Friends of Sabeel, an organization that promotes a just peace in the Holy Land, has orchestrated a campaign bringing together SodaStream boycott activists from across the nation. Together this coalition comprised of CODEPINK and others inflated the mailboxes of CEOs that carry the product in their stores. Letters were sent to 14 CEOs from large companies such as Crate and Barrel, Target, and Costco just to name a few.
However, the responses to our cry for human rights was countered by Crate and Barrel with rhetoric pertaining to how the company does its best to uphold ethical business practices—so long as it does not involve politics. Rich Cohrs, director of corporate communications at Crate and Barrel, writes, “We have well documented compliance and corporate governance procedures enforcing our core values, as well as internationally-recognized best practices for sustainability, social compliance, non-discrimination, diversity and human rights. We do not engage in political debates, and we select our vendors based on product, performance and international social compliance standards. ”
However, to be a self-proclaimed company that strives to endorse ethical business practices, non-discrimination, and human rights, taking a non-political stance is simply contradictory. If a product is selling well, companies won’t remove them from shelves no matter how beautifully written their ethical business clause is. That being said, I am reminded of the great power of civil society and the influence of the consumer. Buyers can cause a product to fail and that is something we all must recognize. In our efforts to end the financial prosperity of companies such as SodaStream and Ahava that profiteer by destroying Palestinian livelihoods, we all ought to be concerned and promote the boycott campaign at the grassroots.
This holiday season, starting from Black Friday, November 29 until December 10, SodaStream activists are planning to bring awareness to the SodaStream boycott and we need your help! We want to get the word out to the surge of holiday season shoppers who may be considering purchasing SodaStream makers as gifts. We will be online and tweeting about how SodaStream is detrimental to Palestinian human rights and self-determination while also making a physical presence outside of Target stores. Stay connected with Codepink via facebook, twitter, and codepink.org for more information about how you can create a public action in your own community or utilize social media as a tool for change. Together we can resist corporate power and those who profit from human rights violations.
By Linda Tenerowicz
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