2012 Awards

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Campaign wins over corporate influence on our democracy, unhealthy marketing to children,and threats to workers and the environment receive top marketplace activism prizes

Occupy Wall Street receives special recognition

Sarita Gupta honored for individual achievement

Awards recognize victories and significant achievements in corporate reform.

Top corporate campaign activists were honored in October with the 2012 BENNY Awards, given by the Business Ethics Network (BEN). The campaign Dump ALEC! A project of ALEC Exposed and the Center for Media and Democracy won the first place BENNY Award, the Value [the] Meal campaign won the second place award, and third place went to the Ending the Toxic Crisis & Lockout at Sun Capital’s Emerald Performance in Henry, IL campaign. Each campaign won a significant victory in corporate transformation in the last year. Occupy Wall Street was given Special Recognition for its impact on national and international perspectives on justice and public power. Sarita Gupta was honored with the Individual Achievement Award for her decades of successful work on economic and social justice, and for her leadership in bringing together diverse efforts into powerful coalitions for change.

“The honorees have achieved even more than accountability for powerful corporations,” said Business Ethics Network Executive Director Anne Pernick. “They have changed the way people are thinking about corporate power and privilege, and how activists are achieving corporate transformation.”

The campaign Dump ALEC A project of ALEC Exposed and the Center for Media and Democracy is exposing the role of corporations in funding the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and therefore in driving an extreme agenda which includes voter suppression, “Stand Your Ground,” and legislation to strip consumers of their rights to hold companies accountable in court for dangerous products. The attention on the goals of ALEC and on its corporate backers has resulted in many companies leaving ALEC and in the U.S. public giving critical attention to the undue influence of corporations in our democracy. The campaign is a successful collaboration among a coalition of groups and individuals.

The Value [the] Meal campaign is working to stop companies from bombarding children with junk food advertising and to defend sustainable agriculture in the face of the advance of factory farming. The campaign’s recently persuaded the Cleveland Clinic to not renew its contract with McDonald’s in a move that threatens McDonald’s use of centers of health to improve the image of its products and also helps level the playing field for healthy food alternatives.

The campaign on Ending the Toxic Crisis & Lockout at Sun Capital’s Emerald Performance in Henry, IL is a strong example of the power of bringing environmental and labor efforts together. The campaign succeeded in ending a dangerous worker lockout and instating improvements in plant operations which benefit the workforce, the community, and the Illinois River, and in increasing union openness toward blue-green alliances.

BEN and the BENNY Awards Committee are awarding Special Recognition to all those joined in the efforts of Occupy Wall Street for their success in changing our national and international conversations about public versus corporate power, and about equality and justice.

Sarita Gupta received the Individual Achievement Award. Ms. Gupta is Executive Director of Jobs with Justice, which is building a strong, progressive labor movement that works in coalition with community, faith, and student organizations to build a broader global movement for economic and social justice. Her power as an organizer has been evident since she was a student leading a successful recruitment and retention campaign for low-income students and students of color at her college. Through her career with Chicago Jobs with Justice and the national Jobs with Justice organization she has built strong coalitions on every scale, taking on issues at the intersections of workers’ rights, immigrants’ rights, global justice, racial justice, and women’s rights. In recent years, Ms. Gupta’s leadership has been critical in efforts, such as 99% Spring, to converge different movements and build the kind of power we need to make transformative change.

BEN organizes the BENNY awards to celebrate the victories and achievements of corporate campaign activists. Activists who are Members of BEN nominate campaigns for the BENNY and Path to Victory Awards. The BEN Awards Committee decides on the winners in both formal categories, and the public votes for their favorite campaigns in the Populist Category. BEN Advisory Committee and staff choose recipients of the Individual Achievement Award.

BEN, a project of Corporate Ethics International, is the largest network of non-profit, marketplace advocacy activists and organizations in the U.S.

Below are the winners in all categories. All winners and nominees will be honored at the BENNY Awards ceremony on November 13, 2012 in Washington, D.C.

Individual Achievement Award
Sarita Gupta, Jobs with Justice

Special Recognition Award
Occupy Wall Street

BENNY Award
1. Dump ALEC! A project of ALEC Exposed and the Center for Media and Democracy
Lead Group(s): Center for Media and Democracy, The Nation Magazine, ColorOfChange.org, Common Cause, People for the American Way, and Progress Now

2. Value [the] Meal
Lead Group: Corporate Accountability International

3. Ending the Toxic Crisis & Lockout at Sun Capital’s Emerald Performance in Henry, IL
Lead Group(s): Teamsters Local 627 & Emerald Performance workers & families in Henry, IL, International Brotherhood of Teamsters

Path to Victory Award
1. Cruel Confinement of Farm Animals
Lead Group: The Humane Society of the United States

TIE FOR SECOND PLACE (when there is a tie for second, no third place is awarded)

2. Hydraulic Fracking Shareholder Campaign
Lead Group(s): Green Century Capital Management, the Investor Environmental Health Network (IEHN)
and

2. Google: Quit the Chamber
Lead Group(s): SumOfUs

Populist Category BENNY
1. “Barbaric” Campaign
Lead Group: Greenpeace

2. Campaign to Shut Down the Crawford and Fisk Coal Power Plants
Lead Group(s): Chicago Youth Climate Coalition, Eco-Justice Collaborative, Environmental Law and Policy Center, Environment Illinois, Greenpeace, Faith in Place, Illinois Student Environmental Coalition, Little Village Environmental Justice Organization, Nuclear Energy Information Service, Pilsen Alliance, Pilsen Environmental Rights and Reform Organization, Protestants for the Common Good, Rainforest Action Network Chicago, Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago, Doctor’s Council SEIU, Sierra Club Beyond Coal, Southeast Environmental Task Force

3. Dump ALEC!  A project of ALEC Exposed and the Center for Media and Democracy
Lead Group(s): Center for Media and Democracy, The Nation Magazine, ColorOfChange.org, Common Cause, People for the American Way, Progress Now and PCCC

Populist Category Path to Victory
1. Cruel Confinement of Farm Animals
Lead Group: The Humane Society of the United States

2. Tar Sands Action
Lead Group(s): Tar Sands Action, 350.org

3. Private Prison Divestment Campaign
Lead Group(s): Convened by Enlace. Steering Committee: Corazón de Tucson, Detention Watch Network, Florida Immigrant Coalition, General Board of Church and Society-the United Methodist Church, Grassroots Leadership, National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, National People’s Action, PICO National Network, Politically Active Ztudents (PAZ), Rights for All People, Service Employees International Union, Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, TogetherColorado, Workplace Project