Tag Archives: poverty

12 days of Badgers

Today is due to be Royal Mail’s busiest day of the year, handling and delivering cards, parcels and presents across the country in time for Christmas.

Today I’m also getting into the sending mood and I’m launching 12 days of Christmas Badgers over on http://apps.facebook.com/superbadger and on iPhone.  Starting today, right up to Christmas Eve, I’m giving you daily actions to ensure that we remember poor people around the world in the midst of our festivities.  Together we’ll be badgering Topshop, government ministers, holiday operators and many others and there will be Christmas presents along the way.

So to start this festive feast, we’re giving David Cameron an opportunity to take a step forward in fulfilling his promise to make this the “greenest government ever!”

Last week the Climate Change Committee advised the Government on to cut the UK’s emissions by 60% by 2030 (compared to 1990).  Whilst in opposition the Conservatives said they would accept the committee’s recommendations, now, as Prime Minister, David Cameron can ensure that the government IS the greenest ever.

Thank you my friends – head over to http://apps.facebook.com/superbadger or boot up the SuperBadger iPhone app free from the AppStore now.

SuperBadger

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End of week one in Cancun: Good COP or Bad COP?

As the climate talks reach a half way point, everyone is starting to assess the negotiations and the progress that has been made.

It’s been a fairly frustrating week for Superbadger and the Tearfund team as we are seeing much more negativity that we would like. This year’s summit was being promoted as a ‘stepping stone’ for more significant progress during COP17 in South Africa next year, but so far the negotiations seem to be at a standstill, with many countries such as the US still taking the ‘nothing is agreed until everything is agreed’ approach, which is unhelpful.

Tearfund’s Head of Policy, Laura Webster, said, ‘We came into these talks hoping that the foundations for a fair global climate deal would be laid. Instead, we are at the half way point and there is still a disconnect between the urgent need to halt runaway climate change and the current pace of the negotiations.’

Let's play a little good COP, bad COP, shall we?

  • Good COP: Forestry talks have been progressing well according to Brazil’s ambassador for climate change, Sergio Serra, who hopes it will help fund safeguards to prevent further deforestation in the Amazon.
  • China have been cooperative in their domestic efforts in cutting emissions, regardless of what other countries are doing, which is fantastic for a developing country. However, they are being very secretive and not being the most constructive player in the negotiations themselves.
  • COP 16 is seeing strong leadership from Mexico, also a developing country, as they attempt to steer the negotiations through rocky waters.
  • In-between: The EU released a report on Fast Start Finance, as posted on the blog a few days ago, which outlined a proposal to inject some quick cash into a climate fund over the next few years, which is great to see. However, there are still some sticking points about where the money is coming from and going to – as a large proportion of the money is being channelled out of existing aid budgets instead of from innovative new sources. So, not bad, but also not good! However, they are speaking out positively on a second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol, which is good news.
  • Bad COP: From the first day of negotiations, Japan have been openly opposed to a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, the first period of which was agreed upon by a number of countries back in 1997 and will end in 2012. Without a second commitment period, we could see little to no progress in cutting emissions, which would be devastating for developing countries who are hit hardest by climate change. Head over to the Superbadger Action page to badger the Japanese embassy to put pressure on Japan during these talks!
  • On Monday, Canada bagged all three Fossil of the Day ‘awards’, given out by NGOs to countries they feel have done the most to hamper international climate talks each day during the conference. Canada received these awards because after they killed a progressive climate change bill without even bothering to debate it, and failing to have any plan to meet its targets! Canada have been one of the biggest ‘blockers’ for any progress here in Cancun, so we’re hoping they will step up their game for week two, though they have said they cannot act on climate change until the US does!

It’s been a bit of a mixed bag of a week here at the talks, so what we really need for week two is positivity, and most of all a fair, ambitious and binding deal that will benefit developing countries and poor communities.

Tearfund also want to see more countries agreeing to a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol in 2012, because without it, the world could very easily see a sharp rise in global temperature towards a predicted 4 degrees above baseline, which would have devastating effects for all countries.

We are also hoping that the fact that progress may not happen during the Cancun talks, does not scupper the chances of getting a fair and adequate climate fund in place for developing countries.

Rich countries cannot continue to behave as though they are uninformed of the stark climate realities caused by of years of their industrialisation. As week two gets underway we must start to see more urgency.

Give Cameron a call…

Hello my friends,

I’ve been working away on a new little project with my friends over at iPadio.

We’ve developed an audio petition where you can leave a voicemail for David Cameron, explaining why you’re passionate about climate change and what action you’d like to see him take.

Mr Cameron has said that he wants this to be the “greenest government ever” and there are a number of opportunities for him to show his mettle over the coming months.  Internationally there are the climate talks in Cancun and closer to home there’s a bill making its way through the Parliament that looks at the efficiencies of homes in the UK – the government can show great leadership in both of these opportunities.

Check out the David Cameron petition by clicking here.

New actions on Facebook…

The floods cover an area greater than that of England.

Hello badgers,

Attention Superbadger users, I have a flurry of action for you, over at http://apps.facebook.com/superbadger.

We saw a great campaign victory earlier this year when Haiti received debt cancellation to help rebuild after the earthquake. The same principle should apply to Pakistan now. We’ve all seen the devastating floods in Pakistan. We’ve given generously and that money is helping.

But at the same time, Pakistan’s government is sending $8 million every day out of the country again in debt repayments.

If the UK and other rich countries stopped taking the money, it could help a lot of people who’ve lost everything rebuild their lives. We badgered them to do this for Haiti, and they did. It’s time to ask again.

You can take action over on Facebook by clicking, http://apps.facebook.com/superbadger.

Thank you for all you do and enjoy the week – oh and a little heads up that I’m sending a crack squad out to the Millennium Development Goal summit in a few days time.  They will be keeping me updated from the UN and we’ll be posting their reports here as well.

Superbadger signing off…

Mr Badger Goes To Westminster

Well today was a very exciting day! SuperBadger and some of his Tearfund colleagues spent their lunchtime outside one of the most famous doors in the world – 10 Downing Street!

Along with Ben, Jay, Helen, Heather, Jack and Sarah, SuperBadger was on a mission to deliver over 10,000 campaign actions to the Prime Minister, asking him to prioritise development and climate change. Thousands of you have taken action to remind the PM that we care about the poor, and that we want our government to show leadership on tackling injustice.

Luckily, the team just about managed to avoid the rain and managed to take some pictures of the hand-in, and even made some short video clips – keep your eyes out for these, coming soon!

Tearfund staff at Number 10

It’s great to be able to take our campaigns direct to the government, and really encouraging to know that key decision makers do see and hear our petitions, and do act on them!

Keep your eyes peeled for new actions coming soon at http://apps.facebook.com/superbadger and, until next time, happy badgering!

Credit to the debtors

There’s been so much going on in recent weeks and months that it’s easy to forget that over the last 5 months, Haiti has been trying to rebuild.

But SuperBadger was delighted to hear recently that more of Haiti’s debts have been cancelled! Both the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) and the World Bank have cancelled large chunks of debt owed to them by Haiti and made further funding available as grants, rather than loans, to aid the recovery.

Photo: Richard Hanson/Tearfund

On 22 March, the IADB cancelled debts of $441 million owed to by Haiti. The IADB is the largest source of development financing in Latin America, and was the largest creditor to Haiti. This cancellation will clearly make a huge impact on Haiti’s ability to recover in the coming years. On top of this, the IADB have also pledged over $2 billion in grants to Haiti over the next decade!

A week later, the international community came together at the donor’s conference and pledged $5.3 billion to fund the initial phase of Haiti’s reconstruction over the next 18 months. As part of this, the World Bank cancelled Haiti’s remaining debt of $39 million.  

SuperBadger hopes these will be precedents for highly indebted countries hit by disasters in future – many of them are prone to disasters, so this is a situation that’s highly likely to happen again.

All of this is fantastic news, and SuperBadger is hopeful that Haiti’s other creditors will  follow the lead of the IADB and World Bank, to ensure that the country’s recovery and reconstruction isn’t hampered by crippling debt repayments. You might remember that back in January, in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, we badgered the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to Tear Up the IOU and release Haiti from their crippling debts of $890 million, as well as also urging the UK government to cancel all outstanding debts. The IMF has agreed to cancel these debts, but we still haven’t heard the details of the deal. As soon as details are released, SuperBadger will let you all know. Hopefully it will be more good news!

Tea-totally unacceptable

Last month, hundreds of you badgered Typhoo, asking them to become an entirely Fairtrade brand. We know that Fairtrade is the only system that independently guarantees farmers a fair price for their products, whilst also helping communities to develop in a sustainable way. Big tea companies like Typhoo have the power to improve the lives of thousands of tea farmers all around the world, by investing in the local communities in which they work.

So SuperBadger wasn’t very happy when he received a reply from Typhoo a few weeks ago that suggested that Typhoo weren’t too keen on switching to being a Fairtrade brand any time soon. SuperBadger was particularly concerned that the reply stated that:

“we [Typhoo] also believe that our customers should be allowed the opportunity to freely choose between Fair-trade accredited products and standard products, which is why we offer both.”

As a number of SuperBadger’s friends have said on the discussion board, who would prefer to buy a product that has been produced in unacceptable and unjust conditions, when there is a Fairtrade alternative available?

Whilst SuperBadger welcomes Typhoo’s commitment to double the number of Fairtrade products sold over the next year, it’s a shame that they haven’t committed to working with Fairtrade to ensure that all their products are Fairtrade accredited. Rather than working within their own certification rules, why don’t Typhoo commit to working to achieve full Fairtrade-accreditation on all their products, accreditation that is recognised and respected world-wide, and helps thousands of people out of poverty.

As always, do visit http://apps.facebook.com/superbadger to see the latest actions you can take.

Here is the full response from Typhoo:

_______________________________________________________

Dear Customer

I am writing with regards to your recent correspondence requesting that Typhoo become a Fair-trade labelled tea. We fully understand your concerns and would like to highlight that, whilst Typhoo wholeheartedly support the Fair-trade movement and would endorse any initiatives that ensure that tea workers situations are improved, we actually operate differently from all of our competitors in how we source tea.

At Typhoo tea, we are committed to ensuring that we trade fairly with all the tea estates that we buy tea from. We are uniquely placed in the Tea industry and demonstrate our commitment through trading fairly with tea estates in two ways; firstly to support the Fair-trade foundation by using Fair-trade tea with our Ridgways brand; secondly to use our Typhoo certification scheme to monitor the tea gardens we buy from are continuously improving fair labour standards (measured against the ETI base code), health & safety, quality and food safety, and sustainable environmental practices.

An example of how our certification scheme works is in the Makandi estate in Malawi where we have worked closely with the estate to deliver significant benefits including the introduction of terms and conditions for workers, greater wage transparency, improvements to housing, sanitation and access to water, as well as a focus on the elimination of discrimination against women and illegal disciplinary practices.

Over the next 12 months we intend to double the number of Fair-trade products we sell, clearly demonstrating our commitment to the Fair-trade organisation for the long term. However, we also believe that our customers should be allowed the opportunity to freely choose between Fair-trade accredited products and standard products, which is why we offer both.

In addition to this, you have probably noticed recently on our packs that we are working very closely with the Federation of Disability Sport. We have developed a Typhoo Sports for All programme with them that provides community sports coaches with a qualification giving them the skills necessary to included disabled people in their coaching sessions. So far we have trained 1000 coaches across the whole of the UK which has given thousands of disabled people the opportunity to take part in the sports and games they love. So, you can see, that not only do we work closely with tea plantation workers around the globe; we carry out some very worthwhile activities closer to home too.