2014 Nominees

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906512_10151371246726704_479580042_oBADIDAS Campaign

Lead Group:United Students Against Sweatshops

The BADIDAS campaign focused on pressuring Adidas to pay $1.8 million of severance to 2,700 workers in Indonesia and set a precedent that brands can not cut and run from garment factories without paying legally-owed severance to their workers by using multiple facets of leverage. In Indonesia, the PT Kizone garment factory was closed when apparel brands pulled their production in response to workers organizing and fighting to unionize. Under Indonesian law, workers are owed severance pay. However, Adidas, one of the suppliers from PIT Kizone, refused, leaving 2,700 workers without a means of survival. Over the course of the campaign, 17 universities agreed to end their licensing contracts with Adidas. In addition to other various modes of pressure, Adidas agreed to pay. In the course of USAS’ International Solidarity Campaigns, students have successfully pressured Adidas and Nike, the two sports apparel behemoths, to rectify sweatshop abuses in their supply chains and pay legally-owed severance to their workers. This sets an unparalleled precedent where brands cannot expect to evade local labor laws and rob workers of their legally-earned compensation. Moreover, it builds upon a number of past garment worker solidarity campaigns in setting the tone that student voices can make real differences on our college campuses across the country, despite the increasing corporatization of higher education.

Check out these photos from their campaign: https://www.facebook.com/UnitedStudentsAgainstSweatshops/photos/a.10151371246586704.1073741827.10009301703/10151371246991704/?type=3&theater

famousNY

Ban Fracking in New York

Lead Groups:: New Yorkers Against Fracking (NYAF) steering committee members include Food & Water Watch, Frack Action, Catskill Mountainkeeper, Citizen Action of New York, New York Public Interest Research Group

Support Groups: NYAF has over 250 coalition members from across the state, representing health, faith, environmental, farming, labor, students, brewers and vintners, businesses, and other constituencies

The world’s most powerful corporations – big oil and gas interests like Chevron, Chesapeake, and Halliburton – support fracking and would like Governor Cuomo to allow fracking in NY. Our campaign has been instrumental in preventing this from happening. This campaign has been about battling corporate influence and power. Fracking for oil and gas poses significant threats to water, air, public health, communities and the world’s climate. For years, Governor Cuomo has been looking at opening up New York to fracking for gas, which would allow these threats into NY. NYAF’s campaign has been critical to preventing this. We have succeeded in keeping fracking out of New York for the last three years, despite overwhelming industry pressure and Governor Cuomo’s initial inclination to move allow it. Fracking is the environmental issue of our time. It is an extreme way of extracting oil and gas that has significant and diverse impacts. Over 150 studies have been released documenting its significant impacts on water, air, public health, communities, and climate. Our nation is at a critical point both in terms of our ability to slow the impacts of climate change and in deciding how to address our energy future. Down one path is a future fueled by 100% renewable energy that will allow us to avoid some of the most significant climate impacts. Down another is a race to extract every last drop of fossil fuels with ever-extreme extraction methods. New York stands at the center. As a major state that has not moved forward with fracking, it is critical that we win and set an example for the nation, and our political leaders, of what is possible.

Check out their video: http://www.dearpresidentobamafilm.com/slide/albany-6/

beyond-coal-campaign-sierra-club-logo-large

Beyond Coal

Lead Group: Sierra Club

Support Groups: Clean Water Action, National Wildlife Federation, Dakota Resource Council, Fresh Energy, AFL-CIO, Conservation Law Foundation, Natural Resources Defense Council, Clean Air Task Force, Plains Justice, Earthjustice, Environmental Law & Policy Center, Appalachian Voices, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, Environmental Defense Fund, League of Conservation Voters, Environmental Integrity Project, Respiratory Health Association, Southern Environmental Law Center, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Union of Concerned Scientists, Vote Solar, League of Women Voters, NAACP, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, GreenLaw, Power Past Coal, Public Citizen, and many more organizations around the country.

Beyond Coal engages companies like Duke Energy, Luminant, First Energy, American Electric Power and others in the coal mining, coal exports and power sector in our work to get America off coal and on to clean energy. The Beyond Coal campaign’s main objective is to replace dirty coal with clean energy like wind, solar, and energy efficiency by mobilizing grassroots activists in local communities to advocate for the retirement of old and outdated coal plants and to prevent new coal plants from being built. As of October 2014, the Beyond Coal Campaign had secured the retirement of one-third (179) of US coal plants. August 2014 was our biggest retirement month since 2010. With 179 fewer coal plants, 4,600 Americans won’t die prematurely as a result of coal pollution each year. More than 7,100 heart attacks and 66,600 asthma attacks will never happen. Americans won’t have to replacing coal-fired power with clean energy. America has added more than 32,800 megawatts of clean energy like wind and solar — enough to power the equivalent of nine million American homes. Across the country, this growth in clean energy is creating local jobs — nearly 200,000 so far — while providing clean, affordable energy and dramatically reducing the carbon pollution that threatens our climate.

Check out BENNY Acceptance form with full details : Beyond Coal and their campaign website: www.beyondcoal.org

CAF_LOGO_2014_3Californians Against Fracking

Lead Groups: Center for Biological Diversity, Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment, Environment California, Food & Water Watch, 350.org, Oil Change International

Support Groups: Our coalition has nearly 200 member organizations. For a complete list, please visit http://californiansagainstfracking.org/member-organizations/

Governor Brown has accepted $2.5 million from fossil fuel companies; oil money is pouring into counties with ballot measures to ban fracking. Californians Against Fracking counteracts corporate influence with people power. Our campaign is building a statewide movement while supporting grassroots activists organizing to stop fracking at local the level. While Governor Brown acknowledges the threats of climate change, he refuses to end fracking for carbon-intensive shale oil that threatens our climate. Fracking also harms public health through air and water contamination. We have to keep winning local fracking prohibitions while building our statewide movement to achieve a statewide ban. We delivered anti-fracking petitions to Governor Brown from key stakeholders, including chefs, farmers and climate scientists. We are currently organizing constituency letters from faith leaders, local officials and health providers. The various anti-fracking petitions that we have organized strengthen our campaign in several ways. First, letters to Governor Brown from different stakeholder groups raise awareness about the fact that fracking affect us all, even if we are impacted in different ways. Farmers rely on the availability of clean water; climate scientists are incredibly concerned about the global warming potential of California’s shale oil. The constituency organizing has also built our network of anti-fracking activists across the state, while connecting them to each other. This community was ready to mobilize when we brought 4000 activists to the state capitol in March for the largest anti-fracking protest in California’s history. Grassroots organizers can call on people who have signed these letters when they need support for local fracking bans. Many signatories have also become spokespeople for the campaign, raising awareness about fracking in the media or in their own communities.

Check out their campaign website: californiansagainstfracking.org

AsYouSow-Colgate-Benny-Nomination-ImageConvincing Colgate to Commit to Recyclable Packaging

Lead Group: As You Sow

As You Sow filed shareholder resolutions and engaged in dialogue with Colgate-Palmolive, pressing the company to adopt extended producer responsibility policies to help minimize waste from consumer packaging. Colgate-Palmolive committed to making 100% of its packaging for three of four product categories completely recyclable by 2020, and to work towards developing a fully recyclable toothpaste tube or package. Unrecyclable packaging wastes natural resources, contributes to GHG emissions, and contributes to toxic pollution in our waterways. Unrecyclable packaging doesn’t just end up in landfills. According to a recent assessment of marine debris by the Global Environment Facility, unrecyclable packaging gets swept into waterways, which contributes to the growing problem of plastic pollution of the world’s oceans and damages marine ecosystems. There is also emerging evidence that plastic particles in the marine environment can absorb and spread toxics through the marine food web, and possibly to humans. Recyclable packaging made from recyclable materials help reduce these impacts.  By making more of its packaging recyclable the company will increase the recycling market for post-consumer materials, especially plastics, promoting development of a circular materials economy that more efficiently utilizes packaging made from dwindling natural resources. It will also capture the value of some of the estimate $11.4 billion recyclable materials currently landfilled or burned annually.

Check out their campaign website: http://www.asyousow.org/companies/colgate-palmolive/

1. St.Louis-Save our Water-HiRes10.13Dump Veolia!

Lead Groups: Missouri Coalition for the Environment​, St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee, Sierra Club, Eastern Missouri Group, Corporate Accountability International, St. Louis Jewish Voice for Peace, St. Louis University Justice for Palestine, US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment

Support Groups: Women’s Voices Raised for Social Justice​, 15th Ward Democrats, Organization for black struggle, Missouri Muslims for Civic Engagement, Council for American Islamic Relations, St. Louis, Instead of War Coalition

This campaign directly targeted water transnational corporation Veolia through grassroots and grasstops mobilization in St. Louis, MO. Its success sets an important precedent for curbing the power of the private water industry that seeks often through undemocratic channels to commodity and control our public water systems. The private water industry seeks to expand in the U.S., undermining a cornerstones of our democracy: strong public water systems. Under private systems, residents face rates hikes, labor abuses, and poor water quality “exacting the greatest toll on low-income communities who can least afford the health and economic costs. The Dump Veolia Coalition successfully forced Veolia to withdraw its contract with St. Louis, countering the corporation’s enormous political and economic influence through a strategic, multi-level coalitional campaign. The Dump Veolia! victory is a significant milestone in building the political will and locking in the grassroots support needed to  protect our most essential public service. As public officials face a growing need to reinvest in water infrastructure, global water corporations like Veolia and Suez are swooping in to offer quick fixes and false promises. Because public opinion is unfavorable toward  water privatization,  the industry has relied on secretive deals with public officials and misleading marketing to push contracts through. But now, it can no longer do so with impunity. Global Water Intelligence, a leading private water industry publication called the rebuffed St. Louis contract the industry’s “first major setback.”  Corporate Accountability International, in partnership with community leaders and local activists nationwide, is ensuring this is the first of many such setbacks. The success provides  a strong model for other communities to replicate  to protect their public water systems.

Check out their campaign website: www.dumpveolia.org

Kellogg_rallyForest Heroes Join investors to Secure Zero-Deforestation Palm Oil Commitments

Lead Groups: Catapult, Green Century Funds, Green Corps, SumOfUs

Support Groups: Rainforest Action Network, Greenpeace, Union of Concerned Scientists

We launched a multi-faceted campaign in which we identified an iconic consumer company (Kellogg) that had unique leverage with our ultimate target (Wilmar) – and combined geo-targeted grassroots organizing with global communications, online organizing, and investor mobilization to press for zero-deforestation palm oil sourcing commitment. Palm oil is the most widely used vegetable oil in the world, and its production is now a leading driver of tropical deforestation and associated GHG emissions. When Kellogg’s announced a partnership with the world’s largest and most notorious palm oil company, Wilmar, we saw a unique leverage point to press for sustainable practices across the supply chain. Ultimately, Wilmar announced a ‘no deforestation’ policy that applies across its entire supply chain (constituting 45% of global palmoil trade). Kellogg announced a similar policy shortly after. As the world’s largest palm oil company, and a major trader of soy and sugar, Wilmar created a huge market for zero deforestation commodities. Wilmar and Kellogg’s joint commitments spurred a rapid market transformation away from deforestation across the industry. Our groups continued to successfully press companies representing over 60% of global palmoil supply chain to announce similar deforestation-free sourcing commitments in the months since.

Check out their photo slide show (to view, click on the first photo and scroll through the images. Captions appear on the right of each photo): https://plus.google.com/photos/108042546826859595121/albums/6081673988039771393?authkey=CPijkJXQm9eoTw

No Deforestatiedit 2bon for Palm Oil

Lead Group: Greenpeace

Support Groups: Rainforest Action Network, Union of Concern Scientists, Forest Heroes, SumOfUS

The campaign used public pressure – consumers, investors – to push large consumer products corporations (palm oil consumers) towards procurement policies that would break the link between the palm oil they consume and forest destruction and force palm oil traders and producers (suppliers) to do the same. Palm oil plantations have expanded rapidly over the past two decades, clearing large swathes of natural forest that store carbon and are home to thousands of species and communities. Palm oil is used in about half of products found in grocery stores shelves and can be produced responsibly. Consumer companies like Nestle, Unilever, Mondelez, Colgate, Procter&Gamble, Johnson&Johnson and others adopted strong procurement policies and pushed producers and traders like GAR, Wilmar and Cargill to do the same. Wilmar, GAR and Cargill – all named in Greenpeace reports and exposes – represent more than 50% of all palm oil traded in the world. By adopting policies that will break the link between the palm oil they produce and trade to forest and peat destruction and social exploitation, including what originates from third party suppliers, this companies have the potential to significantly reduce the emission of billions of tons of Greenhouse gases ad contribute to the development of communities, regions and countries. By getting large consumer companies to adopt, understand and implement their procurement policies, we are guaranteeing that these commitments will create long term impacts and that more suppliers will adopt strong policies – which is already happening. Additionally, Cargill announced that it will extend no deforestation commitments to all commodities it trades, opening the possibility of further progress on soy, beef and other large agricultural deforestation drivers.

Check out their video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0o6WHN4NDTk

dsc_0036The Problem with Palm Oil: Cargill’s use of Conflict Palm Oil

Lead Group: Rainforest Action Network (RAN)

Support Groups: Girl Scouts Madison and Rhiannon, Greenpeace, Green Century Funds, Union of Concerned Scientists, Forest Heroes and the UN Secretary General’s Climate Summit 2014 – Parties to the New York Declaration on Forests Action Statement and Action Plans.

Cargill is the largest importer of palm oil to the US and has significant influence in the global palm oil supply chain. This campaign aimed to reform and transform Cargill into a leader in the agribusiness sector working to eliminate deforestation and human rights violations from global commodity supply chains. RAN has actively pressured Cargill for the last seven years on deforestation and human rights abuses in its supply chain, specifically in relation to its trading and selling of palm oil. Palm oil is a leading driver of rainforest destruction, species extinction, carbon pollution, and human and labor rights violations. In September, at the UN Climate Summit in New York City, Cargill’s CEO announced its new commitment to implement “deforestation free” policies covering ALL of Cargill’s commodities trading business worldwide. This commitment marks the beginning of another long journey toward implementation and accountability — the on-the-ground reforms that will bring about the long term changes so desperately needed for communities, rainforests, endangered species including orangutan populations, and our climate. But it is also a momentous milestone that is part of a much larger sea change taking place across the palm oil industry. Cargill may help break the link between a number of commodities – palm oil, soy, beef, and paper – that are driving negative social and environmental impacts across the globe. This campaign shows that when people take persistent action they can create real, systemic change in the global food system. Once these commitments have been implemented in full, it will mean a better future for Indigenous communities, rainforests, tigers, orangutans and our shared climate.

Check out their video: http://youtu.be/9wlnPY023Hk

vermbhopalInternational Campaign for Justice in Bhopal

Lead Groups: Bhopal gas-affected women workers’ stationery union, Bhopal gas-affected women’s and men’s front, Bhopal gas-affected destitute pensioners’ front, Children Against Dow-Carbide, The Bhopal Group for Information and Action

Support Groups: Association for India’s Development, Bhopal Medical Appeal, Pesticide Action Network

The campaign works to hold the Dow Chemical Company accountable for the 1984 Bhopal Gas Disaster and its ongoing impact on communities in Bhopal, India. The International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal (ICJB) is a coalition that is comprised of survivors of the disaster, international volunteers, and environmental, social justice and human rights groups. The Bhopal District Court summoned Dow Chemical to make its subsidiary, Union Carbide, appear in court for the criminal case. In August 2014: The government of the state of Madhya Pradesh has completed the task of providing clean water to 10,000 families through pipelines. Survivor and support organizations fought a long and arduous battle from 2006 for families who reside near the abandoned factory and had been forced to drink local groundwater contaminated with toxic chemicals. August 4th, 2014: The Bhopal District Court summoned Dow Chemical to make its subsidiary, Union Carbide, appear in court for the criminal case, in response to an application by the support organization Bhopal Group for Information and Action in 2004. From 2012 – 2014: The Bhopal Group for Information and Action obtained various sensitive documents under the Right to Information (RTI) Act from the Prime Minister’s Office and Ministry of Chemicals, showing the involvement of prominent persons in causing injustice in Bhopal.

Check out their video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZT8z0TRYgtM

'Save the Arctic' Protest in Legoland DenmarkLEGO Block Shell

Lead Groups: Greenpeace

This was a brand-damage campaign that targeted LEGO and aimed to get them to end their corporate partnership with Shell. The campaign also was about Shell, and aimed to pressure them to ditch their plans to drill in the Arctic. Shell’s plans to drill for oil in the Arctic are a major threat to the region. The campaign aimed to help protect the Arctic from Shell and all oil companies which would ignore climate change and the risk of spills in order to drill in icy Arctic waters. The lead campaign video, Everything is NOT Awesome, went viral with over 6 million views, and it received tons of media coverage and praise from around the world. The campaign video and the media coverage around it brought massive attention to Shell’s plans to drill for oil in the Arctic and the threat posed to the Arctic by oil drilling, including from audiences who don’t necessarily follow environmental issues closely. It exposed how Shell was using Lego to try to prop up their image in order to obtain social license for their controversial business practices. The video helped to undermine the social license of Shell and other fossil fuel companies seeking to drill in the Arctic and clinging to a climate-wrecking business model. It sent a strong message that these companies are engaged in business practices that are socially unacceptable, and ultimately contributed to Lego ending their partnership with Shell. In the future, corporate bad guys like Shell will find it much more difficult to find partnerships to distract the public from their dirty business practices.

Chcek out their video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qhbliUq0_r4

BENNY AwardsMaking Change @ Walmart

Lead Groups: Anchored by the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW). Key strategic partners: Jobs with Justice, Interfaith Workers Alliance, Color of Change, Action Network, AFL-CIO, American Federation of Teachers, National Organization for Women

Support Groups: Dozens of organizations at the national, state, and local level

We focus on challenging Walmart, and the Walton family through multiple means. That includes customer engagement when we have store actions, as well as earned media. We have won changes through our engagement of shareholders, and seen divestment from large investors as well as Portland, OR. Making Change at Walmart is a campaign challenging Walmart to help rebuild our economy and strengthen working families.  Walmart changed its policy so that women could be considered temporarily disabled and eligible for reasonable accommodations which will ensure that women with pregnancy-related complications receive some basic accommodations. While this policy does not go far enough to provide reasonable accommodations regarding physical demands for all pregnant women, it’s a step forward in protecting the jobs and the health of the most vulnerable pregnant women and their babies. Too many Walmart women have been forced to choose between keeping their jobs and protecting their health.  This victory is an important step toward improving jobs at Walmart, and shows that by standing together, workers can make changes even at the largest private employer in the world. Moving forward workers will continue to call on the company to publicly commit to ensuring that all pregnant workers are afforded the rights and accommodations to they are able to have to safe pregnancies without having to lose their jobs or pay.  No one should be discriminated against because they are pregnant and OUR Walmart’s Respect the Bump will continue to hold Walmart accountable.

Check out their campaign website: www.makingchangeatwalmart.org

AsYouSow-McDonalds-Foam-Cups-Benny-Nomination-ImageMoving McDonald’s Away from Unrecyclable Foam Cups

Lead Groups: As You Sow

As You Sow filed shareholder resolutions and engaged in dialogue with McDonald’s asking the company to phase out polystyrene beverage cups. McDonald’s had taken steps to make its food and beverage packaging more environmentally friendly. However, the company continued to use billions of polystyrene-based beverage cups. Polystyrene is not widely recycled and has become pervasive in the marine environment, carried through storm drains to the ocean. McDonald’s agreed to replace its polystyrene foam hot beverage cups with paper-based cups at all 14,000 U.S. restaurants. Paper cups also use significant energy and chemicals in their production, but do not persist in the environment for hundreds of years, as foam does, and are becoming more readily recyclable. Elimination of foam cups by McDonald’s and other fast food brands reduces the amount of materials likely to be swept into oceans and ingested by marine life.  This action recues the potential for harm to oceans animals and the potential for chemicals to be absorbed and passed through the food chain to humans. Use of more readily recyclable paper cups can lead to greater recycling of paper cups, which are generally made from high quality fiber prized by paper mills for recycled content.

Check out their campaign website: http://www.asyousow.org/companies/mcdonalds/

NoGMOsCheerios-920wNo GMOs in Your Cheerios

Lead Groups: Green America, As You Sow

The campaign worked to pressure General Mills to reformulate their Cheerios cereal without genetically modified ingredients. Green America marshaled over 150,000 General Mills customers to apply pressure via emails, Facebook, and phone calls, while As You Sow worked with investors to file a shareholder resolution. The genetic modification or engineering of plants and animals has become a significant economic and environmental issue, and the controversy has resulted in large-scale market and consumer backlash. Many consumers and investors want GMO labeling and GMO-free options – polls show public support for GMO labeling at 93%. General Mills announced that it has stopped sourcing genetically modified organisms for its original Cheerios breakfast cereal. Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are crops that have had their DNA modified by laboratory processes to incorporate or resist pesticides/herbicides. The safety of GMOs is still in question, and they have led to increased herbicide applications, increasingly toxic herbicides, and decreased soil health. Polls demonstrate public support for GMO labeling at 93%, and show that over 50% of consumers are concerned about the safety of GMOs. In early 2014, General Mills announced it would stop sourcing GMOs for its iconic original Cheerios breakfast cereal. The decision to transition this flagship brand (a favorite of kids and families) will encourage other companies to follow suit.  Post announced non-GMO Grape Nuts shortly thereafter. Green American and As You Sow continue to engage with General Mills and other consumer packaged goods companies to push for more labeling and product reformulations. And consumers and investors are increasingly engaged in the issue as well.

Check out their video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KbiDgOkhoyY&feature=youtu.be

libertyoffnowOffNow

Lead Groups: Bill Of Rights Defense Committee, Tenth Amendment Center

Support Groups: antiwar.com, revolutiontruth.org, States Rights Foundation, Muslim Legal Fund of America, Media Alliance, Downsize DC

The OffNow campaign affects corporate partnerships with the Federal Government and the States. Specifically, it provides disincentives for corporations to participate in illegal, unwarranted mass surveillance. The OffNow Campaign influences corporate behavior, making them more accountable and including corporations as civic partners in the fight to defend the Constitution. The NSA is engaged in programmatic mass surveillance of domestic residents without legal justification. They engage state and corporate partners to assist them in their broad spying efforts. The OffNow Campaign uses the democratic process to bring accountability to corporate and state spying practices.  The OffNow Campaign has seen versions of its model legislation in 16 states. California passed SB 828, based on OffNow language. Several remaining states have bills under consideration. Success of the OffNow Campaign’s model legislation demonstrates concretely what local coalitions can achieve when unified by a common cause. The true victory is two-fold. First, the campaign brought together people from otherwise disparate groups, uniting organizations from across the political spectrum. Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians and Progressives all participated actively in the OffNow Campaign to create a truly racially, generationally and politically diverse coalition. Second, the success of the California OffNow bill sends a strong signal to the NSA and Federal Government that ordinary people will not stand for their rights to be violated. Privacy and the Fourth Amendment right to be free from unwarranted search and seizure are cornerstone pieces of our democracy. The OffNow Coalition’s victory puts real restrictions on the lengths the NSA can go to in order to violate our rights. By unifying unlike organizations and limiting the extent of government surveillance, OffNow won two victories.

Check out their campaign website: www.offnow.org

RSN-Cotton-Benny-Nomination-Image-1Pledge to Avoid Uzbek Cotton Sourced with Forced Labor Grows to Include World’s Largest Retailers

Lead Group: Responsible Sourcing Network

Responsible Sourcing Network engaged retailers and apparel brands, asking companies to sign a pledge against sourcing cotton from Uzbekistan, where the government uses forced labor in the cotton sector. The Uzbek government forces over one million citizens to labor in the country’s cotton fields each year. The government shuts down schools and public offices for months at a time, mobilizes the country’s youth, teachers and civil servants, and sends them to the cotton fields every autumn. Tesco (world’s second-largest retailer) and Fast Retailing (largest clothing retailer in Asia) joined Walmart (world’s largest retailer) and 161 other brands and companies as signatories to the Cotton Pledge. Due to the pressure on the Uzbek government by the international community, there has been some success in reducing human rights violations. Finally, after five years of coordinated advocacy, children ages 7-15 are almost completely absent from the fields, and the International Labour Organization (ILO) was allowed to monitor the cotton harvest for the “worst forms of child labor” last year. Much of the international pressure has come from retail companies who have signed RSN’s Cotton Pledge, committing to not use Uzbek cotton harvested with forced labor in their products. However, even though the youngest children are no longer in the fields, a larger number of older students and adults are working as forced laborers in their place. With a growing majority of global retailers and brands pledging not to use Uzbek cotton, the Government of Uzbekistan will be pressed to dismantle its orchestrated system of forced labor.

Check out their campaign website: http://www.sourcingnetwork.org/blog/2014/10/9/tesco-worlds-second-largest-retailer-signs-rsns-cotton-pledg.html

exxonAYSPressing ExxonMobil to Address the Economic Risks of Climate Change

Lead Group: As You Sow

Support Group: Arjuna Capital

As You Sow filed shareholder resolutions and engaged in dialogue with ExxonMobil, the largest publicly owned oil and gas company, requesting a report on long and short term financial and operational risks to the company. Global temperature increases must be held below 2 degrees Celsius to avoid catastrophic climate change, and deep cuts in GHG emissions are required to meet this goal. If fossil fuel reserves cannot be burned, companies holding these reserves will be overvalued, and the resulting market bubble puts investors at risk. ExxonMobil agreed for the first time ever to publish a Carbon Asset Risk report describing how it assesses the risk of stranded assets from climate change.  In the 2012 World Energy Outlook, the International Energy Agency states that “[n]o more than one-third of proven reserves of fossil fuels can be consumed prior to 2050 if the world is to achieve the 2 degree Celsius goal,” generally recognized as the level beyond which global warming will have dire ramifications. If laws and regulations are adjusted to recognize this limitation, the vast majority of fossil fuel companies will be left with stranded assets in the form of unburnable reserves and underused infrastructure. Importantly for shareholders, the majority of such companies will be overvalued, presenting the risk of a “carbon bubble.” By filing and withdrawing a shareholder resolution at ExxonMobil asking the company to release a report on its risk of stranded assets, As You Sow forced a company that has engaged in serial climate denialism to acknowledge the serious economic risks of climate change.

Check out their campaign website: http://www.asyousow.org/our-work/energy/climate-change/carbon-bubble/

RSN-Conflict-Minerals-Benny-Nomination-ImagePressing for Company Conflict Mineral Disclosures to the SEC

Lead Groups: Responsible Sourcing Network, Enough Project, Global Witness, Amnesty International

Responsible Sourcing Network coordinated with companies and NGOs to advocate for a robust conflict minerals disclosure requirement as part of Dodd-Frank Section 1502.  The link between revenue generation from minerals and the purchase of weapons and exploitation of people is well documented. Companies should only be purchasing “conflict-free minerals” from eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).  After years of debate and legal challenges, companies filed their first conflict minerals disclosure reports to the SEC as required by Dodd-Frank 1502. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Great Lakes Region (GLR) is one of the most mineral-rich areas in the world, with sizeable deposits of gold, tantalum, tin and tungsten. Unfortunately, a large amount of taxes, bribes, or other payments are demanded by warring armed groups for the extracted minerals. Since 1996, ongoing conflict in the region has claimed at least six million lives. Submission of the first conflict mineral disclosure reports, required by companies under Dodd-Frank Section 1502, represents a momentous achievement for all those working to end the trade in conflict minerals. The reports also will shed light on operational risks that are material to investor interests. Transparency disclosures such as those required for Section 1502 will not only improve and expand conflict-free sourcing efforts from DRC and the broader GLR, but are also setting a precedent for disclosures involving human rights risks embedded in raw materials globally.

Check out their campaign website: http://www.sourcingnetwork.org/blog/2014/8/15/connecting-the-dots-on-conflict-mineral-disclosures.html

AsYouSow-McDonalds-Foam-Cups-Benny-Nomination-Image-1Pressing Utilities to Move Away from Coal and Towards Renewable Energy

Lead Group: As You Sow

As You Sow filed shareholder resolutions and engaged in dialogue with FirstEnergy and Southern Company, two public utilities with coal-heavy fuel mixes, asking the companies to report on efforts to reduce GHG emissions. Global temperature increases must be held below 2 degrees Celsius to avoid catastrophic climate change, and deep cuts in GHG emissions are required to meet this goal. Burning coal has significant financial, environmental, and health risks associated, and resources invested in coal should instead be directed towards cleaner energy sources. Utilities FirstEnergy and Southern Company agreed to produce reports on company efforts to mitigate GHG emissions. The human, environmental, and economic costs of a warming climate are becoming increasingly clear as is the need to take decisive action. Coal, a carbon-intensive fuel, is at a crisis point. A consensus among industry analysts finds that nearly a quarter of U.S. coal-burning generation could be retired in the very near future due to the cost of regulatory compliance and the inability for merchant utilities to recover rates. Replacement resources are likely to come from natural gas, solar, wind, and energy efficiency—not new coal. By filing and withdrawing shareholder resolutions with FirstEnergy and Southern Company (two public utilities with coal-heavy fuel mixes) asking the companies to produce reports on efforts to mitigate GHG emissions, As You Sow helped the utilities to address the wide array of financial risks associated with continued reliance on coal and to begin transitions to cleaner energy.

Check out their campaign website: http://www.asyousow.org/our-work/energy/coal/

BENNY AwardsProtect Bristol Bay from the Pebble Mine

Lead Groups: Earthworks and Nunamta Aulukestai

Support Group: AIFMA

The Pebble campaign sought to convince Anglo American and Rio Tinto, the two major mining companies involved in the proposed Pebble Mine, to withdraw from the project.  We targeted investors, shareholders and senior executives of the company with one simple message: the Pebble Mine is simply too risky. The Pebble Mine, a massive copper/gold mine proposed at the headwaters of Alaska’s Bristol Bay, would cause irreversible harm to the world’s largest wild salmon fishery and the communities that rely on it.  Our campaign sought to stop Pebble by convincing the two major mining companies to pull out. Anglo American and Rio Tinto withdrew from the proposed Pebble Project in September 2013 and April 2014, respectively – leaving the project without financial resources for development. With the departure of Rio Tinto and Anglo American, Pebble no longer has the financial resources to develop the mine, providing additional opportunity for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to put in place more lasting protection. In July 2014, the EPA released its plan for protecting the salmon fishery by using its authority under Section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act to place restrictions on mine waste disposal in the Bristol Bay watershed.  A final decision, which is expected in early 2015, will stop the proposed Pebble Mine and protect the largest wild salmon fishery on Earth and the Alaska Native communities who rely on it.

Check out their campaign website: www.ourbristolbay.com

BENNY AwardsRaise the Bar, Hershey!

Lead Groups: Green America, Global Exchange, International Labor Rights Forum

Support Groups: U. Roberto Romano’s groundbreaking film, The Dark Side of Chocolate, was instrumental in raising awareness of the issue of child labor in cocoa. Dozens of student groups and religious groups participated in the campaign. Whole Foods and dozens of food co-ops took action by dropping Hershey products from their stores.

We targeted Hershey, the largest chocolate company in the United States, for its failure to address child labor in its supply chain.  We used consumer, investor, retail, and media pressure to get Hershey to adopt certification for its cocoa, which would prohibit child labor. Child labor is an enormous problem in the cocoa industry, with many children forced to labor on farms for no pay.  1.8 million children are estimated to work in the cocoa industry in West Africa.  Despite having $7 billion in revenues per year, Hershey was failing to take action. In October 2012, Hershey first announced that it would phase in certifications that prohibit child labor over the next decade.  Continued pressure resulted in a 2013 commitment to a timeline. The long term impacts of this campaign are significant: 1. The top two chocolate companies in the United States (Mars and Hershey) have now agreed to certify their cocoa child labor free by 2021. 2. Thousands of children in West Africa will benefit by no longer being forced to labor on cocoa farms.  3. Laggards in the cocoa industry (such as Godiva) are now under pressure to certify their cocoa as well (Green America has a campaign targeting Godiva). 4. Millions of American consumers are now aware of the problem of child labor in the cocoa industry and expect chocolate companies to take action to address it.  5. The campaign increased consumer awareness of fair trade chocolate and boosted the market for these chocolates.

Check out their video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wYziZzN0N7g&list=UUNwSpCKM3WrvIjN5V1yD54Q

Rayovaction Crowd Photo (adjusted)Take ’em Back Rayovac!

Lead Group: Texas Campaign for the Environment

Support Groups: Midwest Environmental Justice Organization, Progressive Dane, UPSTREAM (formerly the Product Policy Institute), Cradle2, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Cornell Student Labor Action Coalition, Clean Water Action Michigan, Clean Water Action Massachusetts, Clean Water Action Rhode Island, Ohio Citizens Action, Sierra Club, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA), International Campaign for Responsible Electronics, Electronics Takeback Coalition, Coalition for Safe Minds, Eco-Cycle, Zero Waste Detroit, Nothing Left to Waste, Eureka Recycling, New Jersey Environmental Federation, Clean and Healthy New York, New York PIRG, Vermont PIRG, Basel Action Network, SEED Coalition, Northeast Wisconsin Zero Waste Coalition, Clean Water Action Council–Northeast Wisconsin, REThink Wisconsin, One Wisconsin Now, Recycle Worlds Consulting

This campaign was directed at executives and top investors in Spectrum Brands Holdings–owners of Rayovac–urging them to change their policies and positions on household battery recycling. This was a strategic piece of a larger campaign to secure industry-led extended producer responsibility (EPR) for all household batteries. More than 90% of US household batteries end up in landfills or incinerators–more than 2 billion batteries a year. This wastes resources, increases dependence on extraction industries, and poses threats to air, land, and water. Consumers want to recycle, but opportunities are limited and usually depend on local government programs. Rayovac, the only major household battery manufacturer not supportive of producer takeback now they publicly endorses it and joined with their competitors to shape model legislation for battery takeback. With Rayovac on board we now have unanimous support for producer takeback among the major battery companies, making it much easier to pass legislation. Their model legislation will be taken up by the Connecticut legislature in 2015, and introduced in Texas as well. We will even have Republican authors in Texas because of industry support. Industry figures have told us that once enough states have passed legislation they will roll out a national household battery takeback program, meaning that consumers will have access to reliable recycling for these toxic products. Eventually this should make rechargeable batteries more competitive in price, thus increasing adoption of this more sustainable technology. Also, the collected material makes closed-loop recycling for batteries more likely, thus reducing the need for destructive mining practices. Finally this will keep millions of batteries out of landfills and incinerators, thus reducing their impacts on air, land and water.

Check out their video: http://www.channel3000.com/news/protesting-pirates-demand-change-from-local-company/27168960#.U9VKzqCXTEg.facebook

gary dor and ben gotschallThe Keystone Pipeline Campaign

Lead Groups: Bold Nebraska, Lakota Tribes, Cowboy and Indian Alliance

Support Groups: NRDC, 350.org, Sierra Club, NWF, LCV, CREDO, FoE, Oil Change international, Tar Sands Solutions Network

The campaign is squarely at odds with Big Oil’s agenda to expand the oil industry; it aims to create uncertainty in the financial sector leading to decreased investment in the sector. The campaign aims to protect water, property and climate by stopping the permitting and construction of the Keystone XL pipeline northern segment. It has prevented the permitting of the pipeline for six years. The legal victory in Thomspon v Heineman led to another long delay of the  permitting decision by President Obama for a total of 5 years and counting. In total, public accountability campaigns on tar sands have led to keeping 6.9 billion tons of carbon in the ground, according to Oil Change International. It has rocked Canadian politics and led to decreased investment in the tar sands industry, including the cancellation of projects in Alberta.

Check out their campaign website: http://boldnebraska.org/bold-nebraska-and-cowboy-indian-alliance-actions-in-2014/

vermontgmo2014Vermont Right to Know GMOs Coalition’s campaign to pass VT H.112

Lead Groups: Cedar Circle Farm & Education Center, Northeast Organic Farmers Association Vermont Chapter (NOFA-VT), Rural Vermont, Vermont Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG)

Support Groups: There are over 200 farms, business, restaurants, food producers, health care professionals who formally endorsed our campaign – you can see them all here: http://www.vtrighttoknowgmos.org/who-we-are/#supporters. Our primary support groups in passing the legislation were: Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility, Ben & Jerry’s Corporation, Organic Consumers Association and the Organic Consumers Fund, Center for Food Safety

The national campaign to pass state level laws requiring that genetically engineered foods be labeled is fundamentally re-shaping the American food system. It is changing the behavior of consumers, food producers, and the corporations that control the industrial food system. VT is the first state to pass such a law. Food is fundamental and citizens have a fundamental right to know what is in the food they are eating and feeding their families. Requiring labeling of genetically engineered food provides critical information that consumers need to choose the foods that support their needs and values. On May 8, 2014, after a massive grassroots campaign, Gov. Shumlin signed H.112 into law making VT the first state to pass a “no strings attached” GMO Food Labeling Law. We believe that VT’s passage of a “no strings attached” GMO Food Labeling law will serve as both a model for other states’ GMO Labeling legislation and it also provides significant momentum to support the growing national movement to give consumers the right to know what is in their food. If VT can also successfully defend its law from the industrial food corporations that have sued to have it struck down by the courts, we will have charted a path for a fundamental change in the American food system that gives power back to the people instead of the corporations.

Check out their video: http://youtu.be/by9OxxhpNxU