Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Killing for soap

Unilever, manufacturers of a host of well-known brands, from Pot Noodle to Persil (via Flora) has been caught out using palm oil from deforested rain forests in Indonesia in its popular 'Dove' soap. This is killing communities and traditional lifestyles - but it's also destroying the habitat of the endangered Oran-Utan, and thousands of other species, threatening extinctions on a massive scale. Greenpeace, who unearthed the evidence, have asked them to stop, and they are asking that anyone who shares their horror at the burgeoning ecocide and human rights abuses taking place in pursuit of, erm, a brand of soap, to join them, by visiting this campaign page on their website. They've produced a short video clip to illustrate the impact of tropical deforestation. I challenge anyone to watch it and think we should just trust in the corporations' ability to self-regulate in their quest for ever-bigger shareholder dividends. The reality is that it's a small number of firms like Unilever who dominate the globalised economy and leave a trail of poverty, environmental destruction and human rights abuses behind them. We need stricter controls on international trade to stamp out the worst excesses carried out it its name, but we also need to tell the firms involved what we think once in a while.

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