European Bioplastics Meeting
Members of European Bioplastics have agreed during an official European Bioplastics meeting called “Regulatory Affairs Working Group” of 18 February 2020 to boycott my person (Axel Barrett) and Bioplastics News.
Although, they don’t use the word “boycott”, it’s de facto a boycott.
The reason of this boycott is that I have given the opportunity to the OXO biodegradable industry to express themselves on BioplasticsNews.com .
The minutes of the European Bioplastics Regulatory Affairs Working Group meeting 18/02/2020 stipulate the following:
- Media outlet http://www.bioplasticsnews.com: we briefly discussed the recent negative exchanges between editor Axel Barrett and European Bioplastics. The outlet gave advertising and editorial space to the oxo-lobby and published several aggressive and factually distorted texts on biodegradable / compostable plastics; the quality of the outlet has always questioned but recently grave opportunistic tendencies have further devalued its role as reliable source on our industry. EUBP recommends not engaging with bioplasticsnews on any level, as it is not a reliable partner or a sound source of information.
This discussion took place with the following companies:
- Avantium (2 employees)
- BASF (2 employees)
- Bio-FED ( 1 employee)
- European Bioplastics (4 employees)
- Kaneka (1 employee)
- NatureWorks (2 employees)
- Neste (2 employees, 1 consultant)
- Novamont ( 1 employee)
- Sphere (1 employee, 1 consultant)
- Tetra Pak (1 employee)
- Total Corbion (1 employee)
- Weber Shandwick (2 employees)
- Din certco (1 employee)
- Dupont (1 employee)
I cannot recall a negative exchange from my part but I do remember having been put under pressure by some people to “censure” the OXO biodegradable industry.
This kind of “censure” and “boycotting” is against my personal beliefs in freedom of speech, right of opinion and fair trial.
Let me rephrase this:
- Every man, woman and organisation should have the right to express him-or herself;
- Every man, woman and organisation should have the right to have his / her own opinion;
- Every man, woman and organisation should have the same rights and be treated equally as every other man, woman and organisation.
This would be an empty shell if I censured or disallowed some industry segments to publish content on Bioplastics News.
In addition, I have always proposed to European Bioplastics to publish content on BioplasticsNews.com.
Forces of Evil
How is it possible that in Europe anno 2021 organisations are still allowed to conspire against democratic rights?
How is it possible that in Europe anno 2021 organisations are still allowed to conspire against journalists and bloggers?
I thought we settled this 75 years ago in Europe by defeating the Nazis?
Have some European Bioplastics members slipped onto the path of Evil?
The bioplastics industry should be a positive force, a force of good, a good shepherd in this tormented world and not a force of “evil” that tries to destroy other people’s lives.
We should not be “against” something or “someone. We should be “for” something our someone.
Calling a boycott on a simple journalist is just immoral.
These are multi-billion dollar companies and calling a boycott on a simple journalist / blogger is a mean act of cowardice.
Whether we work in bioplastics, fossil plastics, compostable plastics, plastic recycling, OXO biodegradable plastics or the media… we all deserve to be treated equally and with dignity.
Calling a boycott should be done to do something good, to change the world for a “better”; not to destroy someone else.
Ironically, some of these companies who called the boycott belong to the biggest polluters and greenwashers of the planet.
BASF is the world’s biggest polluting chemical company. The company was condemned for war crimes against humanity during the Nuremberg Trials. The company was involved in a regime that killed millions of people. The company who asked me to disseminate “science” anonymously and who threatened me for criticising PBAT. That same company calls a boycott against me? Seriously?
Dupont is currently in the middle of the biggest health and pollution scandal in the history of mankind because they’ve been spreading PFAS all over the United States. People have and are actually dying because of this. Hollywood even made a movie called “Dark Waters”. And, these guys call a boycott on me? Seriously?
Avantium is a spin off from Shell that receives millions in EU grants from BBI JU and Horizon 2020. EU tax money will fund their projects; so technically speaking, their project will be funded with my money. And they call a boycott against me? They must be pretty courageous!
I’ve contacted Phillip Mengal from BBI JU and asked him if it was OK for a company that received EU funding from Horizon 2020 to boycott a journalist or to discriminate individuals? To this day, Phillip Mengal hasn’t replied. Very disappointing! Then again, Phillip Mengal is “very close” to these powerful companies.
The BBI JU had the courtesy to reply the following: BBI JU has no jurisdiction to monitor or intervene in the activity of an organisation. Therefore we don’t have any specific recommendations.
Apparently, it’s not completely correct. I may not be as rich and famous as these powerful organisations but I do have human rights.
BBI JU is an EU organisation. The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights lays down the fundamental rights that are binding upon EU institutions and bodies and guarantees EU citizens’ rights. The Charter should apply to BBI JU and technically speaking BBI JU should not provide EU funding to organisations that infringe on article 21 of this Charter.
Article 21 : Non-Discrimination. Any discrimination based on any ground such as sex, race, colour, ethnic or social origin, genetic features, language, religion or belief, political or any other opinion, membership of a national minority, property, birth, disability, age or sexual orientation shall be prohibited.
Neste – Neste claims to be a force of good and a good corporate citizen. How can you be a force of good if you encourage to boycott a journalist? I’ve contacted their CEO (Bioplastics News Person of the Year 2019) to ask his opinion on this. Will Peter Vanacker remain on the side of good corporate governance? Neste aims to do good thing for our children’s generation. Well, I’m not sure if boycotting a journalist is good for our children!
Natureworks (JV of Cargill) – I had the chance to have dinner with their previous Board chairman who was a real American gentlemen… and now I’m boycotted by a NatureWorks employee. The same employee who helped and encouraged me to promote Natureworks and PLA on a US TV channel?
Novamont – On the 20th of June 2019 at 11.30, a Novamont employee called me in panic and asked me to come immediately and present the results of the first EU flagship project “First to Run” at 14.00 in front of all the institutional stakeholders, BBI JU, European Parliament and European Commission because their presenter cancelled at the last minute. I said “yes, of course I will help Novamont”. That day, I avoided a public humiliation to Novamont and BBI JU. The same employee who called me that day voted a boycott against me? Seriously? What a disgrace!
I wrote to Ms Catia Bastioli and asked her what her position is on this kind of discriminatory practices. Catia Bastioli was named Person of the Year 2017.
Total Corbion – The Total CEO, Patrick Pouyanné, claims to put human rights in the centre of his corporate policies. This may be his intentions in Africa; but what about in Europe? Is it a common practice to boycott European journalists?
Tetra Pak – How did Tetra Pak ended up on this list? Probably, the most unwise corporate move in the history of bioplastics. I used to think Tetra Pak was a responsible corporate citizen. I think this person didn’t realise what he or she was doing.
Bio-Based Industry Consortium BIC – BIC was not represented in that meeting; however they have stopped answering my questions and replying to my emails since that period. Freedom of information, anybody heard of this before? I think, these trade bodies should remain neutral and professional when representing an EU industry.
People are afraid of the unknown; some people are afraid of what they can’t control and some people are afraid of the truth.
Why do these companies feel threatened by a journalist, blogger or columnist?
And excuse my French but how stupid is it to write this down in the “minutes”?
Boycotts should be done to do something good, not for a commercial or a discriminatory purpose.
For instance, Nike and H&M are currently boycotting Chinese cotton because there have been reports of widespread human-rights abuses of the Muslim ethnic minority Uighurs by the Chinese government in labor camps in Xinjiang which produces about 20% of the world’s cotton.
This is a valid reason to boycott. This is an act of courage: Nike and H&M take it on to something stronger than themselves … the Chinese Government.
Many companies are destroying the planet, the ecosystem and the environment, and the only thing European Bioplastics came up with, is to boycott a journalist?
It’s the weak that attack the weaker. Real gentlemen and real ladies wouldn’t do this.
You don’t boycott smaller or weaker than yourself; otherwise it’s cowardice.
I remain optimist and I hope the CEOs of these companies will take their responsibility and repair their mistakes and the damage done!
Every one makes mistakes and everyone deserves second and even third chances.
I dedicate this article to all the journalists and bloggers who fight for democracy against the forces of evil.
I dedicate this article to all the journalists and bloggers who have been killed, tortured, arrested or boycotted by powerful organisations, governments and individuals.
I dedicate this article to all the people who have given their lives so that we, today, can express ourselves without risking our lives.
Let me re-phrase this ….
I will not give in to fascisme or the forces of Evil.
I will not discriminate other people based on their beliefs.
I will not seek to destroy other people’s lives
I will not be part of any conspiracy to harm the environment or other people.
Download the Minutes
Freedom of the press is not just important to democracy, it is democracy — Walter Cronkite
The people shall not be deprived or abridged of their right to speak, or to publish their sentiments; and the freedom of the press, as one of the great bulwarks of liberty, shall be inviolable. — James Madison
Freedom of the press is a precious privilege that no country can forego. —- Mahatma Gandhi