The «Public Eye Awards 2007» go to Bridgestone, Novartis and Coop
24 January 2007
the dubious distinction of particularly nasty corporate behavior are the Japanese tire
manufacturer Bridgestone and the Basel-based pharmaceutical giant Novartis. The Swiss
retailer Coop, meanwhile, takes home the “Public Eye Positive Award”, given for the first time
to a corporation.
Non-governmental organizations (NGO) from around the world nominated over 40 foreign and domestic firms this year for one of three “Public Eye Awards”. Nine of the nominees landed on the short-list, three per category (see //www.publiceye.ch/en/p11676.html ). The “Public Eye” organizers then chose the three prize winners from this group. Two of the winners stand as examples of those WEF members and large enterprises whose social and/or ecological sins demonstrate the shady side
of pure profit-oriented globalization. In contrast, the “Public Eye Positive Award” honors a concrete pioneering corporate initiative.
The “Public Eye Global Award” goes to Bridgestone Corp, where conditions approaching slavery have prevailed on its rubber plantation in Liberia (West Africa) for 80 years. Child labor and ecodisasters
are the order of the day. Alfred Brownell, president of the NGO Green Advocates, whose U.S. partner organizations nominated the Japanese tire manufacturer, is delighted by “this important signal that the culture of impunity is finally at an end.”
Winner of the “Public Eye Swiss Award” is Novartis. The Basel-based pharmaceutical company is currently using patent lawsuits in an attempt to limit access to affordable generic drugs in India and
developing countries. It was nominated by the Indian Cancer Patients Aid Association (CPAA). Chairman Yogenda Sapru points out that “it’s aggressive patent policy leaves Novartis already today co-responsible for the misery of ten thousands of cancer patients in India”.
Coop receives the first “Public Eye Positive Award” for an exemplary corporate initiative. Bioterra, the Swiss organization for Garden, Consumption and Agriculture, nominated the company for its
pioneering organic label “Naturaplan”. Bioterra president Johannes Pfenninger states: “Coop set a milestone in the Swiss organic market with the introduction of the ‘Naturaplan’ label in 1993. Since then, the number of organic farms has grown to over 6,000 today.”
Another first is the “Public Eye Film Award”, offered in cooperation with agent -provocateur.ch. It awards a 3,000 Swiss franc endowm ent for the best video clip based on the theme “Globalization and/or Justice”. The winning clip from Sarah Kreuter and Urs Lehmann is entitled “Dispersion”, and it can be seen along with other entries at www.publiceye.ch/filmaward.
With the “Public Eye”, The Berne Declaration and Pro Natura create an on-site counter-discourse to the WEF. Both organizations are convinced that direct pressure is necessary to bring corporations to
treat people and nature with respect. Specifically, the two organizations call for legally-binding international regulations for corporate responsibility.