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Corporate America and Its Exploitation of Developing Countries:

The Social and Environmental Affects Caused by Large Companies

Amanda Tomkins
Mr. Toole
May 8th 2015

Preface
In North America, people have become accustomed to want things they do not really
need and cannot afford because big companies say it is something everyone needs. People have
become robots in the cycle of consuming and throwing away. It is such a part of the North
American society that it has become a norm in the way they live, however with this need to buy
and consume will come many side effects on the economics and environment as well as many
social effects. According to the Global Issues Pilot Team of 2011 Consumerism is consumption
of goods and services beyond ones basic needs, increasing in the quantity you buy (Draft Global
Issues Pilot Team 2011). Consumerism is the result of Corporate America and Capitalist
companies who sell people products they do not really need in order for them to make profit.
These companies not only manipulate people into buying their products but exploit other
countries resources and get high commodity products like minerals, lumber as well as many
other resources at prices half of their actual value causing very little pay and benefits to workers
(Coffee FAQ). These companies make large profit through the process of exploitation, which
is the use of something in order to get an advantage from it (Exploitation). Not only do
companies exploit resources but many corporations send their work overseas to countries like
Bangladesh and China where there are little or no workers rights meaning the products can be
made cheap and the companies can make huge profit. Many people dont realize that many of
the products they buy were created in sweatshops or factories overseas where most of the work is
forced or child labour. Companies like Bayer, FIFA, Gap Inc. and PepsiCo are just a few of the
corporations who have been caught violating human rights (Top 10 Corporate Criminal List).
Gap Inc., which owns many other brands like Banana Republic, Gap, Old Navy, Piperlime and
Athleta has refused to sign Accord of Fire And Building Safety in Bangladesh and also refuses
to pay families compensation for injuries at work, and many of the factories where people work
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violate human rights. As well, many of the workers work in unsafe building conditions. Many
disasters have occurred at factories that supply clothing to Gap Inc., yet Gap Inc. has failed to
take responsibility for these disasters (Top 10 Corporate Criminal List). Many Corporations
are in similar positions hiring abroad to avoid paying for proper benefits and wages so they can
maximize profit. Many of the worlds wages are so small that in countries like China, about
36% of their people live on less than 2 dollars a day (Sweatshops in China). Other countries
like Bangladesh are even worse off with some people making 9 cents per hour with an average
work week of 48 hours, compared to the minimum wage of an American who make 7.25 dollars
an hour (Human Capital). These companies go overseas because labour is so cheap and there are
very few benefits meaning they can make more profit. The cost of making a shirt which includes
materials and paying all the workers overseas will cost a company 5.65 dollars. When this shirt
hits the shelves it will cost 14 dollars meaning the company makes a 60 percent profit
(Westwood). This price can be much higher too and people will buy it because it is a designer
name and everyone must have it as media owned by other large corporations say people must
own it or they wont fit in. As of 2004, consumers have spent over 18 billion dollars on makeup,
17 billion dollars on pet food in Europe and the USA and 15 billion dollars on perfume products
annually (Draft Global Issues Pilot Team August 2011). If consumers were to take the money
they spent in 2004 on consumer products then that would achieve the cost of the UN Millennium
Development Goals (Draft Global Issues Pilot Team August 2011). People in developed
countries need to know and realize these companies are exploiting other countries and their
people because many of the products that are bought in developed countries are bought without
the knowledge of where or how they were made and the working conditions of the people. These
giant corporations do everything they can to cover these issues to get a good review and stay on

the good side with the consumers. The better of a company they seem, the more product they
will sell. Consumers need to know about companies ways of making huge profit because by
buying from these companies, they in turn are supporting the violation of human rights and
exploitation of resources in developing countries.

Table of Contents
Preface.Pg. 1-3
Summary of Research
Methods...........Pg. 5
Background..Pg. 6-9
Expert Annie Leonard.........Pg. 10-12
Expert Tim Jackson.Pg 13- 16
Role of Control....Pg. 17- 21
Logic of EvilPg. 22- 24
Religion....Pg. 25-27
Case Study 1: Bangladesh...Pg. 28- 31
Case Study 2: Brazil.........Pg. 32-36
Case Study 3: China/ ...Pg.37-40
International
Organizations.Pg.41-44
Canadian Connection...Pg. 45-48
Solutions...Pg. 49-50

Summary of Research Methods


This report contains several different types of sources. The main type of source used was
the search engine Google, which was used to find many valid websites. Many of the sources are
online journals and magazines from websites like Huffington Post, the Guardian and MacLeans
online. A few of the sources were online videos found on YouTube. As well, one of the
documentaries watched in the Global Perspectives program called Regeneration was used. A lot
of the information also comes from awareness and different charity websites, like War on Want
or Global Exchange. Other online sources include online encyclopedias and online dictionaries.

Background
The need for things and to consume has always been around as is part of the basic human
functions like the need to consume food and water and find shelter. But it wasnt until the
industrial revolution when natural resources became in high demand. The Industrial Revolution
was a huge shift from which manual labour was used to the use of machinery which could do
double the work of humans with little effort. During this period new materials were being used
like steel and iron and many new energy resources were discovered as a sources of energy like
coal, the steam engine, petroleum and gases as well as electricity (Industrial Revolution). This
allowed for new machinery like the cotton gin and power loom to produce large amount of
product with little effort. At this point in time people were starting to discover the benefits of a
factory system which allowed people to specify in a certain job allowing for quicker and better
production. The biggest part of the industrial revolution was the new ways of communicating
and transportation systems like the steam engine train, steamships and automobiles made for
mass, quick and efficient distribution of goods. As jobs were taken in the field, people slowly
started moving into cities where the demands for products skyrocketed (Industrial Revolution).
With the new demand for natural resources, countries like England started going to
untapped countries and starred colonizing these countries and exploiting their resources. Many of
the civilians, especially in Africa, were forced to work in mines to get precious materials like
gold and diamonds which was then sent back to the Colonizing country (Babcock). This same
work was happening all around the world as a way to get resources with cheap labour.
The first form of outsourcing and hiring abroad was by the British Textile Factories who
hired in the southern United States, mainly in the Carolinas cotton industry (Pearlstein). The
work was sent over to the US as many blacks in the south could be used as cheap, slave labour.
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Workers worked out in the fields and also with the new Cotton Gin which spun and separated
cotton much more efficiently than humans. Slaves were paid cheaply which made huge profit as
cotton products were in high demand (22B. Cotton and the African-American Life). This was
one of the first primary examples where work was sent overseas to workers so the companies
could get extremely cheap labor and companies could make huge profits.
In 1913, the way people bought product was changed again when Henry Ford created the
first assembly line meaning more product could be produced at cheaper prices so more people
could afford products. By this point, people were becoming more consumed with products to
improve their lives and in the 1920s credit was introduced so people could buy and live beyond
their means and have all this product that before they could never afford, which has since lead
many corporations and banks to financial success. However, it wasnt until after World War
Two when the idea of making products cheaply so they could be rapidly disposed of came into
place when Retail Analyst Victor Lebeau suggested the idea as a way to rebound the economy
(Bright Enlightenment). This not only improved the economy after the war, but this same
concept is still used today and is the main way the economy works. Without this concept, there
would be less environmental impacts on the Earth but many new technologies would not be
present.
For decades many of the products were produced by people living in the same country
where the products were sold, as imports were expensive. Some work was sent overseas but it
wasnt until the 1970s and 1980s through to the 1990s when the creation of Free Trade
Agreements between China, India and some parts of Eastern Europe allowed for more imports
and exports (Pearlstein). A Free Trade Agreement is when two countries agree to minimize
tariffs on imports and minimize subsidies on exports when trading product (Free Trade). Free
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Trade has brought many pros and cons. Free Trade means that there is minimal tariffs for
imports so products are cheaper for consumers, however, with Free Trade corporations and other
large companies are going to these countries and outsourcing work because the labour is cheaper
and the product can be made cheaper and shipped for less than it would cost to make it at home.
At first Free Trade seemed good for Canadians and Americans because for every job sent
overseas, two more jobs would be created at home. However with all this new technology taking
over jobs, and with 2.4 million jobs sent overseas, over 2.9 million jobs were lost in the USA
alone (Pearlstein). Free Trade has allowed many corporations to hire overseas and use workers
who have terrible wages and poor working conditions and get away with it (Top 10 Corporate
Criminals). Free Trade has also allowed huge corporations to go into countries like Brazil and
deforest a large portion of the Amazon. At the rate companies are cutting down trees, in the
Amazon alone 2,000 trees a minute are being cut down. For many generations, the USA and
Canadian companies used so many trees for lumber, paper etc. that the USA only has 4 % of its
forest left, so these companies have left and gone to use other countries resources. The problem
is now that these US corporations have gone overseas and are using other peoples resources and
leaving them with the entire cleanup and because people consume so much stuff, 80% of the
worlds trees are gone. As well, because of this need to consume, in the past three decades alone
companies have extracted and people have consumed more than one third of the worlds
resources (Bright Enlightenment). If people dont stop consuming than we will eventually run
out of resources to sustain our lives.
Corporations have never had a much power as they do today. As of 2011, 53 of the top
economies were plutocracies and because of this people have become their puppets.
Consumerism has become a huge problem because not only do people burn and pollute the earth

with lots of carbon dioxide and toxins but, the average consumer produces about 4.5 pounds of
garbage a day (Bright Enlightenment). Companies need to figure out a new business plan
instead of the idea consuming and throwing away because soon enough people will be living in
their own garbage.
Consumerism is a system that cannot last the way people are consuming resources and in
order for people to continue living and having enough materials for basic use, corporations and
other businesses will need to sustain and efficiently use the worlds resources so future
generations will have enough materials to live comfortably.

Expert:
Annie Leonard
Annie Leonard is an environmental activist who also makes it her mission for society to
change the way things are made, used and thrown away. Leonard has spent over two decades
explaining the social and environmental impacts of consumerism. As well, Leonard has spent
several years traveling and experiencing where products people buy come from in over 40
countries. While in these countries she has visited the factories where things are made and dumps
where things are thrown out. Leonard is also the creator of the video The Story of Stuff and eight
other mini videos explaining peoples rolls as consumers and how corporations and governments
get along (Annie Leonard).
Leonard started working for Greenpeace International in 1988 and in August 2014 she
became the new leader for Greenpeace USA (Greenpeace USA Announces New Leader).
Annie Leonard has also worked for many other organizations including Global Alliance for
Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA), Health Care Without Harm, and Essential Action. As well,
Leonard has served on many organization boards including GAIA, Public Citizen and previously
served on the Grassroots Recycling Network, the Environmental Health Fund, Global
Greengrants India, Greenpeace India and the International Forum on Globalization (Annie
Leonard).
In 2007, Leonard released her film the Story of Stuff which talks about the cycle of
getting products from the ground to the consumers house and finally to the landfills and all the
implications along the way. The film also explores the relationships between corporations and
the people who make and transport the product to consumers (Bright Enlightenment). This video
got so much attention that it inspired Leonard to create the Website the Story of Stuff Project
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which works to empower people to make a more sustainable world (Greenpeace USA
Announces New Leader).

The Story of Stuff Projects have a following of over half a million

people. Along with the Story of Stuff video, Leonard also released eight other videos relating to
the Story of Stuff which together have accumulated over 40 million views. The video has also
been approved and has been incorporated in to several schools curriculum. In 2010, Simon and
Schuster published the book Leonard wrote called the Story of Stuff that goes into more depth
about the issue (Greenpeace USA Announces New Leader)
Leonard not only is a member of these organizations but she is also a protestor and stands
up for what she believes in. While working at Greenpeace, Leonard was arrested for protesting
against a business that was exporting waste to parts of South Africa during apartheid, where the
company was dumping the waste in areas where the black people lived (Greenpeace USA
Announces New Leader). This shows her dedication and true support for this issue.
Through Leonards video the Story of Stuff and the others that followed she proved how
corporations are the main reason for many environmental issues like deforestation, rising sea
levels etc. as well as many social issues. Leonard is pressuring for them to change their ways:
Corporations can apply their ingenuity to environmental progress, not destruction, and
we will keep working with a broad network of supporters and allied movements to push
them to do the right thing. (Greenpeace USA Announces New Leader)
Annie Leonard is working with many organizations and Greenpeace to continue on projects that
are working to get businesses to sustain the environment. Leonard is working alone side
Greenpeace which has already gotten companies like Apple and Facebook to use Renewable
Energy sources to power their data centers. By also working on the Story of Stuff Project,

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Leonard is informing consumers about the big environmental and social issues corporations have
caused and is working to educate them that they are the people to create change (Greenpeace
USA).

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Expert:
Tim Jackson
Tim Jackson is the Professor of Sustainable Development and the Director of Sustainable
Lifestyles Research Group at the University of Surrey in England. Jackson currently holds an
ESRC Professorial Fellowship on Prosperity and Sustainability in the Green Economy. Jackson
has focused his research on the relationships between lifestyle, wellbeing and the environment.
Between 1990 and the 2000s Jackson has worked on the adjustment of national accounts in
England to Green GDP (Professor Tim Jackson).
Tim started at the University in 1995 under a Royal Academy Engineering Fellowship
on thermodynamics and clean technology. Prior to the University of Surrey, Jackson worked as
the Senior Researcher at the Stockholm Environment Institute. After five years at the University
of Surrey, Jackson was appointed as Professor of Sustainable Development and had the first
chair created in this department in the United Kingdom (Professor Tim Jackson).
Jackson has written many books including his influential best seller Prosperity Without
Growth. As well, Jackson has made about 300 other written publications between 1984-2015
dealing with Sustainable Development. (Professor Tim Jackson). Along with written
publications Jackson has also given over 200 Keynote presentations around the world appearing
regularly in the UK and international media (Professor Tim Jackson). Many of the presentations
are TED Talks. In his 2010 TED Talks called An Economic Reality Check Jackson states [
We are] persuaded to spend money we dont have on things we dont need to create impressions
that wont last on people we dont care about ( Tim Jackson). This shows how Tim Jackson
sees and knows how companies and governments are using consumers to make money and part
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of Jacksons work is to stop the consumer lifestyle which leads to an unsustainable world and
economy.
Over his career, Jackson has served in numerous Departments and delivery agencies. He
has worked with many international agencies including, the United Nations Environmental
Program (UNEP) working on sustainable consumption, the United Nations Department of
Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) on green economy, the United Nations Industrial
Development Organization (UNIDO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) on
cleaner production and the European Environment Agency also on sustainable consumption and
Green GDP. Jackson has also worked with many governments like the European Parliament on
sustainable consumption, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) on
waste prevention, sustainable consumption and behavior change and lastly the New Zealand
Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment on sustainable lifestyles and consumption.
Along with working with many agencies and governments Jackson is also a member of the
Advisory Board for New Energy Solutions investment fund which works on the development
and commercialization to create renewable energy technologies. (New Energy Technologies). In
2007, Jackson was appointed as Chair on the Advisory Board.
Jackson works with many other groups similar to New Energy Solutions like Aviva
Sustainable and Responsible Investment where he is an advisor, Alliance Trust Sustainable
Future Fund and Sustainable Development Research Network where he is also an advisor.
Along with these groups, Jackson is also an associate of New Economics foundation and a
member of the UNEP Sustainable lifestyle Task force.
All this work cant go without any recognition and Jackson has won many awards
including, ESCR Professorial Fellowship in 2013, Professional Association of Futurist Award in
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2012 and a Public Awareness of Science award for his environmental drama Cry of the Bittern
in 1998. In 2007, Jackson was also awarded the Grand Prix Marulic for his play called Variations
(Tim Jackson).
Jackson promotes in his lectures that consumers will not be able to lives the lives they do
if people dont start trying to sustain our earth. People are a part of an economic system where
firms produce goods for households, which then produces incomes for these households. With
this money people spend it back on the firms and the cycle continues. Part of the cycle that
messes up the rest of the cycle is the production of novelty items. Novelty items are new and
always pressing into new markets. These novelty items are always changing using more and
more resources because consumers want new product. The problem that Jackson proves is that
this cycle not only brings economic value to a person but determines the social value of a person
based on if a person has a hybrid car, TV, iPad and netbook etc. People are forced to buy these
products because if they dont the market crashes, so credit and money is supplied to those who
need it so the cycle can keep expanding. This cycle is very hard to maintain and that was proven
when the recession hit in 2008 (TED).
Jackson also suggests that with all this change, there are many changes people can make
to their lives like buying energy efficient lightbulbs and appliances and insulating the walls. But
Jackson also suggests that we have become so busy, making money, coming home, and going
shopping and involved in the cycle that we have no time to make any of these changes. Jackson
believes that in order for our economy to continue growing, companies need to invest back into
the system. Companies need to invest more in protecting and growing the worlds ecological
assets and focus less on the investment of consumption. Companies need to transition to become
more ecological friendly and use low carbon technologies (TED).
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Jackson points out a couple companies who have already started thinking ahead about
the earth like the Internet Search Engine Ecosia, which works with a Rainforest protection plan.
Ecosia makes money by sponsors paying for links and space on the site. What makes this search
engine different is that Ecosia puts 80% of its revenue towards saving the Rainforest. Jackson
believes that many companies need to start thinking like this and creating businesses that give
back to the ecological system. Other enterprises need to start thinking like that and putting
money back into the system (TED).
Jackson also promotes how it is the citizens duty to help developing countries out of
poverty, and make growth for these countries, but this goal can never be reached with the way
the economic system is set up. He believes developed countries need to redefine prosperity and
get out of the materialistic growth based model. Jackson believes that in order to create a better
and more ecological growth, not only do companies need to be involved but the government does
too. Jackson has stated that since the beginning of his work and a few politicians have thought
about a change to the way business and the economic structure runs.
Jackson has done a lot of work promoting sustainable living and with enough push on the
governments, it will eventually cause governments to change laws about the way corporate
companies are run and help people realize that in order for lives to be the same, people need to
sustain the environment and invest back into the system.

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Role of Control
The role of control is very important as it is the people that have the power and control
over how an issue is dealt with. The role of control gives a group of people more control than
another group about an issue, however usually the role of control goes to the group of people
with the most money. The role of control should go to the people and governments to decide
what is best for the people and work with other countries to create a whole better world for
everyone; however the role of control goes to those who have the money. The role of control
goes to large corporations because without money the economies would crash, and without an
economy governments and the whole world would not function properly. There are many large
companies but most of these companies are owned by a larger corporation. Many of the
consumer products people buy have one brand on it but that brand is owned by a larger
corporation. Brands like Ralph Lauren, LOral, Purina Cat food and Wonka candy are all
owned by the larger company of Nestle. There are really only ten corporations who sell
consumer goods to buy; Kraft, PepsiCo, Nestle, P&G, Unilever, Kelloggs, Coca-Cola and
Johnson and Johnson, Nestle and Mars are the two corporations with the most brands. Not only
is consumer goods controlled by large corporations but over 90 percent of media is now
controlled by only 6 Companies, compared to media being owned by 50 companies back in 1983
(Bradford). Corporate companies have huge control over people all over the world, but are not
standing up and being responsible for their actions. These companies do whatever they need to
do to make profit and rarely think about the environmental and social impact in which they
leave. Companies like PepsiCo are only one of many companies who have covered their abuse
to stay in the public eye. PepsiCo owns many companies and a main ingredient through all the
companies and products is palm oil which they use more than 450,000 metric tons of it a year.

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To get the oil means the deforestation of rainforests and peat lands in places such as Indonesia
and Malaysia which in return has caused species to become extinct and many others to become
very close to extinction in these areas. At the rate they are using the land, Indonesias forest will
be destroyed by 2022. By removing the trees, PepsiCo are also removing as many as 110 million
indigenous people from their homes causing for many conflicts between the company and the
indigenous people who rely on the forest for survival. PepsiCo also owns water companies like
Aquafina, who are depleting underground water supplies and also contaminating local water
from pollutants caused by the factories used (Top Ten Corporate Criminal List). PepsiCo has
caused many problems not only to the environment but also to the social system of where they
harvest their products. Many companies do the same and many of these corporations get away
with it and governments do not stop them because if a multibillion dollar company crashes then
the whole economy crashes, so many governments just turn a blind eye to corporations actions
(Bright Enlightenment). This is unfair and unjust as these corporations are committing crimes
against the environment and violating human rights all so they can make money. People who
buy consumer products should know these companies are operating in deceiving and
untrustworthy ways. Without knowing, their daily routines of consuming and throwing away
and rebuying are helping to support the cause of these big corporations as they continue to
exploit and use other countries resources for their own benefit. Consumers need to be smart and
informative buyers so they know and can stand up against these corporations. Being a smart
consumer can be hard though, as even public TV isnt public anymore. AdBusters, which is a
company who works to make people aware of consumerism tried to put an ad on public TV
and wanted to pay for ad space for their commercial showing humans are the real products of the
media and companies by having a barcode on the back of the head of a person watching TV.

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However when they went to pay for air time the TV program said they couldnt buy the air time
as their ad would upset larger and higher paying sponsors (Regeneration). This proves how hard
it is to change or stand up to these companies because as long as they keep making money, they
cant be touched. The only people who can change these companies ways are the buyers as
without them the companies make no money, but if companies are blocking other peoples rights
to speech and expression of their opinion than there is really no way to stand up.
In order to eliminate many of the problems today such as pollution, deforestation and
sweatshops and factories where the work is forced or supplied by child labour and there are little
to no humans rights, the control must be taken out of corporate companies hands and put into
the hands of the workers and governments of these developing nations to help protect these
people and their land. Organizations and committees must be put in place to ensure there are
unions so the workers have a fair wage and proper human rights. The United Nations
Declaration of Human Rights states in article 23
(1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable
conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
(2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
(3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for
himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if
necessary, by other means of social protection.
(4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his
interests. (United Nations Declaration of Human Rights)

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Many of these rights are broken with unsafe and hazardous working conditions. Many of the
workers in sweatshops are women who face discrimination and forms of sexual harassment. As
well, many factories are not allowed to form trade unions, which is a right protected under the
Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining ILO Conventions, which Bangladesh
approved in 1972 (Sweatshops in Bangladesh). Although these rights are mandatory many
companies and factories owner prevent the workers from these rights as they want to save
money, but workers need these unions and proper wages as its a human right.
Making work conditions favourable seems like the end all for businesses as they go to
these countries because of there is little benefits and no right to the workers meaning cheap
product is produced. However, with higher wages and benefits to workers, companies can
advertise the product is Fair Trade and can boost the price up and people will pay higher prices
knowing its a Fair Trade product. According to the 1998 Cone/Roper benchmark study 78% of
people surveyed said they would rather buy a product that supports an issue they believe in. This
study also said 54% of the people would pay more for the product as it supports their cause
(Coffee FAQ). The demand for more Fair Trade products is on constant rise and people would
rather buy a cup of coffee and other products knowing it was Fair Trade and not the terrible
working conditions many are put in now (Coffee FAQ). This proves even when factory
workers have proper rights and fair wages corporations can still make money and maybe even
more as the demand is constantly rising.
Children also must be taken out of factories and given a proper education. By doing this,
children will have a chance to learn as education is key to a better life and helps end the cycle of
poverty. According to the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights article 26,

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(1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary
and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and
professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be
equally accessible to all on the basis of merit
(2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to
the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote
understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and
shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.
(3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their
children. (United Nations Declaration of Human Rights)
Although the United Nations Human Declaration of Human Rights states that education is a
right, many children are still forced to work in factories or harvest products. In 2014, there were
126 products that are still made using child labour with 59 of the products in agricultural
business and there were 38 products in the manufacturing business who used child labour (List
of Goods Produced by Child or Forced Labor). Although child labour is cheaper than adult
wages, the role of control must be given to the workers and children because children are the
face of the next generation. If all these children are forced to work and not get an education than
the cycle of poverty will continue and their will not be any stop for it because children are the
future.
Overall, the role of control must be taken out of the hands of corporations who use the
power for the wrong reasons and it must be given to the workers and child worker so conditions
can improve and the children can get an education.

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Logic of Evil
Many events in the world have occurred and looking back on them, people wonder how
people could have let other people do such terrible, inhuman things to other humans and the
environment. If these events were to happen today, the people committing the crimes would be
in jail or these crimes just wouldnt happen in todays society because people have been taught
different and to do certain things are wrong. The logic of evil is events or actions by a group of
people or person that seem cruel and discriminating yet their reasoning for their actions is
justified as it helps solve an issue their facing.
The logic of evil is very prevalent in consumerism and corporate companies who exploit
other countries for their resources. Consumerism sky rocketed during the 1940s after World
War Two as a way to rebound the economy. As a way to reboot the economy, Victor Lebeau
who was a retail analyst came up with the solution to make consumerism the new way of life. In
his speech he said:
Our enormously productive economy demands that we make consumption our way of
life, that we convert the buying and use of goods into rituals. That we seek our spiritual
satisfaction, our ego satisfaction We need things to be consumed, burned up replaced
and discarded at an ever- accelerating rate. (Bright Enlightenment)
This solution has been used and is continuing to be used today in North America and many
developed countries. But what gives companies the right to go overseas and exploit other
countries resources? Many corporations believe people living in areas where resources are found
do not own the resources and therefore they can use them without the permission of the locals.
Although many people have been left homeless and have been displaced from their society, the
companies see this as an opportunity to gain and get materials cheaply and resources that are not
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found in America or there is very little left of it in America (Bright Enlightenment). These
companies not only exploit the resources but many giant companies go overseas where labour is
cheap and conditions are brutal. This seems very wrong as it is, but large companies are taking
advantage of the poor working conditions and lack of human rights in other countries but their
choice can be justified. By going overseas where a majority of labour is child or forced labour,
the companies can save huge amounts of money because labour is so cheap that the workers
barely make enough money to cover basic needs. If a company was to hire people in North
America they would have to pay the workers a minimum wage and have working conditions and
factories in good shape and up to code. In Canada the lowest minimum wage is 10.20 dollars per
hour plus the cost maintaining the building (Minimum Wage by Province). In countries like
Bangladesh, the minimum wage is 9 cents per hours and buildings are in horrible conditions and
the basic human rights are put at question (Westwood). As well, in North America unions are set
up so workers can bargain and come up with better conditions and rights, but in the developing
countries there are no unions and workers must work in all conditions. By going overseas the
company will save a lot of money because they wouldnt have to pay for building repairs and
minimum wages of that in America, therefore making products cheaper for consumers to buy
and still being able to make a hefty profit. These are just a few examples of how corporate
companies use the logic of evil to get ahead and stay ahead.
Many people still dont believe that these companies have the right exploit other nations
and its people and want the government to do something however nothing is ever done. Many
governments support the companies or turn a blind eye about the issues that the corporations
create because they need the money and support from these companies. In 2007 fifty-one of the
top 100 economies on the planet are that of large corporations (Bright Enlightenment), However

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as of 2011, fifty-three of the top 100 economies where that of large corporations
(StroyofStuffProject). Since the corporations have such control over the economy, the
governments just look the other way as the corporations are bigger and more powerful than the
governments. Instead of governments being only about the people, they are slowly becoming
about doing whatever they need to please the corporations (Bright Enlightenment).The
governments of developed countries are plutocracies. This is why many countries where there
are many sweatshops like Bangladesh have very small minimum wages for their citizens because
80% of Bangladeshs export revenue comes from the garment industry (Sweatshops in
Bangladesh). If the country where to implement a minimum wage much higher and actually
enforce it than the big corporations would leave and search elsewhere for a country that would
have a cheaper wages which would hurt the economy.
Although most of the logic behind consumerism is not right, many companies do it
because they can, as well as it allows for cheap labour and resources that they can then sell
cheaper and make a profit.

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Religion
Many of the worlds largest corporations are run from countries where Christianity is the
main religion. In these countries capitalism is the predominant political structure, where the
companies want low taxes so they can make the most profit. Many of these countries have
combined their religious views and political structure and have created what is called the
religious right or Christian right. The religious right is a faction of strong right-wing politicians
and leaders who want to preach and impose the lessons of the Christian Bible. They use many of
the lessons to create and influence laws (Religious Right). An issue with the religious right is
that it allows businesses to exploit other countries while still being supported by the government
and citizens. The problem with right-wing politics is that they want less laws and taxes, allowing
corporations to get extremely rich while the rest of the countries and people struggle to pay for
basic necessities. The unequal distribution of money between different classes in western
countries and other countries around the world is unjust. The total world income in 2012 was
close to 70 trillion dollars and there were about 7 billion people in the world. With an equal split
person should get about 10,000 dollars each however, the average Canadian makes much more
than the average citizen in Bangladesh or Brazil. More than a third of the world lives below the
poverty line, living on less than 2 dollars a day because they were born in developing countries
(Alexander).
As a way to even out the distribution of money, many other religious groups are working
on educating people and helping people in developing countries get proper education, healthcare,
housing etc. The Christian Childrens Fund of Canada is a registered organization which works
to get children out of poverty, by teaching them their basic human rights and giving them access
to their basic needs, which before they never had ( About Us| Our Mission). Many other
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religious organizations like World Vision also work to bring people out of poverty. Many of
these organizations work on the basis a person is to sponsor a child and make sure they have the
basic necessities for survival. Because less people are living in poverty, they will be able to
support their families and give their children more of an education, which can help improve the
unequal money distribution between developed countries and undeveloped countries.
One of the reasons that there is the unequal distribution of money around the world is
because many children are forced to work to support their families so they dont get an
education. Many children who live in poverty find themselves involved in child labour and many
corporations buy and sell products made by child labourers. Children in developing countries can
be forced to start working as young as 5-7 years old and there are over 218 million children aged
5-17 who are part of the child labour. As 1 in 6 children around the world are involved in child
labour, it is important to give the children an education, as education is one thing that will help
lead people out of poverty (Child Labour Facts). Many other religious groups are working to
inform people about child labour and helping to stop it. The religious organization Compassion
works on a variety of issues that people in developing countries face and they work to fix them.
Compassion works with other organizations who work specifically on getting children out of
work and giving them an education (Child Labour Facts). Religious organizations that work to
get children out of work are helping to stop corporations that go to developing countries to
exploit the children and workers so they can produce huge profits.
Overall, the majority of the worlds religious organizations are from Christian origin.
Many of the religious groups work to bring people and countries out of poverty, which originally
started because western countries and their corporations went to developing countries and
exploited the people and resources and left the citizens with very little. People of the same
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religion has caused many citizens in developing countries to live in poverty is also being
addressed by Christians and other religious groups that are going back and helping the
vulnerable people who were impacted by the exploitation.

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Case Study #1
Bangladesh
Bangladesh is located in the southern part of Asia. Bangladesh is known worldwide as
one of the worlds largest suppliers of clothing, leaving many Bangladeshi workers to be
exploited by large corporations. There are many sweatshops in this country where conditions are
terrible. Workers are exploited and abused, proving that the people of Bangladesh have been
exploited by large corporations.
One of the reasons why large corporations hire people in Bangladesh is because of the
cheap cost for labour. Most of this labour is cheap because many of the industries hire children
to work. Child labour is common among the bidis, bricks, dried fish, footwear, steel furniture,
garments, glass, leather, jute textiles, matches, poultry, salt, shrimp and textile industries (Bureau
of International Labor Affairs: United States Department of Labour). Although there are many
industries in Bangladesh, the largest is the clothing and garment industry producing 80% of
Bangladeshs export revenue (Sweatshops in Bangladesh). Bangladeshs garment industry
made 20 billion dollars in exports with 56% of the exports going to the European Union, 15%
going to the United States and 5% going to Canada. The garment industries, being the biggest
and busiest in Bangladesh have many companies coming to them to make their product.
Companies like H&M, Walmart, J.C. Penney, Joe Fresh, Benneton, Gap and Zara all hire people
in sweatshops in Bangladesh to make clothing (Engel). With all the demand by these large
corporations, workers usually work 14-16 hour shift seven days a week and have little time for
sleep or family. Some workers start at 7:30 am and dont finish until 3:00 am the next morning
and then return back at 7:30 am. The hours are long and the workers do not get much pay
(Sweatshops in Bangladesh). As of 2013, the minimum wage for workers was 38 dollars a
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month, which is the lowest minimum wage in the world (Engel). The minimum wage in
Bangladesh is not enough to cover the basic needs for food and shelter for a workers family.
Along with long hours, the working conditions are very poor. Many buildings are unsafe and are
not up to code and many have even collapsed. In 2013, one of Bangladeshs garment factories
collapsed and over 1000 workers died and 2,500 people were injured in the collapse. In the
investigation, products from Joe Fresh and Benetton were found in the rubble. Joe Fresh
admitted to having clothes made in the factory and said they would pay the families
compensations for their loss. Benetton originally denied having any of their products made in the
factory, but then admitted a branch of the company had hired people at the factory. Many
companies are not as caring and try even harder to save money. Companies like Walmart and
Gap are not as willing to put out money to pay for workers rights. When the Tazreen factory
fire occurred, killing 112 people, Walmart failed to compensate victims and their families. This
is not the only way Walmart has exploited the workers rights. In 2005, The International Labour
Rights Fund filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Walmart sweatshop suppliers in Bangladesh, China,
Indonesia, Nicaragua and a few other countries. The workers were found to be denied a
minimum wage, had to work forced overtime without any kind of compensation, and were
denied legally mandated health care. As well, many workers faced locked washrooms, starvation
wages, pregnancy tests, no access to health care and were fired or blackmailed if they tried to
stand up for their rights (Walmart| Global Exchange). Other Companies like Gap Inc. also do
not care about the workers rights in Bangladesh. Although Gap had launched a safety program
that includes financial aid for factories, Gap has failed to sign a workers safety agreement so
workers are still at risk when at work (Engel). Due to the numerous building collapses and fires
many companies are joining the Bangladesh Safety Accord, which is an independent, legally

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binding agreement that works with trade unions and companies to create safe and healthy
working conditions for Bangladeshi workers (Accord on Fire and Building Safety in
Bangladesh).
With the pressure from Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and peoples
understanding, companies are finally starting to treat factory workers fairly with proper wages
and working conditions. The National Garment Workers Federation (NGWF) was established
in 1984 to fight for the rights of sweatshop workers in Bangladesh. Its main office is in Dhaka
Bangladesh, but there are seven offices in other parts of the country. It is the largest trade union
in the garment industry as it has over 27,000 members. The program works to promote womens
rights in the factories and 18 of the 30 executive members are women. Their aim is to strengthen
workers rights and create trade unions across Bangladesh through strategic campaigns and by
lobbying the governments, factory owners and multinational corporations. The NGFW has
already helped many workers in the sweatshop industry of Bangladesh. In 2010, they helped
increase the minimum wage by an average of 60%. This is a start, however even with a 60%
increase, workers are not fully able to provide shelter, food and water for their families. Along
with a minimum wage increase, the NGWF has also created 96 new factory committees that will
work like unions. Creating factory committees allows workers to protect their rights and ensure
fair treatment while working. The NGWF has also settled over 54 collective cases where
workers rights were abused and now over 500,000 workers have access to over 80 million takas
that they won in the cases. As well, the most important thing the NGWF have taught workers is
what their workers rights are. Over 15,000 workers have received legal advice about their work
and over 4,000 have been taught what their workers rights are (Sweatshop in Bangladesh).

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Teaching the workers their rights is important as once they know what their rights are they can
then stand up and fight for them.

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Case Study #2
Brazil
Brazil has been affected by corporations that have come in and exploited its people and
resources. Brazil is known for being the home of the Amazon Rainforest which has been
exploited by large logging companies. Many of Brazils other resources have also been
exploited as well. Brazil is also known as the worlds largest supplier of coffee beans and this
industry has also experienced many social and environmental exploitations from corporations.
Many of Brazils people were also exploited and abused, especially before and during the FIFA
2014 World Cup.
Brazil is home to the Amazon rainforest, which is home to over 56,000 species of plants,
1,700 different species of birds, 695 amphibian species, 578 mammal species and 651 reptile
species. The Amazon is home to the largest diversity of living organisms and covers almost 60%
of Brazils land area (Rainforests in Brazil). The Amazon provides a lot of clean air and gets
rid of a lot of carbon dioxide in the air. However, the Amazon has been targeted by large
corporations which has led to wide deforestation. There are many reasons for the deforestation
including for agricultural purposes, urbanization, infrastructure and logging purposes. Currently,
over 5.5% of the rainforest is used for production, 25% for social services and 45% is used for
multiple purposes (Rainforests in Brazil).
Brazils deforestation accounts for about 14% of the worlds total trees destroyed (The
Huffington Post Canada). One of the main reasons for deforestation is for agricultural purposes.
Trees are cut down so crops and cattle can grow and graze in vast areas. The land can be used for
both personal and commercial use. One of the main uses for the land is for cattle to graze, which
will be sold both for meat and other products like leather. Many of the cattle are cut and sold to
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larger companies. The demand for new and better shoes is so large that many parts of the
Amazon are cleared for cattle to be used to make leather for companies like Nike, Adidas,
Reebok and Clarks shoes (Top name brands implicated in Amazon destruction).
Another huge reason for the deforestation of the Amazon is because companies are clear
cutting and logging the Amazon to get to the timber. Logging has become more of an issue in
the last 40 years. Since 1970, the rate of deforestation grew from 1% to over 15% with over
7,595 companies working and logging in the area. There are many ways of cutting trees from
selective extraction to clear cutting. Due to the use of clear cutting, logging corporations have
damaged about 10% to 40% of the forest area, and opened the forest canopy by 14% to 50%,
making the forests more susceptible to forest fires (Logging in the Amazon). Companies have
not only hurt the biodiversity and environment in the rainforest, but they have also caused many
Brazilians to fight for their land.
People have started to realize that in order to stop global warming and provide clean air
for everyone, Brazil and many other countries will need to slow down the rates of deforestation,
and Brazil is on the right track. Between August 2013 and July 2014 the rate of deforestation in
Brazil dropped by 18% from 5,891 square kilometers cut to 4,848 square kilometers of trees cut
down (Associated Press in Sao Paulo). Slowing down the rate of deforestation in Brazil not only
protects the 7,880 native tree species, but protects the 34 critically endangered species of trees
from extinction and it also saves human lives. About 25% of modern prescriptions come from a
source of vegetation in the Amazon, so by cutting down the forest, people are losing important
medicine (Rainforests in Brazil).
Another environmental issue caused by companies exploiting Brazil is in the expanding
coffee industry. The coffee industry not only hurts the environment, but many workers are paid
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next to nothing for their products while it sells for a much higher price in America. Coffee,
when grown naturally is very sustainable. However, the demand for coffee is huge so farmers
need to take short cuts in order to make maximum profit. In order to produce the most coffee,
farmers have turned sun cultivation, which requires a huge clearing in the forest, so that the sun
can get at the coffee trees. Over 2.5 million acres of land has been cleared in Latin America to
make room for the new form of coffee growing (Sustainable Business Tool Kit). The coffee
fields are grown as monocultures with no canopy from the trees, ruining the diversity of flora
and fauna found around the coffee fields. In order to produce the most product, farmers have also
been forced to use a range of pesticides and fertilizers to make the crops grow quickly and this
also prevents indigenous insects from living and eating the crops, so that more of the crop is
suitable to sell. The use of pesticides by farmers not only kills the insects, but can get into the
water and harm other species found in the rainforest. Not only can the pesticides get in the water
and hurt other species, but once the coffee is harvested it is sent to the processing plants where
the organic pollutants from the plant enter the river ways and pollute the lakes. The coffee
industry exploits the environment and it also exploits many of the farmers.
Brazil is the worlds lead producer of coffee so many jobs are created through producing
coffee. However, many of the workers are paid next to nothing or their crops leading many
families into debt and poverty. Farmers can work on small or large crops and people who work
on small farms rely on their families to help harvest the crops. Most small farmers must sell
directly to the middleman who can be considered a coyote as they often pay farmers half the
retail price, 30 cents to 50 cents a pound which barely covers the cost of production and families
who run their own crops usually make an annual income of about 500 to 1000 dollars. People,
who own large coffee fields usually produce, sell and export their own coffee and make money

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based of the New York Stock Exchange rate. Large coffee plantations make much more money
but many of the workers are paid sweatshop wages, only making 2 to 3 dollars a day and
working conditions are poor ( Coffee FAQ). In a way to combat the exploitation of the people
and their products, many companies and farmers have started Fair Trade Agreements. Fair Trade
is a movement to ensure workers make a fair amount for their product and ensures they work in
proper conditions. Fair Trade is working to help improve wages and conditions; however Fair
Trade focuses mainly on small farms, which means that it has not stopped full social inequality.
The Fair Trade coffee industry is still too small to involve both large plantations and small farms
(Coffee FAQ). Creating Fair Trade Agreements in Brazils coffee industry is one step that is
helping to ensure people are not being exploited by large corporations. Although, only small
farms are part of a Fair Trade Agreement, by bringing awareness about the new emerging
market, it will eventually lead to a larger Fair Trade coffee market, allowing for the majority of
coffee workers to make enough money to support their families and help improve working
conditions.
Brazils citizens are not only exploited in the coffee industry, but by many other
corporations like FIFA have come to Brazil and exploited it. The FIFA World Cup was held in
Brazil in 2014. FIFA, which is the Fdration Internationale du Football Association is claimed
to be a non for profit organization and therefore is tax exempt. FIFA manipulated and exploited
the Brazilian government who invested over 14 billion dollars into the World Cup and FIFA
ended up banking 4 billion dollars tax free. Since Brazil was a host country, it had to comply
with strict demands set out by FIFA; one that included FIFA and any of its other corporate
sponsors to be exempt from paying any sort of taxes to the government. Because of this demand,
Brazil was deprived of over 400 million dollars by FIFA and its other sponsors. Most of Brazils

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population lives on or below the poverty line, so Brazil was scammed from money to help pay its
people (Top Ten Corporate Criminals)
FIFA not only exploited the government, but FIFA also violated and broke many of the
Rights on the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights including the right to adequate
housing, the right to movement, the right to work and the right to protest. FIFA demanded an
economic zone which forced any citizen living in a two kilometer radius of the stadium out of
their house and shut down any local street vendors and small businesses located within the
radius. In this radius only FIFA and its corporate sponsors were allowed to sell and promote their
products. Many people outside the two kilometer radius were also forced out of their homes with
over 20,000 people forced to leave their homes in prep for the games. They were forced out of
communities they lived in for generations and had to find housing elsewhere. During
preparations for the World Cup, 9 workers died and FIFA took little responsibility and said that
there was an urgency to finish infrastructure and it would benefit the economy, however the
money never reached the poor. Due to the carelessness of FIFA many citizens wanted to protest
but the government set up heavy protected police man in areas around the venue and in low
income communities (Top Ten Corporate Criminals). Many people were forced out of their
homes, which is illegal by law, but FIFA was not charged leaving people to wonder, are
corporations above the law?
Overall, Brazil has experienced many different forms of exploitation from large
corporations. Many corporations have exploited Brazils natural resources in the Amazon
rainforest and coffee industry. As well, many citizens were exploited by companies in the coffee
industry and by large companies like FIFA.

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Case Study #3
China
China is the largest country in Asia. China has recently turned into a consumerist based
economy allowing for many Chinese people to buy the newest products and technology.
Although the majority of China is considered developed, a large portion the country is still
undeveloped. The undeveloped parts of China face many social struggles from companies using
forced and child labour and with all the factories and resources used in the country, all the people
of China face really poor environmental and health conditions.
China has one of the largest economies in the world. It is considered the factory of the
world as many products are made in China. Parts of China are still considered developing and
about 36 % of the population, which is over 482 million people, live on less than 2 dollars a day.
Overall, 85% of the population living in rural areas are forced to move to the city due to extreme
poverty. The problem with people moving to the city to get jobs is that most of the jobs are in
factories where working conditions are very poor (Sweatshops in China). Chinas industry
relies mainly on internal immigrants who move from the rural areas to the city to get jobs. Over
150 million internal immigrants move to cities and because of their status, they are not given any
state benefits or protection. In 1978, China had strict rules stopping the migration of rural
citizens into urban areas. They were part of the hukou system that gave people welfare and
pensions, housing, health and education depending on the place of birth. As people from rural
areas moved into urban areas, many of these workers were put in forced and overtime work with
no social security rights, no contracts and are faced with severe health risks due to the chemicals
and toxins used and were still outcast from the hukou even though equal rights laws were in
place by the Chinese government (Sweatshops in China). In the artificial flower, nail,
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Christmas ornament, coal, footwear and garment industries forced labour is used. In the brick,
cotton, electronics, fireworks and toys industries both forced and child labour are used (Bureau
of International Labor Affairs: United States Department of Labour). Most of the products are
shipped around the world and things like toys are made by children for other children, but
companies do not advertise that because while the kid with the toy will have fun, the child
working will not.
Many of the products produced in factories in China are made quickly and with very
toxic chemicals. Many of the workers in these factories are faced with dangerous equipment and
are at risk of getting infectious diseases. In 2009, over one million workers suffered some sort of
industrial disease and over 20,000 workers suffered some sort of occupational illness. Many
products are still being produced with chemicals and techniques that have been proven toxic for
health yet, many Chinese factories continue to use them. One of the more toxic techniques used
is in the textile industry. Many textiles like denim use a technique called sandblasting, which is
used to given denim a more worn out look. Sandblasting is dangerous to workers health because
it releases silica into the air that can cause respiratory problems and can lead to silicosis which if
left untreated can cause death. Chinese factories still continue to use sandblasting even though it
was banned by the EC in 1966. Many of the corporations who still use these practices are able to
avoid issues by exploiting legal loophole (Sweatshops in China).
The garment industry is not the only section of work where the workers are abused and
harassed. Many electronic products are made in China, where companies like Apple and Heward
Packard hire in China because of cheap labour. At some of the factories it has been noted that
workers are paid about 1.2 British pounds an hour working making apple products. In total the
starting wage for factory workers is 180 British pounds, which isnt even enough to buy one of
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the iPads they make and many of the workers are exempt from pay the government taxes because
they make so little money. As well, over 18 workers have been linked to attempted suicide at the
Foxconn factory where Apple products are made (Cooper). Many people have died or been
injured in the technology industry. In 2010, over 137 workers were injured at an Apple owned
supplier plant because of the poisonous chemical, n-hexane. The chemical is used to clean
iPhone screens and it dried faster than expecting causing injury. Another case of injury at an
Apple product supply factory was in 2011, when a dust explosion occurred at a Foxconn factory
killing 4 people and leaving 18 injured. Lastly in 2012, a gas explosion at a Shanghai factory
where iPad 2 backings were made occurred injuring 61 people (Cooper). Many of these injuries
have occurred because of the toxic chemicals and unsafe working conditions. Although there are
many problems in Apple product factories, Apple is one of the larger companies who try and fix
problems when they see them. Apple has also given over 60,000 free college educations to
workers and has informed over one million workers about their legal rights (Cooper).
Many Chinese workers work in factories where conditions are poor and dangerous, but
the entire Chinese public is faced with many health problems because of all the factories in
China. The Chinese public is faced with constant smog advisories and the air quality is
extremely poor. According to the Yale Environmental Performance Index, China placed 176 out
178 countries for the best air quality. China only scored 2.44 out of 100 for Average Air
Pollution- Average Exposure over PM 2.5. The next lowest was 27.72 out of 100 which was in
India (Issues Ranking| Air Quality). In 2014, the City of Xingtai had over 129 days where the
air quality was unhealthy or considered worse. In 2014 in Beijing, there were only thirteen days
that were considered good and over fourteen days were deemed hazardous to be outside and one

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day that was off the scale. The amount of factories producing carbon dioxide and amount of
people living and driving in China have made it very unhealthy to breathe (Vaughn).
Overall, there are many organizations working to fix the working conditions and rights of
workers. In the garment industry, groups like Work Empowerment (WE) and Student and
Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM) are working with migrant workers to
improve working conditions in the Guangdong province of China. WE works with migrant
workers and teaches them their rights and to fight for them. As well, WE teaches workers skills
on how to fight and stop the abuses caused by their employers. In 2009, these organizations
worked to bring the rights and knowledge to migrant workers, especially women workers. These
two companies with help of other organizations created 14 migrant worker organizations in
China and trained over 186 workers on labour laws and taught them how to campaign for
improved health and safety protection while working (Sweatshops in China).
Overall many Chinese have been impacted by corporate companies who go to China for
cheap labour. China has been impacted in many industries, as the working conditions are poor
and the people are forced to work against their rights. Not only do the workers suffer, but most
people living in China suffer from poor air quality which can then affect their health.

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International Organizations
There are many international organizations around the world that work to bring
awareness and justice those who need it. There is no one organization that works to specifically
to stop corporations from exploiting the environment and people, however, there are many
organizations that work on a certain part of this issue, whether it be the environmental issues or
the social issues that were caused by corporations exploiting the resources and people.
Greenpeace
Greenpeace is a non-governmental organization who works to preserve and protect the
worlds ecological systems. They work to stop climate change, to protect the worlds forest from
deforestation and work to stop the use of toxic and harmful chemicals used during processing
and manufacturing processes. Many of these issues have aroused because corporations have
exploited different regions and Greenpeace is working to help fix these issues and sustain the
world.
Greenpeace has a number of campaigns and a big one is to protect the worlds forests,
animals and people who depend on these forests to live. Over 80% of the worlds forests have
been cut down or destroyed and Greenpeace now believes they must now protect them as much
as possible. Many of the forests Greenpeace protects are found in North America, but
Greenpeace works to protect in other forests like the rainforests in Indonesia. The Indonesia
rainforests are home to the Sumatran tiger and orangutan. Both are endangered species and are at
risk of extinction if the forests are not preserved. The leading cause of deforestation is this
region is from companies who want pulp and paper and palm oil for their products. With all the
deforestation, it has left less than 400 Sumatran tigers left in the wild. Greenpeace has pressured
many of the large corporations getting resources in Indonesia to become more environmentally
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friendly and many companies like, Kraft, Nestle, Unilever, Corporate Express, Adidas, Staples,
Lego and Mattel have now implemented policies that ensure the company is working in an
environmentally friendly way (Indonesia Rainforests). Greenpeace has not only worked on
making companies more environmentally friendly while getting resources, but Greenpeace has
also persuaded companies like Apple and Facebook to use solar energy to power all their data
centers and offices (Greenpeace USA Announces New Leader). Greenpeace has worked to
ensure that companies are working in an environmentally friendly way so that the earth can be
sustained.
War OnWant
War on Want is an organization in the United Kingdom, which helps to fight poverty in
developing countries. They work to bring human rights to developing countries and help stop
poverty, inequality and injustice in these developing countries. War on Want works with people
in developing countries in rural areas, factories and sweatshop to help bring the people to their
justice and out of poverty. War on Want has number of campaigns including Tax Justice Now,
which is working on trying to tax large corporations who go offshore to avoid tax. Many other
campaigns include Love Fashion Hate Sweatshops, which works to stop the use of sweatshops in
developing countries. Trade Justice is another campaign, which works on stopping free trade
which causes many local businesses to go out of business due to large corporations taking over.
War on Want works by educating people about these issues of exploitation that have been hidden
by large corporations. War on Want works all around the world and in countries like Bangladesh
and China on their Love Fashion Hate Sweatshop campaign where they have already made some
large improvements to the working conditions of workers in the sweatshops. War on Want, along
with its other partners were able to improve working conditions in China by working with 14
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Chinese migrant organizations and 186 people to learn their labour laws and rights so they could
campaign for better safety and health protections (Sweatshops in China). War on Want will
continue to fight for inequality and injustice caused by large corporations who try and exploit the
system.
UNICEF
UNICEF stands for the United Nations Childrens Emergency Fund. UNICEF is a branch
of the United Nations and works in over 192 countries to help protect vulnerable children and
works to give them their basic human rights. UNICEF works on many campaigns which include
child protection, education, emergencies and child survivals. Over 215 million children work as
child labourers and over 115 million children work in hazardous conditions around the world.
UNICEF works with governments, and on the local levels to get children out of child labour,
which gives the children a chance to get an education, leading them out of poverty.
Centre for the New American Dream
Centre for the New American Dream was founded in 1997 and works to raise awareness
about the effects of consumerism. This organization focuses on the connections between quality
of life, consumption and the environment. Centre for the New American Dream works with
individuals, institutions, businesses and communities to preserve the worlds natural resources
and help people change their consuming ways. The organization also pushes for people to want
and promote a more socially and environmentally acceptable way for goods to be consumed and
produced. Their goal is to get people away from the social norms of consumerism that large
corporations have put on us and to move people to want a more ecofriendly living and more nonmaterialistic lifestyle (Mission).

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Adbusters
Adbusters is a not-for-profit magazine company based out of Vancouver, British Columbia.
Their goal is to bring awareness about the erosion of physical and cultural environments that is
caused by commercial force, through the use of magazines. Their company has over 120,000
magazines in circulation and they give insights and activist commentary about a wide range of
issues from genetically modified food to media concentration (Draft Global Issues Pilot Team
2011). Adbusters also hosts Buy Nothing Day, which occurs on November 28th and 29th and it
encourages consumers to not buy anything and stand up to the corporations who are bombarding
them with messages to buy products they do not need. They provide consumers many ways to
participate including credit card cut ups, zombie walks through malls, and whirl-marts where
people can create a conga line through the store but they do not buy anything. Activities like Buy
Nothing Day bring awareness to consumers which help them stand up to corporations and their
socially unacceptable ways (Buy Nothing Day).
Overall, there are many organizations in Canada and around the world that work to help
bring awareness to consumers about corporations irresponsibility. Many organizations are set up
to help stop the environmental and social exploitation large corporations cause when working in
developing countries.

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Connection to Canada
There are many corporate companies that are Canadian owned companies who exploit
other countries resource and its people, but there are many companies who exploit the resources,
environment and people in Canada too.
Alberta and British Columbia are two Canadian provinces who have experienced the
environmental impact of corporations who want to get at the oil rich area of the Alberta oil
sands. Alberta and British Columbia both face deforestation and people are put in high risk
health situations where environmental analysts have said that numbers put out to citizens
regarding the air pollutant PAH are lower than the actual results. PAH stands for polycyclic
aromatic hydrocarbon which is released into the air, water and soil during the mining process.
One study proved the actual results of emissions in the air caused by the mining process are two
to three times higher than estimated amounts and some of the chemicals used and created can
even cause cancer if exposed for a long period of time (Cotter). The people and land of Alberta
and British Columbia are exploited by Canadian oil companies so that they can extract and get
oil so they can make profit.
The Alberta oil sands have produced about 168 billion barrels of crude oil and are the
worlds third largest producer of crude oil after Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. As of 2013, Over
514 Billion dollars have been invested and re-invested in to the oils sands, but over 2,484 billion
dollars have been made in revenue from pre-existing and new projects. The provincial and
federal government are said to make about 79.4 billion dollars in revenue between 2012 and
from the oil sands (Facts and Statistics). The Canadian government has seen a lot of money
and revenue, which has caused them to look at the revenue instead of the environmental and
social impacts that the oil companies have created.
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Although the Alberta oil sands produce a lot of oil and are a huge part of the Canadian
economy, the large corporations and governments are not doing enough to protect the people and
the environment. With the extraction of oil, there are many negative effects. Many lakes and
aquifers have been contaminated with chemicals which are produced during the extraction
process. People in Edson, Alberta have experienced contaminated water and the effects from it
because a chemical used by Bonavista Energy leaked into the water table. The chemical
sulfolane which is used to purify natural gas was found over three times the acceptable amount in
the water (Parrish). Contaminated water is not only unsafe to drink, but it can travel through the
aquifers and ground water and can end up in lakes and rivers which can then hurt other parts of
the ecosystem. People in Lubicon Cree have also experienced many effects caused by
corporations putting and running gas lines through their territory. Over 2,600 pipelines; which is
over 2,400 kilometers of pipelines run across their land which they depended on for fishing,
hunting and other basic food sources. In 2011, Lubicon Cree experienced a massive pipeline
break which caused over 28,000 barrels of crude oil to leak into their land which not only caused
polluted and contaminated water and land, but made relationships between the government and
Lubicon people even worse. The oil spill was one of the largest in Albertas history and the
pipeline issue has now brought on the attention of Amnesty International as many of the Lubicon
Crees human rights have been violated. Issues continue to grow between the Lubicon people
and government as over 70% of the Lubicon territory has been leased for natural resources (The
Lubicon Cree: Ongoing human rights violations)
Another huge environmental impact that many Canadian companies have caused is
deforestation. Although the popular belief is that most of the deforestation happens on the
Alberta oil sands, the largest deforestation occurs on the eastside of the Rocky Mountains.

46

Canada has the largest deforestation rate in the world with over 21.4% of the worlds forests cut
down in a thirteen year span. Deforestation occurs in many regions of Canada including British
Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec (The Huffington Post Canada). Logging not only affects
the animals and many types of vegetation, but it also affects the air quality as trees are an
important part of the carbon cycle. Although some of the tree loss is due to forest fires and other
natural disasters, over 95% of the deforestation in Alberta is caused by industrialization and
corporations cutting down the trees either to sell them or remove them to get to oil reserves. The
Canadian government is not doing anything to protect the forests or endangered animals as the
Canadian government recently put 264 hectares of land where endangered caribou live up for
sale to energy companies (The Canadian Press).
The Canadian government is so dependent on the oil and energy sectors that they are
putting endangering animals and vegetation at risk as well as many of the people living in this
area. At least 6 of the top 20 corporations are directly related to the oil and energy business, with
the largest corporation in Canada being Suncor Energy Inc. (FP500:2014). The Canadian
government will put the land and people at risk so they can make profit to keep the economy
going.
Another large corporation which is one of the top 20 corporations in Canada is Walmart
Canada Corp (FP500: 2014). Walmart is an American company who expanded into Canada
and has a very bad track record for treating employees poorly all so they can make huge profit.
Walmart has over 370 stores and currently provides over 90,000 jobs to Canadians across
Canada (Walmart Canada- Corporate Information). Although it is one of Canadas largest
employers it does so by going to small towns and taking out local competition due to lower
prices and a variety of products. Although Walmart provides many jobs they are not very good to
47

their employees. Over half the people who work for Walmart are not given any health or other
kind of benefits as it saves the company millions of dollars. As well, Walmart is known for
abusing workers, hiring child workers, forcing workers forced overtime and do not allow unions
or bust any unions created (Walmart| Global Exchange). Walmart not only treats workers who
sell their products poorly, but also buy and sell products from companies like PepsiCo. that
exploit other people and other countries resources. Walmart also is not a very good employer as
they treat the employees badly and give them no benefits.
Many Canadians are put in similar situations, like the workers at Walmart because many
other large companies do not give workers any benefits, which will hurt Canadians because if
they get sick, health care is very expensive. Many companies in Canada do not give benefits
because it saves them millions of dollars. Many Canadians are put in this situation as a lot of the
jobs available are in the retail sector. The large corporations executive members keep getting
richer while the middle and working class struggle to get and pay for health care and other
expenses.
Although Canada is a developed country, its people and land are still exploited by
companies who care more about making profit than protecting the land and its people.

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Solutions
An easy way to stop the corporate companies and take back some power they have is to
shop locally and support businesses who hire local people. By buying locally made products,
people are putting money back into their own countrys economy and giving jobs to people in
their own country. By buying products made in Canada, people can know that the rights and
benefits of workers are protected and that working conditions are good for workers and that they
can form unions to come up with fair wages and working conditions.
Many products cannot be produced in Canada because of different climates and resources
available. A solution to companies exploitation of other countries resources is to buy products
from companies who are part of the Fair Trade Agreement. By buying products that are part of a
Fair Trade Agreement, people will know that the farmers and workers who make the product will
get a fair value for their product and they will know that the companies who buy products are not
exploiting the workers and paying them a fair wage so they can support their family with proper
shelter and food. Fair Trade does help stop the exploitation of workers, but doesnt help with the
environmental impacts many companies create getting the resources from the ground. The one
issue with Fair Trade products which limits people from buying it is the cost. The cost of Fair
Trade products are more expensive then the same product by a large corporation who doesnt
support Fair Trade. The cost is more because the workers get paid more for their product,
meaning the cost rises. As well, the demand for Fair Trade products isnt as high as non-Fair
Trade so the cost will be higher as companies need to make enough profit to stay in business. By
making consumers more aware of the Fair Trade products and creating a demand, it will cause
people to want to buy the products more because, with higher demand comes lower prices so
consumers will support the Fair Trade more.
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Another way to help stop the exploitation of people and resources is to support
companies that are environmentally friendly and put back into the environment. The clothing
company Ten Tree is a company that invests back into the environment. When people purchase
their product they will plant ten trees around the world. Since the company opened they have
planted over 4.8 million trees in over seven countries around the world. Everything from planting
the tree to the way the product is manufactured is done in a way so it socially and
environmentally sustainable. (Ten Tree). Another company called Interface, is a flooring
company who also is working to remove its environmental impact by 2020. They want to be a
model company and show other industries that there can be balance between, the people,
process, environment and profit (Draft Global Pilot Team 2011). More companies need to start
thinking like this as this is the only way to sustain the planet and its people.
Many products are made by companies who are not socially and environmentally
sustainable, and people especially the consumers are the change. Consumers have the voice of
change and by standing up and protesting or signing a petition, they are pressuring corporations
to make positive changes. With the help of Greenpeace companies like Apple and Facebook
have started using renewable energy resources to power their data centers. (Greenpeace USA
Announces New Leader). Although this is a small step, it is still helping to sustain resources
because fewer trees need to be cut to get oil for electricity and other products. The main solution
is to force companies to become more socially and environmentally sustainable and the
consumers are the ones to step up and tell the companies to make the changes so the rest of the
world will not have to live in poverty, and future generations can enjoy things that people enjoy
today.

50

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