Pressuring Firestone to Clean up its Act!

Firestone Company was awarded its first rubber plantation concession in 1926. Today, Firestone’s concession is the biggest rubber plantation in the world.

Firestone reaps millions from its export of raw rubber, but does not invest in value-added processing or in environmentally clean operations. Firestone’s operations have polluted the nearby Farmington River with its effluents to the point where the river is virtually dead.

In February, 2005, Green Advocates attorneys visited the communities living along the river who were complaining about the pollution. By boat, they investigated Firestone’s industrial operations and were stunned by what they saw. Green Advocates attorney Alfred Brownell said: “Local fisherman have lost all source of livelihood, herdsmen cannot raise their cattle because animals drinking the water from the river die mysteriously, groundwater on the mainland is contaminated, and the locals have abandoned all of the wells along the river bank.”

A week later, Green Advocates invited the press, law makers, government officials, and UN officials to an event along the river bank. Community members gave visiting dignitaries a tour of the community and the river. The event was a terrific success! The event was featured in the next day’s newspapers, radio, and television shows. Green Advocates members were in demand for interviews. Firestone quickly arranged its own press and declared 2005 to 2006 its “Environmentally Friendly Year!”