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Perenco has been nominated as one of three worst companies in the category "Dirty hands, full wallet" in this year’s Pinocchio Awards. Perenco is considered as one of three companies that have the most “opaque policy at the financial level, in terms of lobbying or in its supply chain”. The company has been nominated for its oil drilling activities in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), activities that have heavily impacted the population and environment in Muanda, DRC.
Perenco is an independent global oil and gas company with activities in 15 countries over the world. Perenco has been active in the DRC since 2000 and is the country’s sole oil producer. In 2013 the French NGO CCFD Terre Solidaire published a field report on Perenco’s business in Muanda DRC. The report demonstrated how Perenco’s activites in Muanda are causing human rights violations, pollution, contamination and crop destruction in the area –while the citizens are left out from receiving much of the benefits from the company’s actives.
Mathilde Dupré from CCFD Terre Solidaire comments on the situation in Muanda: “Perenco business specialty was to recover fields and drilling there, using used facilities that major oil companies did not want anymore. This means that they know how to save money on operation, regardless of the social and environmental cost of their activities.” She furthermore adds: “We can see that shops created by Perenco are badly paid, many work-related accidents have been recorded and the company is relying a lot on subcontracting. Any protests from local communities or workers on strike have been repressed and local organizations highlight a long list of contaminations like crude oil leaks and gas emission from gas flares near houses.”
On a visit to Perenco’s webpage one can read about how its corporate social responsibility (CSR) program focuses on five issues: transport, access to safe water, access to electricity, health and employment. Mathilde however has another take on the CSR program: “For us this is philanthropy and has nothing to do with the company’s liability on its core business and the impact of its activities. Philanthropy does not exempt the company from preventing work related accidents or contamination.”.
In CCFD’s report from 2013 Perenco’s business activities are being criticized for being very opaque and Mathilde underlines that “the secrecy surrounding Perenco’s accounts and legal structure is a major obstacle – it is almost impossible to file a legal accusation against Perenco. In this case we can see that financial opacity and complexity is clearly used as a tool to succumb environmental tax and social obligation. So far our mobilization has not produced any change on the companies practices. We think that its lack of notoriety might be one explanation – it is like Perenco does not feel any reputational risk or any pressure from the citizens.”. She adds: “We think it is therefore important for them to win this award and if anyone shares our indignation - vote for them!”
La oposición a la minería debe entenderse como la lucha por los derechos que esa actividad no respeta, pues “cada derecho que se le otorga a una empresa, es un derecho que se le resta a una comunidad”, asegura el coordinador del Observatorio de Conflictos Mineros de América Latina (OCMAL), César Padilla.
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