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Friends of the Earth France is working together with Peuples Solidaires - Action Aid France and CRID for the 7th year organizing the “Sustainable Development Pinocchio Awards”. The awards highlight the social and environmental impacts of the activities of multinational companies, activities that are in clear contradiction with the sustainable development goals that they claim to respect, commitments that additionally are legally non-binding and have thereby proven to be ineffective.
There are three categories of nominees; the category “Greener than green” is awarded to “the company which has led the most abusive and misleading communication campaign in regard to its actual activities”. The second category “Dirty hands, full wallet” is awarded to the company “which has the most opaque policy at the financial level, in terms of lobbying or in its supply chain”. The third category “One for all, all for me!” is awarded to the company “which has the most aggressive policy in terms of appropriation, exploitation or destruction of natural resources.”
The multinational gas and oil company Total is one of the nominees in the third category for the impacts of their exploitation activities in Nigeria. Dr. Godwin Ojo, from Environmental Rights Action – Friends of the Earth Nigeria points out that the major concern that the community is facing now is that huge hectares of land have been acquired by Total, leading to the displacement of many rural small scale farmers and leaving them with no lands to farm -the food that they depend on has been cut off”, he said. “The food insecurity of the community can lead to a series of conflicts and further enhance the conflicts that are already being faced in the communities”.
Total has put much effort in the last years to promote itself with a very extensive Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program where they publish their CSR activities. In addition, in the past month the company has established a new global campaign with the slogan “committed to better energy” and states on its webpage that they are “committed to greener, more accessible, more responsible energy”.
Dr. Ojo, however has another take on the impacts of Total’s activities in Nigeria and argues that as far as it goes for their CSR agenda “it is no more then a manipulative instrument that divides and rules the Nigerian communities”. “Total should clean up the environment and remediate, they should pay compensation to the people that their social rights have been violated, and to the people whose lands have polluted, and then they should do full remediation on land. CRS is being used as a ploy – to escape this responsibility”.
He also made reference to how civil society groups and community members in Nigeria are very pleased to be nominating Total. “Total is one of the worst oil polluting companies in the Niger Delta”, he said.
People can vote on the company of their choice on the Pinocchio Award´s webpage
until the results are presented on November 18th.
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