Zum Erfolg in Obfelden schreibt das Wall Street journal: Swiss Village Votes to Donate Glencore Cash
ZURICH—A Swiss village voted late Tuesday to donate some of the money it received after the flotation Glencore Xstrata GLNCY -1.00% PLC to charities, the latest in a series of votes underscoring uneasiness in communities that host the mining giant and its staff.
Residents in Obfelden approved at a village council meeting a proposal to donate part of the 500,000 Swiss francs ($561,500) it received as part of a distribution of taxes paid by Glencore Chief Executive Ivan Glasenberg that stemmed from the company’s initial public offering in May 2011. The village proposed donating the money to charities working in South America and Africa, where Glencore has operations.
The proposal passed with 146 residents voting in favor of the donation and 112 against. The vote was conducted by a show of hands.
Obfelden’s decision follows similar polls in six other Swiss villages that are near Glencore’s head office. Five have decided to donate money to environmental and social projects in Colombia, Congo and other countries. Residents in another village voted against donating money received after the company went public.
The votes come amid concern in Switzerland about Glencore’s impact on the environment in the areas in which it operates, as well as tax avoidance in those countries. In 2011 the Berne Declaration, a nongovernmental organization, said the company’s operations had unusually high fatality and injury rates, as well as a poor environmental record.
A Glencore spokesman declined to comment on the votes. He referred to a letter Mr. Glasenberg sent to communities near Glencore’s headquarters in Baar, south of Zurich, in which he defended the company’s contribution to social development.
In the letter, Glencore said it complied with laws and regulations, and complied with its tax obligations in the countries where it operates.
„Our economic strength and presence has an overall positive impact on the areas and regions in which we operate,“ Mr. Glasenberg said in the letter, which was dated November 2013. „This includes the prosperity and the quality of life of people.“
The communities received the money after Mr. Glasenberg paid 360 million Swiss francs in stamp and other taxes to the village of Ruschlikon, where he lives. The money was redistributed to other communities, including Obfelden, that are near Glencore’s headquarters.
Heiner Stolz, president of the Socialist Party in Obfelden, said the community had become increasingly concerned about Glencore’s activities and worried about the effect it would have on Switzerland’s reputation.
„We want to give a little bit back to the people who have been affected by the company,“ Mr. Stolz said. He said the village will donate 48,000 Swiss francs to charities working with farmers and miners.
Daniel Hitzig, a spokesman for Alliance Sud, an organization of Swiss development groups, said the result showed there was grass roots concern by Swiss people. „It is a very strong sign that people do care about what is being done in the name of Swiss companies,“ he said after the vote.
Voters in nearby Baar were also due to vote on Tuesday on an increase on its international development budget, citing concerns about the company’s activities.