FMC Corporation states that they have stopped importing phosphates from Western Sahara to Spain and that they should never have been kicked out of the Norwegian government's pension fund for lack of ethics.
Photo: Huelva, Spain, 2008. Sahrawi refugees demonstrated against the Spanish company FMC Foret, at the time one of the leading importers from the territory.
6 December, the Norwegian government announced the exclusion of two North American firms from its government pension fund. The reason was their imports from occupied Western Sahara is considered "a particularly serious violation of fundamental ethical norms."
In response, one of the firms, FMC Corporation, has stated that they had already ceased the imports to Spain, as WSRW already believed. The statement was published on the website Business & Human Rights on December 8.
“We are surprised and disappointed by the action of the Norway Wealth Fund given the fact that FMC exited its Spanish-based, Foret phosphate business in December 2010", stated FMC.
"While in operation, Foret purchased phosphate rock from Office Cherifien des Phosphates (OCP) under strict compliance with all legal provisions in both Spanish and international law. FMC no longer purchases phosphate rock from OCP, and has not done so since late 2010. We maintain a strict commitment to ethics and corporate governance, and will work with the Norway Wealth Fund officials to resolve this issue", they stated.
No mention is made to their imports to their subsidiary Tripoliven in Venezuela. WSRW has on several occasions, latest in December 2011, tried to get a response from the Venezuelan subsidiary as to whether the imports has terminated.
FMC had last year not responded to the Fund's Council on Ethics when they were sent the draft recommendation for exlusion.
8 December 2011, the Norwegian government also excluded the US-Canadian firm PotashCorp. The long time importers Innophos (US/Mexico), Incitec Pivot (Australia) and Wesfarmers (Australia) have ot yet been excluded.
Morocco occupies the major part of its neighbouring country, Western Sahara. Entering into business deals with Moroccan companies or authorities in the occupied territories gives an impression of political legitimacy to the occupation. It also gives job opportunities to Moroccan settlers and income to the Moroccan government. Western Sahara Resource Watch demands foreign companies leave Western Sahara until a solution to the conflict is found.
It's not easy keeping up with all the different legal proceedings relating to Western Sahara. For the sake of clarity, here's an overview of the three different cases at the Court of Justice of the European Union.
Leading activists from Western Sahara are condemned to sentences ranging from 20 years to life imprisonment in connection to a mass protest in 2010 denouncing the Saharawi people’s social and economic marginalization in their occupied land; the Gdeim Izik protest camp.
At COP22, beware of what you read about Morocco’s renewable energy efforts. An increasing part of the projects take place in the occupied territory of Western Sahara and is used for mineral plunder, new WSRW report documents.