US & Swiss companies win ‘world's worst’ award at Davos

Press release - 28 January, 2009
Today, on the first day of the World Economic Forum in Davos, US gold mining giant Newmont Mining and Swiss utility Bernische Kraftwerke (BKW) won the Bern Declaration and Greenpeace Switzerland’s fifth Public Eye Awards for blatantly disregarding the environment and their social responsibility.

Newmont Mining, the world’s largest gold producer, won two PublicEye Awards == the Global Award and People’s Award == for its gold miningproject in eastern Ghana. The American company is ignoring the environmentaland social damage its planned 1,915 hectare gold mine will create. If theproject goes ahead, 10,000 farmers will lose their land and livelihood and cyanide,used to extract the gold, will poison the soil, water and wildlife. (1)

Bernische Kraftwerke(BKW), the Bernese utility company, was awarded the Swiss Award for pushing forthe construction of a coal-fired power plant in Germany. Coal is the mostclimate-damaging of all fossil fuels and BKW’s plan to build more coal-firedpower stations will damage the global fight against climate change. Its plansblatantly contradict its self-promotion as a forward-looking company thatpromotes renewable energy and energy efficiency. (2)

In contrast to these offender awards, there was a Positive Award for the most courageous employee ofthe year. This year's Award is shared by two Colombian union leaders, JairoQuiroz Delgado and Freddy Lozano for their fight for workers' rights atColombia's El Cerrejon coal mine. (3)

Former German Minister HeinerGeissler and Swiss Parliament member Susanne Leutenegger spoke at the ceremony.

The Public Eye Awards are held to remind the world’s corporate leaders at theWorld Economic Forum of their social and environmental responsibility and providea rallying point for a public that views the Forum with critical eyes.

Other contacts: Kaspar Schuler, Greenpeace Switzerland, +41 (0)797 028 652Oliver Classen, Bern Declaration, +41 (0)763 344 225Beth Herzfeld, Greenpeace International, +44 (0)7717 802 891

Notes: (1) Find out more at http://www.evb.ch/cm_data/Newmont_Mining_Corporation_WACAM_engl.pdf(2) http://www.evb.ch/cm_data/BKW_GP_engl.pdf(3) http://www.evb.ch/cm_data/Freddy_Lozano_und_Jairo_Quiroz_Delgado_engl.pdfFor more information (People’s Award poll results and speeches) go to www.evb.ch/publiceye