19 November 2014 - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Karen Hinton at +1.703.798.3109
After 15 years of the Public Eye, the Berne Declaration and Greenpeace Switzerland are taking stock and, in their farewell to Davos and the WEF, will present a final award to one company for its lifetime achievements in corporate irresponsibility. The six nominees in the online voting starting today on www.publiceye.ch are Chevron, Dow Chemical, Gazprom, Glencore, Goldman Sachs and Walmart. Infamous for their irresponsible business practices, they have all won a Public Eye Award before. Within sight of the World Economic Forum, the high-profile closing event of the Public Eye will take place on 23 January 2015 and will feature the handing over of the "Public Eye Lifetime Award" – if the winning corporation dares to attend.
The shortlist for the online voting to select the most socially and/or environmentally irresponsible corporation of the Public Eye Awards era features many familiar names. A jury of experts chose six former award winners from the Hall of Shame: a full 30 years after the Bhopal chemical disaster the US-based Dow Chemical Company still refuses to take responsibility for a tragedy that cost the lives of 25'000 people. The American oil company Chevron is responsible for the pollution of large areas of pristine rain forest in northern Ecuador – effectively one of the worst environmental catastrophes ever. Russian energy giant Gazprom is ignoring international best practice standards in its drilling operations in the offshore Arctic, thereby threatening indigenous communities, local wildlife, and the fragile ecosystem of the entire region. Goldman Sachs is nominated for its share of responsibility in the Eurozone crisis as well as for profiting from economic crises which the US financial institution itself contributed to, such as in Greece. Swiss commodity giant Glencore, is shortlisted for taking advantage of weak state regulation in places such as Colombia, Zambia, or the Congo, and for causing environmental pollution which is threatening the health of local communities. The global "Worst in Class" is completed by Walmart – the world’s largest retailer violates human and labor rights along its entire supply chain and undermines effective reform in the textile industry by promoting a corporate-controlled sham-safety program.
For fifteen years, the Public Eye cast a critical and innovative eye on the World Economic Forum. Ten times it presented the annual award of shame to a corporation with a particularly abysmal record in terms of human rights or the environment. With the 2015 "Lifetime Award" the era of the Public Eye is drawing to a close. The main reason for "leaving Davos" is the arrival of the broadly supported "Corporate Justice" campaign in the Swiss capital. The Swiss Coalition for Corporate Justice coalition (SCCJ) shares the goals of the Public Eye to ensure that corporations based in Switzerland are compelled to respect human rights and the environment worldwide. A popular initiative to that end is currently under review. Moreover, the closed-door events of the WEF are losing their relevance as a venue where political demands are directed at democratically legitimized decision-makers.
On January 23, 2015, the Berne Declaration and Greenpeace Switzerland will look back on 15 years of campaigning against unjust globalization in and around Davos. Following the announcement of the winner of the Public Eye “Lifetime Award”, the closing conference will feature a keynote speech by the legendary Yes Men, the “US superstars of the worldwide protest movement”. The activist perspective will be complemented by the political approach of Sven Giegold, a German Member of the European Parliament and co-founder of Attac. In the panel discussion, their experience will be contrasted by the views of Adrian Monck, managing director und head of public engagement of the WEF and Noreena Hertz (TBC), British economist and best-selling author.
Further information available here.