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6 companies nominated for Public Eye Award due to concerns about social & environmental impacts

"The Public Eye sheds a critical light on business practices and provides a platform to civil society organizations to publicly criticize cases of human and labor rights violations, environmental destruction and corruption.  In 2015, the naming & shaming award will be given out in the ultimate category: The Public Eye Lifetime Award. The jury has selected the shortlist for the last online voting from the Hall of Shame where all the past Public Eye Award winners are immortalized.

The winner will be announced at the international press conference in Davos on January 23, 2015 – in the same week as the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum."

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited the nominated companies to respond to the concerns raised about them:

More information is available at www.publiceye.ch

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Company response
10 December 2014

Goldman Sachs response

Author: Goldman Sachs

In response to your email, we would like to point you in the direction of the following sections of our website:

Business Standards Committee Impact Report

Environmental, Social & Governance Report

We do hope this is of interest and of use to you.

[Goldman Sachs indicated to Business & Human Rights Resource Centre that the Business Standards Committee and ESG Report include the company’s actions taken in response to the financial crisis.]

Company response
10 December 2014

Walmart response

Author: Walmart

We have a focus on positively impacting our global supply chain, and we care about the men and women who work in it.  As you may know, Walmart is a founding member of the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety,  which launched the Bangladesh Worker Safety Initiative, a binding, five-year undertaking with the intent of improving safety in Bangladesh’s ready-made garment factories.  The collective support and work of numerous stakeholders, including the Government of Bangladesh and brands and factory owners, is driving change aimed at preventing fire and structural tragedies like those in the past...In addition to being a founding member of the Alliance, Walmart made a $3 million contribution to BRAC’s Bangladesh Humanitarian Fund...

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Company non-response
9 December 2014

Gazprom did not respond

Company response
8 December 2014

Dow Chemical response

Author: Dow Chemical

The 1984 gas release from the plant in Bhopal, India was a terrible tragedy.  While we should never forget this tragic event, let’s also not forget the facts or rewrite history.  The facts are that Dow was never in Bhopal nor is there any assumed liability as misrepresented by some groups.  It is important to note that Dow never owned or operated the plant.  Dow acquired the shares of Union Carbide Corporation more than 16 years after the tragedy, and 10 years after the $470 million settlement agreement - paid by Union Carbide Corporation and Union Carbide India, Limited - was approved after review by the Indian Supreme Court in 1991. As Dow never owned or operated the Bhopal facility, any efforts to directly involve Dow in legal proceedings in India concerning the 1984 Bhopal tragedy are inappropriate, misguided and without merit. For further information please see the attached link: http://www.dow.com/sustainability/issues/bhopal/

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Company response
5 December 2014

Chevron response

A U.S. federal court has found that the $9.5 billion judgment against Chevron Corporation in Ecuador was the product of fraud and racketeering activity, finding it unenforceable...we suggest your readers read the U.S. court decision, which outlines in great detail the fraud and misconduct engaged in by Mr. Donziger and his associates, or this Amicus Brief filed recently by human rights leaders in support of Chevron.

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Company response
1 December 2014

Glencore response

At Glencore, we are committed to seeking transparent, open dialogue and building partnerships with organisations interested in addressing major social and environmental challenges in the countries where we operate. Through our investments in our assets and the long-term commitments we make to the countries in which we operate, we believe that our global presence and economic strength contribute positively to socioeconomic development in our host countries. Many of the unsubstantiated comments made by Public Eye are general statements, with no reference to specific incidents, independent witnesses or research reports. Public Eye does not provide any explanation as to how its opinion has been reached or research conducted...We hope this response will fully address the unfounded allegations that have been presented by Public Eye as a 'nomination' for its 2015 awards...

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