut Cheerios contains nine times the amount of sugar. Though not specified on the box, a majority of processed sugar comes from sugar beets, which are mostly genetically modified. Take this statistic, for example: In 2010, 95% of the sugar beets grown in the US were Monsanto patented.
Honey Nut Cheerios likely contains more GMOs than original Cheerios ever did, considering its high sugar content and the inclusion of corn starch, Vitamin E, “natural” flavors, and canola oil. Additionally, GMOs require an increasing amount of toxic chemicals, such as atrazine, neonicotinoids, and glyphosate, for which studies are raising concern around their impacts on human, animal, pollinator, and environmental health.
Join Green America and the GMO Inside campaign in calling on General Mills to continue its response to consumer demand by removing GMOs from Honey Nut Cheerios, getting third-party verification, and working to reduce pesticide use.
General Mills portrays itself as a purveyor of wholesome foods for the whole family. The company boasts that it is nourishing lives – making lives healthier, easier, and richer.
But General Mills has a dirty little secret. Its foods (including products from iconic brands such as Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, and Hamburger Helper) are chock full of corn, soy, and sugars -- ingredients that are almost always genetically modified in the United States. That includes Cheerios, America’s most-consumed cereal, and one that parents often feed to their children as a snack throughout the day. Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have never been proven safe for consumption, and a growing body of studies is raising concerns around the health effects of eating them. GMOs are also increasing the use of herbicides and causing harm to farmers in the US and abroad. They are not making life healthier, easier, or richer. Nonetheless, General Mills keeps using ingredients known to have GMOs in its foods.
Adding insult to injury, the Cheerios that General Mills sells in Europe do not have GMO ingredients. That tells us two important things. First, General Mills can make Cheerios without GMOs. And second, General Mills doesn't care about the health of American families.
Knowing the growing public concern that exists around GMOs, General Mills is also doing all it can to prevent its customers from finding out that GMOs are in their foods. The company spent more than $1.1 million to oppose Proposition 37 in California, which would have required the labeling of GMO foods in that state. The “No on 37” coalition flooded the airwaves with misleading information to defeat Californians’ right to know what’s in their food.
Join Green America and the GMO Inside coalition in telling General Mills that it needs to shift towards non-GMO foods and support the public’s right to know when there are GMOs in its foods.
These tragic deaths could be prevented these companies would follow the lead of competitors like Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein, by agreeing to a fire-safety program that includes worker input, transparency, and binding commitments to protect workers.
Six months ago Gap, publicly promised it would sign on to a worker safety program similar to the Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein agreement. Instead, this month Gap changed course. They announced their own, corporate-controlled, fire-safety program – one that includes no legal commitments to workers, no oversight by worker organizations, and no transparency. This is yet another instance of a giant corporation telling its customers: “Trust us; we care about our workers,” without actually implementing meaningful safety programs. Gap had already corporate-controlled programs in place when 29 workers were killed at their Bangladeshi supplier in December 2010.
Join Bangladeshi and international unions and labor groups that are calling on Gap to stop the public relations games and commit to a real fire-safety program that will save the lives of the company’s sweatshop workers.
Please send Gap executives an e-mail today!
Now, we have reason to celebrate! Hershey announced that by 2020 it will transition all its chocolate products to certified cocoa sources that will address labor and environmental issues. While we welcome this announcement, the Raise the Bar, Hershey! Coalition is asking Hershey CEO John Bilbrey and other Hershey executives to detail what this commitment means.
Particularly, we are asking Hershey to specify:
The Raise the Bar, Hershey! Coalition will continue to hold Hershey accountable for the treatment of cocoa laborers, especially the youngest of them, with the smallest of voices. We will also continue to pressure major corporations, working in chocolate and other sectors to address the issues of forced labor, child labor, and human trafficking in their supply chains, as the International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates that roughly 6 million children work in forced labor conditions.
Please join us in thanking Hershey for this important step forward, and urge them to make a clear commitment to fair trade certification as fast as possible. Eight years may seem like nothing to a more than 120-year-old company, but it’s an excruciatingly long time for a child working on a cocoa farms through the day and night in the Ivory Coast or Ghana.
Please send Hershey an email today!