Aktivister invaderar Davos gator i protest mot ISDS “företagsdomstolar”
Pålästa aktivister, klädda som företagsvargar, kommer att invadera Davos gator vid världsekonomiskt forums (WEF) årsmöte för att protestera mot storföretagens rätt att stämma stater, enligt kontroversiella “Investors State Dispute Settlement” (ISDS).
Aktionen kommer att äga rum den 23 januari, klockan 13,00, framför Davos stadsbibliotek.
ISDS-klausuler finns inom en rad frihandelsavtal, inklusive Trans Pacific Partnership och CETA, och gör det möjligt för multinationella företag att stämma stater via hemliga internationella tribunaler om en regering vidtar åtgärder som hotar deras vinster.
Detta innebär ett hot mot länders möjlighet att lagstifta kring till exempel högre miljökrav, bättre säkerhetsstandarder eller ha högre ambitioner inom till exempel folkhälsa.
Ett exempel är företaget Cargill som 2005 stämde Mexikanska staten efter att de implementerat skatt på högfruktossirap, för att ta itu med landets fetmakris. Cargill använde ISDS-klausulen inom Nafta. Cargill fick på detta sätt över 70 miljoner dollar i skadestånd från statens offentliga budget.
“Stoppa ISDS- koalitionen” en allians med över dussintalet icke statliga organisationer har organiserat aktionen och lanserar samtidigt en petition till Europeiska Unionen som de hoppas på ska få dem att sluta bidra till främjandet av ISDS. Koalitionens talesperson Alex Scrivener sade: “Medan VD:ar här i Davos säljer framtida visioner om sina företag till politiker, stämmer många av dem regeringar för att undergräva den progressiva politik vi behöver.”
ISDS-fall har lett till överföringar på över 60 miljarder dollar från offentliga medel till privata investerare. Och medan FN arbetar för att utveckla en internationell lag för företag och mänskliga rättigheter, står EU-länderna, inklusive Sverige, tysta i förhandlingarna.
Jordens Vänner har varit aktiva i kampanjen mot TTIP och CETA och detta år höjer vi insatsen mot maktens asymmetri under kampanjen ”Rättigheter för människor och regler för storföretag”.
Se petitionen här: stopisds.org
För mer information:
I Davos: Nelly Grotefendt – Stop ISDS Coalition| +49 176 800 35462 Grotefendt@forumue.de
Alex Scrivener – Stop ISDS Coalition Spokesperson | +31 6 25 58 29 03 | alex@S2Bnetwork.org
Jordens Vanner – Swedish part of the coalition
Background Information on the Campaign against ISDS and for Corporate Accountability
We are an alliance of over 100 organisations, trade unions and social movements, campaigning in favour of corporate accountability rules for companies, and against Investor to State Dispute Settlement, a parallel, one sided and unfair justice system for corporations.
On January 22, 2019, the coalition launched a European petition across 16 EU Member states, calling on the EU and European governments to end corporate privileges by withdrawing from existing trade and investment agreements containing ISDS clauses, and to exclude them from agreements in the future.
The campaign also call on the EU and Member States to support the achievement of a UN Binding Treaty on Multinationals and for domestic legislation to hold transnational corporations to account for human rights violations.
ISDS – KEY FACTS
- ISDS cases have led to awards of over $50 Billion USD from the public purse to private investors – more than the GDP of most nations.
- There has been an explosion of known cases in the last 20 years, from less than 10 in 1994 to 608 in 2014, of which 80% come from global corporations based in the US and Europe.
- US-based companies are by far the most frequent users, with twice as many cases as the country of the next largest users. Most cases are won by investors.
- Experts including Australia’s Chief Justice have raised serious concerns that ISDS is not independent or impartial.
- The ECJ recently ruled intra-EU ISDS cases are “incompatible with EU law.”
- The EU Commission’s public consultation on ISDS led to over 97% of respondents rejecting these corporate privileges
- EU Trade Commissioner, Cecilia Malmstrom, recently described ISDS as “the most toxic acronym in Europe.” This is part of the reason why the EU is currently attempt to create new acronyms for ISDS: ICS and MIC.
- Under ISDS, foreign investors have more rights than local companies and citizens – they can circumvent domestic courts and sue states directly through international tribunals.
- ISDS cases are usually heard by secretive courts made up of just three private arbitrators, appointed as “judges” – many of whom have previously worked for the companies taking cases.
- Even if a government wins the case, a 2012 OECD study found ISDS cases last for 3 to 5 years and the average cost is US$8 million per case, with some cases costing up to US$30 million.
- The Philippine government spent US$58 million defending two cases against German airport operator Fraport; money that could have paid the salaries of 12,500 teachers for one year.
- A recent WTO Working Paper found no empirical evidence that ISDS increases investment.
- ISDS has no system of precedents or appeals, so the decisions of arbitrators are final and can be inconsistent.
In short, ISDS is an enormously costly system with no independent judiciary, precedents or appeals, which gives increased legal rights to global corporations which already have enormous market power, based on legal concepts not recognised in national systems and not available to domestic investors.
Annex: WEF Industry Partners who use ISDS provisions to sue Governments
In 2015, Novartis threatened the use of ISDS to help discourage the Colombian government from making a life-saving leukaemia drug more accessible through compulsory licensing. The drug, which has brought in over €40 billion in revenue for Novartis, sold for over $15,000 per patient per year; twice the average person’s income.
In 2008, Dow Chemical sued Canada after Quebec banned the manufacture and sale of harmful pesticides. Dow Agrosciences declared the subsequent settlement a victory, and commentators noted the case may discourage other Governments from moving ahead with their own pesticide bans.
Vatenfall, which runs power plants, is suing Germany for over €4 billion after the Government announced a transition away from nuclear energy.
Vatenfall also sued Germany after the City of Hamburg attempted to implement stronger protections concerning waste-water ending up in the city’s river. The case was ultimately settled in 2011, with the city of Hamburg agreeing to the lowering of environmental protections.
Chevron sued Ecuador for attempting to make the company pay for the devastating environmental impact and pollution resulting from mining activity in the Amazon region.
Glencore sued the Colombian government for restricting the expansion of a pollutive open-cast coal mine.
In 2017, Novartis threatened to use ISDS to discourage the Colombian government from attempting to make a life-saving leukaemia drug more accessible through compulsory licensing. The drug, which has brought in over €45 billion in revenue for Novartis, was sold in Columbia for over $15,000 per patient per year; twice the average person’s income.
Energy company Engie sued Hungary after the government increased taxes on foreign energy companies and attempted to bring down prices for consumers.
Mobil sued the Canadian government after the province of NewFoundland tried to ensure a percentage of profits from offshore gas extraction were re-invested in research and development in the region.
Total is suing Uganda after the government taxed their purchase of oil-exploration blocks.
Scotia Bank sued Argentina for over half a billion dollars for measures taken during the 2002 Argentine Financial Crisis.
Mercuria, a Swiss commodity trader, sued Poland via a Cyprus subsidiary for implementing an EU directive on mandatory fuel reserves which they say negatively affected their profits.
Shell sued the Philippines, via a Dutch subsidiary curiously named “Shell Philippines,” for attempts by the government to make offshore-gas extractors pay their fair share in tax.
Credit Suisse and Standard Chartered sued the Indian Government for “failing to protect investor loans.”
Siemens sued Argentina for cancelling a contract for outsourced public services, after widespread failures. Siemens was awarded over $200 million USD.
Dow Chemical sued Canada after Quebec banned the manufacture and sale of harmful pesticides. Dow Agrosciences declared the subsequent settlement a victory, and commentators noted the case may discourage other Governments from moving ahead with their own pesticide bans.