RepRisk releases Report on Most Controversial Companies of 2012– January 30, 2013

On January 30, 2013 RepRisk released a Report on the Most Controversial Companies of 2012.  The report covers several companies domiciled in emerging markets (Bangladesh, South Africa and South Korea) and several companies with operations in emerging markets (India and Uzbekistan).

According to the press release distributed by RepRisk, “The 10 most controversial companies of 2012 were headquartered in different countries in Europe and Asia as well as the US, stemmed from a range of industries including telecommunications, pharmaceutical, media, banking and mining, and spanned the spectrum of ESG issues. Notably, poor labor conditions and human rights violations as well as bribery, fraud and money laundering, were the main issues criticized.

Two of the top-ranking firms were included in the report due to specific incidents at their facilities in the second half of the year: a fatal fire at Tazreen Fashions’ factory in Bangladesh; and violent clashes between police and 3,000 striking workers at Lonmin’s Marikana mine in South Africa that led to 34 deaths and many more injuries.

Corporate governance scandals that erupted in 2011 and continued to plague the companies in 2012 saw two further companies make the list: Olympus for its alleged decade-long accounting fraud; and News Corp for the hacking and bribery scandal in the UK. HSBC and ING Bank made the top 10 due to accusations of inadequate controls to counter money laundering; the former also for its alleged role in the Libor manipulation.

Also on the list, Samsung faced a number of investigations and lawsuits in 2012 for reported anti-competitive practices in the past as well as poor conditions at supplier factories. Wyeth was accused of fraudulently misrep­resenting its drugs and neglecting to outline risks to the public and shareholders. TeliaSonera came under fire for alleged corruption and aiding oppressive regimes, while Reebok was also linked to labor breaches within its supply chain and to a fraud scandal in India.”

The report may be downloaded from the special reports page of the RepRisk internet site.