Titan cement in Egypt - environmental & labour concerns

In October 2014, the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights published a report on alleged labour rights and environmental enfringements by Titan Cement in Egypt.  The study called into question the International Finance Corporation's funding for Titan's Egypt project, saying that it renders the IFC's social performance standards "meaningless".

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Titan Cement to respond - its response is below, as well as the EIPR report.

EIPR and three other Egyptian organizations filed a CAO complaint at the IFC over Titan's impacts in Alexandria in April 2015.

Note: Also see here for a previous article raising concerns about Titan in Egypt, and Titan's response (June 2014).

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Company response
29 May 2018

Titan Cement comments on the Dekheila Appellate Misdemeanor Court ruling

Author: Titan Cement Egypt

... Despite the significant investments and efforts to minimize any impact from the performance of our plant, there have been occasional complaints from residents and in certain few cases legal actions against APCC, for alleged environmental violations. In the specific case that you mention, 10 residents of Wadi Al-Qamar area, pressed charges against the Company in 2015, alleging that there were emissions beyond the premises of the plant which caused health problems to some of the complainants. Although the Environmental Inspection Committee of Egypt and the investigation process confirmed that the emissions beyond the plant were within the limits of the applicable laws, and no legal action was taken by the Egyptian State against our Company, eight of the complainants requested temporary compensation before the El Dekhiela Misdemeanor Court. The Misdemeanor Court has issued a ruling and has fined our Company for lack of sufficient precautionary measures to reduce emissions and for violation of the applicable laws. APCC’s first appeal has been rejected and the Company is in currently in the process of filing a second appeal before the Court of Cassation...

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Lawsuit
6 April 2018

Egyptian court finds TITAN Cement guilty of causing pollution and violating right to health in rare conviction

Author: Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights

[A] judgment issued by the Dekheila Appellate Misdemeanor Court on March 21, 2018 […] found Alexandria Portland Cement -Titan guilty of causing environmental pollution and violating the neighboring residents’ right to health […]The prosecution accused the CEO of Alexandria Portland Cement in his capacity as the chief responsible party with three charges […] failure to take precautions and measures necessary to prevent the emission of pollutants into the air, failure to take measures pertaining to the disposal and production of hazardous materials, and causing harm to the victims because of negligence, wanton behavior, and a failure to comply with laws and regulations. On 18th of January 2018 the misdemeanor court convicted the CEO of Alexandria Portland Cement on all charges, fining him LE20,000 for each of the first and second charges and LE200 for the third charge together with referring the civil suit to the competent court. The company’s lawyers appealed the judgment, and on March 21, the Dekheila Appellate Misdemeanor Court upheld the earlier judgment.

[…] The judgment is particularly important because current environmental laws and regulations allow heavy polluting industries such as cement and coal-powered plants to operate in residential areas, which represents a severe threat to the health and safety of the neighboring communities. While welcoming the judgment, EIPR noted that it remains the exception due to the legal difficulty of proving the environmental violations by factories. 

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Company non-response
24 July 2017

TITAN Cement Company S.A. did not respond to EIPR rejoinder

Author: TITAN Cement

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited TITAN Cement Company S.A. to respond to EIPR's rejoinder. TITAN Cement stated that it will not provide a response.

NGO rejoinder
23 July 2017

EIPR responds to TITAN: At least 14 incidents in last 2 years refute argument that recent heavy emissions was an isolated incident

Author: Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), Egypt

Rejoinder to TITAN Cement’s response to a video of the incident on 18 May 2017

TITAN Cement responded to a video showing heavy emissions rising out of the Alexandria Portland Cement Company (APCC) plant, owned by a subsidiary of TITAN Cement Company S.A. The response was published by Business & Human Rights Resource Centre and included a confirmation that “due to a temporary incident at [APCC], on May 18, 2017, release of dust was caused”. The response provided assurances that the “incident was detected and brought under control very quickly”… EIPR finds significant inconsistencies between the multiple documented incidents of heavy emissions (see Annex below) documented by the residents, on one hand, and the company’s assertion that the 18 May incident is a “temporary incident”. EIPR alone found 14 videos and images that document numerous incidents between June 2015 and May 2017 showing a huge amount of emissions rising out of APCC’s plant … Moreover, it is perplexing and particularly concerning that the numerous documented incidents are not reflected in the company’s emissions’ monitoring records, which it submitted in one of the relevant legal actions. The incidents are also absent from records of the National Network for Monitoring Industrial Emissions, part of the Ministry of Environment, as presented by the company. Such discrepancy gives rise to serious questions and concerns.

[Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited TITAN Cement Company S.A. to respond, but the company declined to do so.]

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Company response
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Author: شركة تيتان للأسمنت

تؤكد شركة تيتان مصر للأسمنت وقوع حادث مؤقت في مصنع أسمنت بورتلاند الإسكندرية في 18 مايو 2017، مما تسبب بانبعاث الغبار. وتم اكتشاف الحادثة والسيطرة عليها بشكل سريع جداً.

شركة تيتان مصر للأسمنت ملتزمة دائمًا بالإشراف البيئي وبتحقيق تحسّن مستمر. خلال العامين الماضيين، جرى تخصيص استثمارات كبيرة وتكاليف تشغيلية تزيد عن 310 مليون جنيه مصري في مصانعها في الإسكندرية وبني سويف، وذلك وفقاً لمعايير الاستدامة والمعايير البيئية الدولية والممارسات الفضلى المعتمدة في القطاع. وتسهم هذه الجهود المتواصلة بتقليل البصمة البيئية للمصانع بشكل مستمر.

Company response
19 June 2017

TITAN Cement Response

Author: TITAN Cement

TITAN Cement Egypt (TCE) confirms that due to a temporary incident at the Alexandria Portland Cement plant (APCC), on May 18, 2017, release of dust was caused. The incident was detected and brought under control very quickly. 

TCE has an enduring commitment to environmental stewardship and to continuous improvement. During the past two years, significant investments and operational costs of more than EGP 310m have been allocated by TCE in both Alexandria and Beni Suef operations, following international sustainability and environmental standards and industry best practice. This on-going effort is contributing to the continuous reduction of the environmental footprint of the plants.

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Article
18 June 2017

Egypt: Residents capture video showing large emissions from TITAN factory

Author: Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights

Video: Wadi al-Qamar residents capture emissions from Titan’s Alexandria Portland Cement, 29 May 2017

Residents of Wadi al-Qamar have recently posted a video, dated 18 May 2017, on Facebook, which depicts very large emissions coming out of a chimney of the Alexandria Portland Cement’s plant (APCC), which is adjacent to their homes. APCC is a subsidiary of TITAN Cement Group…Residents of the area have been complaining for years about the environmental pollution caused by the plant and the harmful effects it has had on their health and the health of their children. Residents have filed numerous complaints to the Ministry of Environment and other concerned parties to no avail. They have also initiated a number of legal actions against the factory for legal and environmental violations, and have submitted a complaint to relevant procedures at the World Bank, which finances the plant….APCC, a subsidiary of TITAN Cement Group, has constantly claimed that it has had a stellar environmental record; that its emissions are within the legally permitted range; that its chimney is tied to the National Network for Monitoring Industrial Emissions; and that no environmental violations were recorded against it…

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Item
15 January 2017

EGYPT: IFC Ombudsman in Egypt to investigate complaint about Titan Cement’s environmental and social impacts

Author: Office of the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO)

Investigation of IFC’s Environmental and Social Performance Related to Cement Plant Investment in Egypt, 10 January 2017

The Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO), the independent accountability mechanism for the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, is conducting a compliance investigation related to IFC’s investment in the Alexandria Portland Cement Company (APPC), part of Titan Group… A CAO team is in Egypt this week to conduct informational interviews with the relevant local stakeholders. “The investigation is ongoing in coordination with the parties involved. The focus is IFC’s performance, not the client, and CAO has made no determination at this stage regarding IFC’s compliance with its environmental and social requirements related to the project.” said Osvaldo Gratacós, CAO and Vice President of the World Bank Group… The investigation was initiated following a complaint to CAO about the project’s environmental and social impacts. IFC’s support for Titan Group involves the expansion of Titan’s Egyptian operations, including the Alexandria Portland Cement Company (APCC). IFC holds an equity investment of €80 million in Titan’s holding company, Alexandria Development Limited (ADL). A complaint was filed to CAO in April 2015 by community members living in close proximity to the cement plant and former employees of APCC, with assistance from local civil society organizations. The complaint raised concerns about the effects of the plant on community health and safety, compliance with national legislation, labor issues, information disclosure, and community consultation. 

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Article
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Author: مها يونس، آية رمزى - المال (مصر)

 

البنك الدولى يحقق فى أضرار مصنع أسمنت الإسكندرية، 11يناير 2017

قالت فاطمة رمضان، مسئول ملف العمل بالمبادرة المصرية للحقوق الشخصية، إن البنك الدولى أرسل أحد  المكاتب التابعة له لتقصى مدى التزام مصنع الإسكندرية لأسمنت بورتلاند «تيتان» بالمعايير الاجتماعية والبيئية السليمة، منذ الأحد الماضى (8 يناير 2017). يأتى ذلك للتحقيق الذى يجريه البنك بعدما أظهرت تقارير وجود أضرار بيئية من المصنع على المنطقة السكنية المُحيطة بها «وادى القمر»، والتى تقع غرب المحافظة.

بينما قال المهندس مدحت ستيفانوس، العضو المنتدب لمجموعة تينان للأسمنت لـ«المال» أنه ليس لديه فكرة عن تحقيقات البنك الدولى فى أى مخالفات للاشتراطات البيئية، مؤكداً أن ما يقرب من 188 لجنة حكومية أصدرت تقارير العام الماضى تفيد بالتزام المصنع بكافة المعايير المحددة من وزارة البيئة. كما أكدت الدكتورة شادية الشيشينى مستشار وزير البيئة أن الوزارة تأكدت من توافق المصنع للمعايير المحددة. وأشارت إلي أن المصنع يستخدم فلاتر بأعلى تقنيات تكنولوجية بل من أكثر المصانع التزاماً.

ويستهدف التحقيق جمع المعلومات التى تتعلق بالأثر البيئى للمصنع، وبالتلوث الذى يسببه، فضلًا عن استخدامه للفحم، بالإضافة إلى المعلومات المتعلقة بالتمييز ضد العمال وبمخالفة القوانين المحلية، ومن المُقرر أن تَعقد بعثة المكتب مقابلات مع الأطراف المعنية من الشركة ومن السكان والعمال المتضررين، وكذلك مع أطراف أخرى حكومية وغير حكومية، كما ستقوم البعثة بزيارة المنطقة ويصحبها خبراء دوليون فى الشئون البيئية والعمالية، وفقًا لما أكده عضو مجلس النواب. يذكر أن مصنع الإسكندرية لأسمنت بورتلاند - تيتان، حصل على تمويل بقيمة 80 مليون دولار من مؤسسة التمويل الدولية IFC، التابعة للبنك الدولى، وهو ما يعادل %15.2 من رأس مال الشركة، وتفرض قواعد وسياساتالبنك الدولى ضرورة التزام المشروعات التى يمولها بمعايير أداء جيدة من الناحيتين البيئية والاجتماعية، ويعتبر (CAO) المعنى بمتابعة هذا الالتزام فى مشاريع مؤسسة التمويل الدولية.

Item
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Author: المبادرة المصرية للحقوق الشخصية

المبادرة المصرية تنشر المذكرة القانونية في الطعن ضد استخدام أسمنت تيتان للفحم في وادي القمر بالإسكندرية

نشرت المبادرة المصرية للحقوق الشخصية اليوم المذكرة القانونية التي تقدم بها بجلسة 9 أكتوبر الحالي، عدد من أهالي منطقة وادي القمر أمام محكمة القضاء الإداري بمجلس الدولة بالإسكندرية ضد استخدام شركة أسمنت تيتان للفحم ... تقع شركة الإسكندرية لأسمنت بورتلاند – تيتان، في منطقة وادي القمر بغرب الإسكندرية، ولا يكاد يفصل السور الجنوبي للمصنع عن المنطقة السكنية سوى 10 أمتار، وتتسبب الرياح الشمالية الغربية السائدة هناك في توجيه انبعاثات المصنع إلى مساكنهم. وعبر سنوات تقدم الأهالي بالعديد من الشكاوى ضد المصنع بسبب موجات الغازات والأتربة الشديدة التي تخرج من المدخنة، لكن لم يتم التحقيق سوى في عدد قليل منها، والآن هم مهددون بخطر تلوث أكبر بسبب تحول المصنع إلى استخدام الفحم كوقود بدلًا من الغاز الطبيعي.

قدم دفاع أهالي وادي القمر مذكرة الدفوع القانونية في القضية رقم 8815 لسنة 70 ق، والتي يطعنون فيها على قرار السماح لشركة الإسكندرية لأسمنت بورتلاند- تيتان، باستخدام الفحم، وأيضًا على قرار تعديل اللائحة التنفيذية لقانون البيئة الذي سمح باستخدام الفحم في المناطق السكنية، مطالبين بإلغاء القرارين وما ترتب عليهما من آثار ... وقد دفعت المذكرة القانونية بعدم مشروعية القرارين لمخالفتهما أحكام الدستور وكذلك القوانين الدولية الملزِمة لمصر وقانون البيئة، وأيضًا لافتقادهما ركن السبب وللانحراف بالسلطة وعدم استهداف المصلحة العامة.

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