Corporate Responsibility--Products for War and Occupation or Products for Peace

In America, we don't have
many companies that fund peace activities. Most American companies
seem to be more interested in making money off war.

In America, we don't have
many companies that fund peace activities. Most American companies
seem to be more interested in making money off war.

In contrast, I am on a three
week speaking tour in Japan sponsored partially by Leila, a peace, social
and environmentally-conscious women's cosmetic company. Wishing
to make a major contribution to women's peace initiatives, in 2000,
Leila established the Women's Peace Fund to be used to invite women
peace activists to the annual World Conference against Atomic &
Hydrogen Bombs held in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the yearly Japan Mothers'
Congress, where 10,000 women meet from all over Japan. Leila donates
one yen (one cent) for each cosmetic product sold to the fund (www.leila.co.jp).

In 2008, the fund also sponsored
international women activists to attend the Worldwide Conference on
Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution-Renunciation of War, which was
undermined by the Bush administration's pressure (and continued by
the Obama administration) for Japan's participation in the wars in
Iraq and Afghanistan in violation of Japan's constitution. I was honored
to be an international speaker at the 2008 conference on the importance
of Article 9 to Japan and to the world. https://www.shinfujin.gr.jp/c_4_english/3_newsleter/No.28.pdf

The New Japan Women's Association
(NJWA) or Shinfujin (https://www.shinfujin.gr.jp/c_4_english/4_resource/files/2008/womensforum08.html) administers the funding provided
by Leila and invites international guests to speak at these events.
Over the past ten years, women from the Philippines, South Korea, Canada,
China, Kazakhstan and the United States, as well as women representing
international organizations have been invited to speak on issues of
peace, anti-militarization of Asia and the Pacific and nuclear disarmament.
From the United States, members of the 9-11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows,
Military Families Speak Out, Gold Star Families Speak Out, United for
Peace and Justice, the Women's International League for Peace, CODEPINK:
Women for Peace, Veterans for Peace and Abolition 2000 have spoken in
Japan under the auspices of the Women's Peace Fund.

NJWA has five goals: peace
and democracy, women's rights, gender equality, better living conditions,
and children's welfare. With 200,000 members and a readership of 300,000
of its newspaper, NJWA is the largest individual-membership based women's
organization in Japan.

For 43 years, NJWA, since
the association's founding in 1962, has committed itself to peace.
In the late 1990s, of 60 million signatures collected in Japan in support
of the Appeal to Abolish Nuclear Weapons from Hiroshima and Nagasaki,
NJWA collected 10 million signatures in Japan. In 2000, the signatures
were submitted to the United Nations. NJWA was granted the special
consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council
in 2005, and has presented reports and statements or sent representatives
to numerous UN conferences.

AHAVA Funding Israeli
Mining of Resources in the Occupied Territories of Palestine

The social and corporate
responsibility shown by the Japanese cosmetic company Leila in establishing
and funding the Japanese Women's Peace Fund stands in sharp contrast
to another cosmetics company called AHAVA.

AHAVA Dead
Sea Laboratories (www.ahava.co.il) is a privately
held Israeli cosmetics company that manufactures products using minerals
and mud from the Dead Sea. Labeled as 'Made in Israel,' Ahava's
products--such as Grape & Avocado Body Wash, Dead Sea Mineral Mud,
and Mineral Foot Cream--are widely available in high-end department
stores and pharmacies throughout the United States and in Europe.

The Hebrew
word "Ahava" means love, but there is nothing loving about what
the company is doing in the Occupied Palestinian territory of the West
Bank. Ahava uses in its products mud from the Dead Sea, excavated in
an occupied area, and thus it exploits occupied natural resources for
profit, which is a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
More information about AHAVA can be found on the website "Who Profits"
(https://www.whoprofits.org/Involvements.php?id=grp_inv_exploit), a project of the
Israeli Coalition of Women for Peace.

In July 2005
a broad range of Palestinian Civil Society organizations issued a call
for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel as part of a non-violent
campaign to end the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian West Bank,
Gaza and East Jerusalem (https://www.bdsmovement.net/?q=node/52). Individual consumers
can show their opposition to Israel's occupation by participating in
a boycott of Israeli goods and services.

In response
to the call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israeli institutions
and corporations that give tacit or material support to the Israeli
government's continued violations of international human rights law,
CODEPINK: Women for Peace began a campaign called "Stolen Beauty"
(https://www.stolenbeauty.org//article.php?id=5015) that targets Ahava
Dead Sea Laboratories.

CODEPINK
launched the "Stolen Beauty" campaign in the summer of 2009, after
leading four delegations to Gaza, Israel and the Occupied Territories
(https://www.stolenbeauty.org//article.php?id=4817) where they saw
the terrible impact of occupation. The campaign has educated potential
customers in AHAVA stores and has forced Kristin Davis, "Sex and the
City" TV star and spokesperson for the humanitarian and relief organization
OXFAM, to stop her work for OXFAM until she ends her contract as a spokesperson
for AHAVA (https://www.nypost.com/seven/08062009/gossip/pagesix/sex_star__oxfam_part_ways_183164.htm).

For women
who use cosmetic products, these two corporations provide a sharp reminder
that we as citizens have a choice between supporting corporations that
make products for war and occupation, or products for peace.

As a community,
we must convince companies that peace can be more profitable than war!!