Top 10 Corporate Criminals List

2014 Introduction

Many corporations are complicit in violating human rights and the environment. As the free trade market continues to push forward the global economy, holding corporations accountable for their poor practices becomes difficult. Unfortunately, corporations are working harder than ever to cover abuses instead of preventing them.

This does not have to be the reality. People can use their purchasing power to endorse Fair Trade and pressure companies and boycott those that violate human rights and the environment. In doing so there is potential to pressure these companies to put people ahead of profits.

Global Exchange has compiled a list of the top ten “most wanted” corporations of 2014 based on issues like unlivable working conditions, corporate seizures of indigenous lands, and contaminating the environment, just to name a few.

The Top Ten Corporate Criminals list is a guide to learn about what companies like Gap, PepsiCo, Carnival, and others you might have heard less about are doing to undermine human rights and the environment so that you can get informed and involved in combating the injustice. The more you know, the less corporations can continue to act unfavorably in the public eye. Share the list with friends, family, and co-workers. Click to the Take Action pages and email CEO’s, call executives directly, and network with other non-profit organizations doing work on the issue.

We at Global Exchange encourage you to exercise your right as a global citizen to promote social justice and defend the Earth.

See our Corporate Criminals alumni.

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The List

1. Alpha Natural Resources for pollution of rivers, streams, and groundwater; violation of the Clean Water Act; destruction of forest and wildlife habitats; and devastation of Appalachian communities.

2. Bayer for manufacturing and using bee-killing pesticides, pinning the bee crisis on other causes, exposing farmers to harmful pesticides, and working to monopolize drug prices.

3. Carnival Corporation for dumping sewage pollution into oceans, use of cheap, air-polluting fuels, tax evasion, and unfair labor wages.

4. FIFA for forced evictions from homes and stores, damaging local business, tax evasion, labor abuse, corruption, and violating human rights including: right to adequate housing, right to free movement, right to work, right to protest, and right to labor protection.

5. Gap Inc. for refusal to sign “Accord of Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh,” refusal to compensate victims’ families, workers’ rights violations, and unsafe building conditions.

6. Ghirardelli Chocolate Company for refusal to use Fair Trade labor and continuing to support child labor, using labor that violates human rights standards, and creating environmental destruction and poverty.

7. Glencore Xstrata for dumping of toxic tailings, tax evasion, police brutality, destruction of communities, human rights violations, and environmental degradation.

8. HSBC for money laundering, financing conflict palm oil producers, and destruction of land.

9. Koch Industries thwarting public policy; forcing policies on funded politicians, judges, and organizations; working to destroy minimum wage, unions, and social security; re-segregation of public schools; toxic pollution.

10. PepsiCo for deforestation, destruction of peatlands, species extinction, greenhouse gas emissions, commodification of water, use of GMOs and prevention of labeling GMO foods, and privatization of public services.

Repeat Offender: Monsanto for harmful toxic chemical use, refusal to label product, monocropping, involvement in government, bankrupting small farms
 

1. Alpha Natural Resources

Chairman & CEO: Kevin S. Crutchfield

Corporate Headquarters:
One Alpha Place
P.O. Box 16429
Bristol, VA 24209
Phone: (276) 619-4410

Abuses: pollution of rivers, streams, and groundwater; violation of the Clean Water Act; destruction of forest and wildlife habitats; devastation of Appalachian communities 

The third largest coal company in the U.S., Alpha Natural Resources is the leading mining company practicing Mountaintop Removal (MTR), which is devastating northern Appalachia. Alpha Natural Resources operates 38 active underground mines, 27 active surface mines, and 10 coal preparation plants.

MTR is an extreme form of energy (coal) extraction—literally blowing off the tops of mountains to expose the coal underneath, and leaving behind millions of tons of debris and toxic waste. More than 2,000 miles of streams have been destroyed to date, and 1.4 million acres of mountaintops and forests are slated to be destroyed by 2020. MTR practices by companies like Alpha Natural Resources poison drinking water, destroy biodiverse forest and wildlife habitats, increase risk of flooding, and wipe out entire Appalachian communities.

Alpha Natural Resources generates toxic waste through both mining and burning coal. MTR leaves behind “coal slurry” ponds made of carcinogenic compounds and toxic heavy metals. These ponds often collapse and pollute rivers, streams, and groundwater. Alpha illegally discharged excessive levels of selenium, a toxic pollutant, from the Brushy Fork coal slurry in West Virginia. The Brushy Fork coal slurry is known to be one of the largest coal waste impoundments in the nation; it was designed to hold up to 8.5 billion gallons of coal sludge.

Alpha’s illegal pollution activity was taken to court, and in June 2014 U.S. District Judge Robert Chambers ruled that Alpha illegally polluted streams, creating unsafe toxic waste, and violating the Clean Water Act. Chambers said aquatic life dwindled and the streams were biologically impaired. The penalty is yet to be determined, but Alpha plans to appeal the ruling, claiming that the court disregarded scientific reports of sediments and temperatures already affecting the river.

Toxic pollutants including cadmium, selenium, and arsenic are reaching local water supplies that the Appalachian people rely on. Appalachian communities are being torn apart by poverty, unemployment, and destroyed land. Poverty rates are higher in areas affected by MTR than in the rest of the United States, because corporations like Alpha Natural Resources enter into communities and destroy people’s land and livelihood. Additionally, Alpha has destroyed the mountain surrounding Crystal Block Cemetery in West Virginia. Alpha’s MTR operation surrounds the cemetery and the cemetery is now barely accessible to families.

Additionally, Alpha's MTR practices create terrible health hazards and air pollution is severely affecting the communities. Alpha is polluting the norther Appalachia with cancer-causing carcinogens; cancer rates are twice as high for people living near MTR sites. Birth defects are 42% more likely in MTR sites and life expectancy is 1.5 years shorter. Not only is Alpha Natural Resources destroying land and polluting the environment, it is also creating immediate heath threats for the people who live in these Appalachian communities.

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2. Bayer

Chairman & CEO: Dr. Marijn E. Dekkers

Bayer USA:
100 Bayer Boulevard
P.O. Box 915
Whippany, NJ 07981
Phone: (862) 404-3000

Abuses: manufacturing and using bee-killing pesticides; pinning the bee crisis on other causes; exposing farmers ecosystems and communities to harmful pesticides; working to monopolize drug prices.

Bayer is a German chemical and pharmaceutical company that produces consumer healthcare products, agricultural chemicals and pesticides, biotechnology products, and high value polymers. Executives at Bayer are focused solely on profits, and consistently refuse to acknowledge the detriment caused by the company’s activities. Bayer’s pesticide use severely affects the livelihood of bees and human health. Additionally the company works to control pharmaceutical prices and keeps people from accessing drugs that they need.

Bayer manufactures neonicotinoid (neonic) pesticides that are greatly contributing to the bee crisis; the European Union (EU) has linked the pesticides to the large-scale die-offs of honeybee populations in North America and Western Europe. Bees pollinate 30% of food crops and 90% of wild plants. These plants depend of bees to survive, and humans depend of crops for food supply. In April 2013, the EU banned most neonic pesticides, but they are still prevalently used in the United States. Bayer filed a lawsuit against the EU immediately following its ban of these pesticides. Large decreases in the bee population are causing diminishing growth of essential crops like almonds and apples in California.

In the Congressional subcommittee hearing on pollinator health held in April 2014, Bayer emphasized that varroa mites pose a threat to bees, but Bayer ignored the fact that the exposure to neonic pesticides is directly killing bees and also making bees vulnerable to pests like the varroa mites. Bayer uses multiple PR tactics to make people think it supports bees and to deter people from examining its pesticide use. These tactics include buying credibility by funding scientists, supporting “bee care” to appear as a company “saving bees,” blaming farmers, and targeting children. Bayer released a children’s book telling a story of bees that are getting sick due to problems with the varroa mites. The story tells children not to worry and claims that there is a “special medicine” produced by Bayer that will make bees healthy.

Scientific research shows that these pesticides also damage human health, particularly in developing brains. In Puerto Rico, Bayer exposed its farmworkers to hazardous pesticides, not complying with the requirements of the Worker Protection Standards. Bayer failed to meet the label requirements on these pesticides and did not supply water and soap for regular washing and emergency decontamination. Bayer continually ignores the fact that its profits are negatively affecting food supply and the livelihood of American farmers.

Additionally, Bayer’s pharmaceutical endeavors seek to prevent countries like India from creating generic drugs that could be sold at affordable prices. CEO Marijn Dekkers said that Bayer makes medicines “for western patients who can afford it,” referring to the company’s issues with the Indian market. Indian companies are able to create a generic version of a cancer drug for $200 per month while Bayer sells the branded version, Nexavar, for $8,000 per month. By taking legal action against smaller Indian companies, Bayer is working to suppress the Indian market for generic drugs and is trying to monopolize drug prices. The company claims to work towards meeting global health needs, yet in reality it is focused on its own profits. Bayer’s high prices keep millions of people from accessing medicine. 

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3. Carnival Corporation

Chairman & CEO: Micky Arison

Carnival Corp USA:
3655 NW 87th Ave
Doral, FL 33178
Phone: (305) 599-2600

Abuses: dumping sewage pollution into oceans; use of cheap air-polluting fuels; tax evasion; unfair labor wages

Harmful to both the environment and human health, cruises are one of the most destructive forms of travel.  Carnival Corporation, which includes eleven different cruise line brands including Carnival Cruises, Costa Cruises, and P&O Princess Cruises, is the largest cruise operator in the world with its combined fleet totaling to over 100 ships. As the largest cruise operator, it is a major polluter of the ocean and perpetrator of corruption. The corporation profusely pollutes the environment, is guilty of tax evasion and injustices for its laborers, and lacks transparency with its consumers.

Carnival Cruises received a failing grade for treatment of the ocean from Friends of the Earth’s reputable Cruise Ship Report Card, released at the end of 2013. Costa Cruises also received an “F” and P&O skated by with a “D-”. Friends of the Earth reported that 22 of Carnival’s ships still use 30-year-old technology for sewage treatment. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found that sewage treated with this outdated technology contains very dangerous amounts of fecal bacteria and heavy metals, as well as excessive nutrients based on federal water quality standards. This sewage pollution can cause human illnesses including gastrointestinal disease and hepatitis through exposure to contaminated seafood and water. Excessive amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus from cruise ship sewage can suffocate fish, shellfish, and coral reefs.

Additionally the EPA reports that an average cruise ship with 3,000 passengers and crew produces 21,000 gallons of sewage each day. This sewage is often untreated and dumped in the ocean. This adds up to more than 1 billion gallons of sewage being dumped in the ocean by cruise ships each year. Since some new ships carry up to 8,000 passengers, this number could be even greater than calculated. Compared to sewage amounts, cruise ships generate and dump 8 times as much waste from sink, shower, and bath gray water. This waste contains many of the same pollutants as sewage and significantly affects water quality. Carnival Corporation owns 105 of the total 292 cruise ships active worldwide, making the corporation the culprit for more than one third of the world’s pollution from cruise ships.

Carnival also pollutes the air with its tremendous fuel use. Last June, Carnival moved its ships from the Port of Baltimore back to Florida because new air quality standards in MD would require Carnival to use cleaner, safer fuels, and these new standards are not in affect in Florida. From ports in Florida, Carnival Corp can sail its ships by burning “bunker fuel” which is much cheaper, but 2,000 times dirtier and worse for the environment than diesel fuel sold at gas stations, according to Friends of the Earth. Carnival is making some advances in this front; the corporation is working to bring ships back to Baltimore and to install ships with exhaust cleaning systems. This is a step in the right direction, but Carnival still has a long way to go as the largest cruise line, creating the most pollution.

Carnival Corp continues to be a corporate criminal through tax evasion and labor violations. Over the past five years, the corporation has only paid corporate taxes for a total of 1.1 percent of their $11.3 billion in profits, according to the New York Times. Additionally Carnival’s workers are paid substandard wages; staff members on United Kingdom-based ships are paid $1.20 per hour, or $400 per month in basic wages, and claim to be denied their tips. Their pay is below international standards. Workers are also allegedly given minimal accommodations and often insufficient food. The cruise system makes it very easy for labor to be abused, and Carnival Cruises has been called a “sweatshop at sea.”

Finally, Carnival is jeopardizing customer safety and lacks transparency with its customers. Often times people who fall overboard are overboard for hours and incidents are not reported. The vast majority of tragic instances aboard cruise ships are never reported at all. In October 2012, Sarah Kirby was aboard a Carnival cruise and fell overboard at night. Although the incident was witnessed and immediately reported, the ship sped off and did not rescue Kirby for over two hours. She claims to not have received medical treatment for 16 hours after the incident. Carnival corporation’s consumers are not made aware of the actual risks they face.

Carnival Corp continually acts as a corporate criminal, and now does not want people to know about its actions. Carnival and a few other cruise lines have announced that they will no longer participate in Friends of the Earth’s environmental survey on cruise lines. The company says its own sustainability reports are sufficient and it does not support the information and data released by Friends of the Earth.

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4. FIFA

President: Joseph S. Blatter

FIFA Development Office USA:
1800 Purdy Ave
Miami Beach, FL 33139
Phone: (786) 453-2125

Abuses: forced evictions from homes and stores; damaging local business; tax evasion; labor abuse; corruption; violating human rights including: right to adequate housing, right to free movement, right to work, right to protest, and right to labor protection

Headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, FIFA (the world governing body for international soccer) claims to be a non-profit organization and is tax exempt, yet in 2012 the company reported $89 million in net profit and $1.378 billion in financial reserves. FIFA is guilty of numerous violations of human rights including the right to adequate housing, right to free movement, right to work, and right to protest. Additionally, FIFA is guilty of profiting off of forced evictions and labor abuses.

FIFA’s claim to be a non-profit organization is undermined by billion dollar revenues and strict demands on World Cup host countries for FIFA and its corporate sponsors to remain exempt from any and all local tax laws. The Brazilian government spent $14 billion of taxpayer money on the 2014 World Cup in the face of poverty and inequality while FIFA took home $4 billion in untaxed revenue. Because FIFA is exempt from paying taxes, Brazil was deprived of revenues equating to $400 million from the 2014 World Cup.

For World Cup tournaments, FIFA demands exclusive “economic zones” encompassing a 2km radius around stadiums, in which only FIFA and its corporate sponsors retain the exclusive right to sell products and services, casting aside small businesses and vendors. These small vendors have set up around local games for generations, and are now kept from the benefits of World Cup business opportunities. Meanwhile, during the 2014 World Cup, the government of Brazil, in keeping with FIFA’s interest, used heavy police force to suppress peaceful anti-World Cup and anti-FIFA protests, as well as occupied favelas (low-income communities) near stadiums to “ensure safety.”

FIFA directly profited off the forced removals of more than 200,000 people (mostly low-income) from their homes in Brazil in the lead up to the 2014 World Cup. People were forced out of the communities where they have lived for generations, which is illegal under international human rights law. Families were evicted with little to no dialogue, compensation, alternative housing, or access to assistance.

FIFA also directly profited off the deaths of nine Brazilian construction workers who died in the frenzied rush to finish construction of World Cup stadiums meeting FIFA’s strict standards. FIFA justifies its actions by explaining the “urgency” of infrastructure projects and claims that its efforts generate profits for society. However, the poor take most of the burden from the negative effects of the World Cup, with many losing both their homes and their sources of income.

FIFA continues to ignore underlying social issues in World Cup host countries. There is already widespread outrage at the choice of awarding the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, which is virtually a slave labor state. Hundreds of migrant workers have already died in World Cup related construction and thousands more abused. FIFA claims they are not responsible for protecting Qatar’s migrant workers. There is also an ongoing investigation into credible allegations that Qatar paid off FIFA officials with millions of dollars worth of bribes to secure the bid. The 2014 World Cup in Brazil was the most expensive to date at $14 billion, but the Qatar 2022 World Cup is already projected to cost up to $100 billion.

FIFA has no accountability, no transparency, and no third-party oversight, resulting in widespread corruption, fraud, and lack of responsibility. It continually denies its connection to human rights violations, regardless of its promise to leave behind a positive legacy. Host countries are often led to believe they will prosper from World Cup opportunities but in reality countries see little economic benefit, instead becoming the victim of exploitation.

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5. Gap Inc.

Chairman & CEO: Glenn K. Murphy

Global Headquarters:
2 Folsom St.
San Francisco, CA 94105
Phone: (650) 952-4400

Abuses: refusal to sign “Accord of Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh,” refusal to compensate victims’ families, workers’ rights violations, unsafe building conditions

Gap Inc. owns various clothing companies including Athleta, Banana Republic, Gap, Old Navy, and Piperlime. The corporation is a top purchaser of Bangladeshi-made clothes, but it refuses to protect the workers in Bangladesh who supply the company’s merchandise. Four million people work in the $20 billion Bangladeshi garment industry, which continues to grow at the cost of human safety. Numerous safety disasters have occurred over the recent years in Bangladeshi clothing factories, yet Gap Inc. fails to take responsibility for its suppliers in Bangladesh and support better working conditions.

In November 2012, 111 people died in Dhaka, Bangladesh in a fire at the Tazreen Fashions factory, a Gap Inc. clothing supplier. In April 2013, the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Savar killed more than 1,100 people. And in October 2013, there was a fire at the Aswad Composite Mills factory also in Dhaka, killing 10 people and injuring dozens. The Aswad Composite Mills factory was a direct supplier of Gap Inc.

Gap has refused to take responsibility for the conditions of its subsidiaries and suppliers, or to compensate the families of workers who died or were injured at the Asward Composite Mills fire. In May 2014 at Gap Inc.’s annual shareholder meeting, protestors rallied to fight for protection of garment workers’ lives, yet Gap executives had no comment. In addition to refusing to compensate families, it refuses to sign the “Accord for Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh,” a binding agreement to protect workers. Championed by the International Labor Rights Forum, this agreement with unions has been signed by over 100 global apparel brands that have agreed to take responsibility for safety in their supply chain.

The Accord demands that companies meet higher safety standards, requires third-party inspections, and agrees that retailers will contribute to funding for safety improvements in the supplier factories. By refusing to sign the Accord, Gap undermines this reform and is promoting a non-binding, corporate-controlled agreement called the “Alliance for Worker Safety.” Gap Inc. has brought other corporation giants with it including Walmart and Target. The program excludes workers and representatives of workers and exempts retail corporations from paying any money toward repairs and renovations of unsafe factories. Gap’s program is not legally enforceable, does not involve third-party inspection, and fails to protect the workers’ rights.

Without full participation of corporations like Gap Inc., violations of safety standards will persist in Bangladeshi factories. Buildings will continue to lack basic safety features including emergency exits, adequate staircases, and safe and modern electrical systems.

Prior to the recent tragedies, Gap Inc. has been a well known sweatshop company; workers in supplier factories that service Gap are forced to work unethically long hours for insufficient, poverty-level wages. Most workers make about $38 per month. According to Not For Sale’s Free2Work report, Gap Inc. fails to guarantee workers a living wage. As they did in the Rana Plaza incident, managers will order workers to stay in structurally unsafe buildings, knowingly putting peoples lives on the line. Factory workers cannot stand up for their rights because they fear the risk of losing their jobs or suffering violent punishment.

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6. Ghirardelli Chocolate Company

CEO: Martin E. Thompson
VP of Quality Assurance: Steve Genzoli

Corporate Headquarters:
1111 139th Ave
San Leandro, CA 94578
Phone: (800) 877-9338

Abuses: refusal to use Fair Trade labor and continual support of child labor; use of labor that violates human rights standards; creating environmental destruction and poverty

Ghirardelli Chocolate Company is a San Francisco-based company, but is now owned by Lindt & Sprungli, the Swiss chocolate and confectionery company. Ghirardelli has multiple stores in San Francisco, and numerous other locations around the United States. 

The bulk of the chocolate industry is dependent on cocoa farms primarily located in West Africa. While these cocoa farms produce 40% of the world’s cocoa supply, there has been much concern about the industry’s use of forced child labor, human trafficking, and slavery for actual production. Children growing up in poverty are trafficked from neighboring countries to these cocoa farms where they are forced to work under dangerous conditions for little or no wages. Ghirardelli Chocolate does not use Fair Trade certified cocoa, the only way to guarantee that no child labor is used in the chocolate supply chain.

According to ratings released by Not For Sale’s Free2Work Project, Ghirardelli scores a C- overall and an F in the Worker Rights category. While Ghirardelli has a policy for supplier code of conduct that aligns with the principles of the ILO, the brand does not publish its supplier list. There is no transparency into Ghirardelli’s supply chain, and the company continually has not made efforts to make its cocoa beans traceable. None of their suppliers are monitored annually and the company does not ensure that workers are receiving a living wage. Since Ghirardelli will not release information about its cocoa suppliers, it is impossible to ensure that its chocolate is free from unfair labor practices.

While other major companies like Hershey’s have pledged to use Fair Trade certified chocolate, Ghirardelli does not have a system that ensures its cocoa has not been produced by child labor. In addition to ensuring fair payment for work and safety standards, Fair Trade ensures the payment of a social premium, which communities collectively choose how to use. Fair Trade allows marginalized farmers and craftspeople to earn fair wages and gain economic opportunity. Fair Trade certified farms meet higher social and environmental standards, improving communities and ensuring farmers a living wage. Fair Trade certification is a necessity to ensure that cocoa farmers are not exploited and children are not subjected to forced labor.

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Documentary Resource: The Dark Side of Chocolate

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7. Glencore Xstrata

CEO: Ivan Glasenberg
Chairman: Anthony Hayward

Headquarters:
Baarermattstrasse 3
CH-6340 Baar
Switzerland
Phone: +41 41 709 2000

Abuses: dumping of toxic tailings, tax evasion, police brutality, destruction of communities, human rights violations, environmental degradation

Glencore Xstrata is the world’s largest diversified trader in commodities including coal, oil, copper, zinc, lead, aluminum, metal alloys, grains, and oilseeds. The corporation started as a commodity trader, and is now a mining and oil production company. Glencore Xstrata is violating the social, cultural, and political rights of communities and destroying the environment.

In general, tailings (mine-processing wastes) contain three dozen dangerous chemicals including arsenic, lead, mercury, and cyanide. Dumping of tailings (generally into water sources) threatens drinking water, food supply, health of communities, aquatic life, and ecosystems. Glencore Xstrata’s mining activities are forcing indigenous people from their homes, separating communities, polluting water, destroying land, and corrupting authorities. The corporation enters communities, violates human rights, damages the environment, and also evades taxes. Glencore Xstrata’s continued tax evasion deprives suffering countries from needed income and steals vital natural resources.

Many communities are facing challenges created by Glencore Xstrata mines, especially in countries in the Global South including Bolivia, Argentina, Columbia, Chile, the Philippines, Peru and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). In Bolivia, water and air pollution is threatening the health and livelihood of local communities. In Argentina, intense environmental pollution is causing incessant infringement of the laws. Multiple legal proceedings have been brought against Glencore Xstrata. In Colombia, the corporation is facing disciplinary proceeding before the national Authority of Environmental Licenses.

In Chile, a Glencore Xstrata subsidiary is building a hydroelectric project that will dam the Rio Cuervo River in the Patagonia region. Communities are very concerned about the negative affects this project will have on their homes, livelihood, and the environment. Additionally in the Philippines, indigenous people’s right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent has been violated. Through Glencore Xstrata’s Tampakan Cooper-Gold Project, 5000 indigenous people in the Philippines are being forcibly displaced, water sources are being threatened, and pristine forests are being destroyed. The corporation relies on police and soldiers which have exhibited excessive force: in October 2012, a soldier killed an indigenous woman and her two sons who were a part of a group that opposes the Tampakan project.

Glencore Xstrata faces resistance for its mining activities. However, people who protest and fight back are intimidated, threatened, and even criminalized. The company has close connections with state police who are employed to suppress demonstrations. Police brutality toward protestors is especially severe in Peru. In 2012 when police were forcibly restraining a protest against the Tintaya Mine, 3 died and 45 were injured. People are arrested on unsubstantiated charges. Additionally, community leaders in Espinar, Peru (where the Tintaya Mine is located) are often arrested for fighting for human rights.

Glencore Xstrata continually manipulates public knowledge and claims to generate economic value for local communities. In reality, tax evasion and corrupt practices are keeping mining countries from the benefits of their natural resources. In the DRC, Glencore Xstrata's CEO Ivan Glasenberg told shareholders “to get products to the gate as cheaply as possible.” It is the corporations focus to gain as many profits as possible, without consideration of communities and human rights. Glencore Xstrata transfers profits to tax havens and continually steals from the communities. These practices negatively affect communities and additionally Glencore Xstrata refuses to aid communities that are displaced from their homes.

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8. HSBC

CEO: Stuart Gulliver
Chairman: Douglas Flint

USA Headquarters:
452 5th Ave
New York, NY 10018
Phone: (212) 525-5000

Abuses: money laundering; financing conflict palm oil producers; destruction of land

HSBC is a leading global bank primarily involved in investment banking, originating from the United Kingdom and operating in over 85 countries. HSBC finances the production of palm oil as a financial backer and shareholder in companies like Sime Darby and Wilmar International. HSBC’s financial activity allows for land grabs and human rights violations in Malaysia, Indonesia, Liberia, and Uganda; in result these countries are facing severe land and environmental degradation including deforestation.

Production of conflict palm oil (an edible vegetable oil extracted from the pulp of palm fruit) is a world crisis causing extensive human rights violations and environmental degradation. HSBC’s financial assistance to palm oil producers like Wilmar is contributing to destruction of high conservation value land areas in Malaysia and Indonesia without approval of the local communities. People are being deprived of food and livelihood as they are forcibly evicted from the land where they have lived and worked for years.

HSBC is a signatory of the UN Global Compact, in which the bank agreed to principles surrounding human rights and environmental responsibility, yet it continues to violate human rights and degrade the environment. Additionally, HSBC has its own sustainability principles, but does not act on them, despite Willmar’s clear violations. Wilmar owns palm oil plantations and refineries in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Uganda. On Kalangala Island in Uganda, HSBC and Wilmar are responsible for the deforestation for 3,600 hectares, which has displaced farmers and families without compensation. Islanders are robbed of food, medicine, and livelihood. HSBC does not only loan money to Wilmar, but also has shares in the company.

Additionally, in 2012 HSBC was charged with cases of money laundering. In 2002 HSBC bought the Mexican bank Banco Internacional, S.A.; a review conducted before this purchase showed the bank did not have a functioning compliance program, but HSBC did not take preemptive action and tighten its anti-money laundering policies. According to the U.S. Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations’
2012 Report, HSBC is guilty of “a wide array of money laundering, drug trafficking, and terrorist financing.” Over the past decades, HSBC has funneled billions of dollars to drug lords, rogue nations, and even Saudi banks that are linked to terrorism. The Senate report says that HSBC had significant financial connections with Saudi Arabia's Al Rajhi Bank, and evidence indicates that the bank’s founder was “an early financial benefactor of al Qaeda.” Additionally, HSBC’s Mexican affiliate channeled $7 billion into the U.S. between 2007 and 2008 through money laundering for Mexican drug cartels, according to the Senate report.

Despite HSBC’s criminal behavior, the Senate deemed the bank “too big to prosecute.” The bank and the executives involved in the laundering decisions were granted immunity and still remain in leadership at the corporation. The only punishment for its crimes was a $1.9 billion fine, which is equal to about one month of HSBC’s profits. Although the corporation was fined for its criminal behavior, the executives were granted immunity from being individually prosecuted. With immunity granted to the executives, HSBC continues to prevail and put profits before people, even if it means engaging in criminal activity.

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9. Koch Industries

Chairman & CEO: Charles Koch
Executive VP: David H. Koch

Headquarters:
4111 E 37th St N
Wichita, KS, 67220
Phone: (316) 828-5500

Abuses: thwarting public policy; forcing policies on funded politicians, judges, and organizations; working to destroy minimum wage, unions, and social security; re-segregation of public schools; toxic pollution

Koch Industries is one of the top 15 polluters in the U.S. and is responsible for up to 300 oil spills, while simultaneously working to eliminate workers rights, reduce protections and workers’ pay. Run by brothers Charles and David Koch, Koch Industries is an American multinational manufacturing, trading, and investments corporation based in Kansas. According to Forbes 2013, Koch Industries is the second largest privately held company in the United States. The corporation includes companies like Invista and Georgia-Pacific, and has many operations including manufacturing, refining and distribution of petroleum, chemical technology, fertilizers, paper, ranching, finance, and much more. While running this corporation, the Koch brothers use their profits to make significant political campaign contributions and thwart public policy by influencing Congress with money, ultimately using their wealth to become dominant players in shaping the country.

Charles and David Koch each make $1.8 billion dollars per hour, and they spend this money readily to serve their agenda. Their profits from Koch Industries fund politicians, judges, organizations, and universities with strings attached; the Koch brothers force their own principles and policies on the people and organizations they fund. The brothers gave $80 million to 85 organizations and over $57 million to over 150 colleges and universities. Koch-funded universities allow the Koch brothers to have excessive control over the universities’ internal affairs; universities are expected to give up values in exchange for money. After donating $1 million to The Catholic University in Washington D.C. to build a new Koch-influenced business school, university members protested as the Koch brothers agenda contradicted Catholic ethics and beliefs, and they refused to give up their values.

The Koch brothers actively use their money to to deny people’s rights. As some of the wealthiest individuals in the world, the Kochs continuously fight against the institution of minimum wage by funding the Fraser Institute. Charles and David Koch feel that public safeguards for workers rights create a culture of dependency. The brothers are also working to destroy unions and social security. Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity and American Lesislative Exchange Council (ALEC) have drafted anti-union legislation to stop collective bargaining rights for workers. The Koch brothers also fund think tanks and philanthropic organizations to distribute false information about the social security system being bankrupt.

In 2009, the Kochs tried to re-segregate the Wake County Public School System in North Carolina. The brothers took control of the state legislature by funding politicians, and also funded candidates for the school board. These politicians worked to dismantle the entire school system and change to "neighborhood schools," ultimately segregating the community. This push toward privatization of the school system destroyed equal opportunity and was very damaging to the community.

Additionally, Koch Industries supports the Keystone XL pipeline to expand the tar sands, and dirty energy. While the corporation lobbies against environmental regulations like chemical safety rules, it severely pollutes the environment. In Crossett, Louisiana, Koch Industries’ pollution is allegedly causing lung cancer, and 11 have died. A Georgia Pacific Plant is dumping pollution into a huge channel full of various chemicals creating an open sewer line. This pollution is very harsh for breathing and causes soreness in the throat and pain in the eyes. The people who live in this community are breathing this polluted air and the community members are experiencing breathing complications and high rates of lung cancer. This kind of pollution is criminal and directly breaks laws made by the Clean Water Act. The Louisiana state representatives are heavily influenced by the Koch brothers, and Koch Industries is rarely caught for such pollution crimes. If caught, it pays the fines and continues to pollute.

Koch Industries puts profits above everything else, and persistently works to take a toll on democracy. The Koch brothers use their billions to knock down the middle class and stomp on the poor. As their wealth continues to grow, the Kochs continue to fuel inequality in America.

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Documentary Resource: Koch Brothers Exposed: 2014 Edition by Brave New Films

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10. PepsiCo

Chairman & CEO: Indra Nooyi

Headquarters:
700 Anderson Hill Rd
Purchase, NY 10577
Phone: (914) 253-2000

Abuses: deforestation, destruction of peatlands, land grabs, species extinction, greenhouse gas emissions, commodification of water, use of GMOs and prevention of labeling GMO foods, labor-busting, and privatization of public services

PepsiCo does not simply produce soda drinks; it also owns dozens of other snack brands including Frito-Lay, Gatorade, Tropicana, and Quaker. PepsiCo also includes Lipton, Aquafina, Sabra Hummus, Naked Juice, and others. Many of these popular snack foods contain conflict palm oil. According to Rainforest Action Network, PepsiCo uses more than 450,000 metric tons of conflict palm oil each year in its products. The production of conflict palm oil causes rainforest and peatland destruction, species extinction, greenhouse gas emissions, and human rights abuses.

Deforestation and destruction of peatlands (carbon-rich, wet ecosystems) for expansion of palm oil plantations are threatening irreplaceable ecosystems in Indonesia and Malaysia. At the current rate of destruction, 98% of Indonesia’s forest will be destroyed by 2022, according to the UN Environmental Program. Malaysia and Indonesia’s Borneo and Sumatra Rainforests are the only remaining rainforests where orangutans live. In addition to orangutans, Sumatran tigers and rhinoceroses are also facing extinction; there are only hundreds of these animals left in the wild. PepsiCo’s deforestation and destruction of peatlands is also contributing to global green house gas emissions.

While degrading the land and polluting the environment, PepsiCo is forcing local communities off their land. In Indonesia there are as many as 110 million indigenous people who depend on the forests, and many of these people are being displaced. Sawit Watch, an Indonesian organization that monitors palm oil production, reports that there are 663 ongoing land disputes between companies like PepsiCo and indigenous communities. These disputes often lead to the use of violent private armies, which has resulted in deaths.

Additionally, PepsiCo’s practices greatly deplete groundwater resources and pollutants degrade the quality of water in local communities. PepsiCo owns Aquafina, which produces bottled water, and contributes to the enormous amount of plastic waste and unsustainable depletion of groundwater supply caused by bottled water production.

PepsiCo's practices include borad uses of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in many of its food items including processed snacks, cereal, and even beverages like soda and juice. Not only does PepsiCo use GMOs, it also spent $2,485,400 in 2013 to fight against California’s Prop 37 to label GMO foods.

PepsiCo’s crimes are extensive and widespread, and the corporation continually does everything it can to put profits before people and the environment.

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Repeat Offender: Monsanto

Chairman & CEO: Hugh Grant

Headquarters:
800 N Lindbergh Blvd
St Louis, MO 63141
Phone: (314) 694-1000

Abuses: harmful toxic chemical creation and use, GMO manufacturing, refusal to label products, monocropping, bankrupting small farms, seed patenting, monopolization of global food markets

Monsanto has been featured as a Corporate Criminal before, and now returns to the list as our first-ever "repeat offender." Our previous report on Monsanto includes an extensive description of the company and its crimes and is available for reference on the Corporate Criminals alumni list. This is a brief explanation of the company’s crimes and an update on its latest offenses.

Beginning as a chemical company producing (and hiding the health risks of) DDT and Agent Orange, Monsanto has become a multinational agrochemical and agricultural biotechnology powerhouse specializing in genetically engineered (GE) seeds and herbicides, including the weed killer Roundup. Monsanto’s GE seeds are inserted with generic material, altering the seeds to repel pests and endure herbicide use. Monsanto then patents its GE seeds to give the company extensive legal rights allowing it to easily sue farmers for violations of the patent. In the United States, 93% of soybeans and 80% of corn is grown from Monsanto-patented GE seeds. Farmers cannot save leftover seeds for re-use and Monsanto can visit the farmer’s land whenever it pleases. Ultimately Monsanto’s control over seeds harms farmers, the environment, and the global economy.

Monsanto’s development of genetically modified organism (GMO) crops is linked with the need for farmers to use dangerous pesticides while the crops are growing. Overuse of pesticide-resistant GMO crops in combination with pesticides like Roundup is creating uncontrollable “superweeds” that are plaguing U.S. farmland. Regular spraying is causing growing resistance, and now Monsanto is starting to pair GMO crops with stronger and more dangerous chemicals. These stronger pesticides pose an even greater risk to consumers, farmers, and the environment as these chemicals have severe health risks. Monsanto’s chemical use is so harmful, that the Environmental Protection Agency has labeled 5 Monsanto-owned facilities as some of the most hazardous toxic sites in the country.

Further, Monsanto has been fervently working against campaigns for GMO labeling on food products. As consumers increasingly demand to know what is in their food, Monsanto has been resistant about transparency. Monsanto and other creators of GMO Answers (a website designed to spread misinformation about GMOs) has committed to spend millions more annually for several more years to keep GMO labels off of food products, as campaigns grow at the U.S. state level. Spending $8.1 million, Monsanto was the largest contributor toward the defeat of California’s Prop. 37 in 2013, keeping labels off of GMO foods in CA. Now as propositions to label GMO foods continue to appear on ballots in more states, including Oregon, Monsanto continues to fight to keep American consumers in the dark about their food.

The list of Monsanto’s offenses and dirty business transactions goes on and on, and we urge you to read more and take action. The Organic Consumers Association group “Millions Against Monsanto” lists many actions to fight against Monsanto’s criminal behavior and Food & Water Watch offers various images of inexcusable Monsanto Facts that can be shared on social media. Take a stand against this corporate criminal and let your voice be heard!

TAKE ACTION! via Millions Against Monsanto and Food & Water Watch

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