Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Roche and RBC named “most unscrupulous” firms

The Basel-based pharmaceutical giant Roche and the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) are this year’s recipients of the Public Eye Award in Davos.

Presented on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting in the Swiss resort, the annual awards are intended to remind big global players that socially and environmentally destructive business practices have consequences – in this case for the image of the company.

In the words of the organisers, the Berne Declaration and Greenpeace Switzerland, “we present shame-on-you awards to the nastiest corporate players of the year”.

The RBC, described by the organisers as “the world’s filthiest ATM”, won this year’s Global Award for “facilitating the extraction of oil from tar sands in Alberta like no other financial institution”.

Roche picked up this year’s Swiss Award in addition to the People’s Award for its involvement in organ transplantation drugs in China. The Public Eye says some 10,000 organ transplants take place a year in China, with the vast majority of organs coming from executed prisoners.

Roche were not immediately available for comment.

For the first time a “Greenwash” prize was given to firms that use a “social-environmental fig leaf” to make it look greener than it is.

According to the Public Eye judges, companies such as NestlĂ©, Coca-Cola and Dow Chemical claim to work with the United Nations and aid organisations to combat the water crisis, but in fact further their policy of water privatisation without regard for existing environmental or social standards – only with a UN stamp. and agencies