IndiaChem falls victim to ICJB hoax

Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha
Bhopal Group for Information and Action

October 22, 2008
Press Statement
In a press statement today, activists of the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal (ICJB) advised chemical corporations in India and abroad not to be tempted to contact the Clean Chemistry Council for public relations consultation. The statement clarified that the advertisement published in the commemorative souvenir of IndiaChem 2008, “the largest chemical show in India”, was in fact created and paid for by the ICJB. The activists stated that this pro-social prank is meant to expose the nefarious Corporate Social Responsibility activities of US multinational The Dow Chemical Company in India.
The activists stated that the advertisement in the name of a fictitious European public relations firm offered consultancy to corporations for improving their public image and evading legal liabilities “without changing the way they carried on their business”. Within the ad, the founder of the Clean Chemistry Council (C 3) advises corporations to avoid taking part in any form of charity not directly linked to business gain. Presenting Dow Chemical as a pioneer in business-oriented charity, the advertisement praises two recent Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives the company started in India, involving NGO’s that supply artificial limbs and filtered water to villages.
ICJB pointed out that while Dow Chemical had a big presence in IndiaChem 2006, the corporation chose not to participate in the exhibition presumably because of its recent setbacks in India. Protestors have stopped construction at the proposed site of its Global R & D centre near Pune. In a recent move, Dow Europe announced its withdrawal from a well-publicised joint venture proposal with Gujarat Alkalies and Chemicals Ltd.
According to the ICJB activists, Dow’s donation of Rs. 1 Crore to the Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti (BMVSS) of Jaipur is ostensibly meant to supply artificial feet to amputees. The artificial feet invented by Dr P K Sethi were originally made of vulcanized rubber but Dow Chemical has substituted the construction material with Polyurethane, which is one of its major products. Activists allege that by introducing product substitution, Dow Chemical aims to capture the market for artificial feet for 1.25 million amputees in India.
Additionally, the donation is meant to buy badly needed goodwill for the company that is facing the wrath of the victims of the Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal and their national and international supporters. Since 2001 Dow Chemical is the 100% owner of Union Carbide which is responsible for the December 2-3 disaster that has killed more than 23, 000 people and made over 100, 000 chronically ill in Bhopal. Confronted with legal action by the Indian government for payment of compensation for environmental damage caused by toxic contamination of soil and ground water, Dow Chemical refuses to abide by the decisions of an Indian court.
The Bhopal activists have also cast doubts on the motive of Dow Chemical, in providing membrane technology to the Byrraju Foundation, Hyderabad for supplying filtered water to villages. Activists view this seemingly charitable activity as creation of marketing opportunity for membranes produced by Dow Chemical.
Activists of ICJB pointed out that this is the second prank attack on Dow Chemical after the media event in 2004 when a member of the Yes Men group, posing as a Dow executive announced payment of 12 billion dollars as compensation to Bhopal victims on a live telecast on BBC. Several billion dollars were wiped off Dow’s share price as a result of this prank.
Rashida Bi, Champa Devi Shukla
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh

Syed M Irfan,
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha

Satinath Sarangi, Rachna Dhingra,
Bhopal Group for Information and Action


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