Harvey’s massive Aussie forest clearance must stop
If a tree falls in a native Australian forest, should anybody care?
That’s the question effectively being asked by critics of GetUp’s ‘No Harvey No’ campaign. The campaign was launched in partnership with Markets for Change following a year long investigation into the journey of timber sourced from native Australian forests in Tasmania, Victoria, New South Wales and Western Australia.
The investigation found Australia native forests were being logged, with the resulting timber being shipped off to China where it was being made into furniture which was then sent back to Australia to be sold in places like Harvey Norman stores.
GetUp and Markets For Change believed this is something Australian consumers have a right to know about, so we made a TV commercial we planned to air during the NRL Grand Final. Sadly the spot was banned by the body which has to give approval for a TV commercial to run.
That didn’t stop the clip going viral—and 52,297 people signed a petition calling on Harvey Norman to implement publicly available procurement policies that rule out stocking products made using timber obtained from the destruction of Australian native forests and to clearly label the source and origin of their wood products.
The campaign has had the odd critic, mounting pretty odd arguments. Gerry Harvey said the ad was unfair because his products didn’t contain much wood from native Australian forests. We argue they shouldn’t contain any.
Industry Minister Kim Carr said we could be risking Australian jobs in manufacturing if people stopped shopping at Harvey Norman. This seems like a bizarre argument. Surely the Minister realises that shipping Australian wood to China where Chinese labourers build cheap furniture costs Australian jobs.
David Penberthy wrote on The Punch on Sunday that GetUp urged a boycott of Harvey Norman, but it’s important to note, that is not the case. We simply called on the retail giant to change it’s ways, and take a leadership role on this issue - a change we believe will ultimately be a financial winner for the retailer.
GetUp supports Australian workers and Australian jobs. We also support the protection of Australia’s native forests and we don’t think the two aspirations are mutually exclusive.
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