Thursday, 26 July 2012

Xstrata and Glencore - certification of the social licence - business ethics or lack of them

On 20 May 2011, The Times Business Editor, Ian King, voiced little doubt that “small” investors, at least, should steer clear of carving out a stake for themselves in this particular golden calf.
In a remarkably robust comment, King damned Glencore as "...a business with dubious morals. It trades grain amid food riots and has been accused of profiteering and environmental offences in numerous poor and war-torn countries”. He went on: "Most of those signing up to buy shares in Glencore's flotation are major Middle Eastern and Far Eastern investors. Few of the traditional City institutions will touch the shares with a bargepole. The question is, should you?"
I posted yesterday about goings on in a proposed merger between Xstrata and Glencore - particularly involving a major shareholder, Qatar Holding. To-day The Network is having a closer look at Glencore.

Are money and morals mutually exclusive when money is large, omnipresent, and the clear focus of the actors involved?  This question can be asked of many corporate players but, in researching Glencore, questions of ethics and morality come up time and again - across the globe.  I think Australians should look closely at this corporation because, if the much mooted merger of Glencore and Xstrata comes into play after meetings in September, Glencore and Xstrata will become the third largest minerals and mining company in the world and a rival for BHPBilliton and Rio Tinto.
Check these links below

In Australia, the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission has looked at the proposed merger and won't intervene to stop it.  What a surprise!  

Seems to me that  we need a body that can look at corporate ethics and whether corporations are worthy of receiving social licence/certification to carry out their operations in Australia.  Sometimes one thinks it would be just as easy for Hitler Inc to come into the country and build gas ovens.  Why do nations everywhere have to open wide their doors to corporate cowboys simply because they are now wearing city suits and steering, not horses, but fancy motor vehicles? 

Bolivia has nationalised Glencore mines there.  This is part of an overall economic policy carried out by the Bolivian Government under President Evo Morales.  Read more about this here.

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