Anti-poverty campaign group, the World Development Movement, has nominated Barclays for the 2012 Public Eye 'shame award' for activity that is "…fuelling hunger and poverty worldwide".
WDM claims that Barclays makes some £340 million a year in food price speculation, making it the UK's largest player in that market.
This money, when ploughed into the markets with no intention of taking delivery, pushes up the price of food hitting the poorest on the planet the hardest.
Food price speculation has, says the WDM, doubled in size between 2006 and 2011.
The Public Eye Awards, which are run by the Berne Declaration and Greenpeace Switzerland, are timing the announcement of this year's winner to coincide with the World Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland on 27th January 2012.
Online voting started today at – publiceye.ch/en/voting/.
Amy Horton, who is a campaigner for the WDM said "Barclays is essentially gambling on food prices, at the expense of millions of people who cannot afford to buy food as a result. Speculating on food is reckless in the extreme and governments must take action to curb it."
The USA has already introduced measures to combat food price speculation, but the UK government is hampering attempts within the EU to introduce effective legislation says the WDM.
The movement is using comedy as a vehicle to put pressure on the chancellor and the government with its series called 'The Real George Osborne' (therealgeorgeosborne.com).
Other short-listed nominations for the Public Eye prize are:
- Â· Freeport McMoran for 'Precious metals in exchange for death and exploitation'.
- Â· Samsung for 'High-tech gadgets built on the backs of workers'.
- Â· Sygenta for 'Selling elsewhere what can't be sold at home'.
- Tepco for 'Risk blindness led to a meltdown'.
- Vale for 'Mines and dams at the expense of people and the environment'.