After a lot of ifs and buts, the main contract for the construction of the Bakun dam in Sarawak is signed. This took place on the 2th of October, and according to the newspaper Dagens Næringsliv, when the news was known the market rejoiced. The construction was stopped by the Malaysian High court in June when three of the approximately ten thousand indigenous people, who had to be resettled because of the dam, won their case against the constructors (see NorWatch nr. 4/96 and 6/96). The work continues all the same, while the courts evaluate the constructors appeal. Swiss/Swedish ABB got the main contract together with the Brazilian CPBO, and their part of the total budget of 34 billion dollar, is 20 billion. Kværner is a part of this consortium and will deliver 6 turbines valued at USD 120 million. ABB stock market shares rose 1.8% in Stockholm when the news of the signing was known The contract is expected to give employment to 10 000 in Sweden. The Bakun dam is South-east Asia's largest, and Kværner looks at the contract as a possible entrance ticket to the three Georges construction in China. In October, The Association for International Water and Forest Studies (FIVAS) took the initiative of writing a letter where Kværner was requested to pull out of the contract. In the letter, it is stated that the Bakun construction does not satisfy Kværner's own environmental directives, and that the company has a special responsibility as one of Norway's and Europe's largest industry concern.. The letter was signed by a number of Norwegian environmental and solidarity organisations.
NorWatch exposed in September that Dyno had been black listed by Human Right Watch because the company could not give the group a clear guarantee that they would give up the future production of parts for anti-personnel mines (see NorWatch 9/96). Dyno's head office in Norway immediately made contact with its sister organisation Dyno Nobel Inc. in the USA, which until 1993 had delivered ignitions for such mines, and asked the company to clarify it policy. Human Right Watch accepted Dyno's new guarantees, and it is now in the list of companies that dissociate themselves from such production
Storebrand Scudder EVF:
Storebrand's "Environment Fund", Storebrand Scudder Environmental Value Fund (see NorWatch nr. 8/96) is vulnerable to constantly more critic for its investments. This time the focus is directed specially to the investment in WMX, the worlds largest company for waste management. In the newspaper Dagbladet, Bellona's officer in charge, Bård Bergfall, says among others: -This is one of the worst companies we know in the western world. Waste Management ( now WMX) reduces the environmental standard dramatically in the companies they enter. WMX is known in Norway for its 1992 attempt to buy the storehouse for special waste at Langøya outside Holmestrand, but was stopped by the Ministry of Environment Internationally the company is badly rumoured for its extensive environmental crimes and Mafia connections. The publicising of the critic of Storebrand's environmental fund had to be cleared by the TV-action's board, as environmental fund was one of TV-action's main sponsors. Against Naturvernforbundets vote, four organisations approved publicising the critic. The disclosure in NorWatch nr. 8/96 led to Storebrand notifying through the newspaper Dagens Næringliv, the sale of its shares.in the mining giant, Rio Tinto Zinc. Right until the TV-action day, the organisations behind Environment for Life will not comment the case.
Norconsult recently took the final decision and signed a contract in connection to the construction of a national garbage fill in Barbados. The objective of the contract is to follow up the construction work of the project (Barbados Solid Waste management), which is very controversial. An organisation in Barbados has for several years worked against the plans, among others, for the reason that the garbage fill will be located within a national park (see NorWatch nr. 5/96). But in spite of the critic, Norconsult has said yes to the contract. The reason, which Norconsult sent NorWatch, was that the company thinks that the chosen location, all things considered, is the best alternative for a national garbage fill, and that the opposition of the project comes from local individuals with special private interest. Norconsult admits that they do not have the background to judge whether the location is the best, but justifies its involvement with the project, among others, by saying that the work has already come a long way, and that the project would have been carried out even if Norconsult did not take the contract. The opposition in Barbados still attempts through legal means to stop the project.
Norwatch Newsletter 10/96