Davos, Switzerland, 18 January 2018 – Greenpeace Switzerland activists have unveiled a 6-metre statue of Justice on the outskirts of Davos ahead of the World Economic Forum.[1] The action comes as Greenpeace International sets out the ten fundamental principles needed to cut environmental and human rights abuses by corporations in the ‘Justice for People and Planet’ report, which documents the root causes of these abuses — and how to stop them.[2]

Justice for People and Planet calls on governments to impose effective and binding rules on corporate behaviour, to make them accountable toward people and the planet. It shows how, rather than imposing these rules, governments have willingly or unwillingly become enablers of corporate impunity. The report’s analysis of 20 specific cases shows how corporations have exploited corporate law, tax and investment treaties, regulatory capture and a series of barriers to justice to profit at the expense of human rights and the environment.

“In Davos the global elite will discuss ‘creating a shared future in a fractured world’, but the real corporate agenda remains one of expanding corporate power and profiting at the expense of citizens and the environment. If we are to protect our fragile planet, we need justice at the heart of corporate governance,” said Matthias Wüthrich, Corporate Accountability Campaigner, Greenpeace Switzerland.

The report documents, among others, how differences in legal standards saw VW fined billions in the US for the dieselgate scandal, but escape unpunished in Europe [3]; how Resolute Forest Products and Energy Transfer Partners have used SLAPP suits in an attempt to silence critics [4]; how Glencore pollutes the environment and climate and uses private arbitration courts to pressurise governments [5];  and how Spanish ACS group became an accomplice to an environmental and social catastrophe when it joined the construction of the Renace hydroelectric power project in Guatemala.[6]

The report’s 20 cases expose corporate wrongdoing relating to climate change, deforestation, pollution, violations of Indigenous rights, repression against NGOs and environmental / human rights defenders, tax avoidance, corruption, fraudulent manipulation of the public debate and more [7]. 20 of the companies named in the report are partners or participants in the World Economic Forum. [8]

The common sense Corporate Accountability Principles that Greenpeace is asking to be adopted include ‘Holding corporations and those individuals who direct them liable for environmental and human rights violations committed domestically or abroad by companies under their control.’ and ‘Promoting a race to the top by prohibiting corporations from carrying out activities abroad which are banned in their home state for reasons of risks to environmental or human rights.’

“If corporations were held to the highest applicable standard, be that at home or abroad, it would go a long way to healing our fractured world. And if company directors risked fines or jail for the misdeeds of their subsidiaries and subcontractors corporate accountability could become a reality rather than a myth, ” said Shira Stanton, Senior Political Strategist, Greenpeace International.

Greenpeace is supporting the launch with the release of the short, comedy film ‘It’s not Business, it’s personal’, produced by Don’t Panic! London, which imagines what would happen if a natural person were granted the privileges extended to corporations. [9]

ENDS

 

Notes

[1] The activity was supported by activities in Switzerland, Mexico and Italy and is part of the Fight Inequality Alliance’s Messages from the other mountains campaign. #fightinequality

[2] The Executive Summary: Justice for People and Planet : Ending the age of corporate capture, collusion and impunity can be seen here.

The full report: Justice for People and Planet : Ending the age of corporate capture, collusion and impunity can be seen here.

[3] The VW case can be seen here.

[4] The Energy Transfer Partners case can be seen here.

Resolute Forest Products case can be seen here.

[5] The Glencore case can be seen here.

[6] The ACS case can be seen here.

[7] The corporations examined in the case studies are ACS Group (Grupo Cobra), The Carbon Majors (47 companies), Chevron, DowDuPont, Energy Transfer Partners, Exxon, Gabriel Resources, Glencore, Grupo Bimbo, Halcyon Agri (Sudcam), ICIG (Miteni), Keskinoğlu, Monsanto, Nestlé, Novartis (Sandoz), Resolute Forest Products, Rosatom, Schörghuber group (Ventisqueros), Total, Trafigura, and VW

[8] The following corporations are named in the report and are also official partners or participants in the WEF: Chevron, Dow Chemical Company (DowDuPont), Glencore, Monsanto, Nestlé, Novartis, Total, Trafigura, Volkswagen VW, BP, Eni, LUKOIL, Shell, Suncor, ArcelorMittal, Barclays, Citi, Facebook, Google, JPMorgan Chase & Co.

[9] It’s not business, it’s just personal, can be seen here,

Photo and video are available here.

Nicolas Fojtu – Visual Communication Producer nfojtu@greenpeace.org

Contacts

Matthias Wuethric, Corporate Accountability Project Leader

Tel: +41 797 048 409

matthias.wuethrich@greenpeace.org

Shira Stanton, Senior Political Strategist, Greenpeace International

Tel:  +41 (0)78 708 5837

shira.stanton@greenpeace.org,

Greenpeace International Press Desk, pressdesk.int@greenpeace.org, +31 (0) 20 718 2470 (available 24 hours)