[Reader-list] Fwd: DOW ADDRESSES BHOPAL OUTRAGE, EXPLAINS POSITION
kshekhar at bol.net.in
Wed Dec 4 02:01:01 IST 2002
>Subject: DOW ADDRESSES BHOPAL OUTRAGE, EXPLAINS POSITION
>Date: Tue, 3 Dec 2002 06:18:24 -0500
>From: Dow Chemical Corporation <press at dow-chemical.com>
>To: "ben-beroul.uklinux.net" <ben at beroul.uklinux.net>
>December 3, 2002
>FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
> Contact: mailto:press at dow-chemical.com
>DOW ADDRESSES BHOPAL OUTRAGE, EXPLAINS POSITION
>Company responds to activist concerns with concrete action points
>In response to growing public outrage over its handling of the Bhopal
>disaster's legacy, Dow Chemical (http://www.dow-chemical.com) has
>issued a statement explaining why it is unable to more actively
>address the problem.
>"We are being portrayed as a heartless giant which doesn't care about
>the 20,000 lives lost due to Bhopal over the years," said Dow
>President and CEO Michael D. Parker. "But this just isn't true. Many
>individuals within Dow feel tremendous sorrow about the Bhopal
>disaster, and many individuals within Dow would like the corporation
>to admit its responsibility, so that the public can then decide on the
>best course of action, as is appropriate in any democracy.
>"Unfortunately, we have responsibilities to our shareholders and our
>industry colleagues that make action on Bhopal impossible. And being
>clear about this has been a very big step."
>On December 3, 1984, Union Carbide--now part of Dow--accidentally
>killed 5,000 residents of Bhopal, India, when its pesticide plant
>sprung a leak. It abandoned the plant without cleaning it up, and
>since then, an estimated 15,000 more people have died from
>complications, most resulting from chemicals released into the
>Although legal investigations have consistently pinpointed Union
>Carbide as culprit, both Union Carbide and Dow have had to publicly
>deny these findings. After the accident, Union Carbide compensated
>victims' families between US$300 and US$500 per victim.
>"We understand the anger and hurt," said Dow Spokesperson Bob Questra.
>"But Dow does not and cannot acknowledge responsibility. If we did,
>not only would we be required to expend many billions of dollars on
>cleanup and compensation--much worse, the public could then point to
>Dow as a precedent in other big cases. 'They took responsibility; why
>can't you?' Amoco, BP, Shell, and Exxon all have ongoing problems that
>would just get much worse. We are unable to set this precedent for
>ourselves and the industry, much as we would like to see the issue
>resolved in a humane and satisfying way."
>Shareholders reacted to the Dow statement with enthusiasm. "I'm happy
>that Dow is being clear about its aims," said Panaline Boneril, who
>owns 10,000 shares, "because Bhopal is a recurrent problem that's
>clogging our value chain and ultimately keeping the share price from
>expressing its full potential. Although a real solution is not
>immediately possible because of Dow's commitments to the larger
>industry issues, there is new hope in management's exceptional new
>clarity on the matter."
>"It's a slow process," said Questra. "We must learn bit by bit to meet
>this challenge head-on. For now, this means acknowledging that much as
>it pains us, our prime responsibilities are to the people who own Dow
>shares, and to the industry as a whole. We simply cannot do anything
>at this moment for the people of Bhopal."
>Dow Chemical is a chemical products and services company devoted to
>bringing its customers a wide range of chemicals. It furnishes
>solutions for the agriculture, electronics, manufacturing, and oil and
>gas industries, including well-known products like Styrofoam, DDT, and
>Agent Orange, as well as lesser-known brands like Inspire, Retain,
>Eliminator, Quash, and Woodstalk. For more on the Bhopal catastrophe,
>please visit Dow at http://www.dow-chemical.com/.
> # 30 #
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