The Lithuanian firm Lifosa refused to answer the question whether they intend to terminate phosphate imports from Western Sahara, and was today kicked out of the UN Global Compact initiative on Corporate Social Responsibility.
The Lithuanian phosphate importer Lifosa last year admitted to WSRW to have carried out large scale phosphate imports from Western Sahara.
The imports have never appeared in their Corporate Social Responsibility reports, even though the firm already in 2005 signed up as a member of UN Global Compact - a UN initiative for companies that adhere to basic principles of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption.
“Has Lifosa on any occasion, since the first imports were made, ever consulted representatives of the Saharawis to investigate whether the imports are to the wishes or interests of the Saharawis?”, WSRW asked the company in a letter 6 September 2010.
"No", was the short answer from the general director of the company, in a letter to WSRW on 16 November 2010.
The UN Legal Office considers natural resource activity in Western Sahara to be in violation of international law
if the people of the territory is not consulted.
Lifosa denied in the same letter to having a long-term agreement with OCP, but stated they sign quarterly supply agreements. They admitted to having received 250.000 tonnes of phosphate rock in 2008, 120.000 tonnes in 2009 and 465.000 tonnes in 2010 - all of it from Western Sahara.
On 1 December 2010, WSRW sent a new letter to Lifosa
, asking whether Lifosa and their mother firm Eurochem will "follow the example of other ethically oriented fertilizer producers internationally and terminate its imports of phosphate from Western Sahara".
After 6 months of not responding, Global Compact appears now to have proceeded to delist the company from their list of participants. The delist was done today, 3 June 2011. Images below show the list of participants before and after Lifosa appeared as a member to the initiative.
Global Compact expects participating companies to respond to concerns from civil society.
AB Lifosa is the largest producer of phosphate mineral fertilizers in the Baltic states and an industry leader in the European Union, and a subsidiary of the Russian firm Eurochem.Global Compact webpages 7 May 2011, showing AB Lifosa as a participant: Global Compact webpages 3 June 2011, showing AB Lifosa delisted from the initiative: