April 6th, 2014


--For immediate release—


Boycotts are vital to halt environmental damage


An international scientific group has decried the Australian government’s proposal to ban consumer boycotts of corporations that damage the environment.


“It’s a tremendously bad idea,” said William Laurance, a professor at James Cook University in Australia and director of ALERT, the Alliance of Leading Environmental Researchers and Thinkers.


“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 behavior 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 to ban boycotts is being floated by the Liberal-National Coalition headed by Prime Minister Tony Abbott. The Coalition is unhappy with environmental campaigns targeting some Australian companies selling old-growth timber products and seafood.


But the scientists say the proposal would harm the environment and limit free speech.


“Suppressing public debate rarely works,” said Thomas Lovejoy, a renowned ecologist and former environmental advisor to three U.S. presidents. “It’s far better to get the facts and views out into the open so practical solutions can be worked out.”


“The Coalition’s proposal blatantly favors big business over the interests of consumers,” said Laurance. “Banning boycotts would make it easier for corporations to destroy rainforests, imperil orangutans and deplete the world’s oceans.”


For further information:

Distinguished Professor William Laurance

James Cook University, Cairns, Australia

Email: bill.laurance@jcu.edu.au; Phone: 07-4038-1518 (+61-7-4038-1518 internationally)


Follow ALERT via its website (alert-conservation.org), Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ALERTconserv), and Twitter (www.twitter.com/ALERTconserv or @ALERTconserv)