Blackwater Joins Other Corporate “bad-boys” Being Inducted Into Hall of Shame

by on July 16, 2008 · 1 comment

in Economy

Blackwater, Archer Daniels Midland, and Wal-Mart Inducted into Corporate Hall of Shame

BOSTON – On July 9, 2008, Corporate Accountability International announced the 2008 inductees into the annual Corporate Hall of Shame: military contractor Blackwater, agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) and big box retailer Wal-Mart. More than 30,000 votes were cast online and through the mail.

Inductees have been responsible for the murder of innocent civilians in Iraq, gross labor law violations, and accelerating climate change.

“The voting tells us that people are frustrated with a broad range of corporate abuse,” said Leslie Samuelrich, deputy director of Corporate Accountability International. “They are tired of being lied to about corporate greed under the veil of environmentalism and they are tired of seeing their hard-earned dollars subsidizing human rights abuses abroad.”

In the weeks before the polls closed:

  • Blackwater was raided by federal agents in a firearms probe;
  • Wal-Mart was fined $2 billion by the State of Minnesota for cutting worker break time and forcing employees to work off the clock;
  • ADM has been called to task by Rainforest Action Network and Greenpeace for helping make Indonesia the third largest emitter of CO2 behind the U.S. and China.

With 28 percent of the vote, Blackwater earned the dubious honor of the year’s most abusive corporation. More than 20 percent of the votes went to ADM and 15 percent to Wal-Mart for runner-up. Wal-Mart, the largest corporation in the world, is facing its second consecutive nomination.

Corporate Accountability International will now continue to monitor Blackwater, ADM, and Wal-Mart’s activities, exposing abusive practices throughout 2008. In previous years, corporations like Columbia HCA and Waste Management have earned their way out of the Hall by reforming their practices in response to this type of direct pressure.

Corporate Accountability International opened online voting in March for the 14th annual Corporate Hall of Shame. Other nominees included:

  • Countrywide, for predatory mortgage lending to elderly and non-English-speaking borrowers, and for gouging minority borrowers with discriminatory rates and fees.
  • Mattel, for producing tens of millions of lead-contaminated children’s toys, and aggressively lobbying against bans on other highly toxic chemicals
  • Nestlé, for numerous labor violations – including child exploitation – contributing to the obesity epidemic, and threatening community water supplies with its bottled water brands.
  • Toyota, for aggressively lobbying against increased fuel economy standards and state measures to reduce global warming gas emissions while hypocritically spending millions to advertise its environmental “leadership” and popular Prius hybrids.
  • Wendy’s, for its contribution to the growing childhood obesity and diabetes epidemics, and for refusing to meet nutritional labeling regulations.

More than 2000 people voted for write-in candidates, with corporations such as Monsanto, Exxon-Mobil, and KBR/Halliburton named most frequently.

To read more about the voting results and to read comments from voters, visit www.StopCorporateAbuse.org. Contact: Sara Joseph, 617-447-2527

Corporate Accountability International, formerly Infact, is a membership organization that protects people by waging and winning campaigns challenging irresponsible and dangerous corporate actions around the world. For 30 years, they have forced corporations-like Nestlé, General Electric and Philip Morris/Altria-to stop abusive actions. For more information visit: www.stopcorporateabuse.org.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

avatar Mike Brady July 17, 2008 at 8:27 am

This vote was a great idea, and one that I promoted. Its purpose is to raise awareness and to shame corporations. We also need more effective systems for holding corporations accountable.

Professionally I work in monitoring an industry sector around the world and taking action to hold it accountable to international standards.

This has led me to think a great deal about more effective ways of holding corporations accountable when national measures prove ineffective. To this end, I took part in a Task Force of the UN System Standing Committee on Nutrition to investigate the use of current human rights norms to argue that nations have a collective responsibility to hold corporations accountable. How this might be better achieved in practice is discussed in detail in the chapter I contributed to the book resulting from this project, called “Global Obligations for the Right to Food”.

Amongst the proposals is for a global regulatory system. I have developed this proposal further and submitted it for inclusion in the Simultaneous Policy, which is being developed as part of a global democratic movement bringing people together around the world to debate, develop and approve the policies they wish to see implemented to address global problems. The proposal goes under the title: “World Transnational Corporation Regulatory Authority”.

I would very much appreciate your views on these proposals and to discuss any common ground we may have in pursuing this or similar proposals.

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