Coca-Cola, which was ranked as the world's most valuable brand for the third straight year by Omnicom Group's Interbrand unit, apparently has seen little harm to its brand reputation from a recent lawsuit for human rights abuses. The Corporate Crime Reporter writes that the United Steel Workers Union and the International Labor Rights Fund filed suit against Coke and Panamerican Beverages Inc. in federal court in mid-July. The case was initiated by Sinaltrainal, a trade union that represents Coca-Cola workers in Columbia.
The efforts of the 30-nation Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to reform "tax haven" countries such as Liechtenstein and the Cayman Islands are being countered in the U.S. by a lobbying campaign run by the Center for Freedom and Prosperity. Capitol Hill veteran Andrew Quinlan, who also works for the Swiss Investors Protection Association, heads the Center.
NY-based, freelance PR Writer Debra Michals criticized her former client, the Women's Museum in Dallas, in the latest issue of Ms. magazine. In the article, "Did the Women's Museum Wimp Out?" Michals claims that corporate sponsorship and the conservative politics of Texas influenced the museum to not mention certain aspects of the feminist movement. According to PR Week, Michals criticized the museum for leaving out issues like abortion and bisexuality and for putting beauty pagents in a positive light. Michals had written for the museum's inaugural exhibit.
The American Chemistry Council, the trade association of the chemical industry, has signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences "to improve testing chemicals for potential human developmental and reproductive effects," according to a July 26 NIEHS press release.
The Boise Cascade Corp. is targeting the Rainforest Action Network (RAN), the environmental group that has gotten major companies to stop buying wood from the remaining old-growth forests. Boise Cascade is working with two industry-supported front groups, the Frontiers of Freedom Institute and the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise, trying to get the IRS to cancel RAN's tax-exempt status and to pressure its funders to cut off the group's money.
The Sunday morning political talk shows shut out issues related to corporate power. That is the primary conclusion of a new report issued by Essential Information, a Ralph Nader founded organization based in Washington, DC. A quantitative analysis of transcripts broadcast over a period of eighteen months from four talk shows -- The McLaughlin Group, Meet the Press, Face the Nation, This Week -- found that topics related to corporate power -- such as the environment, corporate welfare, and free trade -- make up less than 4% of the shows' discussion topics.
The San Francisco Chronicles reports, "Big oil and energy firms are contributing heavily to political parties and pouring millions into expensive ads to boost their interests, hoping to swing support behind President Bush's embattled energy plan, a new study shows." The paper cites a study released by the Washington-based watchdog group Center for Responsive Politics, which shows how business and industry are bankrolling large ad campaigns to influence the political process.
Kevin McCauley, editor for PR trade publication O'Dwyer's PR, calls on General Electric CEO Jack Welch to dredge up the company's PCBs in the Hudson River. Welch has adamantly opposed GE cleaning up the Hudson and denied a relationship between exposure to PCBs and cancer. The company has had success in creating opposition to dredging by bankrolling PR and ad campaigns. However, McCauley says, GE could get a big image boost "if Welch switched course and said: 'GE wants to be the country's No. 1 environmental citizen. We will dredge the Hudson River.'"
An timber-industry sponsored children's book has been modeled on Dr. Seuss's "Lorax." The book, titled "Truax," by Terri Birkett was funded by the Hardwood Forest Foundation and the National Oak Flooring Manufacturers Association. Four hundred thousand copies of "Truax " have been distributed to elementary schools nationwide.
Daniel J. Popeo, a former Nixon and Ford staffer, founded and runs the heavily corporate-funded Washington Legal Foundation, one of many business front groups smearing serious health and environmental concerns as "junk science." In its June 9 New York Times advertisement (p. A19) Popeo employs his trademark hysterical McCarthy-era Cold War rhetoric to accuse environmentalists of conspiring with "envious foreign competitors and international bureaucrats" to destroy the American economy and "satisfy an ideological agenda."