Ice cold in praxis

29 April 2005
Yesterday saw the launch of Ben and Jerry's climate college, intended to train young ambassadors for climate change.

It's the initiative of two ice cream magnates who sold their company for an eye-poppingly large sum to Unilever some years ago.

So is it greenwash or a sound practical way forward? Delicious fresh [flavour of your choice] or nasty slushy mess made from the dubious parts of dead animals?

For some activists, the involvement of the mega-corporation Unilever will give the whole thing a slightly weird smell.

Next week, openDemocracy publishes four leading UK activists in a roundtable on why they think climate change campaigning to date has largely failed, and what to do about it.

Follow the discussion, and let others know your view in the forum.

When it comes to facts on the ground, can corporations make a more meaningful difference? Does Unilever, with its relatively progressive origins, declared commitment to improved management of marine resources and programme to reduce carbon emissions by 10% from 2002 levels by 2007, count for more than, say, Friends of the Earth? Do Toyota's hybrid cars - developed on hardnosed commerical grounds - count for more than a hundred Green Party manifestos?

Caspar Henderson

Stop the secrecy: Publish the NHS COVID data deals

To: Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

We’re calling on you to immediately release details of the secret NHS data deals struck with private companies, to deliver the NHS COVID-19 datastore.

We, the public, deserve to know exactly how our personal information has been traded in this ‘unprecedented’ deal with US tech giants like Google, and firms linked to Donald Trump (Palantir) and Vote Leave (Faculty AI).

The COVID-19 datastore will hold private, personal information about every single one of us who relies on the NHS. We don’t want our personal data falling into the wrong hands.

And we don’t want private companies – many with poor reputations for protecting privacy – using it for their own commercial purposes, or to undermine the NHS.

The datastore could be an important tool in tackling the pandemic. But for it to be a success, the public has to be able to trust it.

Today, we urgently call on you to publish all the data-sharing agreements, data-impact assessments, and details of how the private companies stand to profit from their involvement.

The NHS is a precious public institution. Any involvement from private companies should be open to public scrutiny and debate. We need more transparency during this pandemic – not less.

By adding my name to this campaign, I authorise openDemocracy and Foxglove to keep me updated about their important work.

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