Nearly 70,000 people have signed petitions to pressure UPS and FedEx to leave the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a conservative public policy lobbying group known for its opposition to environmental regulations. The two Care2 petitions warn UPS and FedEx that consumers will send their holiday mail through other carriers if the companies do not quit ALEC.
Last year, ALEC saw a mass exodus of companies under pressure from various stakeholder groups. Microsoft severed ties with ALEC’s Communications and Technology Task Force in August in response to ALEC’s anti-renewables stance after prompting from investors. Google followed suit shortly after, after urging from enviromental groups; during the announcement, chairman Eric Schmidt said he felt ALEC is “making the world a much worse place,” and added, “We should not be aligned with such people. They are just literally lying [about climate change].” By the end of September, Facebook and Yelp ditched the council. AOL and SAP soon followed. eBay confirmed its departure in December after several months of pressure from activists.
Many of these companies were quick to say they had limited involvement with ALEC — that their only involvement was a certain task force, for example. Former eBay CEO John Donahoe clarified by saying, “We are only with them [ALEC] on one issue: Internet,” and “we are not with them” on climate change.
“With eBay out, we’re looking to AT&T, Verizon, FedEx and UPS to follow suit and distance themselves from ALEC’s extreme climate denial agenda,” said Ryan Canney, Senior Campaigner with Climate Truth (formerly Forecast the Facts). “If they choose to stay with ALEC, we’ll be taking the issue to their customers, shareholders and employees.”
"ALEC does not speak on behalf of UPS, but serves as a convener to bring together parties focused on legislative issues," UPS spokesperson Glenn Zaccara said in a statement. "UPS belongs to ALEC, and other legislative organizations, because we believe in the power of sharing ideas and building relationships to work through policy issues. We stand behind our own strong track record of environmental stewardship."
The campaigns are being led by Nathan Empsall, a former staff member of the Sierra Club who also helped with the campaigns that convinced Google and Facebook to leave ALEC.
“If the only way to save a couple of bucks is to pick a company that hurts people, my values tell me I have to shop somewhere else. That means I can't support companies that fund ALEC's attacks on our climate or its support of violent Stand Your Ground legislation,” Empsall said.
“Can we really trust FedEx/UPS this holiday shipping season now that we know what they're funding?”
The campaign pages focus on the example of “ag-gag” legislation, or bills which result in the arrest of animal rights activists who attempt to document abusive industry practices such as “The Animal and Ecological Terrorism Act.” ALEC is a major supporter of the act, which prohibits “entering an animal or research facility to take pictures by photograph, video camera, or other means with the intent to commit criminal activities or defame the facility or its owner.”
The petitions note that the U.S. Post Office does not belong to ALEC, and that there "is no evidence" that DHL does, either.