On November 26, online voting for the public eye Awards opened; the competition that puts the spotlight on corporations with a dismal record in terms of social and environmental responsibility.
Commonly referred to as “awards of shame”, the initiative was launched by Greenpeace International and the Berne Declaration to highlight irresponsible business practices and provide a platform to publicly criticize cases of human and labor rights violations, environmental destruction or corruption.
Nominees can receive one of two awards – the Jury Award, decided by a panel of representatives; and the People’s Award, decided by a popular (public) vote. The nominations for this year’s award, submitted by different NGOs, are: Eskom, FIFA, Gap, Gazprom, Glencore Xstrata, HSBC, Marine Harvest and Syngenta/Bayer/BASF.
The nomination for Syngenta/Bayer/BASF – collectively known as “the bee-killers” – was submitted by Bee Life (the European Beekeeping Coordination), an association of organizations working to identify and solve problems related to the environmental threats affecting pollinators, especially honey bees. Slow Food works closely with Bee Life, forming part of their recently established “Alliance to Save the Bees and Agriculture”.
Syngenta, Bayer & BASF present a huge threat to bees. These giant multinational companies produce and sell highly toxic pesticides, widely recognized to be responsible for the global decline of bees, and other pollinators. However, with huge profits behind them, these companies continue to maintain significant control over the industrial food system and largely deny the negative impact of the industry on bees and ecosystems; despite scientific evidence demonstrating the opposite, and EU bans on certain pesticides now in place.
The Public Eye Awards are deliberately set to coincide with the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) to provide a critical counterpoint to the annual meeting in Davos: Many CEOs of nominated companies are present at the WEF. Previous winners of the People’s Award include Shell in 2013 and Nestle Oil in 2012.
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