The Ecologist Film Unit (EFU) is a not-for-profit news organisation dedicated to investigative reporting on the environment, with a focus on food and farming, wildlife and consumer affairs. The EFU is run in partnership between Ecostorm and Resurgence&Ecologist magazine in the UK, and supported by Link TV in the US.
EFU works independently and alongside other media to produce hard hitting journalism on important yet often under-reported issues. The EFU produces original investigative content for broadcast, print and online output, working with external media outlets and partners to maximise impact and exposure.
Our stories – 2013
- Gold rush - how Greek jobs, forests and future are under threat
- Liquid ivory - how palm oil is killing rare elephants
- The dissident farmers - speaking out against the controversial badger cull
- Shades of the gray - America’s wolf wars
- Fracking hell? – Poland’s dash for gas
- Fracking hell? – Britain’s gas rush
- Tainted tin - our obsession with smartphones comes with a hidden price tag
- Grinding Nemo - the slavery behind our seafood
- Elephant smuggling exposed – the illegal trade from Burma to Thailand
- Fishy business – how illegal shellfish trade risks health of thousands
- Bitter pill – the prescription drugs most likely to harm or kill us
- Hard labour behind soft drinks – migrants suffer in Italy’s orange harvest
- The carbon con - the true cost of offsetting
- Food speculation – how betting on food commodities fuels Mexico’s tortilla crisis
- Tainted tomatoes – squalor and exploitation in the tomato fields
- Bitter harvest – how exploitation stalks workers on UK farms
- Deadly reaction – the popular antibiotics linked to poisonings and deaths
- Fracking hell - the environmental costs of the new US gas drilling boom
- Sour milk - undercover inside the US intensive dairy industry
- Dwindling forests, dwindling futures – Bangladeshi communities under threat
- The great jatropha swindle – ‘miracle’ biofuel crop sold as ‘green’
- Selling the sea – reporting Indonesia’s plans to privatise coastline for aquaculture
- The killing fields - human rights abuses in Paraguay’s soya fields
- Skin trade – the UK companies trading in Canadian seal pelts
- Sacred mountain - the UK companies bankrolling controversial Indian bauxite mine
- Sick as a pig - the menace of MRSA linked to industrial pig farming
- The greed of feed – the hidden cost of your cheap farmed salmon
- Giri Raja - reporting on the “wonder-chicken” hailed as a solution to feeding India’s poor
- Melting point - on the frontline of environmental activism
- Hell for leather – investigating the leather industry in Bangladesh
Our first investigation, Hell For Leather, probing the hidden ecological and human impact of leather tanning in Bangladesh, was featured by BBC World and a host of alternative news channels and went out to an audience of millions globally – prompting renewed interest in the long debate about the true cost of our love affair with cheap shoes and other goods made from leather.
Follow-ups included the controversial Melting Point, which investigated allegations of espionage, news manipulation, legal threats and violence against climate-change activism in the UK, and the hard-hitting Greed of Feed, which exposed – for the first time – the links between farmed salmon on sale in leading UK supermarkets and a host of shocking ecological and social problems connected to fishmeal production in Peru and Chile (fishmeal is a key ingredient in farmed salmon feed).
Other investigations have revealed the growing menace of MRSA connected to industrial pig rearing in Holland; the human rights abuses linked to soya cultivation in Paraguay; the planned privatisation of Indonesia’s coastline that would see the displacement of thousands of coastal communities to make way for industrial shrimp farms and other export-orientated industries; the unsavoury impacts of food speculation on some of Mexico’s poorest communities, and the brutal reality of US ‘mega dairy’ CAFOs – a farming model about to be exported across the Atlantic to the UK.
Other films include Fracking Hell, which took a unique look at the environmental and social costs of the so-called ‘fracking’ gas extraction technique spreading across the US. The documentary has been repeatedly cited by campaigners battling the arrival of the technology here in the UK, has been broadcast internationally and been watched by more than 400,000 people on Youtube alone.
In Blood Harvest, the EFU exposed Coca Cola’s link to cheap migrant labour in southern Italy’s orange harvest, highlighting squalid conditions and low pay and prompting a public outcry, leading to prime time coverage across Italy (and well beyond), street protests and crisis talks between the Italian government and soft drinks manufacturers. Producers & buyers pledged to examine ways to improve the conditions and pay for workers following our investigation.
The trade in wild-caught baby elephants from Myanmar to Thailand was the focus of one of our most recent films. U.K-based charity Elephant Family attended the 62nd meeting of the CITES Standing Committee in July 2012 and distributed a DVD of the film with their press release. As a result, the issue was raised by various delegations and now, for the first time, it will now be a requirement of governments to take immediate action to stop this trade and to report back on their efforts to do so.
Story suggestions and tip offs
The EFU is always on the look out for original story suggestions or tip off’s in relation to wrongdoing or bad practice.
Please contact us, in confidence, if you have any ideas you think we should be following up or information you think we should be investigating.