Friday, May 02, 2008

A Little Knowledge is a Dangerous Thing

It becomes apparent as the green revolution evolves, that we have to be careful who we listen to.

The Motley Fool, the stockpicker / online blogger, is running a green investing series in advance of Earth Day on April 22. The MF perspective re: green investing focuses on long-term shareholder value, but so be it. Pretty one-dimensional, but we get a habitable planet in the process.

The companies that Motley Fool highlights boggle the noodle, though. Some of these companies, held up as progressive, have a checkered eco-past, some have troubling human rights records.

The Motley Fool articles applaud Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO) and its recycling campaigns, General Electric's (NYSE: GE) Ecomagination cornerstones, and Disney's (NYSE: DIS) environmental policies.

But Coke has a history of international anti-union activities including murders of union officials in Colombia; see or this Businessweek article

Applauding GE for its Ecomagination campaign shows how little MF knows about GE’s eco-history. From 1947 to 1977 General Electric dumped 1.3 million pounds PCB’s from our river into the Hudson. These PCB’s are found in the river, in fish and in us. Riverkeeper article

If you’ve seen the commercials GE runs about their portable ultrasound equipment and the difference that this is making in developing nations you’d applaud. But if you realized that one of the ways these units are used is to abort female fetuses, you’d be horrified. Washington Post article

Disney’s checkered labor history includes violations of Chinese labor laws. Workers making Disney toys work 15 hours a day. 28 days a month. To read more about Disney’s labor history, here and abroad: Disney’s labor history and Disney in China

For whatever reason, our eco-awareness is on red alert- but all the issues we deal with in reforming, transforming and supporting corporate conscience demand our attention……

Onward and upward!


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