Econintersect: The title can actually be given to either of two companies: Shell Oil (NYSE:RDS-A) or Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS). The 2013 Public Eye People's Award went to Shell (16,446 votes) and the Public Eye Jury Award went to Goldman. Goldman had been runner-up in the voting (10,691 votes). The awards are given for poor environmental and/or social behavior. William K. Black was keynote speaker at the Public Eye award ceremonies in Davos, Switzerland.
[Video can be accessed at end of the article.]
For the past 13 years there has been a counter-culture event held at the same time as the Davos World Economic Forum (WEF), named Public Eye. The annual meeting of the WEF has just concluded (23-27 January 2013) and early in those 5 days members of the Public Eye also gathered in Davos and announced the winners of the 2013 Public Eye Award. Companies that are members of the WEF are eligible for consideration.
Here is part of what Public Eye says about Shell on their web site with the award announcement:
Shell boasts that it’s “Arctic Ready”, but an accident prone summer has shown that this will never be true. The Anglo-Dutch company is the first oil ‘super-major’ to move into the fragile Arctic to drill the last drops of oil. The great irony is that Arctic drilling is only made possible by the rapidly melting ice, itself a result of climate change. It’s a vicious circle: oil drilling in the Arctic offshore means new carbon emissions, which lead to melting ice, which open up the region to reckless companies like Shell. Added to this are the massive risk of oil spills and a lost opportunity to redirect investment into green energy. It’s now absolutely clear that Shell has no intention of making renewable energy a major part of its long-term strategy.
And for Goldman Sachs:
Goldman Sachs is the vampire of finance capital. Never one to waste a crisis – whether a subprime mortgage bubble, a bank collapse or a Euro-failure – Goldman Sachs makes good money from most of them. And the company does not shy away from deals that might ruin entire countries. Between 1998 and 2009 Goldman Sachs pocketed horrendous fees to hide half of Greece’s public debt by means of accounting tricks. These financial constructions eventually ruined Greece and plunged the EU into a financial crisis with no end in sight even now — another crisis from which Goldman Sachs has already profited handsomely and will continue to do so: so far Goldman’s profit is at least 600 million dollars and Greece owes the bank 400 million per year until 2037, for a total of more than 10 billion dollars at the expense of European taxpayers. Goldman Sachs is the epitome of a money machine with an opaque and matchless network of allies in top positions such as ECB-chief Mario Draghi. Governments come and go. Goldman Sachs stays.
Wikipedia has the following about Public Eye:
The Public Eye, held every year since 2000, is a counter-event to the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos. The Public Eye celebrated its ten-year anniversary on 28 January 2009.
The project involves non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from around the world and is coordinated by Swiss organizations Berne Declaration (BD) and Greenpeace Switzerland. The Public Eye is a platform for substantial criticism of "purely profit-oriented globalization. The focus of the Public Eye Awards since 2005 has been on Corporate Social Responsibility. In 2009, the Positive category was for the first time awarded for a courageous employee for his or her exemplary contributions.
Click on picture to view William K. Black keynote at YouTube.
- World Economic Forum (Web Site)
- Goldman Sachs, Shell 'Named and Shamed' in Public Eye 'Award' (Jacob Chamberlain, Common Dreams, 24 January 2013)
Hat tip to Roger Erickson.