Sasol Heeds Community's Call for Environmental Justice in Mossville, LA
Chemical company commits to introduce voluntary property purchase program for residents impacted by plant expansion plans.
New York, NY – Thursday, July 25, 2013: Members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) and Sasol shareholders commend the company for its rapid and comprehensive response to appeals to work with the community of Mossville as it plans the expansion of its ethane cracker and gas-to-liquid (GTL) facility at Westlake.
Last year Sasol, a South Africa-based energy and chemical company with extensive operations in North America, surprised community members by announcing a $21 billion expansion of its chemical plant next door to the residential community of Mossville which is already surrounded by 14 industrial facilities.
ICCR shareholders, led by Mercy Investment Services, the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, and Trillium Asset Management, are working with this African-American community and other local petroleum companies to encourage greater awareness of the serious environmental and health impacts of operations on local residents. Testing of surface and ground water in Mossville shows unsafe levels of toxins such as PCBs and ethylene dichloride, that have caused chronic and life-threatening respiratory, reproductive and immune diseases, including cancer, in local residents. ICCR members believe that upholding environmental justice ensures an individual’s human right to clear air, water and soil regardless of race, sex or social class.
Upon hearing of Sasol’s expansion plans, ICCR members representing $11 billion in assets sent a letter to the company requesting increased community engagement. This led to a meeting with Sasol management in April in which management promised investors it would follow up with the community. On July 18, Sasol announced a voluntary property purchase program for residents in the designated areas affected by the company’s growth plans.
“We recognize that our growth plans will result in the expansion of our facility closer towards our neighbors to the northwest and west of our existing facility. Sasol is committed to listening to community concerns and being a good neighbor and corporate citizen in southwest Louisiana,” said Mike Thomas, Sasol Vice President for U.S. Operations.
The program gives eligible property owners and residents the option to sell their property to Sasol and relocate to an alternative neighborhood, if they so choose. ICCR members will continue to monitor the program until the process is complete but are very pleased with Sasol’s prompt response and commitment to ensuring environmental justice for the Mossville community.
Director of Communications, ICCR, 212-870-2938, firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR):
Currently celebrating its 42nd year, ICCR is the pioneer coalition of active shareholders who view the management of their investments as a catalyst for change. Its 300 member organizations with over $100 billion in AUM have an enduring record of corporate engagement that has demonstrated influence on policies promoting justice and sustainability in the world.
This release was originally published by the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility which is solely responsible for its content.