Barclays wins ‘shame award’ for speculating on food prices | World Development Movement

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Barclays wins ‘shame award’ for speculating on food prices

By Miriam Ross, 27 January 2012

Barclays Bank has today won a Public Eye ‘shame award’, for speculating on food prices. Barclays’ activity is fuelling hunger and poverty worldwide, says the World Development Movement, which nominated the bank.

The award was presented today in Davos, Switzerland, to coincide with the World Economic Forum.

Barclays is estimated to make up to £340 million a year from speculating in food ‘futures’ markets, making it the biggest UK player in the markets. Massive influxes of speculative money in food markets have been driving sharp price spikes, sending the cost of food soaring beyond the reach of the world’s poorest people.

Barclays won the Public Eye ‘global award’, selected by a panel of judges. The ‘people’s award’, decided by an online vote, went to Brazilian company Vale, for its involvement in the construction of the controversial Belo Monte dam in the Amazon. Forty thousand people are likely to be forced from their land if the dam goes ahead.

Barclays CEO Bob Diamond responded to the Occupy movement by telling the BBC in November that banks must be “better citizens”. 

Rules to curb speculation are being discussed in the European Union, but the UK government is opposing effective legislation. UK finance ministers met Barclays at least 15 times within the first year of the coalition government.

Amy Horton, campaigner at the World Development Movement, said today:

Barclays is gambling with the price of food, and therefore with people’s lives. Speculation benefits a tiny minority in the financial sector, and at the same time fuels food price spikes which force millions of people to go hungry. Governments must take urgent action to curb this reckless practice.”

The World Development Movement’s online comedy series ‘The Real George Osborne’ aims to put pressure on the UK Chancellor to back regulation.

The Public Eye Awards are organised by Greenpeace Switzerland and the Berne Declaration.

For more information contact Miriam Ross on (+44) (0)20 7820 4913 or (+44) (0)7711 875 345 or email



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