Exposing corporate wrongdoing
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British American Tobacco
British American Tobacco is a tobacco company whose roots stretch back to tobacco sales in 1786. It is now the largest tobacco company in the world. Despite the fact that the company's own internal research showed that tobacco causes cancer, the company continued to deny this fact as recently as the 1980s. Documents leaked from Brown & Williamson (the U.S. subsidiary of British American Tobacco) in 1994 conclusively exposed “the three big lies” of the tobacco industry that 'cigarettes don’t cause cancer, nicotine is not addictive and we don’t market to kids.' Later Jeffrey Wigand, a former research executive at Brown & Williamson, blew the whistle on how the company had added chemicals like ammonia to increase the effect of nicotine in cigarettes.
Founded in 1812, British Gas was the first public utility company in the world until the Thatcher administration privatized it in 1986. The company is still in the business of selling fossil fuel derived gas to consumers, but through clever marketing techniques like carbon offsets and renewable energy certificates, it can make the claim to be fossil fuel free. It has been accused of greenwashing on numerous occasions, in one case being forced to withdraw an advertisement claiming to offer the “greenest domestic energy tariff”, and in another being fined by the UK’s energy watchdog Ofgem for failing to meet energy efficiency targets in time.
Bupa (British United Provident Association)
Bupa (British United Provident Association) is a multinational healthcare company that owns and runs clinics, hospitals and care homes and offers health insurance services across the world from Brazil to Hong Kong to New Zealand. All told, some 20,000 elderly people live in its facilities, with about a third of that number in Australia and a third in England. Reports by the UK Care Quality Commission showed that 115 of Bupa’s 290 UK homes had serious and avoidable failures between early 2000 and 2015. And a 2019 report by the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission in Australia showed that over half of the 72 nursing homes run by Bupa were failing basic standards of care.