As a tradition, whenever the annual World Economic Forum is held, the Public Eye Awards (PEAs) also takes place simultaneously.
The PEAs name and shame companies which have acted irresponsibly, according to the organizers – Greenpeace Switzerland and the Berne Declaration (BD).
Organisers on January 24, 2013 named US bank Goldman Sachs and oil giant Shell as the worst companies for the 2013 edition of the awards.
Goldman Sachs received the jury award while the public award went to Shell, in accordance with the wishes of 41,800 online voters.
Greenpeace Switzerland and the BD presented the Public Eye Awards 2013 in Davos to the two corporations which serve as examples of WEF members and companies whose social and ecological misdeeds show the downside of purely profit-oriented globalization.
On why Goldman Sachs was given the jury award, Andreas Missbach, financial expert at Berne Declaration said “Goldman’s derivative deals, which fudged Greece’s way into the Eurozone, pawned the future of the Greek people. Moreover, the managers of Goldman Sachs are masters of the revolving door: they secure the bank tomorrow’s business via changes in political and public offices.”
Michael Baumgartner, Chairman of the Public Eye Awards jury, added “Not only is Goldman Sachs one of the main winners of the financial crisis, this bank is also a key player in the raw materials casino: it has tapped into these markets as a new source of income and destabilised raw material prices. When food prices break all records, like in 2008, millions of people are plunged into hunger and hardship.”
For Shell, they indicated that the oil giant is always involved in particularly controversial, risky and dirty oil production projects.
“Thus, this Dutch-British corporation, chosen by online users for the public naming and shaming award, is also out in front in the highly risky search for fossil fuels in the fragile Arctic. This has been made possible by climate change and the disappearance of the Arctic ice cap, to which Shell has contributed. Every Arctic offshore oil project means new CO2 emissions. The Arctic’s oil reserves are enough for just three years. For this, Shell is jeopardising one of the Earth’s last natural paradises and endangering the living space of four million people, as well as unique fauna,” organizers explained Shell’s award.
Kumi Naidoo, Director of Greenpeace International, said “Shell has invested $4.5 billion into a senseless, highly risky plan and only produces problems. The Public Eye Awards vote shows that the public keeps an eye on Shell and that its pigheadedness will continue to be sanctioned by public opinion.”
Alongside Goldman Sachs and Shell, five other companies were nominated – Alstom (France), Coal India, G4S (UK), Lonmin (South Africa) and Repower (CH).
By Ekow Quandzie