WHY VOTE FOR VATTENFALL
The company that doesn’t respect democratic energy policy.
Vattenfall has undermined environmental protection and democratic energy policy in Germany, according to activists.
It has used the controversial ISDS system of corporate courts to sue Germany TWICE.
First Vattenfall sued because the government of Hamburg dared to introduce new environmental regulations on a dirty coal fired power station. These were designed to help protect the Elbe river. Here they successfully used ISDS to strong-arm the government into weakening the regulation.
Now the company has sued Germany for putting an end to nuclear power. This was a decision made after the Fukushima disaster with overwhelming public support. While the company says they “fully accept” the decision to phase out nuclear power, it could be argued that, by pursuing this case, Vattenfall are suing Germany for making a democratic decision.
Do you think they deserve to receive a Golden Toilet Brush for this? Then VOTE for them by placing their logo where it belongs. In the toilet!
WHY VOTE FOR SHELL
The polluter of Nigeria.
Shell is one of the world’s biggest oil companies and bears a great deal of responsibility for climate change.
But they have also been accused of contributing to local environmental damage where they work. The most famous case is in the Niger Delta in Nigeria where Shell extract large amounts of oil while local people live in poverty dealing with pollution and oil spills so bad it has made whole villages uninhabitable. Shell has denied causing the problem, blaming sabotage and theft, but Amnesty found that the company has been “willfully negligent” in its response to spills. Shell have also used the obscure ISDS system of corporate courts against Nigeria.
Lawsuits have been brought against Shell but campaigners argue that it is hard to win justice for victims of big multinational oil companies. They argue that companies need to be brought to account wherever they do damage and a UN Binding Treaty would really help in this respect.
But until we win that battle, we can still give Shell an award!
Do you think Shell deserves a Golden Toilet Brush Award for all of this? Then VOTE for them by placing their logo where it belongs. In the toilet!
WHY VOTE FOR TOTAL
The oil company that tried to sue its way out of paying tax
Total is France’s biggest oil and gas company. This has led to it receiving criticism from climate campaigners.
But we are nominating Total not only for its horrible climate-destroying activities but for its terrible use of ISDS “corporate courts”. You see, not content with destroying the climate for profit, Total also isn’t very keen on paying tax on these gains. So it sued Uganda because that country was demanding that Total pay stamp duty on the shares in an oil exploration project it bought from UK firm Tullow Oil. Total argued that an agreement concluded with the Ugandan government included a tax waiver. The case was settled out of court.
This project threatens to displace local people from their land. Civil society organizations from France and Uganda have decided to take action using France’s ground breaking Duty of Vigilance law which forces corporations to identify, prevent and remedy human rights violations and environmental damages that take place in their supply chain.
Do you think Total deserves a Golden Toilet Brush Award for all of this? Then VOTE for them by placing their logo where it belongs. In the toilet!
WHY VOTE FOR FRESHFIELDS
The lawyers that profit from a system that attacks democratic decisions
Freshfields is a law firm. And it is one of the busiest law firms for Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS). This is an obscure system of “corporate courts” that multinationals use to sue our governments for doing things they don’t like. This can include environmental regulations, labour rights, food safety rules, health measures. Freshfields, for example, was involved in representing companies suing Argentina for refusing to raise electricity tariffs in Buenos Aires.
This awful system allows big corporations to bully governments into getting their own way. Politicians don’t dare do the right thing and stand up for the public interest because they fear getting sued using ISDS. Freshfields is amongst the legal world’s biggest profiteers from this huge injustice. In 2018, the law firm was involved in 44 ISDS cases, raking in large sums in revenue.
Do you think Freshfields deserves a Golden Toilet Brush Award for this? Then VOTE for them by placing their logo where it belongs. In the toilet!
WHY VOTE FOR LYDIAN
The firm that sued a country for not cracking down on protest
The right to protest is a basic human right. But that didn’t stop Lydian from threatening to sue Armenia for failing to act over protests of local people against a gold mine.
The system that allowed Lydian to do this is Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) – an obscure system of “corporate courts” that multinationals use to sue our governments for doing things they don’t like. In this case they successfully manoeuvred Armenia into doing their bidding.
Lydian’s planned Amulsar mine is located near to the country’s prized Jermuk resort. Locals, sick to death of pollution from the site leading to everything from muddy tapwater to dead fish, began blockading the site as a protest. Lydian responded by threatening to sue Armenia for its “failure” to ensure the protests did not hinder the project. It could be argued that this may be the first instance of a company using ISDS to attack a government for not behaving like a dictatorship. With ISDS, democracy itself is a crime.
In the face of the claim, the Armenian government backed down and is to allow the mine to continue.
Do you think Lydian deserves a Golden Toilet Brush Award for this? Then VOTE for them by placing their logo where it belongs. In the toilet!
WHY VOTE FOR ROCKHOPPER
The company that wants to explore for oil off the Italian coast
Rockhopper is an oil exploration company. It was involved in oil exploration off the coast of Abruzzo in Italy.
When Italy passed a law that banned oil exploration within 12 nautical miles of the coast, locals celebrated as they believed exploration could have been damaging to the local environment and the tourist industry. But the law also meant that Rockhopper could no longer win concessions to explore for oil near the Italian coast. So the company then sued Italy for up to $350 million, a figure far higher than the amount of money Rockhopper invested in the rigs. They justified this because this figure reflects the profits the company predicted they “would have made” had the project gone ahead.
ISDS is a deeply unfair system of corporate courts that overrule governments and even national supreme courts. This system is what allowed Rockhopper to sue Italy for doing what was best for the environment.
Do you think Rockhopper deserves a Golden Toilet Brush Award for this? Then VOTE for them by placing their logo where it belongs. In the toilet!
WHY VOTE FOR GABRIEL RESOURCES
The firm that wants to wipe an ancient community off the map
Attempting to wipe an ancient community off the face of the earth to make way for a gold mine sounds bad enough. But Gabriel Resources didn’t give up when the Romanian government decided that destroying an entire community would not be allowed. Instead, it sued Romania using ISDS, an obscure system of “corporate courts” that multinationals use to sue our governments for doing things they don’t like.
The community of Rosia Montana won a long battle (starting in 1997) to stop the mine that would destroy their village. It turned into one of the biggest protest movements in post-Communist Romanian history, culminating in a huge protest in 2013.
But no sooner had they won, that Gabriel Resources decided to sue Romania using ISDS. So instead of the local people receiving compensation for years of worry and insecurity, it would be the people of Romania called upon to compensate the company for over €5 billion.
Do you think Gabriel Resources deserves a Golden Toilet Brush Award for this? Then VOTE for them by placing their logo where it belongs. In the toilet!
WHY VOTE FOR BBVA
For funding arms dealers, damaging projects and trying to fight social justice
BBVA is a Spanish bank that has a long history of investing big in the arms industry. Over the past 10 years, it has ranked in the top handful of European banks when it comes to making money from the arms & security industry (be it via granting them loans or acting as an investment bank). Between 2013-18 they have invested around 2.5 billion euros in the arms & security industry.
Some of these companies have been doing business in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the key belligerents involved in the horrific war in Yemen.
Outside of the arms industry BBVA has also invested in some highly damaging projects. It was a backer of the Hidroituango dam in Colombia that has been criticised for causing a “humanitarian crisis” and destroying whole communities.
BBVA has also used ISDS – an obscure system of courts used to bully governments who pass laws and rules corporations don’t like – to sue Bolivia for renationalising its pensions system.
Do you think BBVA deserves a Golden Toilet Brush Award for this? Then VOTE for them by placing their logo where it belongs. In the toilet!
WHY VOTE FOR NOVARTIS
The company that tried to price people out of a vital cancer drug
Novartis is a drugs company that holds the patent for a vital drug used to treat leukaemia (blood cancer) which is potentially fatal. The drug Gilvec is marketed by the company as being so effective that it was called a “magic bullet” and it has been recognised by the World Health Organisation as an “essential medicine”.
Despite it not being a rich country, in 2014, Novartis was selling Gilvec at a price of around €15,000 per year per patient, which is over 100 times the cost of production. The Colombian government decided that this was unreasonable and, to save lives, it considered granting what is called a “compulsory license” which would have allowed the production of generic alternatives.
Novartis has responded by threatening to sue Columbia for using the ISDS system of “corporate courts” that multinationals use to sue governments for doing things they don’t like.
Do you think Novartis deserves a Golden Toilet Brush Award for this? Then VOTE for them by placing their logo where it belongs. In the toilet!
WHY VOTE FOR BAYER-MONSANTO
The company that got away with selling herbicide that may give you cancer
Monsanto (now owned by the German company Bayer) is being nominated because it has got away with selling a product that has been assessed to be a probable cause of cancer.
Its flagship herbicide Roundup (generic name glyphosate) has been recognised by the World Health Organisation as “probably carcinogenic in humans”. And there are people across the world who blame the chemical for making them ill.
But instead of taking the product off the shelves, Monsanto has fought tooth and nail to keep selling it. They were successful in getting the EU to approve it for sale until 2022 though Austria has vowed to ban it.
Monsanto has also been accused of exploiting farmers in the global south with their proprietary seeds. Unlike traditional seeds (which can be resown every year for free), farmers have to repurchase Monsanto seeds every year.
Do you think Bayer-Monsanto deserves a Golden Toilet Brush Award for all of this? Then VOTE for them by placing their logo where it belongs. In the toilet!
 Shell has been named one of the world’s top 20 emitters by the Climate Accountability Institute https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/oct/09/revealed-20-firms-third-carbon-emissions
 According to figures from Global Arbitration Review, Freshfields was the second busiest investment arbitration firm in the world in 2018 with 44 cases. A 2012 report also found that Freshfields
 See note 15
 Data from following two reports: https://www.banktrack.org/download/banks_and_arms_explosive_investments/890_informe11_engish.pdf and http://www.centredelas.org/images/INFORMES_i_altres_PDF/informe28_BA2016_cas_web.pdf
 BBVA have given out over 2.4 billion euros in loans in this period but when you include investment banking activity the figure rises to over 2.7 billion euros. http://www.centredelas.org/images/INFORMES_i_altres_PDF/informe28_BA2016_cas_web.pdf
 Also spelled Gleevec