Firms squirm at shame of exposure over human rights and environmental contempt
Sunday 22 January 2012
Some of the world's biggest companies are in the running for an award that none of them actually wants. This Friday, two will be singled out as the biggest offenders of the year for "contempt for the environment and human rights".
Six have made the shortlist – one voted for by the public, the other by the organisers of the Public Eye awards, Greenpeace and the Swiss economic justice group the Berne Declaration.
Barclays Capital is described as "arguably the fastest-growing food speculator worldwide" and "contributing to sharp rises and falls that cause hunger and poverty." And Samsung is cited for allegedly failing to protect factory workers from banned and highly toxic substances.
Another nominee is the Japanese energy company Tepco, which runs the Fukushima nuclear plant – it is accused of "wilful negligence" in compromising safety to reduce costs.
The Swiss agrochemical giant Syngenta is shortlisted for selling Paraquat, banned in Europe, in the developing world. And the US mining corporation Freeport McMoran makes the list for allegedly running the world's largest gold and copper mine, in West Papua, "without regard for nature or people".
Another contender is the Brazilian conglomerate Vale, involved in a major dam project that could have "devastating consequences" for the Amazon.
Perhaps, unsurprisingly, only half the nominees responded to requests for comment. Samsung said it takes its workers' wellbeing "very seriously".
And at Barclays Capital, a spokeswoman said: "We act as an intermediary for our clients globally. A considerable number of studies have demonstrated that financial flows have little or no impact on commodities prices. The factors influencing food prices are complex and multiple."
Human waste left by climbers on Mount Everest is causing pollution and could spread diseases
Woodpecker and weasel: This is what the photographer has to say about the incredible picture
Act now or rising seas will sink our country, Marshall Islanders tell the world
At long last, Australia is able to halt the relentless advance of the cane toad
Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Nigel Farage promises Ukip will not 'stigmatise' would-be migrants – and says he wants 'everyone to speak the same language'
Ex-head of MI6: 'We shouldn't kid ourselves that Russia is on a path to democracy'
Most people think legal tax avoidance is just as wrong as illegal tax evasion, poll suggests
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are an award-winning digit...
£45000 - £55000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform En...
£10000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...
£17000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...