The Pinocchio Awards on Sustainable Development, organized every year by Friends of the Earth France, in collaboration with Peuple Solidaires and the Research and Information Centre for Development (CRID), aim to show and denounce the negative impacts of corporations that claim to contribute to ‘clean development’. This is the sixth edition of the prize awarded to the most liar corporations.
Since the international adoption of the concept “Corporate Social and Environmental Responsibility (SECR)”, especially since the Earth Summit held in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2002, voluntary commitments of corporations have been widespread at fora like the United Nations, or the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
These commitments are not legally binding, and therefore inefficient. Corporations get a good image from this before its shareholders, clients and constituencies, while they only commit to general principles that contribute very little to environmental and social sustainability. They cannot be legally accountable for their actions because their commitment is voluntary.
Globally, transnational corporations take advantage of legal or institutional loopholes in Southern countries to operate with no respect for social or environmental rights. For this reason, some lawmakers and many civil society groups, including Friends of the Earth France, are demanding an international legally binding framework that will force corporations to take responsibility for their actions. Stricter regulations both in the European Union and in France, is already underway.
Real World Radio’s correspondent in France, Camille Marigaux, talked about this with Friends of the Earth France head of the extractive industries campaign, Juliette Renaud.
Some corporations have began to be wary of the Pinocchio Awards because they know they damage their image. So they try to launch communications campaigns to counter the awards, others try to lobby Friends of the Earth France so that it changes what is says about them. For example, Veolia invited Juliette to India to show her "how they make poor people happy by giving them access to water", said the activist.
The Pinocchio Awards comprise the following categories:
* Greener than green: awarded to the company which has led the most abusive and misleading communication campaign in regard to its actual activities. Corporations like to talk about sustainable development to legitimate their activities, but truth is they are less green than they claim to be!
One for all and all for me!: awarded to the company which has the most aggressive policy in terms of appropriation, exploitation or destruction of natural resources. Our planet hosts 7 billion people. Some corporations appropriate an excessive share of the cake and devour the rest.
Dirty hands, full wallet: awarded to the company which has the most opaque policy at the financial level (tax evasion, corruption, etc), in terms of lobbying or in its supply chain. Some corporations show their talent to undermine and bend environmental and social laws, in order to get more profit to the detriment of the environment and human rights.
You can vote at the Pinocchio Awards website until November 19th: http://www.prix-pinocchio.org/en
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