Firestone's Rubber Plantation in Liberia

Worldview (Chicago Public Radio)

To listen to this audio report, please click here.

The US tire manufacturer Bridgestone-Firestone has the biggest rubber plantation in the world in Liberia.

It was started more than 80 years ago. In recent years, Firestone has faced claims of child labor, poor living conditions, and environmental mismanagement.

In the U.S., The International Labor Rights Forum has a pending lawsuit against Firestone for its labor practices. In Liberia, a dispute over the leadership of the union went all the way to the Liberian Supreme Court.

Alfred Brownell is a leader of the Stop Firestone campaign in Liberia.

Alfred is part of the environmental justice lawyers network, Green Advocates.

Alfred argues the relationship between Firestone and Liberia is not a friendly one.

Bridgestone-Firestone declined an invitation for an interview. But they shared printed response materials and a video showcasing their work in Liberia.

Emira Woods is a member of the Stop Firestone coalition. She’s the Co-Director of Foreign Policy in Focus at the Institute for Policy Studies.

Emira shares her reaction to Firestone’s claims.