Story of the Day

Olympic sponsorship row fuelled by new Bhopal revelations

Feb 15

Written by:
15/02/2012 14:43  RssIcon

New documents reveal links between Dow and Union Carbide

Today the Independent has reported that it has obtained documents revealing that Dow Chemical sidestepped a trading ban in India after the Bhopal disaster.

According to the paper, the Dow Chemical company secretly traded through a web of intermediaries to avoid a legal ban on selling Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) products in India.

Legal documents obtained by the Independent showed that Dow continued to permit the unlawful practice started by UCC after it bought the company in February 2001.

The ban dated back to 1992 when a ruling by an Indian court prohibited the sale of UCC products without approval in an attempt to compel Union Carbide officials to return to the country to face criminal charges for culpable homicide.

As a sponsor of the 2012 London Olympics, Dow's legal duty to compensate Bhopal gas victims and deal with the ongoing environmental disaster has once again grabbed the headlines. The disclosure by the Independent undermines Dow's assurances to Lord Coe, chairman of London 2012 Organising Committee (Locog) that the DOW and UCC are 'distinct entities which operate independently'.
However the court documents revealed how in 2001 Dow became central to all aspects of the trading arrangements which included setting prices for the chemicals and other goods sold in India.

The documents emerged in a US court case between intermediary companies and Dow and Union Carbide for violations of anti-trust and breach of contracts which was later settled outside of court.
Campaigners want the Indian government to use the documents to hold Dow liable in an ongoing compensation battle for the gas victims and their families. The case, which challenges the $470m out of court settlement agreed by UCC, its Indian subsidiary UCIL and the Indian government in 1989 will shortly be heard by the Supreme Court.
The Locog and Dow claim that the 1989 settlement was 'full and final' and that Dow had no liability or responsibility for Bhopal, regardless of the ongoing civil and criminal cases in the US and India.


We'll be publishing an Olympic special issue in the summer. Sign up for our email newsletter for details of when it'll be published.


This story has been added to our corporate database. The database powers all our live buyers' guides, giving the score for each company on our rankings tables.


Labour Boycott G4S

26 November 2015

Party cites human rights issues

Co-op Bank closes campaigners accounts

25 November 2015

Bank faces legal action for alleged discrimination

Boycott of Ben & Jerry's called

18 November 2015

Campaign claims mismatch between policy and practice

Veolia withdraws from Israel

17 November 2015

Company ends links with controversial project

Barclays divest from Israeli arms company

16 November 2015


Bank no longer holds shares in Elbit Systems

RBS slammed for investment in nuclear weapons

12 November 2015

New 'Banking on the Bomb' report

APL settles over failure to deliver on contract

02 November 2015

Shipping company do not admit liability

Problems persist in Apple supply chain

30 October 2015

Re-investigation of factory shows poor working conditions 

Bacardi target of campaign over working conditions

29 October 2015

Sugarcane workers dying from kidney disease

Amazon face court action over courier's pay

28 October 2015

Web giant sued for back pay and expenses

Apple accused of hoarding profits and harming the real economy

27 October 2015

Researchers say the company has the resources to develop economies

Monsoon tops list of wage law breakers

26 October 2015

Company fails to pay minimum wage

SeaWorld banned from breeding orcas

23 October 2015

Ruling hailed as victory for animal rights

New palm oil plantation destroys local livelihoods

22 October 2015

Luxembourg-based company faces protests over land grab

Morrisons criticised for sale of kangaroo meat

20 October 2015

Supermarket targeted by campaigners

Museum protest over BP human rights record

19 October 2015

Campaigners target oil giant over murder and abduction allegations

Syngenta's unauthorised GM traits get past European regulatory system

16 October 2015

Authorisation process needs overhaul, say European Greens

Employment tribunal rules against Sports Direct

13 October 2015

Former workers awarded compensation

Facebook paid under £5000 in UK corporation tax in 2014

12 October 2015

Company records overall loss in UK of £28.5m

AstraZeneca accused of tax avoidance

09 October 2015

Company pays no UK corporation tax in 2014 after structure change

John West failing the oceans

08 October 2015

Company not living up to sourcing commitments

Mars and Nestlé rocked by slave labour allegations

05 October 2015

Pet food brands using suppliers caught in Thai fishing scandal

Workers sue Monsanto claiming herbicide caused cancer

02 October 2015

Two cases could just be the start

Mulberry accused of failing workers

24 September 2015

Handbag brand slammed for worker exploitation at Turkish factory 

Biggest climate change polluters identified

23 September 2015

65% of industrial CO2 emissions produced by just 50 companies

Volkswagen accused of cheating emissions tests

22 September 2015

Company designed device to deceive tests

Monsanto herbicide listed as "known to cause cancer"

21 September 2015

California Environmental Protection Agency proposes new labelling

Lidl to pay Living Wage

18 September 2015

First UK supermarket to pay higher rate

Top tea brands exposed

09 September 2015

Investigation reveals serious workers' and human rights issues

Airport VAT scam

26 August 2015

World Duty Free Ltd criticised over pricing

Danone, Nestlé and Yakult accused of cruel animal experimentation

25 August 2015

Cruelty Free International releases new research

HESTA divests from Transfield Services

24 August 2015

Company cites detention centre abuses

Starbucks urged to go deforestation free

20 August 2015

Sum of Us launch palm oil campaign  

UK energy company to drill for oil in Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara

19 August 2015

"Stop supporting brutal occupation" say protesters

Unilever promises to clear up toxic mess

13 August 2015

But fails to compensate victims of mercury poisoning

Unilever's toxic mercury spill in India

06 August 2015

Calls to compensate victims and clean up mess

Fiat Chrysler given record fine

27 July 2015

Company must pay £67.6m over recall failures  

CitySprint accused of tax avoidance

16 July 2015

Courier company under fire over tax haven loans 

Coca-Cola accused of misleading health claims

14 July 2015

Coke claims diet drinks fight obesity

Iceland to start selling red grouse

10 July 2015

Link to illegal persecution of birds of prey

Worker loses hands making TVs for LG

08 July 2015

Campaigners demand compensation and enforcement of labour protection

EE fined by communications regulator

06 July 2015

Company said to have mislead consumers 

ILO demands Qatar Airways change discriminatory contracts

26 June 2015

Clause breaches ILO convention against discrimination at work 

Amazon's UK tax bill revealed

25 June 2015

Internet giant paid just £11.9m in 2014

Mining company Paladin reduces Malawi tax bill by $43m

19 June 2015

Tax breaks allows company to avoid paying taxes in world’s poorest country

Drug giant Pfizer buying antibiotics from dangerous factories

12 June 2015

Report exposes big pharma’s murky supply chain

YSL advert banned for using unhealthily underweight model

03 June 2015

Advertising Standards Agency considered ad to be irresponsible

Lawsuit brought against Yahoo

01 June 2015

Judge rules in favour of privacy class action lawsuit against Yahoo over emails

Anderson accused of promoting tax avoidance

29 May 2015

Company hit by BBC sting operation

Five of world's biggest banks fined $5.7 billion

22 May 2015

Fined for manipulating foreign exchange rates

Next loses battle with HMRC over tax avoidance scheme

20 May 2015

Next used “artificial steps” to inflate value of tax relief

Copenhagen council staff boycott Ryanair

19 May 2015

Mayor accuses company of paying poor salaries

Pizza Hut franchisee and unsustainable palm oil

18 May 2015

Campaigners urge food giant to follow through on commitments

Zara Brasil labour rights violations found

13 May 2015

New report accuses company of not monitoring its supply chain effectively

US food companies' water management policies rated

11 May 2015

Ceres looks at how the food industry is managing global water risks

Company charged over worker death

01 May 2015

Safety breaches lead to man being cooked in giant oven

Vacuuming Antartica for krill

30 April 2015

Sainsbury's, ASDA, Tesco and Boots implicated

Shell lobbied against renewable energy targets

28 April 2015

Weak renewable targets for 2030 originated with Shell’s pitch for gas

Hugo Boss criticised over workers' rights

27 April 2015

Campaigners demand change in Turkish factories

Aldi and Lidl slammed over supply chain issues

24 April 2015

Low wages and poor conditions in prawn supply chain

Supermarkets accused over misleading pricing

23 April 2015

Which? launch legal challenge

Amnesty: UK government must investigate Rio Tinto for sanctions-busting in Burma

17 April 2015

Human rights abuses also alleged at controversial mine

Guardian Media Group divests from fossil fuel industry

10 April 2015

Divestment campaign continues to grow

Unilever takes top spot on Oxfam’s scorecard

02 April 2015

Oxfam publishes scorecard on food security and sustainability policies

Time Warner Inc. accused of cruelty to owls on studio tour

01 April 2015

Harry Potter fans complain of mistreatment of animals

Companies not paying minimum wage in UK

24 March 2015

Foot Locker and French Connection amongst those named

Concerns for workers' welfare at Cambodian suppliers

20 March 2015

Gap, Marks and Spencer, and Joe Fresh mentioned in new report

Stakeholder map lists businesses position on TTIP

19 March 2015

List revelaed under Freedom of Information Act

Health and safety complaints filed against McDonald's

17 March 2015

Pressure to work faster leading to injuries at work

Yoghurt companies fined over price fixing

13 March 2015

France fines country’s top six producers, including Nestle

Lidl supplier accused of violence towards workers

12 March 2015

Union representatives and Accord staff also intimidated

Inhumane conditions at detention facility

11 March 2015

New footage reveals serious issues as Harmondsworth

Subway investigated over sale of expired food

10 March 2015

Workers accused of swapping labels

Mother's Day disgrace

09 March 2015

Tell Iceland supermarkets to end the slaughter of kangaroo Mums


Santander agrees to end loans to forest destroyer

05 March 2015

Campaign victory takes just 18 days

More failings at Yarl's Wood immigration centre

04 March 2015

SERCO promises an independent review of its work at the centre

Goodyear fined over bribery

02 March 2015

Tyre company sanctioned over illicit payments

Coutts bank in tax probe

27 February 2015

RBS subsidiary probed by German government

Benetton delays paying into Rana Plaza fund

26 February 2015

Campaigners demand immediate payment of $5 million

Unhappy meal

25 February 2015

€1 billion in tax avoidance on the menu at McDonald's

ISA sugar mill linked to kidney disease

24 February 2015

Company denies link between disease and harsh working conditions

HSBC Swiss offices searched

20 February 2015

Inquiry into alleged money-laundering 

UK arms factory occupied

19 February 2015

Instro Precision Ltd occupied over link with 'Gaza’s misery' 

New animal welfare report released

17 February 2015

Signs of improvement amongst businesses

Santander financing forest destruction

12 February 2015

Tell them to stop lending money to forest destroyers

HSBC accused of helping clients dodge millions in tax

10 February 2015

Company turned blind eye to tax evaders

Tax dodging laid bare

02 February 2015

Mirror investigation outlines UK tax and profits of six corporations 

Two dead in LG factory accident

30 January 2015

Workers die of suffocation 

Apple announces record profits

29 January 2015

But campaigners call for clamp down on tax avoidance

Apple boss receives massive pay rise

26 January 2015

Tim Cook's pay now even more excessive 

McDonalds sued for discrimination

23 January 2015

Fast food giant in court for racial and sexual discrimination. 

Labour rights violations found in Uniqlo supply chain

22 January 2015

Researchers find long hours, low pay and unsafe conditions 

G4S investigated over Guantanamo Bay

20 January 2015

Company may have acted illegally in profiting from contract

EU rules against Amazon in Luxembourg

19 January 2015

Company accused of receiving state aid

Mass strike action at Indian factory

16 January 2015

Protests and sit-ins for the last month 

Companies named and shamed for not paying National Minimum Wage

15 January 2015

List includes H&M and Welcome Break

Campaigners target Doritos over palm oil

14 January 2015

Pepsico subsidiary slow on using sustainable palm oil 

Honda fined over reporting failure

12 January 2015

Car company to pay $70million

Shell settles out of court over Nigerian oil spills

09 January 2015

Fishermen to receive payouts of £2,000 each

Wal-mart destroys evidence in discrimination case

08 January 2015

Judge sanctions company