BASF is member of UN's corporate social responsibility initiative Global Compact. But to Inner City Press, the company still refuses to disclose their "expert opinion" as to why they believe their imports of phosphates from occupied Western Sahara is legal. See video from the UN.
At UN, BASF Dodges W. Sahara Phosphorus Fall-Out, Global Compact's PetroChina Denial
Inner City Press 2 March 2009 Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis See more about the question to BASF on the pages of Inner City Press.
UNITED NATIONS, March 2 -- When the UN Global Compact held a meeting on "current anti-corruption efforts by its corporate participants" last week, there were more than a few ironies. Chosen by the Compact as its corporate participant and thus poster-child was the chemical firm BASF. But when Inner City Press asked BASF's chief compliance officer Eckart Suenner about alleged irregularities in his firm's export of phosphate from the contested territory of Western Sahara, and the firm's refusal to make public an expert opinion it claims legitimates the transfer, Suenner dodged the question.
Not only at the press conference on February 26, when he said while he hadn't heard about, BASF has policies on "dual use and stuff," but in the three days since Inner City Press sent him evidence of the refusal of Anne Forst of BASF's "Sustainability Center" to provide the expert opinion, no response from BASF has been received. Video here, from Minute 24:44. The inquiry focused on a shipment of 25,000 tons of phosphates from the Bu Craa mines in Western Sahara, carried by the ship Novigrad to the harbor of Ghent.
While the Global Compact claims to be moving toward increased transparency and credibility, its board recently dismissed a detailed complaint against PetroChina and subsidiaries for their activities in Sudan. Faced with widespread protest of the dismissal, the Compact's Sir Mark Moody-Stuart has written that the issue will be re-visited at an upcoming meeting of the Compact's board.
Inner City Press on February 26 asked when this will take place, and for the views on the matter of another participant, Jermyn Brooks, head of Global Private Sector Programs of Transparency International. Global Compact Executive Director Georg Kell argued that PetroChina is not a member of the Compact, only its subsidiary CNPC is. Video here, from Minute 17:20.
In fact, the opposite appears to be true. In any event, should Compact participants be hiding behind a shell game of subsidiaries, in which all members of a conglomerate can cite an affiliate's membership in the UN Global Compact, but the most controversial parts of the company can say it was not them who joined?
TI's Jermyn Brooks, who gave a detailed answer to Inner City Press' question about gray money being used to bolster the reeling banking sector, at least admitted he was "ducking" the PetroChina question, saying he doesn't have enough information. When he does, and when the Compact board revisits the question -- Kell would not give a date -- we will have more on these matters.
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 five 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.