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We already knew that the oil industry was a dirty player, driven by increased profit margins, often at the expense of our planet, it’s life and resources. Now, a six-month investigation carried out by Fairfax Media and the Huffington Post has revealed that the industry is rotten in more ways than one.
"World's Biggest Bribe":
In a scandal titled the "World's Biggest Bribe", leaked documents have exposed sophisticated, systematic corruption across the industry. The investigation details how Unaoil, a company unknown until now, has operated as a "middleman", hired by Western multinationals to bribe Middle Eastern regimes. The company allows it's corporate clients to circumvent the law, and effectively "buy" a lucrative contract with oil-rich states.
According to the report, Unaoil's operation relied on widespread corruption and instability in the Global South, and fears of missed contracts of Western corporations. Unbeknown to industry outsiders, Unaoil has facilitated these multi-million dollar dirty deals for a decade, between 2002 and 2012.
Do the names Samsung, Rolls Royce and Hyundai ring a bell? These are just a few of the respected multinationals implicated in the scandal. Documents have indicated that whilst some companies believed they were hiring an above-board lobbyist, others simply chose to turn a blind eye to dirty play.
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The Ahsani Family. Source: The Age
Implications For The Environment, The World:
Corruption has a devastating global impact. This is particularly so in the case of oil as one of the world's richest industries, and a resource currently relied upon across the world for petrol. Corruption "fuels inequality, robs people of their basic needs and causes social unrest in some of the world's poorest countries", the report outlines.
Crooked deals are harmful to the environment, too. In light of a recognised climate emergency, the global North should be supporting states in the South to legislate in favour of climate action, not illegally financing their dirty-energy industries. Not to mention those of the West!
On a broader scale, this scandal points towards a systemic issue we face as a global society. In her book "This Changes Everything", author and climate activist Naomi Klein comments that the reckless pursuit of profit, an ideology which tempts unethical practice such as corruption, is thwarting efforts to achieve a sustainable future. It certainly seems at times that 'the bottom line' or 'success indicator' of actions on an institutional level is measured in terms of profit, rather than ability to salvage our planet. To me, this is upside-down logic.
“If you really think the economy is more important than the environment, try holding your breath whilst you count money.”- Dr Guy Mcpherson
You Can Take A Stand For The Planet, And Against Unethical Practices:
I know, this is all pretty dark. The truth is, the world can be an overwhelmingly gloomy place at times. But - and this is an important 'but' - change really is possible if we, as a movement of concerned individuals, take a unified stance in support of preserving our planet for future generations. Without hope there is no hope, right?
- Reduce your own use of fossil-fuels: It's a simple but effective one. If each person were to drastically cut the amount of dirty energy, including petrol, they used, fossil fuel industries and their corrupt collaborators will won't have a market to sell to. It's a sure-fire way to make big companies listen up, and it's directly reducing your impact on the planet! Did you know that by cutting 15km of solo car travel a day, or a bit over 100km a week, you can cut a whole 1 tonne of CO2 pollution in a year?
- Shop local and/or ethical: By shopping local, you'll not only be funding small businesses rather than multi-national corporations, but you'll be reducing fossil-fuel intensive transport miles. If not local, than try to consume ethically. Be informed about the ethical record of brands you love.
- Divest in unethical companies: Heads up. There's a pretty high chance that your bank (and your money) is funding the fossil fuel industry. Be a critical consumer and learn about who you're inadvertently funding. Perhaps it's time to switch to a greener option!
- Reduce consumption: It's a simple as buying less, recycling more, and making use of what you have! You'll be actively taking a stand against the fossil fuel industry, you'll save money, and even be happier for it.
Keep fighting the good fight, climate sisters!