LUU should ban unethical companies during Freshers' Week

Passed: November 2018 (19th)

What do you want/Why do you want it?

During this year’s Freshers Week I walked onto campus to see an Amazon Prime stand outside Clothworkers North. Given their tax, labour and manufacturing policies, I was shocked to see such a company on a campus that I have grown to love over the past eight years. After discussion with other students and colleagues, I decided that the problem was not with Amazon specifically yet with the lack of regulation by the LUU of these types of companies.

Tobacco manufacturers, gambling organisations, arms companies and sex industries are already banned from appearing on campus during Freshers Week by the LUU under the Working with External Organisations Policy. I am proposing to expand this policy to include companies that regularly flout ethical standards. In doing so, I am drawing attention not to the products or services they sell yet to how these products or services are produced.

The most robust and defensible index that judges the ‘ethical’ nature of business is the Ethical Consumer. Since 1989, they have been compiling information on the practices of companies in relation to human rights, tax policies, environmental impact and so on. Each year they produce a list of the five least ethical companies, with an ‘ethics’ score marked out of 20. I propose that any company named on this list should not be allowed onto campus during Freshers Week - currently that would include Amazon (0/20), ASDA Walmart (0/20), Nestle (2/20), Tesco (1/20) and Coca Cola (2/20).

Whilst this system is more complicated than blanket bans on specific industries, it incentivises companies to improve rather than rejecting them outright. If a company can lift itself out of the bottom five, it can come onto campus. Until then, the LUU is saying loud and clear: we are prepared to take a stand against unethical companies and push for their reform.

Expires: November 2021 (19th)

Submitted By: Brendan Lawson

Officer: Union Affairs

Area of Work: Campaigns

Updates

July 2020: Planning for Freshers 2020 underway - likely to have more of a focus on digital engagement and outreach but this policy remains in place.

October 2019: Freshers' Fair 2019 used this policy, and we will assess again in 2020 and update the list of companies if we need to.

June 2019: Success, the External Organisations Policy has been updated!

June 2019: Working on updating LUU's External Organisation Policy to reflect this policy.

April 2019: Political Engagement Team meeting with Commercial/Marketing Teams to discuss, part of wider work on LUU's External Organisations Policy.

November 2018: List of bottom ranked companies available here, and updated yearly.