Even in crisis, NGOs pull no punches in Davos

January 28, 2009

Though a financial crisis and global recession have left many of the world’s biggest companies uncharacteristically humbled, that didn’t stop NGOs from taking shots at a few of them at the World Economic Forum.

U.S. gold company Newmont Mining and Swiss utility Bernische Kraftwerke picked up a couple of pretty dubious honors from Greenpeace Switzerland and the Berne Declaration.

Newmont received two awards — the Global Award and People’s Award — for its mining project in eastern Ghana. According to the NGOs, Newmont “is ignoring the environmental and social damage” the planned mine will create.

“If the project 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,” they said in a statement.

Bernische Kraftwerke, on the other hand, received the Swiss Award “for pushing for the construction of a coal-fired power plant in Germany… Its plans blatantly contradict its self-promotion as a forward-looking company that promotes renewable energy and energy efficiency.”

There was one positive award given out on Wednesday, for “most courageous employee of the year.” Two Colombian union leaders, Jairo Quiroz Delgado and Freddy Lozano, shared that award for their fight for workers’ rights at Colombia’s El Cerrejon coal mine.

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Thanks for writing this, Nichola. I heard about it on NPR, as well.

Our paper publishes in Grass Valley, in Northern California. If anyone wants to read about how Newmont Mining Corp. is handling its relationships one American town where it has holdings, please come to our Web site, www.theunion.com, and do an archive search on Newmont.

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[…] by Carlos Ferreira Funny enough, Reuters wonders at the fact that “Even in crisis, NGOs pull no punches in Davos“. […]

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