PRESS RELEASE
To:       All media
Date:    12/15/00

From:   Union of Concerned Santas

Contacts:

-Mary Bull, Save the Redwoods-Boycott the Gap office 415-731-7924 cell 415-509-1188
-Mary Pjerrou, Redwood Coast Watersheds Alliance (707) 877-3405
-Mark Hilovsky, General Contractor, Green Builder cell 415-793-6187
-Further information : www.elksoft.com/gwa or www.gapsucks.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 

Union of Concerned Santas refuses to deliver gifts 
purchased at Gap, Banana Republic, or Old Navy

Santas and elves turn out in force to urge shoppers to boycott Gap
in a series of colorful demos in San Francisco, cite deforestation, sweatshops

--12 Noon, December 16, Union Square, San Francisco --
--1 PM - Gap flagship, Powell & Market--
--2 PM - Old Navy, 4th & Market--
--3 PM - Banana Republic, Grant and Sutter--

When the Fisher family of San Francisco purchased 235,000 acres of cutover redwood forestland in July 1998 and continued to log it, environmentalists launched an international consumer-pressure campaign targeting the family business, Gap, Inc (Gap, Banana Republic, and Old Navy). The announcement last month that the Fishers' logging venture now has a "green label" has not lessened their critics' insistence that the Fishers, who are worth a reported 12.5 billion dollars, turn their redwood holdings into a wildlife refuge, while taking a handsome tax deduction. Mark Hilovsky, a Bay Area general contractor and green builder explained why, "We have long suspected that the Forest Stewardship Council 'green-label' certification process cannot be trusted as a guarantee of sustainably logged wood. Their certification of the Fishers is the final blow to their credibility."

 "The green-label is just another P.R. gimmick-paid for by the Fishers" said Mary Pjerrou, President of the Redwood Coast Watersheds Alliance. "The P.R. doesn't work with us: Our group reads their timber harvest plans, the actual documents that permit logging. They can't hide these numbers-over 200 logging plans, 80% of them containing some form of clearcutting; twelve Fisher logging plans in one creek where the number of endangered Coho salmon has plummetted from ten to zero. It's hard fact that the Fishers are extinguishing endangered species."

 "We're escalating our campaign for the redwoods and workers' rights-all Gap clothes are made in sweatshops-this holiday season," said Mary Bull, Coordinator of the Save the Redwoods/Boycott the Gap Campaign, "There have already been more than 20 demonstrations at Gap stores around the country, including Winnipeg! And we are expecting to see at least 50 Gap protest actions before the end of the holidays-quite possibly more-we can't keep up with all the email! Our youngest Gaptivist is 10-year-old Liam of the Isle of Arran, Scotland, and we just got our first French activist-we'll be seeing a 'Boycott the Gap' banner hanging from the Eiffel Tower yet!" Bull quipped.

This could be bad news for the Fishers and Gap, Inc, with the ailing corporation's third-quarter profits already down 41%.

The Union of Concerned Santas joined the Campaign last December, when nine members were arrested for locking down in front of the Old Navy flagship store in San Francisco, preventing customers from entering. They issued the following statement to the Fisher family: "Extinguishing endangered species and exploiting desperately poor people just isn't in the Christmas spirit." (All charges were dropped due to public outcry at the prospect of Santa being jailed over Christmas.) This year the Santas and elves will be handing out alternative shopping guides while singing customized Christmas carols that educate shoppers about Fisher deforestation and Gap sweatshops.

Bull added, "It's great to have the Santas back with us this year-they have very good hearts, you know, and they're great judges of character-they know who's been naughty or nice."