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NGOs urge Disney, Gap, Pepsi to stop US Chamber of Commerce participation given conflict with climate promises

A group of nearly 60 organizations are calling on Disney, Gap, and Pepsi to stop funding the US Chamber of Commerce, due to its position on climate change and public criticism of the Paris Agreement. In his speech announcing the decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, President Donald Trump cited a study paid for by the US Chamber of Commerce as part of his rationale for withdrawing from the accord. These organizations, as well as Senators Whitehouse and Warren and others, have highlighted the conflict between Disney, Gap, and Pepsi's positive climate commitments and their funding for the Chamber. 

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Disney, Gap, and Pepsi to respond. Responses from Gap and Pepsi are included below and Disney declined to respond. 

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Article
2 October 2017

The US Chamber of Commerce might not be what you think

Author: Corynne Cirille, Racked

As the nation’s largest lobbying group, the US Chamber...spent close to $104 million on lobbying in 2016... Over the years, intense public pressure forced many corporations to take a public stance on issues like climate change, equal pay, and sustainability — the very issues the Chamber has doggedly attacked... [The] chamber has continued banging the drum of climate-change denial... “Over 100-plus companies have left the Chamber, citing its position on climate," [said Heidi Welsh, the executive director of the Sustainable Investments Institutes]... Apple...Pacific Gas & Electric...Starbucks, Unilever, Costco, and General Mills... quit the US Chamber of Commerce... citing its extreme position on climate change and large spending on far-right political candidates... Gap and Disney (along with Pepsi) are now under pressure to pull funding from and cut all ties with the US Chamber of Commerce... (In a statement, Gap Inc. responded to Public Citizen saying they are not members of the US Chamber of Commerce and emphasized their commitment to sustainability and equal pay. Corporations do not have be official members of the Chamber to give funds to the group or its affiliates.)

[Refers to: Gap Inc, Target, Sustainable Investments Institute, Apple, Pacific Gas & Electric, Starbucks, Unilever, Costco, General Mills, CVS, Disney, Greenpeace, Credo Action, League of Conservation Voters, Rainforest Action network, Sierra Club, Johnson & Johnson, Home Depot, Facebook, Lowes, Walmart, Daimler Chrysler, Merck, Nike, Public Citizen, Nordstrom, Fox]

Read the full post here

NGO rejoinder
25 July 2017

Chamber Watch rejoinder to Disney's non-response re conflict between its climate commitments and participation in US Chamber of Commerce

Author: Chamber Watch

It is unfortunate and disappointing that Disney does not find it necessary to explain their membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which lobbies against nearly all of Disney's corporate social responsibility commitments to the environment and public health. At a time when consumers are looking to businesses to take a stand against anti-environment policies, and given Bob Iger's decision to leave President Trump's business council over the Paris Agreement, it seems that an explanation for its Chamber membership is needed now more than ever.

Download the full document here

NGO rejoinder
25 July 2017

Chamber Watch rejoinder to Gap's response re conflict between its climate commitments and participation in US Chamber of Commerce

Author: Chamber Watch

Gap Inc. includes the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on its publicly disclosed lists of trade association memberships. Moreover, in email correspondence (available upon request) between Chamber Watch and a Gap representative, it was confirmed that despite not agreeing with the Chamber on the issues of climate change, the Gap works in partnership with the Chamber to support other shared business goals. We believe that by giving any amount of money, to any division of the Chamber, the Gap is aiding in the Chamber's efforts to advance an anti-worker, anti-climate, anti-woman agenda...Gap may intend their funding to go directly to the Chamber's international programming, the money may ultimately free up other sources of funding which allows the Chamber to continue lobbying to destroy public protections. Additionally, Gap's continued funding of international programming is equally as problematic as funding its lobbying efforts on domestic policies...we urge Gap to stop funding any part of the Chamber immediately.

Download the full document here

NGO rejoinder
25 July 2017

Chamber Watch rejoinder to Pepsi's response re conflict between its climate commitments and participation in US Chamber of Commerce

Author: Chamber Watch

It is unfortunate that PepsiCo's response was merely their general statement on trade associations and climate change. The statement notes that climate change requires "immediate, coordinated action," however, it becomes impossible to take PepsiCo's words seriously when taking their funding of the Chamber into account. How can we achieve such immediate, coordinated action if companies like PepsiCo continue to fund the Chamber? PepsiCo's commitments to combat climate change and lower greenhouse gas emissions are contrary to the Chamber's anti-climate agenda...If PepsiCo wishes to be viewed credibly on climate, it needs to leave the Chamber.

Download the full document here

Company non-response
13 July 2017

Disney non-response re conflict between its climate commitments and participation in US Chamber of Commerce

Author: Disney

Company response
13 July 2017

Gap's response re conflict between its climate commitments and participation in US Chamber of Commerce

Author: Gap Inc.

Gap Inc. is not a member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. We do participate in their international programming, but our contributions and our participation do not in any way contribute to the Chamber’s domestic positions on climate...We believe that action on climate change is not an option, but an imperative. At Gap Inc, we’re working towards cutting greenhouse gas emissions from our global facilities in half by the end of 2020, diverting waste from our U.S. facilities, and partnering with our suppliers around the world to adopt more sustainable manufacturing practices...Gap Inc. was an early and active supporter of the Paris Agreement and we were proud to join the We Mean Business coalition...Gap Inc. was one of more than 1,000 companies that signed the Business Backs Low-Carbon USA statement, urging continuation of U.S. involvement in the Paris Agreement...[and] joined the We Are Still In initiative to reiterate our commitment to bold climate action. We will continue to work with like-minded businesses, NGOs and other stakeholders to support solutions that will create a more sustainable and economically strong future for the people and communities touched by our business around the world.

Download the full document here

Company response
12 July 2017

Pepsi's response re conflict between its climate commitments and participation in US Chamber of Commerce

Author: PepsiCo

Climate change is one of the most important issues of our time and requires immediate, coordinated action. Building on our track record of action on climate change, PepsiCo has a goal to reduce absolute greenhouse gas emissions across our value chain by at least 20% by 2030...PepsiCo is a member of many trade associations and other business and civil society associations, and we do not always agree with all of the positions these associations may take on specific policy matters...PepsiCo is a member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, but we do not serve on the organization’s Board and we do not share its views on climate policy.

Download the full document here

Article
15 June 2017

After Paris, U.S. Chamber Of Commerce Members’ Reputations Are On The Line

Author: Senators Sheldon Whitehouse and Elizabeth Warren

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce...wields the largest lobbying force on Capitol Hill...The biggest benefit the Chamber offers is to let companies say one thing and do another. For example, Pepsi has committed to fighting climate change by reducing deforestation...sign[ing] the American Business Act on Climate Pledge in support of the Paris climate agreement, [taking] the Caring for Climate pledge as part of the United Nations Global Compact, [and] joining more than 1,000 companies in signing onto the sustainable business and investing group Ceres’s Climate Change Declaration...[Yet] Pepsi pays regular big-money dues to fund the Chamber, while the Chamber actively fights against all of Pepsi’s public positions on environmental issues. The Chamber was publicly critical of the Paris accord and funded a study that inflated its costs, which President Trump used to justify his decision to quit the pact...Pepsi isn’t the only company whose stated corporate values are at odds with the aggressive work of the Chamber that claims to represent them...Public Citizen has called on Pepsi, Gap, and Disney to honor their pro-health and pro-environment public commitments by joining the ranks of companies that have decided to leave the Chamber...It is time all Chamber members took a long, hard look at whether the Chamber truly represents their values. [also refers to Apple, Coca-Cola, CVS, Disney, Exelon, Ford, Gap, Pepsi, PG&E]  

Read the full post here

Article
24 April 2017

NGO letter urges Disney to cease funding US Chamber of Commerce

Author: Public Citizen

We are writing you to urge that the Walt Disney Company cease funding the United States Chamber of Commerce...Disney has made several commitments related to the fight against climate change, [including] committing to reduce its net greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2020... The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is doing everything it can to block efforts to combat both climate change and anti-smoking laws and regulations...[and] is one of the biggest obstacles to serious, effective action on climate change here in the U.S...The Chamber is now working hand in glove with President Trump and Republicans in Congress to enact its anti-environmental, anti-consumer agenda. Your customer base and employees are ideologically diverse, and purchasing Disney products, viewing Disney films, or visiting Disney Parks should not require consumers to fund a partisan agenda with which many may disagree. By way of comparison, Disney’s 2016 political spending was exactly even, giving $93,250 each to both Democrats and Republicans.

Read the full post here

Article
24 April 2017

NGO letter urges Gap to cease funding US Chamber of Commerce

Author: Public Citizen

We are writing you to urge that Gap cease funding the United States Chamber of Commerce...Gap has made several commitments related to the fight against climate change. It has committed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2020, signed the CERES Climate Change Declaration, the Corporate Renewable Energy Buyers' Principles, and declarations in favor of both the Clean Power Plan and the Paris Agreement... The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is doing everything it can to block efforts to combat climate change... It opposes the Paris Agreement that you publicly support, is suing to block the implementation of the Clean Power Plan, consistently lobbies against legislation aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and spends millions of dollars in money on elections ads urging voters to back candidates who support the fossil fuel industry and oppose efforts to combat climate change...The Chamber’s agenda is bad for the planet and its secret money political spending is bad for a transparent democracy.