By Jubilee Australia
Rio Tinto and Mayur Resources were awarded the Corporate Cane Toad Award for their roles in contributing to environmental destruction and/or human rights violations worldwide. The winners were announced at a ceremony in Melbourne after a month of public voting in which over 1,000 people voted for the six companies nominated.
Rio Tinto was voted the most toxic company for its decade long failure to clean up mines in Bougainville and the recent destruction of Indigenous cultural sites in Australia. Mayur Resources received the second most votes from the public and the Cane Toad Award for pushing to open up a new polluting coal mine in the Pacific. Both are Australian mining resource companies.
“The Corporate Cane Toad Award names and shames Australian corporations implicated in Human rights violations and environmental destruction worldwide. People voted to crown Rio Tinto and Mayur Resources the country's most disgusting award and are demanding change” said Sam Cossar, Friends of the Earth’s Economic Justice campaigner.
“These inaugural Cane Toad Awards help draw attention to the ongoing problems of unethical and unacceptable corporate behaviour, and remind us of how much stronger our laws need to be in protecting human rights, including the rights of First Nations peoples, and the environment,” said Luke Fletcher, from Jubilee Australia.
Some of the largest and most influential Australian companies in the world were nominated for the awards by impacted communities and civil society organisations. These included ANZ - for financing climate-wrecking fossil fuels, BHP - for its involvement in Brazil’s worst environmental disaster, The Just Group - for the lack of public support to garment workers through the COVID-19 crisis, and Resgen - for its attempt to build a coal mine in South Africa.
“Women are disproportionally impacted by poverty, and the Corporate Cane Toad Award shows that Australian companies, whether through their action or lack of action, are driving deeper poverty, injustice, and gender inequality around the world,” said Katherine Tu from ActionAid Australia.
The award comes at a time when Australian companies are facing increased scrutiny over climate change commitments and riding roughshod on communities’ right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent both in Australia and overseas.
Friends of the Earth, Jubilee and ActionAid Australia, the organisers of the Corporate Cane Toad, demand new binding rules from the government to ensure companies respect Human Rights, women's rights and the environment.