Corporate Social Responsibility

Wal-Mart Does Good by Leaving ALEC

It's big news when one of the largest corporations in the world changes its policy. And, today, the really big news is that Wal-Mart announced it was leaving the controversial American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which has been called "a corporate lobby masquerading as a charity."

ALEC Exposed - A project of CMDThe Center for Media and Democracy launched ALECexposed almost a year ago to shine a spotlight on ALEC. CMD's analysis and ongoing investigation have fueled hundreds of news articles and other reports exposing deeply troubling information about ALEC's operations and extreme agenda. And, CMD has served as a research engine that has helped empower hundreds of thousands of people to speak out against ALEC's agenda and activities. Through ALEC's task forces, corporate lobbyists are voting behind closed doors as equals with legislators on templates to change our laws.

Wisconsin Becomes Part of Gas Industry's Land Grab

The methane gas industry is snapping up land across the United States, and it's not only regions with gas reserves its after. Part of the controversial process of hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," which has become big business in the nation, requires a fine silica sand. The sand is most easily accessible in the state of Wisconsin, which means the industry is looking to scrape the Midwestern state of it's rolling hills by extracting its sand. This new scramble for sand mining has local residents concerned about the health and environmental impacts on their communities.

The industry of sand mining is booming along with the national increase in "natural" gas drilling. The industry is touting methane gas as a "bridge fuel" to wean the nation of its petroleum addiction, but the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing has citizens up in arms because the process leaks harmful toxins into the nation's water supplies -- and the overall process of methane gas drilling is just as dirty, if not dirtier, than using petroleum.

Since 9/11, Koch Industries Has Fought Against Tougher Government Rules on Chemical Plants

By John Aloysius Farrell, Ben Wieder and Evan Bush

The Center for Media and Democracy is re-posting this article from John Aloysius Farrell, Ben Wieder, and Evan Bush at iWatch News, a project of the Center for Public Integrity, as part of our effort to track Koch Industries and ALEC via our ALECexposed.org project and to expose corporate spin. The original can be found here. For more, see Farrell's April 2011 article "Koch's web of influence" and Cole Goins' August 2011 article "What's it like living near a chemical plant?," both also on iWatch. To find out about chemical plants near you, download the spreadsheet of data gathered from the risk management plans that Koch files with the EPA.

Taxpayers Demand Chase Bank Pay its Fair Share

tax dodger bannerAt a rally held in front of Chase Bank on Capitol Square in Madison, Wisconsin today, a few dozen people gathered to air their grievances against Chase and other U.S. corporations who will pay no taxes for 2010. Jeff Kravat of MoveOn hosted the rally along with Gene Lundergan, who gathered a group of four or five people to present a tax bill of almost $2 billion to the branch bank manager. This bill, for $1.988 billion, was drawn up using Chase's 2010 10-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and a December 2008 U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report (pdf). When Lundergan, Steve Hughes of Young Progressives and several others approached the front entrance of the bank, they were refused admission by the security guard, so they left the bill propped in the front window.

Big Soda Uses Philanthropy to Silence Opposition, Neutralize Soda Taxes

Pepsi productsAs evidence mounts linking sugar consumption to increasing rates of heart disease, cancer and diabetes, the soda industry is fighting back, in part by ramping up philanthropy and developing partnerships. After the Philadelphia City Council introduced a measure to add a two-cent tax on soda, the soda industry's lobbying group, the American Beverage Association created the "Foundation for a Healthy America," a new front group that donated $10 million to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia -- to expand its obesity program. The soda tax would have raised about $20 million for obesity prevention programs plus even more money for the city's general fund. Despite this, the soda tax proposal fizzled and Philadelphia's City Council declined to revisit the issue. In a similar move, Coca Cola funded a North Carolina School of Public Health campaign against childhood obesity. The slogan? "Everything in moderation." Even the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation issued a report titled (pdf) "F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America's Future," which contains an odd "personal perspective" written by Pepsi CEO, Indra Nooyi, that reads like a press release. Nooyi boasts about Pepsi's partnership with the YMCA, promotes the company's "responsible advertising" and a self-regulatory project in which the company apparently monitors its own advertising to children under 12.

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