Over at ALERT (Alliance of Leading Environmental Researchers & Thinkers), Bill Laurance has highlighted yet another major blow to environmentalism in Australia: the Coalition’s latest push is to ban consumer boycotts of environmentally damaging corporations. The following press release went out this morning. You can also find more details on the Abbott proposal here and here.
An international scientific group has decried an Australian government proposal to ban consumer boycotts of corporations that damage the environment.
“Boycotts have been one of the most important arrows in the quiver of responsible conservationists and consumers,” said Laurance. “They’ve convinced many environmentally predatory firms around the world to clean up their acts.”
Consumer boycotts have improved the behaviour of hundreds of aggressive timber, oil palm, soy, seafood and other corporations around the world, say the scientists.
“Boycotts get the attention of environment-destroying companies because they hit them where it hurts—their reputation and market share,” said Corey Bradshaw, a professor at the University of Adelaide.
The proposal is being floated by the Liberal-National Coalition headed by Prime Minister Tony Abbott. The Coalition is unhappy with campaigns targeting some Australian companies selling old-growth timber products and seafood.
“I don’t see this as effective policy,” said Thomas Lovejoy, a renowned ecologist and former environmental advisor to three U.S. presidents. “It’s a polarising idea that could harm the environment while impinging on the rights of Australians to free speech.”
“The Coalition is trying to stop environmentally aware consumers from voting with their pocketbooks,” said Laurance. “Banning boycotts would make it easier for corporations to destroy rainforests, imperil orangutans and deplete the world’s oceans.”