J Walking

A group trying to help end the genocide in Darfur has just released a report on efforts by Beijing Olympics sponsors to influence China to use its close relationship with the Sudanese government to end the brutality in Darfur. Here is their report card:

• 13 Fs: Atos Origin, Lenovo, Manulife, Panasonic, Samsung, and Swatch all failed to address the issue of Darfur and the Olympics whatsoever; Anheuser-Busch, BHP Billiton, Kodak, Microsoft, Staples, Visa and Volkswagen also received failing grades, even though all of these companies espouse commitments to social responsibility.
• 3 Ds: Coca-Cola, Johnson & Johnson, & UPS earned only 10 points.
• 2 Cs: McDonald’s and Adidas barely passed. McDonald’s received credit for contacting the IOC and Adidas for contacting the German Foreign Ministry.
• 1 C+: General Electric (GE) earned the highest grade because it contacted the International Olympic Committee (IOC) about the crisis in Darfur, provided a point person, and has provided aid. (In addition to GE and McDonald’s, a third company contacted the IOC, but did not want this reported for attribution.)
“Even the highest grade, a C+, is nothing to boast about; these are supposed to be corporate leaders, but they have ducked this difficult human rights issue,” said Ellen Freudenheim, who heads Dream for Darfur’s Corporate Outreach effort and conducted the research.

Criteria and Points

Established a point person (5 points)
Improved understanding of China-Darfur (5 points)
Contacted the Chinese government (25 points)
Contacted the Olympic movement (20 points)
Joined with other sponsors on Darfur (15 points)
Signed the corporate sponsor pledge (10 points)
Gave aid to Darfur (5 points)
Other steps to influence China (15 points)

Grade Total Points

A (71-100)
B+ (51-70)
B (36-50)
C+ (30-35)
C (21-29)
D (10-20)

It hardly seems too much to ask these multi-billion companies to use their influence to end genocide. Perhaps it isn’t too much for us to stop using these companies until they do the right thing.

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