British American Tobacco (BAT) is the worst transnational company in New Zealand after receiving the annual ‘Roger’ Award at a ceremony in Auckland.
Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) says this confirms that New Zealand is waking up to the sustained public relations campaigns by the tobacco industry.
“New Zealanders are now starting to wonder why they tolerate a company that not only kills 4000 kiwis a year, but takes money away from the country as well,” said ASH director, Ben Youdan.
Organised by the Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa (CAFCA), the Roger award is presented to any corporation that is 25 per cent or more foreign controlled and is judged to have the most negative effect on economic matters, people and the environment.
“ASH made this nomination because half of BAT’s best customers will die as a result of smoking their products, so we considered they need to be recognised for this contribution to our society,” said Mr Youdan.
Mr Youdan says that the corporate social responsibility reports that the company produce are designed to convince people that the company is caring and responsible when the opposite is true.
“Cigarettes are the only legal product on the market today that when consumed exactly as this company intends will likely kill you, but they’re unlikely to mention this death toll in their glossy reports” said Mr Youdan.
BAT is actively opposing measures that would see a ban on the display of tobacco in shops where children and former smokers can see them via the New Zealand Association of Convenience Stores (NZACS) of which BAT is a premier member.
The Roger Award is organised by the two Christchurch-based groups, Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa (CAFCA) and GATT Watchdog and is awarded to the Worst Transnational Corporation Operating in Aotearoa/New Zealand.
For more information about the Roger Awards, please go to www.cafca.org.nz