Wednesday afternoon, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign affairs publicized on their webpages an announcement that they discourage Norwegian businesses from operating in occupied Western Sahara. The statement was made at the same time as another Norwegian vessel was discovered transporting phosphates to New Zealand. See Norwatch films of the Norwegian phosphate exports, taken in New Zealand Wednesday.
The Norwegian ship owner Jo Tankers receives heavy criticism from the environmental authorities in the Dominican Republic, after chemical spills in one of the country’s harbours. “The company set both the harbour workers and the environment in danger”, said Felipe Ditren, director in the Dominican Ministry of Environment. The company claims not responsible for the incident.
Read also: Jo Tanker implements more rigorous safety demands
The Norwegian chemical transporter Jo Tankers have this week decided to implement stronger routines in the discharging of dangerous chemicals. In the future they will reject discharging caustic soda if the harbour workers do not wear proper personal protection equipment.
The cellulose giant Aracruz will not contest the Brazilian minister of justice’s decision that the disputed land areas are to be returned to the Indians, Haakon Lorentzen, board member of Aracruz, informed Norwatch. The prerequisite is that the line is drawn and that no further demands will be made to expand the Indians’ territory on the company’s land.
The Government Pension Fund – Global has invested heavily in the company Barrick Gold, which has made billions of Norwegian kroner by mining copper, silver, and gold on the tropical paradise island of Marinduque in the Philippines. The poverty-stricken local population was left with an environmental and health catastrophe. The company is now fighting in the courts to avoid having to clean up.
The Norwegian «Government Pension Fund – Global» has invested 193 million euros in pharmaceutical giants that produce preparations used in lethal injections in American prisons. An American organization that is working to abolish the death penalty has asked the Pension Fund managers to intervene.
Unionizing of workers is decisive to improve conditions in textile factories in developing countries. Simultaneously, unionized workers encounter strong opposition. During the past 3 years three union leaders have been killed in Cambodia. Union leader Athit Kong recently recounted this during the launching of the Norwegian Clean Clothes campaign.
Gearbulk, a company partially owned by the Jebsen family, ships phosphates from Western Sahara on behalf of the Moroccan occupying authorities. Norwatch can reveal that a Jebsen vessel docks Tuesday in a harbour in New Zealand. This trade is contradictory to discouragement from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
View video of shipment here.
The British company Rolls-Royce has announced that it is withdrawing from Sudan for political and humanitarian reasons. The company’s Norwegian subsidiary, Rolls-Royce Marine, has for several years been a large-scale supplier of pump systems to the country. Norwatch revealed in the autumn of 2006 that the Norwegian deliveries were made at the doorstep to Darfur.
Directly in conflict with signals from the Norwegian Parliament, but with the blessings of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norwegian firms are exporting arms to dictatorships on a grand scale. A new Norwatch report now reveals that the war materiel export to dictatorships in the Gulf area from 1997 to 2005 amounted more than 150 million euros. The Kongsberg Group says the export to Saudi Arabia is not a problem.
When the small Norwegian company Halaco bought into the Salvadoran garbage management company Mides in 2004, it ended up being scrutinized by the authorities for possible whitewashing of drug money. Now the Norwegians have been cleared of suspicion.
The Petroleum Fund is increasingly investing in tobacco. Norwatch’s examination of the Pension Fund’s new portfolio shows that 1.29 billion euro is invested in an industry that obstructs an active health policy in developing countries and that obtains constantly more of its profits from the poor part of the world. In 1 year the tobacco investments have increased by 44.2%.
Brazil’s Minister of Justice has sent the land conflict between the cellulose giant Aracruz and the Indians back to the Directorate for Indian Affairs with a request to find a solution that takes care of the interests of both parties. Aracruz’s nightmare – to give up 11,009 hectares of land – is thereby averted.
Producers of cluster weapons care little about investors who boycott companies for ethical reasons, because financial institutions still queue up to invest. Stronger measures are needed, according to international organisations: it must be illegal to invest in cluster weapon producers.