SodaStream's failed greenwash
One day before April 22, the Earth Day Network announced it was cutting ties with sponsor SodaStream. The group made the decision after coming under criticism for having a company that engages in human rights abuses as a sponsor. Activists involved in the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israeli apartheid pointed out how SodaStream's sponsorship was incompatible with environmental campaigns, given its operations on an illegal settlement in the West Bank. In a press release,celebrates this latest victory for the BDS movement.
ON THE eve of Earth Day, groups working for Palestinian rights globally are celebrating Earth Day Network's decision to end its partnership with SodaStream, whose main production factory is located in an illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank.
Earlier this month, SodaStream, which markets its home carbonating devices as a green alternative to bottled beverages, announced the launch of an awareness-raising campaign centered around the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
Several articles reported that this "Secret Continent" campaign was developed with Earth Day Network (EDN), which works with more than 22,000 partners in 192 countries to broaden, diversify and mobilize the environmental movement.
Groups in the United States and abroad mobilized opposition to this partnership between EDN and SodaStream due to the company's complicity in Israel's military occupation, including the destruction that Israeli settlements have caused to the Palestinian environment.
"This Secret Continent campaign is a clear example of SodaStream attempting to greenwash its complicity in Israel's occupation through a public relations stunt. SodaStream appeals to customers by marketing itself as environmentally friendly, but a product manufactured in an illegal settlement on occupied land cannot be 'green.' We applaud Earth Day Network for listening to the thousands of concerned individuals who contacted them and sending the message that companies profiting from human rights abuses have no place in the global environmental movement," said Ramah Kudaimi of the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.
PENGON, the Palestinian Environmental NGOs Network, added: "We are happy to see that Earth Day Network cut ties with the Israeli settlement manufacturer SodaStream. Israeli occupation and its settlement enterprise are not environmentally friendly. On the contrary, they are based on the pillage of our land and deplete and pollute our water resources. Over the last 40 years, Israeli occupation has cut hundreds of thousands of trees to make space for their colonization. We call on all environmental organizations and activists to stand with us against the Israeli occupation and its systematic large scale destruction of our land."
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THIS IS the second major controversy this year involving SodaStream's settlement factory. In January, Oxfam International came under fire to drop Hollywood star Scarlett Johansson as a global ambassador after she became a global brand ambassador for SodaStream. After an international campaign, Johansson resigned from her role with Oxfam.
"The Earth Day Network is rightfully following the path of Oxfam by disassociating itself from SodaStream, a company that produces its water carbonating devices in an illegal Israeli settlement in occupied Palestinian territory. Jewish Voice for Peace will continue campaigning against SodaStream in Seattle, New York, D.C., Minneapolis, Boston, Portland ,and other cities across the U.S. to remind consumers that buying products manufactured in stolen land is neither ethical nor sustainable," said Sydney Levy of Jewish Voice for Peace.
Since the 2005 call from more than 170 Palestinian civil society groups for the international community to engage in boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaigns targeting institutions and corporations complicit in Israel's oppressive policies towards Palestinians, activists across the globe have been organizing under the slogan "Occupation is Not Green" to convince stores and consumers to boycott SodaStream.
"We congratulate Earth Day Network on doing the right thing by ending its collaboration with SodaStream. After the media firestorm surrounding SodaStream, Scarlett Johansson, and Oxfam, and now this dissolved partnership with Earth Day Network, SodaStream is going to have difficulty finding reputable individuals and groups to help whitewash and greenwash its ugly occupation profiteering," said Nancy Kricorian of CODEPINK: Women for Peace.
Jamal Juma', coordinator of the Stop the Wall Campaign in the occupied West Bank, added:
We thank the Earth Day Network for having canceled its cooperation with SodaStream and are grateful to all those people around the world that continue mobilizing to ensure the truth about SodaStream is no secret anymore."
While the illegal Wall and the settlements rob Palestinians of their land and resources and lock them up into economically and socially unsustainable enclaves, companies such as SodaStream ensure profitability of the Israeli settlement enterprise by exploiting Palestinian workers who are left without workers' rights and without any viable alternative to make a living.
Following a recent visit to the occupied Palestinian territories, Friends of the Earth International chairperson Jagoda Munic condemned what she referred to as the "less visible forms of occupation," which include toxic waste-dumping, the expropriation and diversion of fresh water sources, and the development of polluting industries close to Palestinian towns.
She called these Israeli governmental policies "truly shocking" and went on to say, "Palestine stands as an example of the link between environmental injustice and social and political injustice.
First published at the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.