Here’s a competition you may have missed: Swiss company Covalence has issued its 2009 rankings for company ethics. They have ranked a total of 581 multinationals, with the usual Technology suspects at the top of the pile: IBM are first, Intel second, with Xerox, Cisco and Dell coming in at 6, 8 and 9. HSBC score one for banking with third, our own Marks and Spencer are fourth, and Unilever fifth.
But not everyone can be top dog, and therefore there has to be someone at the other end of the scale. So who’s in the basement? Well, for a taster, eleventh worst is Italian TV company Mediaset SpA, founded and still run by “Duce” Berlusconi. Tenth worst is French oil giant Total, and it isn’t the only one in its sector inhabiting the bottom ten: Occidental are sixth worst, Chevron third worst, and – guess who’s coming for some war action – Halliburton, forever linked with former Veep “Dick” Cheney, second worst.
And in among these pillars of capitalism is another company that features more than occasionally on this blog: Ryanair, the Millwall of air carriers (everybody hates us and we don’t care) come in seventh worst, and are the worst in their sector.
But rock bottom is king of Agribiz Monsanto, world leader in the production of genetically modified seed. They stand accused of frequently and unfairly suing small farmers for patent infringement, and thus provide a lesson as to what might happen to any country letting GM crops in. That action, if true, is bang out of order.