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Greenwasher of the year

Have you heard of greenwashing? Greenwashing is referred to cases when companies encourage people and investors to use their services or products by advertising themselves as environmentally friendly and innovative towards greener future when in reality it is the opposite. There is a lot of greenwashing on and it is surprising how much companies invest in PR to promote their ‘green ways’ instead of actually making a move. Moreover, most of these companies are energy and oil companies that have the greatest power of making a change. There are some other companies who can also leave a big footprint while pretending to be green. Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you the official Greenwasher of the year: Walmart.

So it was back in 2005 when Walmart introduced their plan to step forward as a sustainable green energy leader. Although their webpage has a number of pages of their great renewable sustainable energy plans etc. they have achieved absolutely nothing in these 9 years! So how about instead of investing in amazing PR, make a change and keep your promises. Walmarts excuse could not even be ‘low profit’, as they keep the chain growing massively by keeping wages low, buying and producing cheap and then emitting tons of CO2 by transporting all these goods. Geenwashing or not but you can ask yourself if these goods could be grown, produced, and transported without causing so much damage to the environment?

Obviously most of Walmarts PR is for their clients because if you have a closer look at their annual reports, they state out that their greenhouse gas footprint has grown 13.8 per cent since 2005. In the public reports and annual plans they make new promises and plans for sustainable green energy projects and reducing its carbon emission. They promise to use 100%  renewable energy, create no waste and produce and sell products that sustain people and environment. Let me explain it a bit closer. 100% renewable energy is easily achievable. Other major chains like Staples, Whole Foods etc have already reached this target whereas Walmart is only using 5% of renewable energy. It’s because it is “sometimes difficult to find and fund renewable energy projects that meet Walmart’s ROI requirements”. In other words, they are only going to move from fossil fuels when it wont make a big imoact on their profits. So how do you make a reform without investments?

When it comes to sustainable products, this is where we can speak about the low wages and production costs. Its expansion wipes out more sustainable local small businesses and replace them with a global monolith. They are also known as the largest cargo shipment using company in the US. So please tell me,how is that ssutainable for people and environment when our cheap products come with a cost of third world sweat shops and high carbon emission?
Congratulations for the title for Walmart, you have won the Greenwasher 2014 title, leaving environment as the loser. Dear to argue?

http://50.87.144.187/~grnlife/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/report-2.pdf
Merilin Notton, MDX University

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The documentary “Walmart: The High Cost Of Low Price” revealed the stories of walmart employees and former managers about the companys policies and problems associated with employees. This film got a lot of response and attention from the public which is a nightmare of public relations. Walmart fought back with the help of former presidental advisors and campaigns. On the other hand, there still seems to be a number of employees who enjoy working for walmart and feel as a part of community. So what is Walmart doing right or wrong? Walmart has been under criticism due to their anti-union policy. There are numerous of cases where active employees who have been trying to unionise, have been fired and managers are known to have union prevention chapters in their work manuals. Although unionising is not allowed in the states, you can’t stop the power of people. Their employees have had some success in organising non-union groups in order to improve working conditions and facilities for employees. And surprisingly, successfully. For example, the Walmart Workers Association in Florida has had success with their activities, Walmart Workers of America was successful organising the employees without forming a union and in China, they actually work with officials to organise unions. I wonder if this allowawnce is influenced by the fact that most unions and organisations in China are controlled by the government anyway or the different work philosophy of hard-working not-complaining chinese… or has it anything to do with the little fact that China is Walmarts biggest trading partner? The exploitaton of employees in many forms, globally and within the States, has been reported: underpaid hours, illegal firing, unionising punishments, working overhours and even physical violence have been just some examples. When it comes to factories overseas, there have been cases reported of using child labour, failing to provide equipment for employees health protection and not to mention working inhuman hours. Wage violations have been reported in a mix with lawsuits of not giving enough working hours for more skilled, experienced and higher paid employees and giving hours to cheaper, part-time workers. On one had, it seems like a nice move to give opportunities to new employees, but it should be done without violating others rights. In the States, another big issue where the employees of Walmart remain the losers is health insurance. The whole health care system in the USA is not benefiting the most deprived people so health insurance provided by work is one of the options. Walmart has proudly introduced their health insurance for employees on their website, however, the New York Times found internal memos providing suggestions to spend less on health insurance. Easy steps like hiring more part-time people (last chapter), discouraging unhealthy people from working by adding physical tasks to every job are just one of them. Luckily, many states have been starting issuing laws to protect employees with new laws for big corporates and their health insurance systems. However, this doesn’t mean Walmart could not find ‘another way’. Then again, there are still numbers of employees who are actually happy working for Walmart and feel like a part of community. They get help from the company, are encouraged and have anpositive outlook on life. I personally have never asked any ASDA employee (which is under Walmart chain as well) if they liked working there but I’m sure the world is not just black and white. I believe that Walmart could do better. I believe that investing in the resources and having interest in employees could bring double back. Right now, although Walmart offers millions of jobs worldwide, their employees remain losers in their controlled and tough system. What do you think, are the employees of Walmart winners or losers in this case?

 Merilin Notton

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The Global Gay

 

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The controversial debate regarding gay rights has acquired considerable awareness and acceptance, over the last decade (shown above) despite an existence of homosexuality at most times in history. The contemporary political economy is responsible for bringing together goods and services. Nevertheless identities emerge alongside, whereby they circulate and expand via the movement of people, culture and ideologies from Western to non-Western countries. In addition, people have migrated to the West, and contributed to the construction of new, hybrid sexual identities. Therefore, homosexual identities do not simply originate from Western culture domination, but are a consequence of globalisation; the interconnectedness of the world. Moreover, an  advancement in the sophistication of technology coupled with media chiefly in advertising, film and internet access (i.e a click of a mouse) allows awareness of homosexuality issues and thus, accumulation of support.

Traditionally law has been confined to a nation state. National courts and police have been responsible for enforcing rules however, an integration of the global political economy has changed the dynamics. Several legal institutions exist with global operations, which dominate the national agenda. Sexuality is being regulated at an International level providing new forms of sexual freedom and liberation.

Transnational LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual) organisations have played an active role in the recent adoption of the national legislation, which has been approved by various western democracies. Non-governmental organisations around the world are involved in fighting for equal rights for LGBT people. The United Nations provides assistance to monitor and document abuses. Such networks attempt to obtain a universality of homosexual identity, and their major strategy involves appeals to norms of human rights to oppose discrimination. While the promotion of gay rights may be resisted amongst several countries, democracies are appreciating this phenomena as part of the human rights agenda. In addition, the globalisation of human rights has become a key criteria through which the “progress” of a nation is determined.

Lastly, it is essential to note that while globalisation has accommodated a yearning quest for equality as a fundamental human right across continents, I do realise that it has also fuelled incredible backlash and inequality for the LGBT community. However, LGBT identities are strengthening including arguments to include homosexuality within the framework of international human rights in the future. Hopefully some day we will live in conformity with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by treating people equally before the rule of law. Spread the word – we are here to love one another, regardless. Everyone has their own belief and globalisation has inherently strived to achieve an appreciation for notions of tolerance. They can be deemed winners (in progress) of the global political economy. In addition, I found this short video quite interesting which aims to reinforce my final point: http://www.upworthy.com/how-honey-maid-dealt-with-anti-gay-comments-about-commercial-perfectly?c=ufb1

References:

Globalisation and Transnational Sexualities. Available: http://iasscs.org/sites/default/files/Globalisation%20and%20Transnational%20Sexualities.pdf

Gay Rights and Globalisation. Available: http://www.globalization101.org/gay-rights-and-globalization/

Ammna Nasser (Dubai campus)

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JUSTICE FOR SALE

 

For the first time in history that goes back to the 14th century barristers and solicitors across England and Wales last week staged a mass walkout protesting against the government plans to cut legal aid fees by 30% and the reduction in representation available to defendants.  This is the second walkout in two months and it was organised by Criminal Bar Association (CBA) over the cuts.  The Justice Ministry intends to cut annual criminal legal aid from £2.1 billion to 200 million.  Barristers are arguing that the will lose their independence in defending clients due to costs and the legal aid cuts will create dominating firms in the industry where young and inexperienced barristers will have their loyalties tried between representing their clients and gaining profit for the corporation shareholders. Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has justified the cuts by depending on public misconceptions about criminal barristers high earning.  The shakeup of the legal system is seen by barristers as a way of outsourcing of criminal defence to firms run by large companies. 

Those who stand to lose in this “justice sale” are charity organisations that work for the well-being of prisoners’ family, offer advisory service and reducing negatives impacts of imprisonment.  The Howard League of Panel and Prisoners’ Advice Service (PAC) both national charities that campaigns on issues of short term prison sentences, real work in prison, children in prison and community sentences.  These charity organisations are totally independent of the government and are funded by membership subscription and donations.  These charities argue that societies cannot be inclusive without equal access to justice and it may also undercut any attempts these charities have in rehabilitating inmates.  Other losers in these cuts are vulnerable groups and those with mental health issues and the youth justice system  that allows young offenders to make fresh start.  Their argument is that the legal aid cuts are further isolating an already marginalised sector of our society.  And another worry in this “legal aid sale” is that we the society stand to be losers in these cut, the thought of having an inexperienced barrister representing a rapist, child molester or terrorist is most chilling.  The most vital loss is to the criminal justice system where experienced and skilled lawyers will be driven away from legal aid funded criminal work.  The Criminal Bar Association (CBA) and London Criminal Courts Solicitors Association (LCCSA) say that the cuts need to be addressed or law firms will end up replacing their experience solicitors with “unqualified cheap ones” delivering third rate advice (www.bbc.co.uk).

 

http://www.prisonersadvice.org.uk/

http://www.howardleague.org/about-us/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-26472809

 

Najma Ahmed

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JUSTICE FOR SALE

 

For the first time in history that goes back to the 14th century barristers and solicitors across England and Wales last week staged a mass walkout protesting against the government plans to cut legal aid fees by 30% and the reduction in representation available to defendants.  This is the second walkout in two months and it was organised by Criminal Bar Association (CBA) over the cuts.  The Justice Ministry intends to cut annual criminal legal aid from £2.1 billion to 200 million.  Barristers are arguing that the will lose their independence in defending clients due to costs and the legal aid cuts will create dominating firms in the industry where young and inexperienced barristers will have their loyalties tried between representing their clients and gaining profit for the corporation shareholders. Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has justified the cuts by depending on public misconceptions about criminal barristers high earning.  The shakeup of the legal system is seen by barristers as a way of outsourcing of criminal defence to firms run by large companies. 

Those who stand to lose in this “justice sale” are charity organisations that work for the well-being of prisoners’ family, offer advisory service and reducing negatives impacts of imprisonment.  The Howard League of Panel and Prisoners’ Advice Service (PAC) both national charities that campaigns on issues of short term prison sentences, real work in prison, children in prison and community sentences.  These charity organisations are totally independent of the government and are funded by membership subscription and donations.  These charities argue that societies cannot be inclusive without equal access to justice and it may also undercut any attempts these charities have in rehabilitating inmates.  Other losers in these cuts are vulnerable groups and those with mental health issues and the youth justice system  that allows young offenders to make fresh start.  Their argument is that the legal aid cuts are further isolating an already marginalised sector of our society.  And another worry in this “legal aid sale” is that we the society stand to be losers in these cut, the thought of having an inexperienced barrister representing a rapist, child molester or terrorist is most chilling.  The most vital loss is to the criminal justice system where experienced and skilled lawyers will be driven away from legal aid funded criminal work.  The Criminal Bar Association (CBA) and London Criminal Courts Solicitors Association (LCCSA) say that the cuts need to be addressed or law firms will end up replacing their experience solicitors with “unqualified cheap ones” delivering third rate advice (www.bbc.co.uk).

 

http://www.prisonersadvice.org.uk/

http://www.howardleague.org/about-us/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-26472809

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Welfare can be best said as the provision of a minimal level of well-being and social support for all the citizens in the country and on the other hand it can be said to be a public aid. In most of the developed countries, the government basically provides the welfare. The welfare states expand their conceptions by including HealthCare services and unemployment protection.

                The tax benefit system is unfair to the people who are living in poverty. The system make the poorest to pay the highest rates of tax which make it very heard for the poorest to earn, save and be a family because mostly the money actually goes to the better-off people. I keep on asking if the welfare states doesn’t actually reduces poverty, what does it do with all the money earn from the tax? For example the UK government is spending over £585 billion per year and most of the money goes to the services, and only less than 5% of the government spending is spent on directly to reduce inequality and poverty, however these is still spent on employing people to provide them with services which they will benefit from, but it particularly benefit those who are lucky enough to be employed indirectly or directly by the government.

                It is a common sense that the welfare state is becoming more of a cumbersome, centralized and disempowering system that doesn’t tackle the most fundamental problem that is poverty. Its is very clear that the better-off are those that benefit more from welfare and the poorer are the losers of a welfare state. 

zakiyyah tukur 

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The spring is upon us, and it would seem, the Russian bear has awakened, hungry and aggressive, after the long period of hibernation, which began in 1991. However, by biting of a chunk of a neighbor’s land, the starving beast is not really gaining anything. It is merely trying to hold to its influence, which was about to be lost. To keep one of its favorite playgrounds under control, after Yanusovic, Putins royal servant charge of it, has been ousted. The situation in Crimea is very similar to the events of 1938, when Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia to usurp the Sudeten. He did so on the same pretext to protect his people living in the region, despite the fact it belonged to the different, sovereign country. Putin’s move is incredibly bold and it proves he definitely won the game of intimidation with other global powers, as he seemingly managed to discourage the USA of military intervention in Syria not so long ago, to protect his interests. Few mounts ago later he doesn’t hesitate to invade a sovereign country shortly after the biggest manifest of peace in the world, he is at time hosting: the Olympic games. It could be argued, the cold war has never truly ended. But Russian bear was asleep and now it is awake. Putin decided to stir the pot and made the first move. Now it is the opponents turn. So far, there are no winners, just one player losing badly, and that is the Ukraine-Crimea. Last time, the history ventured into this part of the world, merely seven decades ago, in 1945. It was to reorganize war torn Europe during the Yalta Conference. Maybe something similar is about to happen. Branislav Majkuth

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Care drain has led to a generation of children in the developing countries growing up without their mothers at their sides

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Care drain has led to a generation of children in the developing countries growing up without their mothers at their sides

                     

 Most literature on globalization concentrations on money, markets, and labour flows, while limited attention is given to women, children, and the care of one for the other. Similarly, studies on women and development, usually links for example, World Bank loan conditions with the shortage of food for women and children, giving little thought about resources and time spent on caregiving.

The Brain drain phenomenon which is the migration of the educated, skilled and professional workers from their countries of origin, sometimes developing world to developed countries. Where they can earn much higher salaries and enjoy better standards of living, has been going on for decades.   However, the global labour market has created a new trend that is less known, but becoming increasingly visible and equally worrying, known as the care drain. It is   the migration of women from developing countries, where they perform the majority of domestic and care work: cooking, cleaning, care for the sick, the old and the young without pay, to the developed countries, where they do the same work for money.

Care drain like Brain drain has major disadvantages. However, care drain could have far-reaching and irreversible consequences on women and children.  This is so because many migrant women make huge sacrifices for their children, in order to provide them with better standard of living and quality education. However, in the process, they leave behind their families and children, sometimes even babies, for many years.   As a result they miss out on their own children’s lives.  The relationship with their children is not based on direct care and love, but care through money.  The children cannot talk to their mothers face to face, see their faces or give them hugs or kisses. They lose being care for by their own mothers when they are ill.  Mothers also miss out on important family events such as birthday, first days at schools, see their children take their first steps etc.

 

In addition, studies have shown that children of migrant women are ill more often than other children. They experience bitterness, bewilderment, and indifference more than children, who live with their mothers. Equally, trust between mother and child erodes and children frequently have doubts about real reasons their mothers left them and their mother’s true feelings for them.  Children express disapproval and negative feelings towards their mothers.  They keep asking themselves even years after their mothers’ have return and families reunited whether their mothers really had to go why their mothers left them, whether there were alternatives to leaving children behind.

  

Furthermore, children of migrant women are some of biggest losers as the care affection, fondness, and love that were meant for them are all redirected towards the children of their mother’s employers in the developed countries. Generally, children in developed countries are more fortunate than children in poor countries.  These children possess everything: nice toys and clothes, big rooms, good schools, adoring parents and caring nannies. The children in the developed countries are the winners as they get all the love and affection that their parents and families are willing and capable of giving, including all the bought love and affection of their nannies.

Fatou Jallow

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Well this post will be about high street brands such as: Nike, Puma, Adidas etc. which dominated the Olympics in 2012, and those more exclusive brands (DKNY, Ralph Laurent and more).Now short question: do you thought about the production process or the conditions of workers who are producing your awesome Air Force Ones or incredible Ralph Laurent polo shirt? Of course you don’t, consumers do not care less (so do I, until I can pay less for a certain good, I’m happy). Anyway we all love to wear clothes made by the companies mentioned above, but this is not all that they have in common. According to the article in “The Guardian”, many of workers (100,000 of them to be accurate) in factories, where most of them are located in the PhilippinesIndonesia and Sri Lanka are not earning minimum wage and 76% of the workers are females, so the “globalised supply chain exploits women” so the women in the West can buy their new DKNY sweater for less (but not cheap). So you can say: take that feminists.  But getting back to the merits of the case: situation is getting worse than better, most of the workers are underpaid, working without contracts, and the overtimes are compulsory. Everything for the sake of productivity target (in Sri Lanka wages are paid only of the workers meet them). Anyway who are the winners? Corporation of course and maybe the consumers, so next time when you will go to the shop for a new pair of trainers take in mind how the product is made. For more details check: http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/poverty-matters/2011/apr/28/sweatshops-supplying-high-street-brands 

 

Jacek Bazis