Posted by Rita Mu
Consumer lobby group Get Up has sent a warning letter to more than 150 members of the Australian Food and Grocery Council, including Coca-Cola, Sanitarium, Heinz, Kraft, McDonald’s, Schweppes and Nestlé, saying its 570,000 members would boycott them if they supported a scare campaign against the carbon tax.
Below is the letter Get Up sent to food companies across Australia:
You may be aware that, as reported by Phillip Coorey in the Sydney Morning Herald on July 1 and July 2, the Australian Food and Grocery Council has reportedly put its support behind a multi-million dollar campaign to fight proposed legislation to put a price on carbon pollution. As a result of this information becoming public, many GetUp members have urged us to assist them in contacting companies such as yours to express their concern at this news.
As such, it is our intention in the next few days to provide easy to use product information to our membership such that they can boycott goods and services that are linked to the scare campaign that the Australian Food and Grocery Council are about to sign up to.
As a member of the Australian Food and Grocery Council the public may see your company as being supportive of the scare campaign that we expect will be launched in a fortnight. I understand that may not actually be the case, which is why I’m writing to you today.
The total size of the proposed scare campaign of which the Australian Food and Grocery Council is reportedly a part of is similar in size to the recent campaign by Big Tobacco. As weʼve seen with the Big Tobacco campaign, industry groups often find it difficult to separate fact from fiction.
With all major parties now supporting action on climate change, it is only a question of which is the best way forward.
Tony Abbott’s plan to provide tax payer money to polluting industries is not one the Australian public will support. It will create long term budget deficits without reducing pollution to the levels that will be required to avert dangerous climate change. The only viable option for Australia to do its part in reducing our pollution is to price pollution and grow our clean energy economy.
GetUp! has more than 570,000 members across the country. Together we have campaigned on a range of issues of concern to Australians. Recent examples include our campaign with the RSPCA and Animals Australia that successfully sought an immediate moratorium on live exports to Indonesia. We have also successfully partnered with groups like the Wilderness Society to pressure banks and financial institutions into not supporting environmentally destructive investments.
We’re asking companies the below questions and weʼll inform our members and the Australian public of the answers to these.
1. Do you accept the science of climate change?
2. Do you believe the Australian Government should take action to address climate change in the cheapest and most effective way possible?
3. Do you support the proposed AFGC campaign against carbon pricing?
4. If you do not support the AFGC campaigning against carbon pricing will you immediately write to the AFGC to inform them of your position and will you resign your membership from the AFGC if they continue to provide material support to the proposed scare campaign?
Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. I urge you to provide a reply by close of business on Wednesday 6th July 2011 so we can accurately inform our members and the Australian public of your position.
Once again can I reiterate that we are asking for your assistance as we realise that not all companies who are members of the Australian Food and Grocery Council are aware of or supportive of the Council’s reported position on the issue of pricing carbon or of its plans to use your membership dues in a scare campaign.
National Director, GetUp! Action for Australia
Image: Pro-carbon tax rally in Sydney’s Belmore Park, organised by GetUp earlier this year in April.