Public Eye reloaded: With Stiglitz, Jentsch and Hard Facts Against Corporate Arrogance
14 January 2010
At the Davos counter-gala for the 40th WEF, firms contemptuous of humans and the environment will once again receive one of the (in)famous anti-Oscars. German actress Julia Jentsch, known for her roles in “Die fetten Jahre sind vorbei,” “Sophie Scholl – The Final Days,” and “Tannöd” (now playing in cinemas), will conduct the awards ceremony jointly organized by the Berne Declaration and Greenpeace. In this third year of the global financial crisis, the organizers call more emphatically than ever for legally-binding rules for transnational enterprises. And they get prominent assistance: US star economist and adviser to the UN Joseph E. Stiglitz, promoting his new best-seller “Freefall,” will outline the special responsibility of global financial institutions. And the Berliner “Minister of Nuclear Phase-Out,” Jürgen Trittin, will analyze the shattered remains of the Copen-hagen summit. Carlos Leal, Greis, and Patrick Frey will provide satirical and musical interludes.
Out of the more than 40 nominations received from non-governmental organizations (NGOs), a panel of experts chose the three most scandalous firms in each category for this year’s shortlists. The Global Award includes nominees from three continents: The Indian steel giant Arcelor Mittal operates the largest – and at the same time the filthiest – steelworks in South Africa. The Royal Bank of Canada is the largest financier of environmentally as well as socially disastrous oil sands extraction in the Canadian province of Alberta. And GDF Suez is the driving force behind a huge hydroelectric plant on the Brazilian Madeira River that entails staggering environmental destruction and massive displacement of the indigenous population.
This year’s aspirants for the Swiss Award are Farner PR (for spying on the GSoA), Roche (for organ transplant studies in China, where over 90% of all transplanted organs come from prisoners), and the International Olympic Committee (based in Lausanne and responsible for the Winter Games in Vancouver, a catastrophe for the local indigenous peoples). The nastiest firm of these two categories, chosen by the Internet community, will be given the People’s Award. Online voting begins today and continues until January 26th.
A Greenwash Award will be presented for the first time this year. As the “Mother of all Window Dressers,” the WEF would naturally be a serious contender for this special award. Nonetheless the shortlist for the most dubious eco or social distinction includes the Round Table for Responsible Soy, co-initiated by WWF and Coop; the partially state-owned Health Promotion Switzerland foundation; and the highly-diluted CEO Water Mandate, a greenwashing project launched in 2007 within the fra-mework of the UN Global Compact by (then) Nestlé boss Peter Brabeck.Davos Program, Nomination Shortlists and Voting on www.publiceye.ch