For Immediate Release
The Public Eye Awards 2014: Gap and Gazprom Receive “Awards of Shame”
WASHINGTON - Today, the Berne Declaration (EvB) and Greenpeace Switzerland awarded the dreaded Public Eye Awards during the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos. The Jury Award was awarded to the American textile giant Gap who steadfastly refuses to contribute to effective reforms in the textile industry. Over 280’000 people submitted an online vote this year for the People´s Award and with a clear majority, this award goes to the Gazprom oil company; another clear example of irresponsible business conduct at the cost of people and the environment.
"We must ensure that our economic system is compatible with our values and not that the market dictates how it functions. The Public Eye Awards make us aware of our lost values”, argues Tomáš Sedláek, the key note speaker at this year´s Public Eye Awards and star Economist from the Czech Republic. While the major economic leaders discuss FUTURE challenges at the WEF, the international campaign The Public Eye Awards makes people aware of the CURRENT and most serious cases of human rights violations and disregard for environmental protection and sustainability. Although the WEF also addresses certain problems such as health and environmental issues this year, a few memorable empty words to the press are not really enough. The Public Eye Awards demand a critical discussion about our present economic model and concrete and legally binding measures for governments and corporations.
At the press conference in Davos, Tomáš Sedláek, lateral thinker and former adviser to Václav Havel, discussed a new economic way of thinking which clearly showed how the classical economic models have completely let us down. “The non-mathematical, representative processes are not those which will finally determine the weal and woe of national economies but rather value systems which are beyond mathematical rationality”, said Tomáš Sedláek. Brid Brennan from the Transnational Institute of Policy Studies (TNI) subsequently followed on with the institute’s “State of Power“ report which illustrates the power of multinational companies and how they continue to profit from the economic crisis.
The Public Eye Jury Award goes to Gap, nominated by the International Labor Rights Forum, SumOfUs und United Students against Sweatshops
Despite the most serious industrial disaster that the country has ever seen, the collapse of the Rana Plaza Factory which left over 1,100 dead and countless people injured, the American textile giant Gap shamelessly refuses, even to this day, to sign the legally binding agreement “Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh“. Instead, the company actively undermines the efforts for effective reform in the textile industry with their own corporate-controlled sham agreement. “Gap still refuses to make a contractual commitment to work with their suppliers and local and international trade unions to ensure that repairs are made and workers have the right to refuse dangerous work,” said Bangladeshi labor activist Kalpona Akter. She is the Executive Director of the Bangladesh Centre for Workers Solidarity and is herself a former child garment worker. Today, she is an internationally-recognized labor rights activist. At the press conference, she gave some insight into the inhumane working conditions in Bangladesh’s garment industry.
The Public Eye People’s Award – Gazprom, nominated by Greenpeace Russia
In connection with the arrest of the Arctic 30, Gazprom has become a household name and the largest gas company in the world has turned into a synonym for plundering the last, intact ecological system in the Arctic region. The hazardous and risky oil drilling methods which Gazprom utilizes in the Artic have been widely reported in international press and media and are public knowledge - for a good reason. Due to the extreme conditions like temperatures down to minus 50 degrees centigrade, ice packs and permafrost, violent storms and long dark periods, drilling for oil in the Arctic is a very risky operation. Gazprom approaches this challenge with an inadequate emergency plan and also insists on utilizing out of date technology. The Prirazlomnaya platform which is being utilized for this Arctic “adventure” is constructed partially from components from platforms which were decommissioned in the North Sea and which were rusting for years in a shipyard in Murmansk. 53 employees died in December 2011 as Gazprom’s Kolskaya oil platform capsized. In the same year, Gazprom caused 872 oil leaks onshore alone, more than any other oil company in the world. „Gazprom is the first company on Earth to pump oil from beneath icy Arctic waters and yet its safety record on land is appalling. People everywhere are condemning Gazprom today for its poor record on safety, the environment and transparency, making it the ideal winner of the 2014 award for irresponsible business practices. Public pressure will only increase further, until Gazprom’s inept and reckless plans to drill in the Arctic are forever abandoned. “, said Kumi Naidoo, Executive Director of Greenpeace International.
Follow the conference live on Twitter: @LaDeclaration and @PEAwards
More information here or at:
Andreas Missbach, Erklärung von Bern, 044 277 70 07, andreas.missbach[at]evb.ch
Géraldine Viret, Déclaration de Berne, 021 620 03 05, viret[at]ladb.ch