The Norwegian Church Aid bought shares in the Norsk Hydro in an attempt to force the company to develop a human rights strategy. Their proposal was put forward at the company's annual general meeting, and was also intended to lead to a postponement of the Indian project. Also, The Norwegian Church Aid's youth organization (Changemakers) spoke at the meeting, on behalf of private shareholders, in favor of postponing the project.
However, as the Norsk Hydro General Assembly finally gathered at the Rica Sjølyst hotel in Oslo, with representatives of the church and the minister of Trade and Industry present, the fate of the Orissa people was of subordinate importance. The Norwegian Church Aid's proposal was never taken to a vote, but simply appended to the minutes. And CEO Egil Myklebust was not happy that the General Assembly was used as a political arena. His problem, according to what he said himself, was not the issues related to human rights, but that 'outsiders', among them The Norwegian Church Aid, did not believe that Norsk Hydro is doing a good job in that area.
So what happened to the representative from the ministry of Trades and Industry? He chose to remain silent...
Norwatch Newsletter 8/98