Environment - An introduction

There is a close link between environmental issues and human rights, particularly the right to health.  Among the many other affected rights are the rights to food, housing and access to water, freedom of information and freedom of assembly.

For more on the connections between environmental and human rights issues click here.

Below are select introductory materials on business and the environment.  Further reports from a wide range of sources are in the Environment: General section of our site.

Concerns, company responses and non-responses

Global: London Mining Network publishes "alternative report" to BHP Billiton's annual report - concerns over impacts on environment, indigenous peoples, human rights in Asia-Pacific, Americas, So. Africa, Nov 2009. BHP Billiton response.

Global: "Shell's Big Dirty Secret": Report by Friends of the Earth, Oil Change, PLATFORM on climate change, other environmental impacts, Jul 2009. Shell response.

Global: Environmental NGOs say ArcelorMittal "continues" to destroy environment, risk people's lives and displace communities in seven countries, Jul 2009. ArcelorMittal response.

Global: SOMO "Overviews of controversial business practices in 2008" on companies including AkzoNobel- concern over pollution charges Jul 2009. AkzoNobel response.

Global: SOMO "Overviews of controversial business practices in 2008" on companies including SBM Offshore- concern over environmental, health impacts of activities. Jul 2009. No response from SBM Offshore.

Global: Joint NGO report “True Cost of Chevron” raises concerns about its social & environmental impacts worldwide Jun 2009. Chevron response.

Global: NGO alleges ArcelorMittal using financial crisis as an excuse to demand subsidies and delays in environmental measures, Jan 2009. ArcelorMittal response.

Global: London Mining Network says BHP Billiton failed to respond to social & environmental concerns at annual meeting - cases from Philippines, Indonesia, Guatemala, Colombia, Nov 2008. BHP Billiton response.

Global: "Monsanto's Harvest of Fear" - Vanity Fair report details environmental legacy, treatment of farmers, May 2008. Monsanto response.

Global: Video games consoles: Greenpeace names Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo for dangerous chemical substances, Mar 2008. No response received from Microsoft.

Global: NGOs criticise Apple for environmental policies & practices, Apr 2007. Apple response.

Global: Greenpeace report says hi-tech products made by Hewlett-Packard & others use toxic flame retardants, Jun 2005. HP response.

Brazil: Barra Grande dam: Terra de Direitos and Movimento dos Atingidos por Barragens file OECD Guidelines complaint raising social & environmental concerns, Jun 2005.  Alcoa, BAESA responses.

Burma: Kachin Development Networking Group calls for stop to Irrawaddy dam project (joint venture between China Power Investment, Asia World Company and the State Peace and Development Council of the Burmese military government), due to major human rights, environmental impacts, Nov 2009.  Asia World Company response. No response received from China Power Investment.

Cameroon: Residents of Douala accuse firms of chemical pollution of their neighbourhood, Aug 2006. No response received from Cicam, Diageo/ Guinness.

Dem. Rep. of Congo: Community group concerned about toxic waste that Chevron buried between 1986-1990 & recently excavated, Oct 2007. Chevron response.

Ecuador: 40 indigenous communities call on Petroecuador to make certain social & environmental measures in “Bloque 15“ (formerly operated by Occidental), June 2006. Petroecuador response.

Ecuador: Chevron responds to Newsweek article on lobbying US Govt. to cut Ecuador trade preferences over toxic waste lawsuit, Aug 2008. Chevron response.

Ecuador: Commentary on Chevron's stance in Ecuador environmental lawsuit, by Daniel Taillant (Center for Human Rights & Environment - Argentina), Sep 2008. Chevron response.

Ecuador: Local groups raise concerns over environmental impacts of Iam Gold operations - demand revocation of its concession, May 2006. IAM Gold response.

Ecuador: Shareholder resolution by Amnesty USA & others requests Chevron to prepare report on its initiatives to address health & environmental concerns where Texaco operated in Ecuador, Mar 2005. Chevron response.

Ecuador: Thousands protest environmental damage, Jul 2006. Perenco response.

Ghana: NGO makes several allegations against AngloGold Ashanti, including pollution; intimidation of villagers and displacement by govt. security forces. Aug 2009. AngloGold Ashanti response.

Ghana: Participants in workshop organised by Wassa Association of Communities Affected by Mining raise concerns about environmental & health impacts of mining operations, June 2005. AngloGold Ashanti, Newmont responses.

Ghana: Public Eye Awards name Newmont "2009 Worst Company" over proposed mining project that critics say would displace thousands, pollute soil & rivers, Feb 2009. Newmont response.

Ghana: Wassa Association of Communities Affected by Mining (WACAM) accuses Newmont of downplaying cyanide spillage at Ahafo mine, Oct 2009. Newmont response.

Honduras: Villagers allege pollution from San Andrés mine, harassment by mine staff, Jul 2006. Yamana Gold response.

India: "Too hot to handle?" - Article says firms mishandling toxic industrial waste, Apr 2009. BEIL (Bharuch Enviro Infrastructure Ltd) response. No response received from Ramky, GEPIL (Gujarat Enviro Protection and Infrastructure Ltd)

India: Indian People’s Tribunal report on alleged human rights and environment violations involved in Utkal aluminium project, Oct 2006.  Alcan response. No response received from Hindalco (Aditya Birla).

India: Local residents in Jharkhand protest expansion of UCIL uranium mine due to health, environmental impacts, Jun 2009. No response received from Uranium Corp. of India Ltd. (UCIL)

India: Petition says Himagiri Hydro Energy's Panan hydro-electric project will harm environment & Lepcha community's culture - calls for release of arrested activists, Mar 2009. Himagiri Hydro Energy response.

India: Residents oppose proposed Utkal bauxite mining & alumina refinery project over environmental, displacement concerns, Apr 2005.  Alcan response.

India: Times of India article says pharmaceutical plants poison ground water in Punjab village. [Note: Max India response says it does not operate in Toansa & was mentioned erroneously in Times of India report], Jan 2006.  DSM, Ranbaxy and Max India responses.

Kazakhstan: Emissions from Karachaganak oil and gas field causing serious environmental health problems in nearby communities, critical environmental information withheld, says Crude Accountability, Apr 2005. Karachaganak Petroleum Operating response.

Mozambique: Cimpor cement factory says high dust pollution is due to filter damage caused by local electricity company - environmentalists say factory could do more, Jul 2006. No response received from Cimpor.

Nigeria: Amnesty Intl. report "Petroleum, pollution and poverty in the Niger Delta, Jul 2009. Shell response.

Nigeria: Environmental groups warn of "unprecedented loss of lives" if safety concerns are not addressed in pipeline projects, particularly Gaslink's project, Sep 2007. Gaslink response.

Peru: Blacksmith Institute lists La Oroya (site of Doe Run smelter) as one of 10 “World’s Worst Polluted Places”, Oct 2006. Doe Run response.

Peru: Harm to environment & livelihoods from Tintaya mine outweigh any benefits, says Christian Aid report, “Unearthing the Truth”, Mar 2005.  BHP Billiton response.

Peru: Human rights groups & news articles allege Yanacocha mine & security company involved in spying operation & intimidation against local environmentalists, Jan 2007.  Newmont/Yanacocha response. No response received from Forza.

Peru: NGO report alleges Occidental's former operations caused serious harm to environment & health, May 2007. Occidental response.

Peru: Peruvian congressman accuses Doe Run of using townspeople of La Oroya to pressure government to approve delays in environmental protection measures, Feb 2006. Doe Run response.

Peru: Production at La Oroya mine pollutes local area, provides few benefits to local residents, says Christian Aid report, “Unearthing the truth”, Mar 2005. Doe Run response.

Philippines: Community claims Metals Exploration mine "endangers lives" with potential landslide - raises other safety, health & environmental concerns, Feb 2009. Metals Exploration response.

Philippines: Oxfam Australia says Philippines mine bankrolled by ANZ destroys local people's livelihoods, Oct 2008. ANZ response.

Philippines: Villagers not compensated for environmental harms, clean-up not completed, according to Oxfam Australia report, Mar 2005. Placer Dome response.

Republic of Congo: Report by Congolese & intl. NGOs says ENI's oil sands & biofuel projects threaten tropical forests, local people & climate, Nov 2009. ENI response.

Republic of Congo: Report by Heinrich Böll Foundation & NGOs raises serious social, environmental concerns over Eni's planned tar sands & agro-fuel projects, Jul 2009. ENI response.

Russia: Blacksmith Institute lists Norilsk as one of 10 “World’s Worst Polluted Places”, Oct 2006. Norilsk response.

South Africa: Community accuses hazardous waste firm Thermopower of environmental pollution & causing illness, Aug 2009. Thermopower response.

Thailand: Proposed Asia Pacific Potash mine – Suwit Kularbwong and other villagers opposing the mine report threats; environmental concerns raised, Aug 2006. Asia Pacific Resources response.

Tibet/India: Tibetans-in-exile protest Continental Minerals' Tibet project - concerns over environmental damage, lack of consultation, Jul 2009. Continental Minerals response.

Ukraine/Kazakhstan: NGO alleges ArcelorMittal using financial crisis as an excuse to demand subsidies and delays in environmental measures, Jan 2009. ArcelorMittal response.

USA: "Toxic 100" list of corporate air polluters, Univ. of Massachusetts Political Economy Research Institute (PERI), May 2006.  Alcoa, Archer Daniels Midland, DuPont, US Steel, GE, Eastman Kodak. Ford responses.  No response received from ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Tyson Foods.

USA: "Toxic 100" list of corporate air polluters, Univ. of Massachusetts Political Economy Research Institute (PERI), Apr 2008.  Du Pont, Nissan, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), Bayer, Dow Chemical, Kodak, General Electric (GE), Arcelor Mittal, US Steel, ExxonMobil responses.

USA: Mossville, Louisiana residents have high levels of toxic chemicals in their blood & environment, according to US Govt. data - NGO report says nearby factories, including a Lyondell facility, are responsible, Aug 2007. Entergy, Georgia Gulf, PPG Industries, Sasol responses. No response received from ConocoPhillips, Lyondell.

Lawsuits regarding companies' environmental impacts

Summary profiles & material about environmental lawsuits: BHP lawsuit (re Papua New Guinea); BP lawsuit (re Alaska); BP lawsuit (re Colombia); Cambior lawsuit (re Guyana); Cape/Gencor lawsuits (re So. Africa); DynCorp lawsuit (re Colombia & Ecuador); Fadeyeva v Russia (re Severstal smelter); Freeport-McMoRan lawsuits (re West Papua); Rio Tinto lawsuit (re Papua New Guinea); Shell lawsuit (re Nigeria); Texaco/Chevron lawsuits (re Ecuador); Trafigura lawsuits (re Côte d'Ivoire); Union Carbide/Dow lawsuit (re Bhopal)

Articles & reports mentioning other environmental lawsuits (note: this links to the search results for material on our website referring both to "environment" and "lawsuits" - not all articles will necessarily be focused on an environmental lawsuit)

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Related stories and components

Article
1 June 2009

"The True Cost of Chevron" - and Chevron's response

Author: Compiled by Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

On 13 June 2009 Chevron sent the following response to the NGO report "The True Cost of Chevron"...Chevron's response also invites readers to review the company's 2008 Corporate Responsibility report...

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Article
26 May 2009

Google Partners with Eight Utilities in Smart Meter Projects to Track Energy Use Online

Author: GreenerBuildings

Eight utilities in the U.S., Canada and India are teaming up with Google in smart meter projects that will enable customers to monitor their energy use online and better manage their power consumption, the Internet giant announced. [The companies are...

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Article
12 May 2009

ArcelorMittal continues to pollute and uproot people’s lives

Author: CEE Bankwatch

ArcelorMittal needs to move beyond good intentions on environmental and social improvements…[T]he company continues to destroy the environment, risk people’s lives and displace local communities, according to a new report…by the Global Action on...

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Article
1 May 2009

India: Jadugoda: No expansion until promises are met

Author: Moushumi Basu , Infochange News & Features [India]

The Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL)...is all set to expand the tailing dam and enhance its ore processing capacity plant in Jadugoda,...Jharkhand...the company has operational mines in Jadugoda, Bhatin, Turamdih, Narwapahar and Banduhurang....

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Article
28 February 2009

Too hot to handle [India]

Author: Down to Earth [India]

A fire at Ankleshwar...in...Gujarat on April 3 last year...burnt 250 tonnes of toxic industrial waste at the treatment, storage and disposal facility or TSDF...Bharuch Enviro Infrastructure Ltd (BEIL)...Prompted by the accident, the Central Pollution...

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Article
23 February 2009

Petition from the Affected Citizens of Teesta to the Government of India

Author: Affected Citizens of Teesta, on SACW.net

On the 7th of February 2009, 43 young ...activists of Affected Citizens of Teesta (ACT) including 3 juveniles...were arrested...in Dzongu, Sikkim [North-east India]. They were protesting against construction activities being carried on by Himagiri...

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Article
17 February 2009

HP unveils conclusions and next steps of project to tackle electronic waste in Africa

Author: Swiss E-Waste Guide

HP together with the Global Digital Solidarity Fund (DSF) and the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing and Research (Empa) today unveiled the first results of a pilot project to tackle the problem of electronic waste (e-waste) in Africa. ...

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Article
13 January 2009

Another mining town in Vizcaya cries for help [Phillipines]

Author: Floro Taguinod, GMANews.TV [Philippines]

The Runruno Land Owners Association (Rulanas) through its spokesperson, Kathleen Guillao, lamented that a mining firm [MTL Philippines Mining Corporation (part of Metals Exploration)] operating in...Runruno village remain unflinching to the plight of...

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Article
1 January 2009

[PDF] Public Eye Global Awards - Newmont Corporation

Author: Wassa Association of Communities Affected by Mining (WACAM), Ghana

Sensing an opportunity for huge profits [Newmont] has plans to open a 1,915-hectare goldmine in eastern Ghana. In its rush for riches the company is turning a blind eye to the social and environmental consequences of the project. If the project goes...

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Article
4 December 2008

[DOC] ArcelorMittal slammed for financial crisis ‘blackmail’

Author: National Ecological Centre of Ukraine

[T]he Global Action on ArcelorMittal coalition…slated as “blackmail” steel giant ArcelorMittal’s use of the financial crisis as an excuse to demand…delays in environmental measures in Ukraine and Kazakhstan. The governments of both [countries] have...

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