MAC: Mines and Communities

A Third Strike finds Anil Agarwal "Out"

Published by MAC on 2012-05-22
Source: Business for Peace Foundation

London Calling on new humiliation of Vedanta boss

Yet again, London-listed Vedanta Resources, and its head honcho Anil Agarwal, have fallen foul of international standards.

Last week, its VAL subsidiary in Orissa had prestigious awards withdrawn - almost at the last minute - by two UK safety watchdogs. See: Vedanta Aluminium's Indian safety record is tarnished

Now we learn that two global industry organisations also pulled their nomination of Mr Agarwal on learning about his company's sullied record - this time as a "leader" in promoting "business ethics".

Agarwal's gong was to have been bestowed on him (and six other candidates)  by the Oslo-based Business for Peace Foundation (BfPF) on 7 May 2012.

Assisting BfBF in drawing up the nominations was the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) following a search "for outstanding business people who have been able to achieve business success while acting in an ethically responsible way".

Just not cricket!

Not to be confused with either the International Criminal Court, nor the International Cricket Council, the ICC claims to be "the world's only truly global business organization".

It's therefore quite significant that the body sanctioned the withdrawal of Agarwal's award.

Nonetheless, we're disturbed to find that professor Muhammad Yunus was one of the two members of the award-giving selection committee.

As founder of world-renowned Grameen development bank in Bangladesh, Yunus should surely have kept a closer watching brief on what his fellow South Asian capitalist has been up to in recent years.

We only learned of this additional humiliation of Mr Agarwal late last week, when sent a press release by Amnesty Norway, dated 7th May 2012 - the day the award was due to have been made.

However, judging from a 17 April statement [see below], both the ICC and BfPF had  decided to cold-shoulder Vedanta's executive chairman at least a month earlier.

It's strange that the two organisations failed to reveal Agarwal's exclusion at that time.

Indeed, they continued announcing there'd be seven recipients of the awards, even though only six were mentioned by name and Agarwal's wasn't among them.

No way, Norway

Secretarial slips are one thing. The BfPF itself made a much worse error of judgment when agreeing to Agarwal's nomination in the first place.

Based in Oslo, the Foundation required only a brief call on Norway's Ministry of Finance to discover that Vedanta had been ejected from the government's investment portfolio, back in November 2007.

The company's "grossly unethical" conduct was condemned by Norway's Council on Ethics, which also determined that this wasn't likely to change. See: Norwegian government indicts Vedanta as "grossly unethical"

From what we've gathered, it was thanks only to protests by Amnesty Norway that the BfPF gave Agarwal the boot last month.

The London-based Indian billionaire isn't thought to have set foot in Norway at any point over the past four years.

Oslo Business for Peace Awards 2012 recipients announced

Business for Peace Foundation press release

17 April 2012

Oslo - The Business for Peace Foundation and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) are pleased to announce the seven recipients of the 2012 Oslo Business for Peace Awards, the highest form of recognition that can be bestowed upon a person in business.

Honourees Ibrahim Abouleish (Egypt), Eduardo Eurnekian (Argentina), Vladas Lasas (Lithuania), David W. MacLennan (USA), Reginald A. Mengi (Tanzania) and Latifur Rahman (Bangladesh) will receive their Awards during a special ceremony on 7 May, taking place as part of the Oslo Business for Peace Summit in Oslo City Hall, Norway.

Recipients are selected by The Award Giving Committee, comprising Muhammad Yunus (winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for 2006), and A Michael Spence (winner of the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel for 2001). For the 2012 Award, there were 90 nominees from 60 nations.

The Summit, entitled ‘Essences of Trust in Business Today,' will feature Keynote speeches by Alexandra Christina, Countess of Fredriksborg, and Roberto Servitje Sendra, Founding Member and Chairman of Grupo Bimbo.

"The Business for Peace Awards demonstrate the potential of the private sector to contribute to world peace. ICC is honoured and dedicated to support the advancement of the Oslo Business for Peace Awards which also reflect the resolve of ICC founders to promote peace through private enterprise," said ICC Secretary General Jean-Guy Carrier.

"The aim of the Award is to inspire business people worldwide to recognize the role of responsible ethics in strengthening the business case, through a marriage of performance with higher purpose which leads to businessworthy behaviour," said Per Leif Saxegaard, Chairman of the Business for Peace Foundation.

The Business for Peace Foundation was founded in 2007 in the belief that socially responsible and ethical initiatives will stand the test as a business case and gradually, as the moral culture of corporations matures, constitute an integral part of modern business.

Supporting partners of the Business for Peace Foundation, headquartered in Oslo, are ICC, the City of Oslo, the Oslo Chamber of Commerce and the initiators of the Oslo World Trade Centre.

Media contacts

Business for Peace Foundation
Per Leif Saxegaard, Founder, Chairman,
Phone: +47 23 11 68 00

Business for Peace Foundation
Bjørn Richard Johansen, Media and press liaison
Mobile: +47 47 800 100

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