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black friday

Walmart's Biggest Black Friday Marred by Labor Dispute

Posted by Shirley Brady on November 23, 2012 07:58 AM

Black Friday shoppers in the US (and Canada) could set a record today, as the post-Thanksgiving annual retail rush is on.

Here in New York, just before midnight on Thanksgiving evening, I observed massive line-ups at the corner of Broadway and Lafayette for Adidas and Best Buy on the northeast corner of that intersection, and smaller queues starting at the southeast corner for Hollister, H&M, Uniqlo and, across the street, American Eagle and Victoria's Secret. Police, using bullhorns, tried to get the crowds to disperse by announcing, "Stores don't open until 8 A.M." — but the shoppers, mostly in their late teens and 20's it appeared, were undeterred.

All eyes, in particular, are on Walmart today, which has been downplaying the threat of OUR Walmart-organized employee strike action at its stores across the US, which are being organized online and shared on Twitter via the #walmartstrikers#changewalmart and #makingchange hashtags, and on Tumblr.Continue reading...

chew on this

Californians Go to the Polls on Prop 37 GMO Labeling Battle

Posted by Dale Buss on November 6, 2012 05:08 PM

For a while, the notion of regulating genetically modified organisms (better known as GMOs) included in food seemed like a good idea, and anti-Big Food advocates in California attracted a lot of support in a state where residents like to be on the cutting edge of just about everything. Calfornians have never minded serving as a bellwether on new regulatory initiatives that end up sweeping the rest of the country, such as automotive emissions.

But the closer today's vote on Proposition 37 loomed, the more that initial support of the idea waned. And this U.S. Election Day, even backers of the anti-GMO initiative seemed resigned to its defeat, although it's still being closely watched. (Update: Prop 37 was indeed defeated at the polling booth.)

What happened? Well, a combination of huge contributions by moneyed CPG brands battered Prop 37's drive to label GMOs in a massive advertising and PR blitz with a "No on 37" drive. And backers of the added regulation alleged dirty tricks by the competition as they sought to sway voters (despite scientific evidence to the contrary) that GMO-containing products are hardly the stuff of "Frankenfood" that really harms consumers.Continue reading...

it's on!

US Beverage Giants Sue to Stop Mike Bloomberg's NYC Big Soda Ban

Posted by Dale Buss on October 15, 2012 03:16 PM

New York City's ban on selling beverages bigger than 16 ounces that passed last month doesn't seem to face a major threat as it heads toward implementation in March. It's fat from popular with many New Yorkers, and the beverage industry and others certainly hate it, but the regulation has begun to assume the momentum of inevitability.

That's why the American Beverage Association, which represents Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Dr Pepper Snapple Group among other companies, has launched a last-ditch effort that now includes a lawsuit against the city that the organization, as promised. The suit argues that the unelected New York health board, which approved the ban spearheaded by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, shouldn't be telling people how much soda to drink, according to CBS Radio. The suit also said that the rule "burdens consumers and unfairly harms small businesses."Continue reading...

brands with a cause

Ben & Jerry's Co-Founder Freezes Out Occupy Wall Street

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 1, 2012 01:27 PM

Ben Cohen may be a member of the elite 1% in America, but he’s a hippie at heart and always has been up for helping out the other 99%. Although the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream brand he co-founded with buddy Jerry Greenfield is now owned by Unilever, the brand still reflects their left-leaning vision by maintaining a commitment to activism, funded by a foundation to support “social justice, environmental protection, (and) sustainable food systems.” Plus, what makes the world happier than free ice cream? Ben & Jerry’s has been hosting a free cone day every year since it started in 1979.

Well, there’s one group of folks who aren’t too happy with Cohen today: Occupy Wall Street.Continue reading...

sustainability

Frack and Roll: Exxon, Other U.S. Energy Brands Open Tap on Hydraulic Fracturing

Posted by Dale Buss on September 25, 2012 06:03 PM

The revolution in discovery and exploitation of shale oil and gas in the American heartland, starting with North Dakota, is turning global energy economics and, potentially, politics upside-down. It's also prompting major shifts in strategy for the big brands on the energy map in the United States and the world.

ExxonMobil became the latest iconic energy brand to boost its stake in the Bakken Shale formation when last week it agreed to buy assets of Denbury Resources there for $1.6 billion in cash and interests in two oil fields. The move increased Exxon's acreage in the formation, centered under North Dakota, which has helped make the state the second-largest oil-producing state in America, after Texas.

Royal Dutch Shell also has invested more in such "unconventional" oil assets lately, recently buying $2 billion worth of such properties from Chesapeake Energy. And in efforts to exploit the growing potential of shale reserves worldwide, Chevron is helping the Chinese company Sinopec.Continue reading...

the revolution will be televised

Occupy Wall Street at One: Still in Search of a Brand Identity

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 17, 2012 03:15 PM

Occupy Wall Street protesters gathered in New York's financial district to mark the first anniversary of the movement, their presence contained by metal barriers and riot-clad police forming human walls. The current activities, dubbed a “roving carnival of resistance” include “nonviolent civil disobedience” as well as events planned in at least 15 other cities including Asheville, North Carolina, San Francisco and Hilo, Hawaii. 

Chants of "All day, all week, Occupy Wall Street" and "We got sold out, banks got bailed out," greeted Wall Street workers arriving at their offices, echoes of the original goal of the protest to generate "a swirl of mobile occupations of corporate lobbies and intersections," as stated on the Occupy website for the Sept. 15-17 anniversary events, promoted on Twitter with the hashtags #S15, #S16 and #S17.Continue reading...

chew on this

Organic Brands Caught In Fight Over California's Prop 37 GMO Debate

Posted by Dale Buss on September 17, 2012 01:11 PM

The vast majority of American consumers don't care whether their foods contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Food executives and think tanks will tell you that and cite, for example, how Indiana local bakery Aunt Nellie's bombed when it introduced a specifically labeled "non-GMO" bread a couple of years ago.

But California isn't most of America, with a more health-conscious outlook than most states. That's why mainstream food companies are in a hot and heavy contest against GMO opponents over Proposition 37, The Right to Know Genetically Modified Food Act, a piece of state legislation that, if passed in November, would require GMO-containing products to disclose that on labels, and make California the first state to mandate genetically modified food.

Similar to what happened to automakers after California took an extreme position on cutting emissions, essentially imposing that higher standard on cars sold all over the country, food and beverage companies are concerned that California will serve as a bellwether in GMO labeling regulation as well.

In a particular bind in this fight are the many mainstream food conglomerates that now own organic brands, which by definition don't include GMOs: Kellogg, owner of GMO poster brand Kashi; General Mills, owner of the Cascadian Farm, Muir Glen, Larabar and Food Should Taste Good brands; Coca-Cola, owner of Odwalla and Honest Tea; PepsiCo; and Dean Foods, owner of Horizon Organics.Continue reading...

China's Violent Anti-Japan Protests Hit Japanese Brands

Posted by Abe Sauer on September 17, 2012 11:07 AM

"Car destruction ahead. Japanese made cars should turn around now."

So read the warning on a flattened cardboard box one Chinese man held up to traffic in the city of Xian. The man's advice was not based on fearful speculation either, as cities across China erupted in anti-Japanese protests over the weekend (including, The Economist notes, about 3,000 at the Japanese Consulate in Shanghai on Sunday), Japan's auto brands were bracing for the backlash. One man set his own Honda Civic on fire in front of a dealership. One of the more moving photos shared on social media was of a young woman, weeping as she begged protesters to spare her car.

Targeting Japanese products for boycott or destruction is nothing new in China. But this weekend's actions — sparked by ownership dispute over islands between the two nations — were especially dire, called the worst flare-up of tensions between the nations in decades by The New York Times. As Japanese companies ordered their workers to stay home and closed their factories over fear of reprisals, what's unknown is the degree to which Japanese brands have been hurt in China's marketplace.Continue reading...

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