Tag Archives: Companies Working on settlements

Oxfam’s PR firm helping to greenwash Sodastream

Sodastream's factory in the illegal Israeli settlement of Mishor Adunim - Photo take by Corporate Watch, 2010

Sodastream’s factory in the illegal Israeli settlement of Mishor Adunim – Photo taken by Corporate Watch, 2010

UPDATE 09/04/2014 – Response from Oxfam America: Oxfam claims that Fenton does not do any work for SodaStream at this time. It had a one-year relationship with the company that ended in 2012. Oxfam did not begin to work with Fenton until 2013.” Since this article was written Fenton Communications have removed the Sodasteam logo from their website.

If Fenton’s relationship with Sodastream ended in 2012 it begs the question: why was the Sodastream logo listed on the company website last week?

Here is the original article:

There has been a lot of negative media attention in the last few months on Sodastream, an Israeli fizzy drinks company with a factory in the illegal Israeli settlement of Mishor Adumim. A partnership between Oxfam and Scarlett Johansson ended recently after an international campaign put pressure on the charity to end its relationship with Johansson because she was undertaking ongoing work for Sodastream.

However, a high profile US public relations (PR) firm, which boasts of its “ethical business practices”, is providing services to both Sodastream and Oxfam America. Fenton Communications states on its site that “We do not take on clients that we do not believe in ourselves” and claims that it works “for companies and foundations advocating social change”. Fenton’s corporate social responsibility rhetoric and greenwash doesn’t bear more than a few minutes of scrutiny. The PR firm has a client list which includes large multinationals such as General Mills and Unilever. General Mills jointly own the General Mills (Pillsbury) plant in the Atarot settlement Industrial zone, while Unilever only pulled out of the Barkan settlement industrial zone after years of pressure from the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. Both companies are also responsible for selling, marketing and lobbying hard for processed foods globally, which are damaging to people’s health. One of Fenton’s other clients is Oxfam America.

In response to the public campaign about Scarlett Johansson, Oxfam stated: “While Oxfam respects the independence of our ambassadors, Ms. Johansson’s role promoting the company SodaStream is incompatible with her role as an Oxfam Global Ambassador… Oxfam is opposed to all trade from Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law.” Why then does Oxfam America find it acceptable to work with a PR firm that includes Sodastream on its client list? Continue reading

Guerrilla research exposes sponsors of Israeli apartheid

This Corporate Watch op-ed was first published by Electronic Intifada on the 20th of March 2013.

For the last three and a half years the UK-based research cooperative Corporate Watch has been running a project tracking corporate complicity in the occupation of Palestine.

After a research visit to Palestine in 2010, we wrote a handbook for activists who want to take action in line with the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel. In January and February this year, we returned to Palestine to find out what was new on the ground.

Much of Corporate Watch’s research has focused on entering Israeli settlements, seeing how they are financially sustaining themselves, what companies are operating or providing services there and how they are facilitating apartheid and colonization. Continue reading

“They destroyed our lives and then gave a few people a job. It is nothing”: Some unanswered questions for SodaStream

As we have previously reported Corporate Watch was recently denied a requested visit to the SodaStream factory in the illegal West Bank settlement of Mishor Adumim.

Despite the company’s insistence that anyone who visits the premises will find it to be a force for good in the area, it was not willing to let critics challenge this assertion for themselves. In a move that seems to go against its own self proclaimed eco-friendliness  SodaStream recently paid the expenses of local Brighton journalist John Keenan when he flew over from the UK to see the factory, yet they would not let researchers already in the West Bank in. Brighton is the location of EcoStream, SodaStream’s first own brand shop in the UK, and it has been met by weekly boycott demonstrations since its opening in the middle of 2012. As part of its PR strategy, SodaStream has also invited the Brighton MP Mike Weatherley to the factory. Weatherley had already previously issued strong worded statements against the protests and in support of SodaStream.

Soda Club 10

Entrance to the SodaStream factory in the illegal settlement Mishor Adumim.

Continue reading

Cherriessa: From occupied land to Europe’s markets

During a recent visit to the Jordan Valley, Corporate  Watch found evidence of a company operating from there that we previously haven’t come across.  Cherriessa, trading under the slogan  ‘From Farm to Market’ is a family owned business which claims to sort, package and export vegetables from Israel to Europe. According to Cherriessa Ltd’s web-site, the company was founded in 2009 to ‘address the developing and growth of ‘The Saada Family Modern Farm’. The Saada Farm was founded in 1989 and exported their produce through Carmel Agrexco.

PIC_0870

Cherriessa labels aimed for the European market obtained in the occupied Jordan Valley.

Continue reading

Avis: Driving the occupation

Avis cars are available to rent in the illegal Israeli settlement of Beitar Illit. On 5th February 2013 Corporate Watch researchers photographed an Avis car rental centre, obtained Avis publicity material published by www.avis.co.il in Bney Brak and were told that they could rent a car directly from the settlement of Beitar Illit.

An Avis car rental office in the illegal Israeli settlement of Beitar Illit

An Avis car rental office in the illegal Israeli settlement of Beitar Illit

Continue reading

More on Bezeq infrastructure in Israel’s illegal settlements

Corporate Watch has been asked by campaigners for information on Bezeq‘s telecommunications infrastructure in Israel’s illegal settlements. We have collected some more information.

Bezeq, previously a state-owned company, has historically had a monopoloy on the telecommunications market. Since the 1990s, the state has been selling off its stake in Bezeq. The company is now owned by private consortia. For more information on Bezeq click here.

Bezeq sign in the illegal Israeli settlement of Almog

Bezeq sign in the illegal Israeli settlement of Almog

Continue reading

Mehadrin: New evidence of mislabelled settlement produce

On February 9th a coalition of civil society groups have called for an international day of action against Israeli agricultural companies in line with the movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israeli militarism, apartheid and colonisation. Corporate Watch researchers are in Palestine collecting new information and over the coming weeks Corporate Watch will be writing a series of articles and blogs examining Israeli agricultural exports.
Grape fields in the illegal Israeli settlement Beqa'ot in the occupied Jordan Valley
Grape fields in the illegal Israeli settlement Beqa’ot in the occupied Jordan Valley
Two and a half years ago Corporate Watch visited the illegal Israeli settlement Beqa’ot in the Jordan Valley, where we found packing houses belonging to the agricultural exporter Mehadrin Tnuport Export Company (MTEX). The produce being prepared for export was mislabeled as ‘produce of Israel’ despite being from the occupied West Bank. As we exposed at the time, Mehadrin produce is sold through Tesco stores in the UK. Last week we made another visit to the settlement to find out whether recent developments in UK and Israel has had an effect on the conduct of the company.

Bezeq operating in Kfar Adumim settlement

Bezeq infrastructure in Kfar Binyamin settlement

Bezeq infrastructure in Kfar Adumim settlement

Activists campaigning for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israeli militarism, occupation and apartheid have asked for information about the Bezeq telephone company’s involvement in Israel’s illegal settlements.

On Saturday 12th January 2013 Corporate Watch photographed a piece of Bezeq telephone infrastructure in Kfar Adumim settlement. Kfar Adumim is situated above the Bedouin community of Khan al Ahmar close to the Mishor Adumim industrial zone. Settlement expansion in Kfar Adumim is threatening the existence of Khan al Ahmar, who are currently fighting eviction in the Israeli courts.

Continue reading

Lee Cooper have moved out of Ma’ale Adumim

Mall in the illegal settlement of Ma'ale Adumim

Mall in the illegal settlement of Ma’ale Adumim

British company Lee Cooper no longer has a branch of its franchise in the shopping mall in the settlement of Ma’ale Adumim.

Corporate Watch visited Ma’ale Adumim on Wednesday 8th January 2013 and can confirm that the shop is no longer operating. Continue reading

Settlement expansion in the Mishor Adumim industrial zone

IMG_2127

Aerial view of Mishor Adumim

During the last four years Corporate Watch have made numerous visits to the settlement industrial zone of Mishor Adumim with the aim of documenting the companies working there.  We have also been highlighting the impact the expansion of the illegal settlement of Ma’ale Adumim is having on the Palestinian communities living in the area and tried to contextualise the information to inform international BDS action. One of the biggest companies trading from Mishor Adumim is the Israeli carbonated drinks manufacturers SodaStream. The company has met with pressure from the international BDS movement for a number of years as a result of their occupation profiteering. Continue reading