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After the award ceremony held in Paris, France, Real World Radio’ correspondent Camille Marigaux interviewed the head of the extractive industries campaign of Friends of the Earth France, Juliette Renaud.
The sixth edition of the Pinocchio Awards was organized by Friends of the Earth France, in association with Peuples Solidaires - ActionAid France and the Research and Information Centre for Development (CRID). The final ceremony was held on November 19th.
The Pinocchio Awards aimed at illustrating and denouncing the negative impacts of some transnational corporations that are in total contradiction with the concept of sustainable development they seem to profess.
Juliette assessed the awards ceremony, when there were some parodies of the nominated corporations. Besides Real World Radio, the magazine BASTA and the Multinationals Watch contributed to report the awards.
The winning corporations Auchan, Areva and Veolia are an example of the manipulation of big transnational corporations under the guise of “social responsibility”, a concept that often conceals the commitments of these big economic groups in exchange of total impunity in the regions where they operate and where its economic activities of soil exploitation and damage to the environment affect the people who live in those territories. Nine companies were nominated for the Pinocchio Awards in three different categories.
Juliette welcomed the increase in the votes this year. Voting began on October 15th and it lasted five weeks, during which nearly 40,000 people participated to nominate the “least socially responsible” corporation. 17,000 votes were casted in 2012. This increase in participation is evidence of awareness raising and the growing mobilization of citizens in response to the actions of transnational corporations.
The Pinocchio Awards website (http://www.prix-pinocchio.org/) is now available in English and Spanish, something that increase the participation according to Juliette. The activist also thanked the media and social organizations that contribute to promote the awards aimed mainly at putting pressure on corporations.
She emphasized that Auchan received the award under the category “Dirty hands, full wallet”, for not recognizing their role in the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh, six months ago, where over 1,000 people died. The company did not compensate the victims.
Juliette also mentioned a draft bill submitted before the French Parliament about the “obligation of surveillance of transnational corporations”. The bill stresses the responsibility of transnational corporations in the actions of their subsidiaries abroad so that they are forced to prevent human rights violations in those territories or they would be taken to court.
“It is a big step, but it is also a long-term struggle. The bill still needs to be passed and judges need to set legal precedents in their rulings”, said Juliette.
She also said that Friends of the Earth France is working with organizations from other countries, such as Friends of the Earth Argentina, on Total case and its shale gas projects there. They are also working with Walhi-Friends of the Earth Indonesia on the Apple case and its mining operations in the island of Bangka.
“We are putting pressure on different levels to make things change. On the ground mobilization is very important internationally”, said Juliette.
Meanwhile the head of the mission dignifying jobs at the textil and agriculture sectors at Peuple Solidaires, Vanessa Gautier, also told Real World Radio about the role that mobilizing plays to pressure corporations. Peuple Solidaires had nominated Auchan for the Pinocchio Awards. According to Gautier, big corporations are very sensitive to the image they show, so they try to avoid discredit campaigns. The activist welcomed the increase in the French citizens’ participation at the Pinocchio Awards ceremony.
* Of course the corporations do not actually attend the ceremony to receive the awards, where they are being accused of misleading the public or of having a discourse of sustainable management even though they cause serious social and environmental damage.
Imagen: Friends of the Earth France
José Luis Abarca, hijo de un luchador ambiental asesinado en noviembre de 2009 por encabezar la resistencia a un proyecto minero en el municipio mexicano de Chicomuselo, estado de Chiapas, interpuso el 5 de febrero una denuncia administrativa ante el Comisionado para la Integridad de la Administración Pública de Canadá.
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