Chemicals & Manufacturing
The U.S. obsession with soft toilet paper has driven the growth of brands like Cottonelle Ultra, Quilted Northern Ultra and Charmin Ultra. But fluffiness comes at a price: millions of trees harvested in North America and in Latin American countries, including some percentage of trees from rare old-growth forests in Canada.
The cyanide "leakage" that killed tons of fish in the Czech river Labe (Elbe) recently has re-focused public attention throughout central and Eastern Europe to the environmental and human dangers associated with this toxic chemical, especially when it spills into a nearby river or tributary.
Adidas, the German sportswear company, is making Olympics uniforms for the UK team at sweatshops in Tangerang city, near the main international airport of Jakarta, Indonesia. Young female workers are paid 5,000 rupiah (54 cents) an hour for a 65 hour work week, according to revelations made in the Independent newspaper.
The Luoyang Zhonggui High-Technology Co. of Henan, China, is a green energy company, producing polysilicon for solar energy panels. But the byproduct -- silicon tetrachloride -- is a highly toxic substance that poses environmental hazards.
As foreign buyers descend upon the United States, capturing widening swaths of the industrial landscape and putting millions of Americans to work for new owners, these two cities offer sharply competing narratives for a nation still uneasy about being on the selling end of the global economy.
Corporations carry out some of the most horrific human rights abuses of modern times, but it is increasingly difficult to hold them to account. Economic globalization and the rise of transnational corporate power have created a favorable climate for corporate human rights abusers, which are governed principally by the codes of supply and demand and show genuine loyalty only to their stockholders.
Activists who have been blocking international bridges between Argentina and Uruguay for the past month to protest the construction of two paper pulp factories on the Uruguayan side of a river separating the two countries expressed mixed reactions to news that the two governments had reached an agreement for a temporary freeze in construction on Saturday.
TRAC is pleased to be able to shed some light on this subject by releasing the first audit of this kind ever to be made public: a confidential Ernst and Young assessment of the Tae Kwang Vina plant, a factory which employs 9,200 workers who produce 400,000 pairs of shoes a month exclusively for Nike in Vietnam.
For nearly six years Ramatex Textile and Garment Factory barred government regulators from entering industrial premises leased from the City of Windhoek. Ramatex came to Namibia in 2001, lured by the newly implemented African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). Evidence of environmental violations finally emerged after the company absconded.