It is expected that the operation of these former core areas of the two industrial giants will continue with new owners. New owners will make the same demands to profits, they will compete in the same market, for the same kind of contracts as before. It is unlikely that they will take human rights and environmental issues seriously. In this respect, ownership is of secondary importance.
It is the responsibility of the owner, irrespective of nationality, to improve the practice of these companies. This could just as well happen with foreign owners. We have experienced that Norwegian ownership does not imply a better practice. Neither Aker RGI nor Kværner should be honoured for leaving these troublesome lines of business. If they really wanted to contribute to a better world, and not just increase their profits, they should have kept the companies and changed the poor practice which has been developed throughout their years of ownership.
The selling out of the above mentioned companies will not make any real changes.
Norwatch Newsletter 6/99