Environmentalists gathered at the entrance of the Breeze Center in Taipei yesterday morning, criticizing the shopping mall over its handling of the sale of Anya Hindmarch's eco-friendly bags last Friday.
Ho Tsung-hsun (
"Given that hundreds of customers have already lined up in front of the store the night before the sale, the company should have marked a clear route for the line to move smoothly and peacefully," he said. "Their marketing strategy is definitely eco-unfriendly."
PHOTO: WANG MIN-WEI, TAIPEI TIMES
Ho also said that the company could have done better than simply tell the public that "It's Not a Plastic Bag" -- the slogan printed on the front of the Anya Hindmarch bags.
He said that consumers have no way of telling how the bag was made, or whether the manufacturing process was as eco-friendly as it claimed.
Carrying dozens of plain, eco-friendly shopping bags with them, Ho and representatives from other nongovernmental organizations demanded a chance to speak with the fashion company's agents in Taiwan, but they were stopped at the entrance by the mall's security guards.
Yesterday's protest was but a reflection of the growing dissatisfaction among environmentalists over the issue of protecting the environment.
For Sandra Peng (
"I was speechless when I saw people fighting for the eco-friendly shopping bags on TV," she told the Taipei Times. "I was thinking -- `Well, if only the same number of enthusiasts were committed to protecting the environment.'"
While Peng agreed that the public should be informed about the urgent need for environmental protection, she noted the fundamental conflict that exists between encouraging consumption and preserving the environment.
"I really doubt that anyone bought the bag for the sake of protecting the Earth," she said, adding that she was aware that some bought the bags in hopes of selling them later at a higher price.
The fact that anyone would spend NT$500 to show that he or she is an eco-friendly shopper is something Lim Hak-yan (
"Do you know how many eco-friendly shopping bags I have in my house? More than 20," he said, adding that they were all given free under various occasions.
Lim said his shopping bags were made from various materials -- from used plastic bottles to other biodegradable substance.
"To be honest, I think it [the sale] was all part of a marketing strategy to encourage buying," he said. "It had nothing to do with environmental protection."
Like Ho, Lim also questioned if the company had informed consumers how the bag was produced and whether a portion of the revenue generated from the bag's sales would be used to sponsor other environmental protection campaigns.
Eight buyers were injured while struggling to get one of the bags.
The bags are available in limited quantities worldwide. Less than 1,000 were appropriated for sales in Taiwan last Friday.
On the same day, chaos also marred sales of the bags in Hong Kong. News reports showed that although the stores had informed the waiting customers that all bags had been sold, many refused to leave and vowed to stay in line until they got one.
Controversies have dogged the bag since it was first released in Britain. A BBC News broadcast on March 14 showed "We Are What We Do," an activist group that coordinated with the company in the campaign to encourage the reuse of shopping bags, was upset to find the product selling for ?175 (US$351) on eBay. The bag originally retailed at ?5.
A statement at the official Web site of Anya Hindmarch stated that the company wanted to use its influence to "make it fashionable not to use plastic bags."
"This bag [I'm Not A Plastic Bag] is a stylish, practical reusable alternative that we hoped would raise awareness of wasted packaging and spark debate," it said.
The statement further claimed that the bag was made in China, adding that its supplier there paid its workers twice the minimum wage and complied fully with Chinese labor laws.
The statement added that carbon emitted during the production and freight is offset by the carbon credits it has purchased, but did not provide details on how much carbon was actually produced during the manufacturing process.
DIPLOMATIC MOVES: Beijing is reportedly pressing the state after reports of forming links with Taiwan, while the ministry is also planning to reopen its office in Guam soon A representative office is set to open in Somaliland at the end of this month, at the earliest, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday amid reports that Beijing is sending a diplomatic delegation to the east African country. The ministry on July 1 announced that Taiwan and Somaliland would establish representative offices, following a report by the Somaliland Chronicle Web site. It said at the time that the two nations did not plan to establish formal ties. Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi has instructed close confidants to explore the possibility of “mutual recognition between Taiwan and Somaliland,” the Somaliland Chronicle reported
‘IMMORAL, INSINCERE’: Huang Kun-huei said that Ma was ‘distorting history’ in claiming that Lee Teng-hui laid the foundation for the so-called ‘1992 consensus’ Former Presidential Office secretary-general Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) on Saturday rejected former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) claim that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) had been a proponent of Beijing’s “one China” principle. Lee, who served as president from 1988 to 2000, died in Taipei on Thursday last week. After visiting the Taipei Guest House on Saturday to pay his respects to Lee, Ma posted on Facebook that “28 years ago on this day” Lee hosted a session of the now-defunct National Unification Council, during which he passed a resolution on the “one China” principle. That resolution became the basis of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s
NEW ERA: Taiwan, which has controlled its virus outbreak, now faces the challenge of safely resuming economic exchanges with other nations, Chang Shan-chwen said People should not focus entirely on having zero new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Taiwan, but neglect overall control over the disease situation, Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) specialist advisory panel convener Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳) said yesterday. Chang made the remark at a forum in Taipei discussing the steps Taiwan should take in the post-pandemic era, organized by the Chinese-language magazine Global Views Monthly. Chang, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩), and Stanford University’s Center for Policy, Outcomes and Prevention director C. Jason Wang (王智弘) each made a presentation, followed by a panel discussion with Chang, Wang and Buddhist Tzu
A Belgian man who tested positive for COVID-19 in Taiwan last week is likely to have contracted the disease in Taipei in late June, National Taiwan University (NTU) College of Public Health vice dean Tony Chen (陳秀熙) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Saturday reported that the man, who is in his 20s, came to Taiwan for work on May 3 and tested positive on Wednesday last week as he was about to depart. The man in March reported loss of taste and smell, the center said, adding that he worked in Changhua County, but visited Taipei several times,