Public Eye 2011: With Advertising Spoofs and OpenLeaks against Unscrupulous Corporations

Zurich, 10.01.2011 - At the end of January and within sight of the World Economic Forum (WEF), the Berne Declaration and Greenpeace Switzerland will once again present the Public Eye Awards for the worst corporate offenses against human rights and the environment. The nominees for this year’s defamation awards are six major corporations including Foxconn, Axpo, BP and Philip Morris. Today is the first day of public voting at for the winner of the People’s Award 2011, on a voting site decked out with biting advertising spoofs . At the awards presentation on January 28 in Davos, Richard Howitt, a member of the European Parliament, will review the latest political initiatives for more corporate responsibility. Ex-WikiLeaks-activist Daniel Domscheit Berg will present the new whistleblowing platform OpenLeaks.

Online voting for the worst corporate offender starts today and ends on January 27. This year’s shortlist includes the six most scandalous cases selected by a jury of experts from over 30 worthy nominations submitted by NGOs.

The Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Foxconn produces high-end equipment for brands like Apple, Dell, and Nokia. Because of the military-style control and discipline enforced at the company’s Chinese production facilities at least 18 employees attempted suicide on company premises in the past year. Axpo, a Swiss public utility, buys uranium from Russia’s Mayak reprocessing plant and kept this practice secret for many years. Mayak is one of the most radioactively contaminated places on earth with elevated cancer rates and miscarriages.

Further nominees include the South African mining corporation AngloGold Ashanti because its gold mining operations have been poisoning people and the environment in Ghana for years and „suspects“ are tortured by the company’s security personnel. In Europe, Neste Oil of Finland sells biofuels made from palm oil under the misleading label „Green Diesel“. Meanwhile in Southeast Asia, the growing demand for palm oil leads to more forced displacements of people and rainforest destruction. Candidate number 5, the US Tobacco giant Philip Morris with operational headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, filed a complaint against Uruguay’s new anti-smoking laws. Using a loophole provided by a Swiss agreement with Uruguay, Philip Morris is aiming for a settlement that puts the interests of the tobacco industry above the public health policies of developing countries. Completing this rogue’s gallery of corporate villainy is the is the British energy multinational BP which caused an oil spill that killed 11 people and will cause the long term death of large swaths of the ocean.

Instead of staging an awards ceremony as in previous years, the WEF-critics at Public Eye are calling an international media conference to highlight the irresponsible behavior of large corporations and „honor“ the recipients of the Global Award (jury prize) and the People’s Award (audience award). Richard Howitt, British EU-representative and CSR-special representative will review the latest political developments concerning corporate social responsibility on the global and European level. Daniel Domscheit-Berg, who left WikiLeaks in September 2010, will present OpenLeaks, the latest technologically and politically improved version of the original idea of a whistleblowing service with maximum efficiency and transparence.