The 5th international conference and exhibition of India’s largest chemical show” demanded a special input from ‘stakeholders’ and, as the ICJB did not want to disappoint, we created our own chemical industry consultancy firm and attempted to advertise it across two pages of India Chem 2008’s souvenir brochure. The Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), organisers of this toxic event, saw the colour of our money and kindly obliged.
The result? The Indian and international chemical industry attendees, anxious “to understand the current market scenario and developments taking place in the Chemical Industry; to discuss the marketing techniques and strategies that needs to be undertaken to enhance competitiveness; to have an opportunity to meet the leading leaders from Government & industry and to discuss the issues and problems being faced by the industry”, also got to read details of Dow’s desperate, hypocritical attempts to draw Indian attention away from its culpable poisoning of Bhopal. Dow itself – when not parlaying in private rooms with India’s leading leaders – must have blown out its cheeks and stared at the ground each time a chemical colleague splayed open the souvenir brochure to reveal our devious assault.
Bhopal and India Chem have history, of course. Back in 2006, opening of the conference was delayed for several hours when over 200 impertinent survivors chained themselves to the entrance of the Grand Intercontinental and declared “peddlars of poison will be beaten with shoes!”.
They were acting on behalf of over two million citizens being systematically, callously poisoned by the chemical industry across India, from Mettur and Cuddalore in Tamilnadu, to Vapi and Ankleshwar in Gujarat, to Warangal and Patancheru in Andhra Pradesh and Eloor in Kerala. The national government representing these citizens uses its India Chem fiestas to fete chemical multinationals known for poisoning people all over the world, such as the Chisso corporation, responsible for Minamata, and Mitsubishi, purveyors of radioactive poisoning and forest felling, to say nothing of dirty old Dow, renegade from justice yet as easy in Indian corridors of power as the last viceroy. While being feted, the multinationals take the opportunity to dictate national policy on liability mechanisms and Special Economic Zones in which labour and environmental laws are trashed and corporates live the dream of unfettered profiteering.
Which brings us neatly back to the Clean Chemistry Council (C3), a stand-up, plain speaking member of the chemical clan that won’t shilly shally around contentious issues facing the chemical industry today. C3 promises that chemical companies can get it all without changing the way they do business – and right now Dow is certainly getting it all…