The Dow Chemical Company (Dow) is blinding investors to the toxic legacy of Bhopal, Amnesty International said ahead of the corporation’s AGM on Thursday. The company has blocked a shareholder resolution asking for a report on the financial, reputational and operational impact of the catastrophe on Dow’s business.
“Dow’s refusal to talk about the Bhopal disaster ignores the continued suffering of the local community, and is an irresponsible business move,” said Audrey Gaughran, Director of Global Issues at Amnesty International.
“Dow’s Bhopal problems aren’t about to go away simply by ignoring them.”
There will be no discussion at the AGM of the consequences of impending criminal and civil court proceedings relating to the 1984 gas leak which resulted in the deaths of thousands, as well as ongoing damage to the health and environment of local communities.
Dow has been ordered to appear before Bhopal’s Criminal Court on 4 July to explain why its wholly-owned subsidiary, Union Carbide Corporation (UCC), has repeatedly ignored calls to answer charges of “culpable homicide not amounting to murder”.
The charges relate to UCC’s responsibility for the leak at the former chemical plant in Bhopal. In addition to the criminal case, the companies are embroiled in two civil suits in India relating to the gas leak and ongoing environmental contamination at the former plant site.
“Dodging the issue now has serious implications not only for the hundreds of thousands who continue to suffer as a result of gas poisoning and pollution, but also the company and its shareholders further down the line,” said Audrey Gaughran.
“As long as the company continues to deny its responsibilities, its business will remain tainted by the Bhopal disaster. The only way to make problems like these go away is to remedy them.”
For more detailed information, see Amnesty International’s Public Statement “Dow Blocks Amnesty International Calls to Face Up to the Toxic Legacy of Bhopal”: www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ASA20/011/2014/en