Following efforts by the Coalition Against Bayer Dangers to publicize
in Germany the selection of Bayer as one of Multinational Monitors
10 worst corporations of the year, Bayer released the following statement,
translated from the German by the Coalition Against Bayer Dangers:
Bayer rejects the accusations and defamations by the U.S.-based Multinational
Monitor in its so-called negative list of the 10 Worst
Corporations of the Year 2001 published in December in the US. According
to Multinational Monitor, the list includes companies that defraud the
public, spoil the environment and neglect workers rights. Multinational
Monitor is the organ of an alliance of activist groups that have the common
aim of criticizing companies. It is no coincidence that this news was
publicized by the so-called Coalition against Bayer Dangers
shortly before Bayers planned listing in the United States. The
reasons Multinational Monitor provides for including Bayer on the list
are one-sided and are exaggerated to describe alleged scandals.
This presentation fits into the agitation that the Coalition Against Bayer
Dangers has pushed forward against Bayer and its subsidiaries for years.
In 2001, Bayer was picked by U.S.-based magazine Fortune as one of the
most admired companies in the United States. Bayer is one
of the founding members of the UN Global Compact of UN Secretary Kofi
Annan, that was started in July 2001. Therein the company obliges itself
to agree with and spread nine principles the UN picked in the fields of
human rights, social standards and environmental protection.
Last year, Bayer was also chosen for the FTSE4 Good Global 100 Index.
In this list, the English company FTSE [co-owned by the Financial Times
and the London Stock Exchange] picks companies judged to have good record
in the fields human rights, social standards and environmental protection.
Bayer conducts periodical representative inquiries of consumers in the
United States. These show that Bayer has a very good image in the United
States. This was also true for studies conducted in the second half of
To the Editor:
While Coca-Colas marketing program is nothing to be proud of, and
arguably is deserving of condemnation, half the corporations in America
easily reach that standard of misbehavior. I can only conclude that Coca
Cola earned its spot in the top ten due to the allegations of complicity
with Colombian death squads.
It is important to publicize such allegations in the absence of a truly
free press active in major media outlets, but compiling lists based on
allegations is tantamount to conviction without a trial. I think it diminishes
the effectiveness of your list. Surely you can find another company that
has been PROVEN to be more reprehensible.
Aside from that, I have nothing but praise for your efforts. Keep up
the good work!
To the Editor:
You might want to add mention of the following to your already damning
indictment of Exxon (Ten Worst Corporations article). The information
pasted below is from the Humane Society Web page.
EXXON CONTROLS THE FUTURE OF WESTERN GRAY WHALES:
Fewer than one hundred individuals remain of the western gray whale
population, which lives in the waters off Russia and Japan. In the summer
months, western gray whales (not to be confused with their more numerous
kin, eastern gray whales) feed off the East Coast of Russia, including
areas around northeastern Sakhalin Island in the Sea of Okhotsk. However,
a new oil exploration project, spearheaded by Exxon Corporation, is
being undertaken off Sakhalin Island, only 10 to 20 km from the whales
primary feeding grounds. Seismic exploration is scheduled to begin sometime
in early August, despite the International Whaling Commissions
Scientific Committees strong recommendations at its 2001 meeting
in London that no seismic surveys be conducted while whales are on their
feeding grounds. Unless we can convince Exxon to delay the project,
the seismic surveys may spell the doom of the entire western gray whale
population, displacing them from their vital feeding grounds and affecting
their breeding success.
I wrote to Exxon at the time (last August) and learned they were intent
on continuing this program in spite of the danger to the whales. I havent
heard what has happened since.
Mill Valley, California
To The Editor:
In 2001, Wisconsins Fox Valley, had no shortage of corporations
behaving badly. As with your recent list of the10 worst, the corporations
listed below (most of which were not founded in the Fox Valley nor headquartered
here) are aided and abetted by an uncritical corporate media, lapdog and
toadying politicians trained to look the other way, and a public school
system that produces vastly more passive consumers than active citizens.
Wisconsin Central Transportation Corporation: This railroad
outfit has had one of the worst safety records in the world since 1987.
Wisconsins poet laureate Ellen Kort wrote a poem entitled Derailment
about Wisconsin Centrals 1996 Weyauwega travesty that forced 2,300
people from their homes. Additionally, along with two other corporations
(Clariant and Hydrite Chemical), Wisconsin Central has dragged its feet
in reimbursing homeowners and small businesses evacuated during a December
2000 chemical spill in the city of Oshkosh.
Sodexho: In spring and summer of 2001, this food service
provider tried to bust the University of Washington, Oshkosh union,
backing off only due to grassroots union activity and the intervention
of UW Oshkosh Chancellor Rick Wells.
Lapham-Hickey Steel: Despite facing an aggressive and
hostile anti-union response from management, workers at the Lapham-Hickey
plant voted to unionize in March of 2001. Management has since refused
to bargain in good faith, seeking a salary freeze.
Wal-Mart: Is there a city in the United States where this
monster has not wreaked havoc? In Oshkosh in 2001, Wal-Mart engaged
in secret negotiations to purchase land from New Life Community Church
that will be used to build a superstore.
The Entire Paper Industry: Seven corporations (Appleton
Papers, NCR, Georgia-Pacific, P.H. Glatfelter Company, SCA, Sonoco,
and Riverside Paper Company) are responsible for cleaning up from the
Fox River the PCBs that were dumped by the industry from 1954-1990.
These corporations have spent many years and much money trying to obfuscate
the extent of the problem, demonizing the Environmental Protection Agency
and Department of Natural Resources, and threatening to leave the state
if they are forced to pay for a cleanup. Finally in 2001 the EPA and
DNR came up with a cleanup proposal that makes the polluters primarily
responsible for the cleanup, but the plan has been called inadequate
by environmental groups and the cleanup wont even start until
Plexus and SMTC: According to the Appleton Post-Crescent
of July 15, 2001, the electronics firm Plexus in April laid off more
than 100 workers with no advance notice. Two women interviewed in the
article were hired almost immediately by another electronics firm, SMTC
in Appleton, but then laid off there after barely two months of work.
The Gannett Corporation: All 10 of the major Wisconsin
newspapers with a Fox Valley reach are now owned by Gannett. All of
these papers at one time had local ownership or at least connected with
their local communities in a meaningful way. They are now corporate
clones of each other.
Time Warner Cable: After four years of mostly secret negotiations
between the city of Oshkosh and Time Warner, the two parties inked a
new 15-year deal in 2001. The public was completely shut out of the
negotiations, and the agreement reached provides no guarantee that Time-Warner
will be more consumer friendly than has been the case in the past. In
addition, Time-Warner has denied the ability to provide high-speed Internet
access to a local Internet Service Provider (Northnet) that led a movement
to urge the FTC to place conditions on AOL/Time-Warner in approving
the merger of the two companies in 2000.
Touchpoint-Aurora: 15,000 people were caught in the middle
of an ugly legal battle between two health care giants about who the
health plans would cover, and on what terms.
K-Mart: Wisconsins Consumer Protection Administrator
Bill Oemichen issued a consumer alert against K-Mart in 2001 after the
company continued to overcharge customers throughout the state via inaccurate
Van Zeeland Oil Company: Van Zeeland is a small
potatoes company that owns 11 gas stations in the region. On September
11 at about 5 p.m., with Americans gripped in fear after the terrorist
attacks, Van Zeeland raised gas prices from $1.69 to $2.95 a gallon.
Todd Van Zeeland told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that he rolled
the prices back three hours later after cashiers were threatened at
the stations. Van Zeeland later apologized and announced that any extra
profits would go to the American Red Cross.
Im sure that all of your readers can easily come up with a similar
list of corporations exploiting the region in which they live. Perhaps
Multinational Monitor could devote a special issue to such lists.