Unilever in Kodaikanal

Unilever’s brands and available alternatives are listed and linked below if you’d like to boycott them, for their devastation to humans and environment in Kodaikanal for which Unilever has refused to take responsibility (see 2nd heading). tl;dr: see the petition, block quotes and the list of kind products, the DIY page where all is linked except food recipes and reports on the Kodaikanal issue.

Jhatkaa.org created a petition asking Paul Polman, Unilever’s CEO, to clean up Kodaikanal’s toxic contamination and to compensate affected workers.

Unilever’s thermometer plant in Kodaikanal exposed many workers to mercury poisoning, without giving them any protective equipment or information about the disastrous health effects of mercury. This toxic mercury, dumped around the factory and in forests, continues to contaminate soil and groundwater, affecting thousands. The workers cannot afford private healthcare, and have been fighting for 14 years, asking Unilever to clean up the toxic contamination, and to compensate them for their medical expenses. They need us to stand with them […].

There has been a mobilisation for justice and compensation since 2008. Was Greenpeace involved and has Greenpeace now been driven out of India because Modi didn’t want pro-environmental groups in the way of business growth, I heard about it probably on DW news a while back. In any case I will continue boycotting Unilever as I did for years for animal testing before knowing about Kodaikanal, let us assume they clean up the region and compensate ex-workers families as well as stop testing on animals, I will keep boycotting them for colourism. What an amazing coincidence that they exploit poor brown workers while selling the most popular skin lightening brand I’ve seen in the Indian diaspora.

Unilever brands include Dove, Rexona, Axe, SunSilk, Domestos, Flora, Miko/ Ola/ Selecta, Knorr, Lifebuoy, Lipton, Lux, Magnum, Omo, Signal, Amora, Biotex, Brut, Cajoline, Cif, Cupasoup, Fair&Lovely [which promotes colourism e.g in the country they exploit and here], Impulse, Comfort, Jik, Lakmé, klondike, Maizena, Marmite, Mentadent, Pears, Skip, Solero, StYves, Coleman’s, Dawn, Fruit d’or, Gabi, Glen tea, Joko tea, Lyons, Mon savon, Organics, Robertsons… I’ve left out all that did not look familiar in their 13 pages of logos!

If only there’d been a fairtrade soapnut industry for these workers instead, I don’t know any risks associated with it, soapnuts is a plant local to them and we could use all sorts of detergents made from it (it didn’t need fabric softening), it’s also neutral for the planet. It’s a fact that detergents such as the Unilever ones listed above are toxic to fauna in the environment and waterways. Only a company that will never care would make a thermometer factory near forests and try save costs by not giving equipment to poor workers they targeted for their lack of awareness.

Alternative brands to some of the above detergents and toothpaste and DIY. I bet it’s cheaper Bicarb or vinegar can replace your Cajoline if Dr. Bronner’s can replace Skip and dishwashing soap and personal care, it’s healthier for you, kids and pets (avoid the tea-tree type if you have dog friends*). I will see what I can list aside from dairy-like products I’m allergic to all these foods since long, and most of their alternatives, we have local black tea brands. I’m too disabled to shop or to know what you’d replace, say, Marmite with.

There’s an issue here with kind products, or rather with some places that sell them, I’m yet to find well-informed staff (probably the shop owners aren’t well-informed too) so as well as telling them stuff for free (these days on the phone) I’m blogging all the info I can. Drop me a comment or email if you have any questions on kind products.

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*Tea-tree when injested, can cause seizures to dogs. I do use the tea-tree one as antibacterial after visiting dog-friends – I’m allergic to them, unlike other fur-allergics I don’t use disinfectant. Lavender is also anti-bacterial and anti-fungal but I hate the smell.

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