October 29, 2007

Bring The Olympic Dream to Darfur - Staples

Danielle (Modern Musings) and Purple Zoe (Ultraviolet Underground) encouraged their readers to communicate with the sponsors of the 2008 Beijing Olympics to encourage them to urge Chinese government to use their influence to end the genocide in Darfur. I received my first response today from Staples:

Thank you for your recent email to Staples expressing your concern about the Darfur issue and encouraging Staples to urge the Chinese government and the International Olympic Committee to use their leverage to help end the crisis in Sudan.

As you may know, Staples is not a sponsor of 2008 Beijing Olympics. Rather, we are the exclusive supplier of office furniture to the Olympics, including the Olympic Committee as well as official Olympic locations. This is the first time Staples has been involved in the Olympic Games.

As a company that does business around the world, Staples takes very seriously its obligations as a corporate citizen. However, corporate pressure is no substitute for the coordinated international diplomacy that is required to resolve the conflict in Sudan.

In recent months the Chinese government has begun to raise the Darfur issue with the government of Sudan and has finally supported the deployment of a UN peacekeeping force in the region. There have been some hopeful developments on the international diplomatic front as well. While the conflict and the humanitarian toll it has taken are far from over, these developments suggest that the best course for resolving the crisis in Darfur is a vigorous and concerted diplomatic effort.
The reply was not signed by a person. Nor was there any contact information provided for follow-up or clarification. Rather, it appears that Staples (a) denies that they are a sponsor of the 2008 Beijing Olympics and (b) tells us that China is doing better.

I wonder how the other corporations will respond? I wonder if they will each respond ... or if some will ignore the issue entirely? But, at the end of the day, I wonder if other villagers will join in effort to end the genocide in Darfur?


Danielle said...

Thanks for the shout!
Your letter from Staples and my letter from Staples are twins. I received an additional response from the three I broadcast from Adidas which contained an interesting footnote similar to what I get from Senator Ensign: a notice not to share the contents of the message.

It was rather funny because they were more on point than the other companies but I think it is merely to "promote" their "sustainable" practices.

We have to hit them where it hurts, the profit margin.

Thanks again for the shout!

Much love

Villager said...

Danielle - We have to hit 'em where it hurts and we have to educate and motivate our blog readers to take action as well. Slowly but surely we'll make the difference for the citizens of the Sudan...

Woozie said...

Don't you just love those generic corporate responses? It's like they have these things pre-written, sort of like adult Mad Libs. Why again do corporations have terrible PR?

Villager said...

Woozie - Like any game of chess ... this is our first move. We'll eventually move away from the PR departments to the corporate board members and executive officers...

Marilyn said...

I would bet a lot of them just ignore you... till they can't.

Are you putting together a boycott of all the Olympic sponsors? I'll go back and browse your previous posts... but it's late and It'll have to wait for another day.

Villager said...

Marilyn - I am following the lead of others to bring this issue to 2008 Olympic sponsors. You will see a link in this message to a website that is focused on working to get China to take more responsibility in the Darfur genocide issue.