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‘Drau-ni-Salato’ Award for worst TNC in Fiji


‘Drau-ni-Salato’ Award for worst TNC in Fiji

The public will be involved in a symbolic ‘drau-ni-salato’ award to be granted for the worst transnational corporation (TNC) or company operating in the Fiji Islands in 2003.

The ‘drau-ni-salato’ award will call for nominations from the public for the TNC or company that has the most negative impact in each or all of the following fields: abuse of workers/conditions, political interference, environmental damage, cultural imperialism, monopoly, profiteering, running ideological crusade, impact on women, and health and safety of workers and the public.

The award is organised by the Pacific Network on Globalisation (PANG) and ECREA.

“The aim of the award is to increase awareness about the operations of TNCs, and to get the community involved and heard about the ways TNCs affect them,” said PANG coordinator, Stanley Simpson. “Through globalisation, many TNCs have been exploiting developing countries like Fiji and have gained power and influence over government policies and communities.”

Names of those who nominate will be confidential but the nominations will be thoroughly researched. A panel of eminent local judges will go through the nominations made by the public to pick which TNC or company rates as having the most negative impact or image this year.

The 4-member judging panel this year is made up of a USP academic, a high chief and prominent lawyer, and development specialist, and a social worker and Catholic priest.

“Whether it is the oil or mining company that pollutes our rivers and oceans, the bank or service that charges ridiculously high fees, the company exploiting cheap labour and poor labour standards while raking in big profits, the fast-food company feeding our kids junk and affecting culture, or such, we want to know what people feel about TNCs operating in their communities,” Simpson said.

The positive contributions of TNCs will also explored by the judging panel, but this will be measured against the negative impacts to establish whether their negative impacts outweigh their contributions.

The term ‘drau-ni-salato’ award was chosen as the name for this award as in the Fijian language it refers to the leaf of a plant that causes and irritating itch. The award is symbolic. The award is modeled to the New Zealand ‘Roger Award’ for worst TNC operating in NZ.

Nomination forms will be advertised and is available from the ECREA office in Bau Street, Suva.


Background to ‘drau ni salato’ award for worst TNC in Fiji in 2003

A Transnational Corporation (TNC) operates in nations outside of their headquarters, and business practices are usually dictated from outside the country of operation. This distance between transnational corporation headquarters (usually in developed countries) and production (most likely developing and poor countries) has resulted in many corporations not acting responsibly towards the nation that their production operates in. Overall transnational corporations have a long history of acting irresponsibly in regards to the nations or communities that their production resides in. In response to the increased irresponsibility of transnational corporations the ‘Roger Award’ was started in 1997 in New Zealand.

Based on the success of the ‘Roger Award’ in New Zealand, ECREA and PANG are looking to start a similar award here in the Fiji Islands for the worst Company or Transnational Corporation operating here.

The ‘drau-ni-salato’ award is to be given to a transnational corporation or company that has the most negative impact in each or all of the following fields: unemployment, monopoly, profiteering, abuse of workers/conditions, political interference, environmental damage, cultural imperialism, running ideological crusade, impact on women, health and safety of workers and the public.

The term drau ni salato was chosen as the name of this award as in the Fijian language it refers to the leaf of a plant that causes an irritating itch.

Some examples of irresponsible behaviour of TNCs are:

- using inadequate standards in poor countries that would not be allowed in their countries of origin

- Pollution and lobbying against strict environmental laws and punishment

- Dumping products in developing countries that are health hazards

- Charging high fees for their services while raking in big profits

- Misleading and often racist advertising often demeaning local cultures

- Bribing politicians and governments, corruption etc

By giving this award ECREA and PANG hope to raise public awareness on the impact that transnational corporations have on the Fiji Islands. It will also help TNCs assess how the public views their operation practices and products.

Nominations will be called from the public. A panel of professional and eminent judges will look at the nominations and shortlist of finalists for the ‘drau-ni-salato’ award. The judges will be looking at a set of criteria and will also look at the positive contributions of the TNCs to weigh against the negative effects of their operations. Thorough and comprehensive investigations will be made on the TNCs short-listed to verify the reasons they were nominated. The top TNCs awarded the ‘drau-ni-salato’ award for worst TNC in Fiji will be based on solid evidence that will stand in a court of law, although it is opinionated.

Nomination forms will be advertised and circulated as widely as possible.

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