BASF proves blind and deaf towards the victims of MarikanaPublished by MAC on 2016-05-03
Source: Statements (2016-04-30)
Previous article on MAC: BASF's links to Marikana killings raised at AGM
A counter petition has been published and can be viewed, alongside other documents, at: www.basflonmin.com
BASF proves blind, deaf and aggressive towards the victims of Marikana
Press release on yesterday's annual meeting of BASF shareholders, Mannheim (29 April 2016) from Ethical Shareholders (Germany’s umbrella association of Critical Shareholders), Khulumani Support Group, Bench Marks Foundation and KASA (Religious Work on Southern Africa)
30 April 2016
The global chemical company BASF –a long-term purchaser of platinum produced in Lonmin’s Marikana mine -- is proving to be blind, deaf and aggressive towards the victims of 2012 Marikana massacre, exposing BASF’s much-touted claims of leading social responsibility as a farce.
On 29 April, a delegation from South Africa, including two widows of the Marikana massare, spoke to BASF’s AGM about its failings and its share of responsibility in the scandalous living and working conditions that continue at Lonmin, following the human rights violation of the 2012 Marikana massacre. BASF refused to commit to improvements in the situation of the victims, or indicate how it would intervene to ensure that Lonmin meet its social responsibility to workers.
The South African delegation consisted of Bishop Jo Seoka, speaking on behalf of miners at Marikana, Ntombizolile Mosebetsane and Anges Makopane Thelejane, representing the widows of the massacre, and Khulumani Support group. They asked BASF directly about what it was doing, and would commit to doing in future, to demonstrate corporate responsibility towards all those who comprise its supply chain. The widows gave a harrowing discription of how they struggle to survive in the aftermath of the massacre, without compensation; they asked for immediate relief.
In his response to this statement, Karl Bock, chairman of BASF boasted that BASF had instigated a completely untransparent audit of Lonmin, which found that Lonmin has addressed all the main problems causing the massacre, and has assisted those harmed by it. Obviously cornered, Bock became visibly aggressive: he refused to respond to numerous questions put to the Board at the sharesholders meeting. These questions included; why are the audit results not openly available? Why did the audit only ask for responses from Lonmin, without asking for input from any of the groups of victims of the massacre at Marikana? What is BASF prepared to do to assist people whose lives were damaged by the massacre which was engineered by its long-term supplier and trusted associate Lonmin – given that there has been no compensation paid, and no measures that enable people to restore their lives?
Bock responded: "The report (the Farlam commission of inquiry) is clear that Lonmin, our supplier, with whom we work for 30 years, have not done everything possible to prevent these incidents, this tragedy.”He notes: "We also know that the living conditions in South Africa are not always what you want them to be". But then he continues: “And now you come here to Ludwigshafen and ask that we should pay compensation for widows, for the survivors of this incident. Rest assured, we take it all very seriously!" But he then states: "We understand your need, but I can here also only ask for understanding: can the problems that people have in South Africa, although they do have a bearing on us in Germany and we are also sending a very, very intensively, felt sympathy -- I also believe but we can not solve here all of the problems you have in South Africa. We contribute by being a good partner for Lonmin, and we confirm that Lonmin has complied with our requirements, and furthermore will continue to comply with our requirements."
Ultimately, this response tells us that: BASF’s commitment to comprehensive supply chain responsibility is a nice idea and does well in the Annual Report and on the homepage, and in agreement with UN guidelines. But ultimately, the board of BASF is trying to wiggle off the hook: "We can not verify the supplier's supplier of the supplier". The BASF relationship to Lonmin is a concrete, direct connection, which along the way relies upon a link through a BASF-owned letterbox company registered in the Swiss tax haven of Zug.
From our perspective: BASF gave an insulting and shameful reaction to the guests from South Africa . Only in a more detailed analysis of the speech of CEO Kurt Bock , the extent of the arrogance of the world's biggest chemical company will be shown; but is already very clear how great is the gap between their promises of corporate responsibility, company claims of compliance with those commitments, and the reality on the ground.
Bishop Jo Seoka:Original Speech in English (as pdf)
Ntombizolile Mosebetsane and Agnes Makopano Thelejane:Original Speech in English (as pdf)
Maren Grimm and Jakob Krameritsch:Original Speech in German (as pdf)
See also theCOUNTER MOTION of the Ethical Shareholder Germany.
More Information: https://basflonmin.com
Dr. Jobson, Khulumani Support Group: +27 822680223
John Capel, bench Marks Foundation: +27 11 832-1743/2 and +27 82 870 8861
Maren Grimm: +49 (0) 177 655 10 53, m.grimm[at]akbild.ac.at
Jakob Krameritsch: +43 (0) 699 1967 51 31, j.krameritsch[at]akbild.ac.at
Markus Dufner: +49 (0) 221 599 56 47, 0173 - 713 52 37, dachverband[at]kritischeaktionaere.de
Ensuring Sustainability in the Supply Chain: BASF’s Evaluation and Audit of Lonmin Plc
Lonmin Plc is listed on the stock exchanges in London and Johannesburg. The company engages in the discovery, extraction, refining and marketing of platinum group metals (PGMs) and is one of the world’s largest primary producers of PGMs. Lonmin’s core operations are situated in South Africa.
For the past 30 years, Lonmin has been a supplier of PGMs to BASF’s Precious Metals Services business and to the Precious Metals business of Engelhard Corporation, which BASF acquired in 2006.
The metals purchased from Lonmin – platinum, palladium and rhodium – are primarily used in the production of BASF’s mobile emissions catalysts. These catalysts enable automakers to comply with increasingly stringent global emissions regulations by eliminating pollutants from engine exhaust before they enter the atmosphere.
Throughout its relationship, BASF has routinely engaged with Lonmin’s operational, commercial and executive teams and conducted periodic site visits to Lonmin’s operations to ensure an understanding of its processes and compliance with BASF’s commitment to environmental and social performance.
Marikana Conflict, Farlam Commission Report
In August 2012, during an extended mining strike involving Lonmin workers in Marikana, South Africa, an escalation of tensions culminated in violent confrontations between mineworkers and armed South African police. This violence led to the deaths of 44 people, mostly Lonmin mineworkers, over the course of one week.
BASF was shocked and saddened by this tragedy, and continues to offer its deepest sympathy to all of those impacted by these events.
Shortly after the violence in Marikana, the South African government launched a formal investigation into the incident, forming the so-called “Farlam Commission of Inquiry” to lead a thorough investigative process.
Alongside the Farlam Commission of Inquiry, Lonmin conducted its own intensive assessment of the root causes of the Marikana tragedy. It installed new leadership and initiated a series of actions to improve mineworker relations and create a more open, transparent and mutually trustworthy environment.
In June 2015, the Farlam Commission of Inquiry Report was issued. While the investigation found that the actions of the South African police forces and the striking miners were the primary cause of the violence, Lonmin was also identified as not having used its best endeavors to prevent the tragedy.
BASF Response to the Farlam Commission Report
Following publication of the Farlam Report, BASF conducted a thorough assessment of the issues raised and took a number of steps to ensure that Lonmin is fully compliant with BASF’s Supplier Code of Conduct and its policies related to human rights, labor and social standards as well as environmental protection.
The evaluation was conducted in accordance with the “Together for Sustainability” (TfS) initiative, which a number of leading chemical companies, including BASF, founded in 2011 to establish global standards for supplier evaluations and auditing to improve sustainability sourcing practices.
Beginning in July 2015, BASF initiated a series of information gathering meetings between its Procurement and Sustainability leaders and Lonmin executives to understand the actions that had been taken to improve Lonmin’s sustainability performance and address the Farlam Commission findings.
Between September and November 2015, BASF prepared for an intensive audit of Lonmin by identifying and contracting a leading TfS audit firm (ERM – Environmental Resources Management) to conduct the detailed supplier sustainability assessment.
Further, BASF took a leading role in enhancing the TfS questionnaire to address performance criteria specific to the mining industry, adding more than 20 targeted sustainability assessment topics to the TfS evaluation and audit process.
At the end of November 2015, the third-party ERM audit was conducted by two South African auditors that had been validated and approved by TfS.
The key categories of audit assessment included: Environment, Health & Safety; Labor & Human Rights; Management; and Governance. While the audit noted room for improvement, primarily in the areas of environment and safety, there were no critical findings of Lonmin’s governance, human rights or labor practices nor any performance violations that would prevent BASF’s continuation of its relationship with Lonmin.
In response to the audit findings, BASF is taking further steps in providing active knowledge sharing with Lonmin in areas which are comparable to the chemical industry. For example: providing support to help improve the mining company’s firefighting capabilities, while also sharing best practices on enhancing community grievance procedures.
Lonmin has remained open and appreciative of BASF’s efforts to help improve its safety preparedness and sustainability performance, and remains committed to participating in follow-up assessments to ensure BASF’s requirements are fully met.
In March 2016, as part of its 2015 Sustainability Report, Lonmin published a comprehensive response to the findings contained in the Farlam Commission of Inquiry Report, detailing the many constructive steps it has taken, and continues to take, to improve operational safety, mineworker relations and to create a more open, transparent and mutually trustworthy environment. This Report can be found on Lonmin’s public website, at: http://sd-report.lonmin.com/2015/inquiry-report/.