The awards, organised by the Greenpeace and Swiss left-wing group – the Berne Declaration (BD), will be held during the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Annual Meeting 2012 in Davos, Switzerland from January 25-29.
Barclays Bank is been accused of speculating global food prices which led 44 million people worldwide into extreme poverty due to rising food prices in 2010.
“The British banking giant Barclays is the fastest-growing food speculator in the world. It drives up global food prices at the expense of the poorest. In just the second half of 2010, 44 million people worldwide were driven into extreme poverty due to rising food prices – and women in the Global South are often the hardest hit. Barclays is vigorously lobbying the government in London against impending state regulation of food speculation,” the PEA’s website said.
The World Development Movement which nominated Barclays estimates that the bank made up to £340 million a year from speculating in food ‘futures’ markets, making it the biggest UK player in the markets.
On Samsung, the PEA said the company “Uses banned toxins in its factories, without informing its workers. Samsung claimed that it had banned PVC and BFR in its products since 2004 under pressure from unions and environmental groups, without verifiably having actually done so. Although toxic gas leaked 46 times within half a year in a factory, the workers were not informed. In a random sampling at six factories, regular use of the cancer-causing solvent benzene was found, although Samsung denies its use. During the tests Samsung did not disclose 10 of 83 chemicals in use, claiming the information was a trade secret. Samsung also disputes its responsibility for numerous illnesses and deaths resulting from cancer that occur conspicuously often among young workers. Instead the company publicly defames the victims, and also attempts to repress trade unions by aggressive means, including threats against individuals. Tax flight is also common at Samsung.”
Other global firms shortlisted for the award are Swiss agribusiness company Syngenta AG, Japan’s energy company Tepco, US-mining corporation Freeport McMoran and Vale – the second-largest corporation in Brazil.
These shortlisted companies are open for public voting on the awards’ website.
As at the time of publishing this story, Barclays Bank was leading the votes with 2,435, followed by Syngenta AG with 2118 votes, Samsung 1,501 votes, Vale 1,377 votes, Tepco with 1,318 votes and Freeport McMoran has 633 votes.
The 2011 edition of the award was given to AngloGold Ashanti Limited, the world’s third-largest gold mining company. Firms such as the Dow Chemical Company, Royal Dutch/Shell Group, KPMG International, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc, Citigroup Inc., Royal Bank of Canada and others have all been receipients of the ‘shame’ award
By Ekow Quandzie
Watch a short documentary on each of the shortlisted companies courtesy Greenpeace and Berne Declaration.