Middle class objections to slave labour conditions in West Indian Sugar began in the 1760s/1770s
Saltaire: Victorian morality/productivity concerns rose in the 19th Century
Cadburys Bourneville site attempted toimprove worker lives, and was reported on in UK media in 19th Century
Ida Tarbell, the original “muck raker”journalist, blew the lid on themonopolistic / oligopolistic strategies ofthe Rockefellers.This lead to the era of “Trust Busting”around the turn of the 20th Century, andchanged how Governments looked atmarkets and controls forever….
Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle”(1906) investigated labourconditions in ChicagoSlaughter houses.The book helped create agroundswell of publicindignation about workerexploitation.As a result of his campaigningjournalism and incidents suchfactory fires, some of the firstmodern health and safetylegislation – and enforcement– came about in early 20thCentury USA.
Rachel Carson’s 1962 book created amedia storm and societal debate aboutwhat new “miracle” chemicals may bedoing to the environment.Silent Spring is cited by academics andenvironmentalists as a turning point inhow citizens began to think about thedownsides of rapid industrialdevelopment and pesticide use (DDT).
Friedman PictureFriedman’s 1970 New York TimesMagazine essay on the “business ofbusiness” is still highly controversial,and still debated today…
Ralph Nader was a majorcampaigning force in the 1960sand 1970s.His investigation into the “costbenefit” analyses undertaken byUS automarkers when consideringthe recall of cars they knew mayexplode, was a seminal momentfor the car industry, for mediacoverage, law suits and regulators.
Barry Commoner, the firstenvironmentalist to be featuredon the cover of a best sellingmagazine?Earth Day 1970 was a majormedia moment.Concerns about chemicals, wars,resources, agriculturalproductivity and populationgrowth were front page news inthe early 1970s.
As suggested by academics and others in the early 1970s
Formed in 1971 over nuclear testing, Greenpeace has been front page news ever since
THE iconic photograph of the 1970s: Dow and DuPont were blamed
The Union Carbide Bhopal Explosion in 1984 killed thousands. Dow later bought Carbide
The Exxon Valdez disaster in1989. An ecological disaster andfront page news around theworld. It changed the way oilwas shipped.
The 1992 Rio Earth Summit. Packed withPresidents and Prime Ministers. A major mediaevent.
1990’s: Anita Roddick: Garnered press headlines for Body Shop’s “ethical” approach.
Nike: The accidental poster child ofglobalisation and it’s negatives.The company, along with Gap and afew others, became an iconic symbolof the 1990’s anti-globalisationmovement.Even though university professorsearned more in its factories than theydid in teaching, the company becamea symbol of exploitation and uncaringcapitalism.To this day, the media loves nothingbetter than a big brand sweatshop orchild labour story.Today Nike leads the apparel industryin sustainability, partly as a result.
Brent Spar Oil StoragePlaftform, 1995.Shell wanted to dump it atsea. Greenpeace objectedover precedent setting.Left, Shell water cannonsversus Greenpeaceinflatables.Shell stood no chance in thecourt of public opinion.A media storm ensured.Shell struggled to hireresearch chemists for someyears afterwards.
Also in 1995-96, Nigeria’sSani Abacha executesactivist Ken Saro-wiwa.Shell is blamed. Themedia jumps on board. ASeminal period for CSR.
Andrew Fastow, Enron CFO. Enron wentfrom being 7th largest Fortune 100company to bankruptcy in monthsduring 2001. Fortune magazine built upEnron, then tore it down when theyrealised they had been duped.
The early “noughties” saw Chinarise, and so did the sweatshop storiesIn the press, and reputational risks forcompanies.
The first run on aBritish bank in decadeswas fuelled by a mediastorm in 2007.
Corporations andindigenous peoples alwaysmade media headlines.
The Occupy Movementled to a long mediadebate about what kindof system we wanted.But did anythingchange?
Macondo 2010. TheDeepwater Horizondisaster, forensicallyexplored and covered bymedia, changed the oilindustry and publicattitudes.
Rupert and Rebecca: Golden media careers brought low as the media ended the "Conspiracy of Silence" in 2011
And the eventual result of phone hacking was...
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