The NGO calls for a tax on the extraordinary profits of companies to deal with hunger and the increase in the cost of energy
MADRID, 6 Jul. (EUROPA PRESS) -
A total of 28 of the main Ibex 35 companies increased their profits by 39% in 2021 and 43% in 2022, compared to the four-year pre-pandemic period, that is, from 2016 to 2019, according to a study carried out by Oxfam Intermon .
Specifically, the benefits obtained by these 28 Spanish companies were 15.8 billion euros in 2021 and 18.4 billion euros in 2022.
This report, produced between ActionAid and Oxfam, points out that during the years of global price and interest rate escalation, 722 of the world's largest companies collectively made more than a trillion dollars a year in windfall profits.
The analysis has been carried out based on Forbes' 'Global 2000' list, which shows that in 2021 and 2022 these companies saw their profits increase by 89% compared to the pre-pandemic period between 2017 and 2022.
The benefits, which Oxfam Intermon describes as "fallen from heaven", since they exceeded 10% of the average benefits obtained during the previous four-year period, reached 1.09 trillion dollars in 2021 and 1.1 trillion dollars in 2022 .
In the last two years, 45 large energy companies from all over the world obtained extraordinary average annual profits of 237,000 million dollars (218,000 million euros). For the NGO, governments around the world could have increased investments in renewable energy by 31% if they had applied a 90% tax on the profits of oil and gas producers.
In this sense, the study indicates that there are 96 billionaires linked to energy, with a joint fortune of almost 432,000 million dollars (50,000 million more than in April of last year).
In 2022, the five main Spanish energy companies saw their profits increase by 165% compared to the average observed between 2016 and 2019, and last year they reached more than 11.7 billion euros.
For Oxfam, "this reality contrasts with the sharp increase in households that during that same year could not even keep their homes at an adequate temperature: 17.1% of the population compared to 14.3% in 2021."
The five main banking entities that operate in Spain obtained profits in 2022 of close to 32,000 million euros, 38% higher than the average observed during the years prior to the pandemic, according to the analysis.
Of this figure, up to 6,400 million would be benefits "fallen from heaven", according to the NGO. In contrast, Oxfam indicates in its report that the increase in interest rates aggravates the vulnerability of more than 600,000 indebted low-income families who have to dedicate more than 4 out of every 10 euros of their income to repaying loans.
In 2021 and 2022, 18 food and beverage companies averaged about $14 billion a year in windfall profits, enough to more than double the $5 billion funding gap needed to provide vital food assistance in East Africa, says Oxfam Intermon.
Globally, food and beverage companies, banks, large pharmaceutical companies and the main retail chains also benefited economically from the price crisis that caused more than 258 million people in 58 countries to be in a situation of insecurity. acute food shortage in 2022, according to the NGO's analysis.
In addition, 28 pharmaceutical companies earned an average of $47 billion a year in windfall profits, and 42 large supermarket and retail chains earned an average of $28 billion a year in windfall profits.
Oxfam Intermón and ActionAid call on governments to withhold income derived from speculation. A tax of between 50% and 90% on windfall profits from these 722 mega-companies could generate between $523 billion and $941 billion in both 2021 and 2022.
The organizations say that money could go to help people struggling to cope with hunger, rising energy bills and poverty in rich countries, as well as providing hundreds of billions of dollars in support to countries of the global south.
For example, they point out that an injection of 400,000 million dollars can be made in the fund for losses and damages agreed at COP27 in 2022. "The financing needs for losses and damages are urgent, and estimates indicate that the countries of low and middle income could have to assume costs of up to 580,000 million dollars a year from now to 2030".
These resources could also bridge the funding gap ($440 billion) to achieve universal coverage of social protection and health care for more than 3.5 billion people living in low- and lower-middle-income countries, as well as the funding gap ($148 billion) to provide universal access to preschool, primary and secondary education in those same countries.
"The greed of big business must be stopped. It is obscene that they have obtained billions of dollars in benefits from heaven, while, on a global scale, billions of people, but also in Spain, have difficulties to face up to the prices of food or basic products such as medicines or heating", comments the head of research at Oxfam Intermón, Iñigo Macías.