MFG 2.0

GE, Cargill, Chevron, Roche "Honored" On Worst Corporations o

...not to say I agree (some of the reasoning seems pretty hysterical) but the Multinational Monitor (MM) has been publishing this same list for two decades now, and has covered some doozies along the way (Bhopal and Union Carbide ring a bell?)

Some prominent manufacturers were so "honored" on this year's list, for a variety of reasons.

This go-round, GE made the list for some creative accounting and corruption allegations concerning its Brazilian subsidiaries. However, the MM notes that GE's past appearances are every bit as diversified as its product lines, and include "defense contractor fraud, labor rights abuses, toxic and radioactive pollution, manufacturing nuclear weaponry, workplace safety violations and media conflicts of interest (GE owns television network NBC)."

Imperial Sugar made an appearance based on the multiple violations of facility safety regs that led to the deadly explosion earlier this year, and Cargill gets slammed for manipulating global commodities at the expense of the poorest of the poor.

Perennial list candidate Philip Morris gets mentioned for a number of reasons this year, including using new packaging sleight-of-hand techniques to obscure health-oriented warning labels, and even dividing up the corporation into two separate legal firms in order to unshackle the Marlboro Man from the cruel bonds of US liability law.

Pharma heavyweight Roche got dinged for withholding its HIV medications from the Korean market:

Like most industrialized countries, Korea maintains a form of price controls the national health insurance program sets prices for medicines. The Ministry of Health, Welfare and Family Affairs listed Fuzeon at $18,000 a year. Korea's per capita income is roughly half that of the United States. Instead of providing Fuzeon, for a profit, at Korea's listed level, Roche refuses to make the drug available in Korea.

Korea is not a developing country, emphasizes Roche spokesperson Martina Rupp. "South Korea is a developed country like the U.S. or like Switzerland."

Finally, Chevron earns the MM's ire for trying to have it both ways in court -- arguing that a long-standing case should be litigated in Ecuador (and not the US), then complaining about the verdict when it came down in favor of the plaintiffs, and then having its lobbyists mouth off to journalists with what has to be a candidate for stupidest quote of the year.

Having argued vociferously that Ecuadorian courts were fair and impartial, Chevron is now unhappy with how the litigation has proceeded in that country. So unhappy, in fact, that it is lobbying the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to impose trade sanctions on Ecuador if the Ecuadorian government does not make the case go away.

"We can't let little countries screw around with big companies like this companies that have made big investments around the world," a Chevron lobbyist said to Newsweek in August.

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