Pinocchio Prizes for dodgy companies

13 November 2012

Pinocchio Prizes, dubious honours for unscrupulous corporations, were awarded today in Paris by Les Amis de la Terre (Friends of the Earth France) in conjunction with The Research and Information Centre for Development (CRID) and Peuples Solidaires. Over 17,000 people voted for nominees in three categories. "One for all, all for me!" is for the company with the most aggressive policy in terms of appropriation and exploitation of natural resources; "Greener than green" for the company which has conducted the most abusive and misleading 'greenwashing' communications campaign, hiding its actual activities; and "Dirty hands, pockets full" is an award for the company with the most opaque lobbying policy.

The “Greener than Green” award went to Lesieur for their publicity campaign “Let’s Help Africa: a bottle of oil bought; a bottle of oil sent” showcasing the company’s promise to alleviate famine in Africa. However, Sofiprotéol, Lesieur’s parent company, is one of the largest bio-fuel producers and has been accused of a "crime against humanity" by Jean Ziegler, former spokesperson for the United Nations Right to Food committee. Between 2002 and 2008, almost 75% of food price rises were due to financial speculation on bio-fuels in the EU and the US.

Bolera Minera, won the “One for all, all for me” category for reckless exploration for lithium in Argentina in a region where 33 indigenous communities live. Deprived of their right to be consulted about development in their area, these communities took action. A complaint was filed with the Supreme Court about the local government which was supposed to ensure that the rights of these communities were observed. The United Nations Special Committee on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples also published a report in July 2012 denouncing the social impact of lithium exploitation in the region.

Areva won the Pinocchio prize “Dirty hands, full pockets”. Areva refused to accept responsibility for poor living conditions of those living close to uranium mines in Africa, and for the death of a former employee who died from lung cancer. This French nuclear group is also implicated in a massive and controversial financial arrangement aimed at cornering the market for nuclear power stations in South Africa

Since 2008, Les Amis de la Terre has used the Pinocchio Prizes as an opportunity to denounce the activities of 33 unethical French multinational companies, and their attempts to falsely present themselves as green and environmentally sustainable.