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around 30 multinationals and wealthy shareholders made windfall profits during the crisis

Amazon boss Jeff Bezos could have paid, for example, a bonus of $ 105,000 to his 876,000 employees with his profits, denounces the NGO Oxfam in a report.

A handful of global companies and wealthy shareholders have made windfall profits during the Covid-19 crisis. This is what the NGO Oxfam denounces Thursday, September 10 in a report on the sharing of wealth within large global companies during the crisis.

Entitled “Covid-19: Profits from the Crisis”, the report reveals a two-speed economy. According to the organization, 32 companies, among the largest multinationals on the planet, are expected to post a dramatic increase in profits this year. In 2020, these average profits will be $ 109 billion higher than the previous four years.

Oxfam notes that part of these profits, returned to their shareholders, enabled the world's 25 richest billionaires to see their wealth increase by $ 255 billion between mid-March and the end of May alone, an average increase of 10 billion dollars.

Oxfam also emphasizes that Jeff Bezos, the boss of Amazon, could, with his profits, pay a bonus of 105,000 dollars to the 876,000 people employed by the company around the world, including some 10,000 employees in France.

“Rather than investing in jobs, wage increases and investing in ecological transition”, the NGO points out that many companies in Europe, but also in India, Brazil and Africa “continue to pay dividends to their shareholders at all costs, despite sluggish results.”

Thus, Toyota has distributed to shareholders more than 200% of the profits the automaker has made since January, while its sales have been declining since the start of the pandemic. BASF, the German chemicals giant, has paid more than 400% of its profits to shareholders in the past six months.

The phenomenon is also spotted in France. 23 CAC 40 companies have decided to pay “no matter the cost” dividends this year, says Oxfam. The CAC 40 will have paid at least 37 billion dividends during the crisis.

The organization highlights the accumulated heritage of the 500 largest fortunes in France, which broke a new record despite the crisis. It grew by 3% in 2020.
“If many companies, including the largest, are in a fragile situation it is precisely because they have given an increasingly large part to the remuneration of their shareholders over the past ten years”, explains Quentin Parrinello, spokesperson for Oxfam France.

He specifies that his organization “is no longer the only one to point the finger at this structural problem. The European Commission recently published a report showing that over the past 25 years, the share of European companies' revenues dedicated to shareholders has quadrupled, at detriment of investment. “

Against what she thinks she is “a two-speed economy”, Oxfam is therefore asking the government and parliamentarians to make the granting of all the credits of the recovery plan conditional on the establishment of socio-ecological objectives for large companies.

For the NGO, we must refuse “blind drop” production taxes. She wants companies to publish a business transformation plan detailing its direct and indirect carbon footprint and an investment plan to reduce that footprint to meet the Paris Agreement. She calls for a ban on the payment of dividends and bonuses for CEOs for the next fiscal year.

Finally, Oxfam is campaigning so that the financing of the recovery plan does not weigh on the poorest, but rather “to help those who have suffered the least from the crisis.”

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