Eskom up for worst company in the world

South African power utility, Eskom is in the running for the title of worst company in the world in the Public Eye Awards, which runs parallel to the World Economic Forum.

The Public Eye is a platform for substantial criticism of “purely profit-oriented globalisation” with a focus on Corporate Social Responsibility.

In the 2013 awards, global energy company, Shell, was voted worst company in the world by voters, while Goldman Sachs “won” the jury vote for the year.

Earthlife Africa Johannesburg, Greenpeace Africa and ground Work jointly nominated Eskom to win the international award.

The organisations cited Eskom’s bid to exempt two-thirds of its coal-fired power stations from air pollution laws as rationale for the nomination.

“In a bid to maneuver its way out of its social and environmental responsibilities, cut costs and fuel its coal addiction, Eskom has applied for two-thirds of its coal-fired power stations to be exempt from and/or postpone complying with the law on air pollution standards (minimum emission standards) put in place to protect people’s health,” Earthlife said in a statement.

“With the majority of Eskom’s coal-fired power stations leading to entire areas in Mpumalamga and the Vaal Triangle being out of compliance with South Africa’s Ambient Air Quality Standards, Earthlife Africa Johannesburg Greenpeace Africa and groundWork have taken these applications as a flagrant disregard for people’s health.”

Eskom has now been short-listed with seven other international corporations for the award, and is currently ranked 7th on the list in terms of live votes, of which it has received just over 100, against 1,200 live votes for the frontrunner.

Leading the 2014 votes for the award is Syngenta, Bayer & BASF – the giant multinational companies that, according to Public Eye, produce and sell highly toxic pesticides, which are mass-killing bees and other pollinators essential for the environment, agriculture and global food production.

Other organisations listed include FIFA, Gazprom, Glencore Xtrata, HSBC, Marine Harvest and Gap.

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Eskom up for worst company in the world