“Trading Paradise” – next screening Sunday 17 April 20:15 at the Théatre de Grand Champ in Gland. Tickets here
There was a packed theatre in Nyon on Saturday afternoon to watch the world premiere of “Trading Paradise”, a film that took the director Daniel Schweizer over three years to make. The film focusses on the practices of two high-profile commodity trading companies that are based in Switzerland. One of them, Vale based in St-Prex a town a few miles from Nyon and the other, Glencore situated in Zug. Glencore one of the world’s largest traders of raw materials, controls 40% of world copper production, dominates the African oil industry and also trades in coffees and cereals.
The director travels to Peru to find out how Glencore operate in the field. He films communities that live alongside one of Glencore’s mines, he interviews Ivan Glasenberg the head of Glencore, he shows how the company works and how NGOs are trying to improve the transparency and liability of these commodities giants. We see the contrast of the glitz and elegance inside the Beau Rivage palace in Lausanne as the FT Commodities Global Summit takes place, to outside in the street with armed police in riot gear amongst a group of demonstrators.
The director then heads off to Brazil to find out about the activities of Vale. He also films Joseph Stiglitz (Nobel prize winner in Economic sciences) speaking at the Public Eye awards. These awards are given out to the world’s worst companies in corporate irresponsibility. (Vale was given this award in 2012).
The film asks if trading companies can continue operating in the same way in Switzerland. Swiss politician Dick Marty and former state prosecutor to the Ticino, thinks not. He says; “The risk to Switzerland’s reputation seems obvious to me. I think we are siting on a case of dynamite and I don’t know when it’s going to explode. This is all similar to the UBS case, Swissair and banking secrecy. There were warning signs with all of these problems. They were ignored”.