Brazilian Mining Giant Vale Voted Worst Corporation in the World

By: 
Amazon Watch, International Rivers

Date: 
Monday, January 30, 2012

Company wins prize for leading share in the Belo Monte Dam

San Francisco, CA – After 21 days of public voting, Brazilian iron-ore mining corporation Vale picked up the Public Eye Award, known as the "Nobel Prize of Shame" in the corporate world. The award was presented during the World Economic Forum in the Davos, Switzerland on Friday. The prize was created in 2000 by Switzerland's Berne Declaration and Greenpeace to recognize a company's record of environmental, social and labor violations and is selected annually through popular vote.

Vale's worst corporation award inspired scores of celebrations among Brazilian organizations who work with people affected by Vale.

"For the thousands of people in Brazil and around the world who have been displaced, lost their homes and lands, who have friends and relatives who died on the tracks of the Carajás railroad, who suffered political persecution, who have been threatened by hired thugs and gunmen, who have fallen ill, have had sons and daughters exploited, have been laid off, have suffered from deplorable working conditions and wages, for all those who suffer from this corporation's abuse, giving Vale the title of worst corporation in the world represents much more than just a prize." Said a representative from the network. "To these people it represents a chance to expose the company's record to the eyes of the world, to speak about the suffering this company has caused, and to create hundreds of new actors who will help them fight for their rights against the transgressions committed by the company."

Vale competed for the award with Barclays, Freeport, Samsung, Syngenta and Tepco. More then 88,000 people participated in the voting; Vale took the prize with 25,042 votes. Brazil's Vale eeked out the award due to its involvement in Brazil's controversial Belo Monte Dam and Carajás mines, as well as its record of labor and human rights violations in over 38 countries.

The Xingu Alive Movement (Movimento Xingu Vivo Para Sempre) is currently fighting the controversial Belo Monte Dam, in which Vale is a 9% shareholder, making it the largest private company involved. According to the award's organizers, the company's entry into the dam's Norte Energia consortium cemented the its position among this year's six finalists.

Vale was nominated for the award by the International Network of People Affected by Vale (Articulação Internacional dos Atingidos pela Vale), a network representing affected communities from countries where Vale operates. In Brazil, representing organization Justice on the Tracks (Justiça nos Trilhos) submitted the nomination together with the Xingu Alive Forever Movement, and with support from U.S.-based NGOs Amazon Watch and International Rivers.

In Brazil, the organizations have created a site listing some of the violations the company has committed in its ventures in Brazil and abroad.

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