German firm orders end to Moroco/Western Sahara fish oil usage
Last week, Swedish national TV revealed that a Norwegian Omega 3 fat acid producer sources its fish oil from ocupied Western Sahara. The tablets reaches customers on the Swedish market. Now, the German mother firm, Cognis, has ordered a stop to the continued use of material from Western Sahara and Morocco. Read also: The German Corporation Cognis Cuts All Purchases from Morocco
11 March 2010, Western Sahara Resource Watch together with former Member of European Parliament, Margot Kessler, sent a letter to Cognis, requesting them to ask its subsidiary in Norway to halt its usage of fish oil from occupied Western Sahara. The Norwegian subsidiary, Napro Pharma, had refused to disclose the origins of the fish oil.
On 12 March 2010, the firm responded that they intend to do exactly that: They will "ensure that the fish oil provided to us in the future will not originate from Morocco and Western Sahara". See the reply below.
Monheim, March 12, 2010
Sourcing of fish oil from Western Sahara: your open letter / our measures taken
Dear Mrs. Kessler, dear Mrs. Eyckmans,
Thank you very much for your letter and the information given on the living conditions of the Saharawi people as well as on the political situation of Western Sahara. We can assure you that our management takes this issue very seriously.
Please let us explain our position on the sourcing of fish oil from Western Sahara and also inform you about the actions our company has taken in reaction to the recent information.
We incorporate sustainable values and practices into our purchasing procedures and expect all our suppliers and service providers to adopt a similar approach. We mainly source fish oil from Peru and Chile. Up until now a minor part of our fish oil supply also came from Morocco.
With the information gained from the Swedish TV program “Uppdrag Granskning” we contacted our supplier in order to make sure that the fish oil provided to us does not originate from Western Sahara. The respective supplier confirmed that the fish oil we receive from Morocco does not come from Western Sahara, but is made from fish caught in the area of Tan Tan and Agadir, by local fishermen.
Based on the report on SVT 1 of Wednesday, March 10, we inquired once again and this time were told that it can not be guaranteed to 100 percent that we do not get fish oil from Western Sahara as well.
In the light of this new information we requested our supplier • to provide us with detailed documentation on the origin of the fish oil we received within the last 12 months. • to ensure that the fish oil provided to us in the future will not originate from Morocco and Western Sahara.
We hope that this information shows you that our company takes this topic very seriously and is committed to stop imports of fish oil from Western Sahara.
If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Antonio Trius Stephane Baseden Chief Executive Officer Cognis Executive Vice President Nutrition & Health
Morocco occupies the major part of its neighbouring country, Western Sahara. Entering into business deals with Moroccan companies or authorities in the occupied territories gives an impression of political legitimacy to the occupation. It also gives job opportunities to Moroccan settlers and income to the Moroccan government. Western Sahara Resource Watch demands foreign companies leave Western Sahara until a solution to the conflict is found.
It's not easy keeping up with all the different legal proceedings relating to Western Sahara. For the sake of clarity, here's an overview of the three different cases at the Court of Justice of the European Union.
Leading activists from Western Sahara are condemned to sentences ranging from 20 years to life imprisonment in connection to a mass protest in 2010 denouncing the Saharawi people’s social and economic marginalization in their occupied land; the Gdeim Izik protest camp.
At COP22, beware of what you read about Morocco’s renewable energy efforts. An increasing part of the projects take place in the occupied territory of Western Sahara and is used for mineral plunder, new WSRW report documents.