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Dow’s NZ Corporate Crime Revealed At Earth Summit

Dow’s NZ Corporate Crime Revealed At Earth Summit

Johannesburg, 28 August 2002: At the Earth Summit today, Greenpeace launched a damning report on industry corporate crime around the world, including a case study on the Dow Chemicals site in New Plymouth, New Zealand. The report is supported by an exhibition by a world-renowned Magnum photographer, showing the shocking aftermath of the Bhopal chemical disaster at the Union Carbide site in India, now owned by Dow.

The report “Corporate Crimes”(1) details case studies from industry sectors, including the chemical, forest, mining, genetic engineering, nuclear and oil industries. The exhibition “Exposure: Portrait of a Corporate Crime”, offers a unique insight into the human and environmental tragedy of the Indian city, Bhopal. An explosion at Union Carbide’s pesticide plant in December 1984, released lethal gases into the city, causing the world’s worst industrial disaster. 20,000 people have died from gas exposure so far and the next generation is being affected. 150,000 survivors are chronically ill and communities are drinking contaminated groundwater.

“Corporate Crimes puts the international spotlight on Dow Agrosciences’ New Zealand plant in Paritutu for its dioxin pollution from the 1960’s to the1980’s (2).”

“A proper health study has never been carried out for the people who lived in New Plymouth at the time. The New Zealand Government is dragging its heals and is still developing a health scoping report two decades after the contamination occurred. A full health study must begin immediately for affected communities.”

“The report urges governments at the Earth Summit to commit to an international agreement on corporate accountability and liability to stem corporate environmental abuses,” said Sue Connor, Toxics Campaigner, Greenpeace New Zealand.

“Governments around the world must protect people and the environment from corporate pollution. Bhopal highlights the failure of corporations such as Dow to observe basic standards of human decency. Dow must take responsibility for toxic contamination in Bhopal and Paritutu,” concluded Connor.

Greenpeace and Bhopal survivors organisations are campaigning to ensure Dow cleans up the Bhopal site at its expense, provides long-term medical treatment for survivors, fully compensates second and third generation victims, provides clean drinking water to communities and that governments punish the guilty.

Read the Corporate Crimes report

Notes to editors:

(1) Corporate Crimes: The Need for an International Instrument on Corporate Accountability -- Is a compilation of cases documenting the criminal behavior of big corporations like Dow, Bayer, ICI, Shell, Solvay, Monsanto, Aventis, Exxon, Total Fina, and others, in the following countries: Brazil, India, New Zealand, Australia, Argentina, Peru, Paraguay, UK, US, Japan, France, South- Africa, Russia, Spain, Philippines, Israel, and others. In the report, Greenpeace is asking governments to take up the Bhopal Principles on Corporate Accountability and Liability, a comprehensive set of principles to ensure that corporations protect human rights, food sovereignty and promote clean and sustainable development. The Ten Principles on Corporate Accountability include corporate liability for damages arising from their activities, as well as for damage to areas beyond national jurisdictions including the global commons; the protection of human rights; the provision of public participation and the right to know; protection of food sovereignty; the implementation of the Precautionary Principle; adherence to the highest standards for protecting human health and the environment; avoiding excessive corporate influence over governance; and promoting clean and sustainable development.

(2) Ivon Watkins Dow (now Dow Agrosciences) manufactured dioxin contaminated 245-T at the Paritutu plant.

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