Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Satire is obsolete department

Remember the big awards dinner of the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria? They have now sent me their complete list of awardees -- those companies whose bleeding hearts have nourished the orphans of Africa. Drum roll please:

The companies to be honored are Standard Chartered Bank (LSE: STAN.L), Marathon Oil Corporation (NYSE: MRO), Warner Bros. Entertainment (NYSE: TWX), Royal Dutch Shell plc (NYSE: RDS-B), Unilever (NYSE: UN, UL), Anglo American plc (NASDAQ: AAUK), Levi Strauss & Co. and Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX). The awards will be formally presented at the GBC Business Excellence Awards Dinner in Washington, D.C on June 24.

I'll get around to writing something of my own later today, on another subject. Meanwhile, here's a little something about Business Excellence Award winner Royal Dutch Shell, from Essential Action. I have nothing particularly to add.

Since the Nigerian government hanged 9 environmental activists in 1995 for speaking out against exploitation by Royal Dutch/Shell and the Nigeria government, outrage has exploded worldwide. The tribunal which convicted the men was part of a joint effort by the government and Shell to suppress a growing movement among the Ogoni people: a movement for environmental justice, for recognition of their human rights and for economic justice. Shell has brought extreme, irreparable environmental devastation to Ogoniland. Please note that although the case of the Ogoni is the best known of communities in Shell's areas of operation, dozens of other groups suffer the same exploitation of resources and injustices.

The Problem

"The most conspicuous aspects of life in contemporary Ogoni are poverty, malnutrition, and disease."
-Ben Naanen, Oil and Socioeconomic Crisis in Nigeria, 1995, pg. 75-6

Although oil from Ogoniland has provided approximately $30 billion to the economy of Nigeria, the people of Ogoni see little to nothing from their contribution to Shell's pocketbook. Emanuel Nnadozie, writing of the contributions of oil to the national economy of Nigeria, observed "Oil is a curse which means only poverty, hunger, disease and exploitation" for those living in oil producing areas. Shell has done next to nothing to help Ogoni: by 1996, Shell employed only 88 Ogoni (0.0002% of the Ogoni population, and only 2% of Shell's employees in Nigeria). Ogoni villages have no clean water, little electricity, few telephones, abysmal health care, and no jobs for displaced farmers and fisher persons, and adding insult to injury, face the effects of unrestrained environmental molestation by Shell everyday.

1 comment:

C. Corax said...

It feels to me as though the citizens of every "First World" country except the U.S. are aware of the atrocities committed by Shell. Our media wallow in either ignorance or indifference.

Oh, well, if this award isn't a circle jerk, then nothing is.