Friday, July 23, 2010

Corporate Social Irresponsibility

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How do you spell Corporate Social Irresponsibility:

A Dutch court has found multinational Trafigura guilty of illegally exporting toxic waste from Amsterdam and concealing the nature of the cargo.

In 2006, Trafigura transported waste alleged to have been involved in the injury of thousands of people in Ivory Coast. Trafigura denied any wrongdoing.

It expressed disappointment in the ruling and is considering an appeal. The firm was fined 1m euros (£836,894) for its ship, the Probo Koala, transiting Amsterdam with its cargo.

The ship then went on to unload its cargo in Ivory Coast.

"It is a good thing that they have been found guilty but it would be even better if they were sent to jail” Guy Oulla Alleged waste victim

Trafigura employee Naeem Ahmed, who was involved in the ship's operation in Amsterdam, was fined 25,000 euros and the captain of the Probo Koala, 46-year-old Sergiy Chertov, was sentenced to a five-year suspended jail term.

This is the first time Trafigura has faced criminal charges since the toxic waste scandal unfolded in Ivory Coast's commercial capital, Abidjan, in 2006.

Trafigura, an oil trading company, initially tried to clean up low-grade oil by tipping caustic soda into the hold of the Probo Koala. The company tried to unload the waste in Amsterdam for treatment, declaring it as "harmless slops".

When the treatment company came back with a higher price for cleaning the waste, the cargo was shipped to Africa where it ended up in Abidjan to be handled at a much lower rate....

The full BBC report here.

Trains and transport hub not bendy buses

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I've been to a lot of meetings about bus rapid transit. The more I went to and the more questions I asked the more I realised just how poor the plans are - and that's as a person very strongly in favour of more, better and cheaper public transport. No surprise then that I agree very strongly with this latest press release from Bristol South Green Party and admire the work of Cllr Tess Green, green activist Pete Goodwin and others:

Bendybus is just a vanity project, say Greens

Threats to government funding for Bristol's first bus rapid transit route hasn't yet stopped the council spending on it. At the council meeting earlier this month, only one member voted against.

That member was Southville's Cllr Tess Green. She believes that even if it does win government cash, the new concrete guided bus route into the city from Long Ashton will be a white elephant. She says money would be better spent on schemes that could really make a difference - like light rail from Portishead into the city centre, or a first-class transport hub for all of Bristol at Temple Meads. Now she's lobbying the Department for Transport to explain her concerns.

Bristol South Green Party, meanwhile, has joined Tess and other local organisations in asking the government to refuse an order allowing it to go ahead.

"We've been studying the case made for this first bendy-bus route" said spokesman Pete Goodwin, "and find it doesn't do what it says on the tin. Traffic and congestion in the next twenty years get much worse with or without the bendy- bus. All this project does is encourage more commuting by road from North Somerset. They've conveniently forgotten about climate change, peak oil, and the awful congestion that we already suffer."

"This is a reckless waste of public money at a time when much more vital services are being cut, and community assets are being sold off. So far as we can see, it's just another part of the council's bid to turn the Green Belt around Ashton Vale into a big sports and entertainment venue, it serves no other major purpose. That makes it more a vanity project, at the cost of real public services."

Note: The formal objections from Cllr Green and from the Bristol South party to the Bus Rapid Transit project can be read
here .