Tag Archives: Campaign Victories

Times of India — Dow Chemical to drop its logo from London Olympics, IOA not happy

Excerpted from Times of India:

LONDON/NEW DELHI: Dow Chemical has agreed to remove its logo from London’s Olympic stadium but the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) said that it is not satisfied with the move and wants US giant to remove its sponsorship from the 2012 Games.

DOW said it was agreeing to the “vision” of the 2012 Games by waiving its sponsorship rights to place its brand on a controversial fabric wrap for the stadium which was objected by campaigners furious at the US conglomerate’s links to the deadly Bhopal gas disaster.

Dow was made a sponsor of London 2012 by Lord Coe’s organising committee (Locog) in August.

“The agreement – between Dow and – Locog was limited to branding of five ‘test panels’ that were to be removed in the months before the Games and were not part of the final design,” Dow spokesman Scott Wheeler was quoted as saying by a British newspaper Sunday Express.

“In mid-summer, Locog and Dow discussed Dow deferring the rights to these five panels to allow free and full execution of the design as determined by Locog. Dow agreed to this to – support Locog’s and London 2012’s vision for the stadium wrap,” he added.
Reacting to the report, IOA acting president VK Malhotra said he was not clear what exactly it meant and said the body would continue to press for total removal of Dow Chemical as a sponsor of the London Olympics.

“I have also heard about Dow chemical withdrawing their logo from the decorative wrap but I don’t know what it means,” Malhotra said.

“Our demand is that Dow should be removed as a sponsor and we have expressed strong reservation with the Olympics. We are sending our communication to Dow as well as IOC on this regard.”

“So all that we want is that it should be removed as a sponsor and we won’t be satisfied if only the logo is removed,” he added.

Amid growing resentment over Dow Chemicals’ association with the London Olympics, the Indian Olympic Association’s Executive Board had decided last week to write a “strong” protest letter to the International Olympic Committee, seeking the removal of the company as a sponsor of the Games next year.

Full article

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2006, Cambridge City Council Campaign

GOOD NEWS! All three resolutions have been passed by the city council on September 25th, 2006. Thanks to the groups that endorsed the resolution (below).

As residents of Cambridge, we are deeply concerned about the ongoing human rights abuses in Bhopal, India due to the conduct of Union Carbide Corporation and its current owner, Dow Chemical Corporation.

On December 3, 1984, the world's worst chemical disaster took place in Bhopal, India, when a Union Carbide Corporation chemical plant unleashed a cloud of deadly chemicals that killed more than 3,000 people in a single night, and has been responsible for over 20,000 deaths since. In Bhopal, 22,000 people are drinking water contaminated with mercury, benzene, and chromium because of Dow Chemical's refusal to clean up the factory site. Over 100,000 people are permanently disabled and many more are unable to earn a living because of injuries suffered from the 1984 disaster. Despite this, Dow refuses to face the criminal charges brought against it in India for the disaster or to aid in clean up, medical care, and economic rehabilitation of the survivors.

Amnesty International has highlighted the Bhopal case as one of the most horrifying instances of human rights abuse that has gone unresolved.

We respectfully request that the Cambridge City Council resolve to:

  • Recommend the Board of the Cambridge Retirement System use their Dow stocks to co-file all future Bhopal shareholder resolutions in support of the disaster survivors and divest of any Dow bonds
  • Recommend that the City Manager report on safe substitutes for Dow products being purchased by the city (list of Dow products and alternatives is available)
  • Declare the Anniversary of the Bhopal Disaster – December 3rd – to be a Day of Remembrance for Victims of Industrial Disasters and Pollution
  • Send copies of any such City Resolution to Dow Chemical's CEO and Board

 

Sign the petition here

Current endorsers of the resolution:

  • Alliance for a Secular and Democratic South Asia
  • Alternatives for Community and Environment
  • Amnesty International Group 133
  • Area 4 Coalition
  • Association for India's Development – Boston Chapter
  • Cambridge United for Justice and Peace
  • Clean Water Action, Massachusetts
  • Dollars and Sense Magazine
  • Environmental Health Fund
  • Groundwork USA (Environmental Justice organization)
  • Harvard Initiative for Peace and Justice
  • Healthy Building Network
  • Mass Global Action
  • Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health
  • Massachusetts Jobs with Justice
  • Student Labor Action Movement
  • South Asia Center
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Corporate accountability groups nationwide expose the “Future We Create” conference as fraudulent greenwashing

June 7, 2011

GREENWASHING: false expressions of environmental concern especially as a cover for environmentally-unsound products, policies, or activities (adapted from Merriam Webster).

“Join 60 leading thinkers as they explore the future of water for our world today. Covering global systems and specific “megatrends,” featuring personal stories from the frontlines as well as reflections on the human dimension of water, The Future of Water will examine how different fields, sectors, and stakeholders can meet the challenge of supplying a growing global population with clean and sustainable water.” http://www.futurewecreate.com/

Sounds benign, even commendable, right?  The so-called leaders asked to join the conference were in fact perpetrators of drinking water contamination and unjust privatization of water worldwide.  Involved parties in the conference included Coke, BottledWaterWeb.com, and the infamous Dow Chemical.  Surprisingly, Dow Chemical had contacted Anna Lappe, world-renowned author, public speaker and activist, with a request for a 60-second video for the virtual conference.  Her response was more honest then the company would have hoped for, and obviously was rejected:

Read the full press release here.

Their attempts at greenwashing were met with opposition from individuals and organizations like Lappe’s  Small Planet Institute, Corporate Accountability International and the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal (us!).

Where does the Bhopal Gas Disaster fit into this story? Dow acquired Union Carbide in 2002 and thereby acquired its assets and liabilities.  You can read more on the legal background of Dow’s liability. By refusing to clean up in Bhopal, and allowing water and soil contamination to seep deeper into an aquifer, Dow is committing crimes against humanity.

As for the Future We Create conference, the “personal stories from the frontlines” it advertises should sound more like young Bhopali Amir’s story.  “The Human dimension of water” in reality looks more like these picture I took at the eerie Union Carbide pesticide factory in Bhopal this past February, where it continues to leak its water toxins:

Water outside of the factoryUnion Carbide Pesticide FactoryBhopali kids on the factory wall

Don’t let these greenwashing attempts go unnoticed. To take action, tweet something clever @Futureswecreate or post something on its Facebook page. Check out Justice4Bhopal’s twitter account for ideas.

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Dow AgroSciences blacklisted for bribing

The following article was published on September 18:

The Economic Times of India

NEW DELHI: The Centre has blacklisted Dow AgroSciences India for five years for bribing government officials to expedite registration of three pesticides in the country. 

The order to ban Dow AgroSciences, a subsidiary of US-based Dow Chemicals, from undertaking any commercial activity in India for a five years has been approved by agriculture minister Sharad Pawar on Thursday, a senior ministry official confirmed. 

“The company was given enough time to furnish its reply. We went through their reply. The whole thing was examined in great detail by the ministry. We have arrived at a judicious decision,” the official said. 

A Dow AgroSciences representative said the company has not received any word from the ministry so far. “We haven’t received any communication in this regard from the ministry. I have no idea about the decision,” said Dow AgroSciences vice-president Rakesh Chitkara. 

According to its company website, DowAgroSciences India provides pest management, agricultural and biotech products. Its existing product range includes insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, plant growth regulators as well as non-crop and household pesticides. 

CBI, which had investigated the case, had earlier this year held the Mumbai-based Indian arm of Dow Chemical Company guilty of bribing a senior central government employee and his aides, and had recommended that the firm be black-listed for pursuing corrupt practices. 

The firm had been slapped with a notice by the agriculture ministry on June 22 this year to show cause as to why it should not be blacklisted for indulging in unethical practices. The three pesticides were identified as Dursban 10G, Nurelle-D and Pride. 

The details of the bribes paid by Dow AgroSciences India (earlier called DE-NOCIL) have been mentioned in the charge sheet filed by CBI in the case. The charge sheet was filed on the basis of information furnished by the US authorities to the Indian government in response to a letter rogatory, a formal request from a court to a foreign court for judicial assistance. 

“The legal action comes after the letter rogatory was executed by the US government on November 17, 2008, to elicit information regarding vouchers of Dow Chemical to establish payment of bribes during 1996-2001 by Dow AgroSciences,” CBI spokesperson Harsh Bhal had told newspersons in June this year. 

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in 2007 had fined Dow Chemical $325,000 for bribing the officials in India to fast-track permission to sell their pesticide brands. SEC, in a “cease and desist” order to Dow on February 13, 2007, charged the company with violations under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) for letting a subsidiary use funds for illegal activities in a foreign country. 

Dow AgroSciences in a recent statement said misconduct of the employees of DE-NOCIL was detected via an internal investigation. The Dow Chemical Company made voluntary disclosures to SEC in the background of its internal investigation to promote fair and ethical practices. 

“Following the investigation, De-NOCIL took significant personnel actions against those individuals who appeared to be, either directly or indirectly, responsible for apparent improper conduct with government officials in India. The services of four DE-Nocil employees were terminated and two resigned on their own since termination was imminent,” added the statement. 

A CBI team investigating the case had found out that Ratan Lal Rajak, a former plant protection advisor to the government, and his aides had been paid $32,000 in cash and jewellery by Dow AgroSciences. The company had also picked their travel and hotel expenses. It later filed charge sheets against Rajak, and a middleman, in the court of a special judge in Ambala (Haryana) for accepting bribes from Dow Agro. 

Mr Kevin Aden, then managing director of Dow Agro, who is a British citizen, according to CBI, was in the know of these transactions as the bills raised in the firm bore his signature. He, however, evaded CBI questioning as he had left India, and, hence, could not be chargesheeted.

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Members of Congress tell Dow to clean up Bhopal

Members of Congress tell Dow to clean up Bhopal

For immediate release: June 17, 2009

CONTACT: Shana Ortman, ICJB Coordinator, (415)-746-0306, shana@panna.org
Tony Millard, ICJB Spokesperson, (708)-606-8142, aj.millard@gmail.com

Nearly 30 House members support Bhopal survivors’ demands of U.S. chemical maker

Download the entire signed letter here (large pdf file).

Survivors of the ongoing chemical disaster in Bhopal, India, secured a major victory Tuesday, as 27 members of Congress wrote to Dow Chemical Company CEO Andrew Liveris and Dow’s Board of Directors, urging the company to face their criminal and civil liabilities for the tragedy that occurred at a Union Carbide pesticide plant in December 1984. The letter endorsed the survivors’ demands for remediation—as put forth by the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal (ICJB)—chiefly that Dow provide medical and economic rehabilitation and clean up the factory and groundwater contamination.

Congressman Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) led the effort to support the ICJB demands. A coalition of Bhopal survivors and their supporters worldwide, ICJB is working to force Dow to face trial in India and to pay for the disaster cleanup. Nearly a quarter-century after the initial disaster, the factory sits in ruins, with toxic chemicals strewn about the grounds, just yards from the homes of thousands of Bhopali families.

“After 25 years, the human and environmental tragedy of the Bhopal chemical disaster remains with us,” Pallone said. “While thousands continue to suffer, Union Carbide and its successor, Dow Chemical, have yet to be brought to justice. I appreciate the efforts of the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal to raise awareness of the plight of the people of Bhopal. Members of Congress will continue to fight against companies that evade civil and criminal liability by exploiting international borders and legal jurisdictions.”

ICJB advocates say broad support from across the United States is a reflection of the enthusiasm generated by the recent national tour led by two Bhopal second-generation survivors, Safreen Khan and Sarita Malviya, both 16, who live with their families in one of the water-contaminated communities. The survivors met with Pallone and other members of Congress in Washington D.C. on their tour.

“The water contamination left by Union Carbide has poisoned two generations in Bhopal, and Union Carbide’s owner, the Dow Chemical Company, is responsible for cleaning up the contamination, “ ICJB’s U.S. Coordinator Shana Ortman said. “25 years is too long to wait for justice or for clean water. We are pleased to stand alongside 27 members of the U.S. House of Representatives in calling on Dow to follow the rule of law in India, and face their liabilities for this tragedy—the world’s worst industrial disaster.”

The following members of Congress signed onto the letter: Ackerman (NY), Baldwin (WI), Blumenauer (OR), Brady (PA), Capuano (MA), Clarke (NY), Faleomavaega (AS), Fattah (PA), Grijalva (AZ), Higgins (NY), Hinchey (NY), Honda (CA), Jackson Lee (TX), Kucinich (OH), Langevin (RI), Lee (CA), Markey (MA), McDermott (WA), McGovern (MA), Nadler (NY), Oberstar (MN), Pallone (NJ), Payne (NJ), Schakowsky (IL), Schiff (CA), Stark (CA), Tonko (NY).

Nearly half a million people were exposed to poisonous methyl isocyanate during a runaway chemical reaction at the Union Carbide plant in Bhopal on December 3, 1984. Since then, more than 22,000 people have died and 150,000 survivors continue to be chronically ill, as the Indian government and Dow have repeatedly failed to address their role in the atrocities of this ongoing disaster in Bhopal.

∙ www.studentsforbhopal.org ∙ www.thetruthaboutdow.org

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