Coalition from Gulf Coast Travel to Taiwan to confront Formosa Plastics
Photo Credit : Rise St. James
May 30, 2023
Formosa Plastics is Taiwan’s shame, victims of the United States and Vietnam sued across the sea, Formosa Plastics Group, in the name of the beautiful island of Formosa, has caused serious and irreversible environmental pollution and human rights violations in many parts of the world. shame. At the Formosa Plastics shareholders meeting today, two American Goldman Environmental Prize winners and victims of Formosa Plastics: Diane Wilson (Texas), Sharon Lavigne (Louisiana), her daughter Shamyra Lavigne, and Nancy Bui, representing Vietnamese victims, came to Taiwan from overseas , went to the shareholders meeting of Formosa Plastics in person, shouted to the senior management of Formosa Plastics Group and shareholders of Formosa Plastics, and called on Formosa Plastics Group to stop infringing on the environment and human rights, and to provide compensation and relief to the victims of the violations that have been caused.
The shareholder meeting reiterated its appeal, Formosa Plastics stop infringing on environmental human rights!
Diane Wilson, winner of the Goldman Environmental Award in 2023 and who has been engaged in the shrimping industry all her life, said at the shareholder meeting that Formosa Plastics’ factory in Texas produces more than 1 trillion plastic particles every day, releasing toxins and heavy metals into the air and water. Large-scale groundwater pollution, ranking second in the country in terms of vinyl chloride gas emissions. A U.S. District Court judge ruled in 2019 that Formosa violated the Clean Water Act and was a “recidivist” who failed to report “large-scale, prolonged and repetitive” plastic pollution discharges. In 2019, although Formosa Plastics agreed to “net zero emissions” as part of the settlement agreement, it has since violated the agreement more than 400 times. Wilson called on Formosa Plastics to stop polluting land, air and water, and return people to a clean and sustainable environment.
Echoing Wilson’s appeal, Sharon Lavigne, the winner of the 2021 Goldman Environmental Prize, also urged Formosa Plastics Group to stop the “Sunshine Project” (Sunshine Project) to build a factory in St. James Parish, Louisiana. Once complete, the 2,500-acre complex of 14 facilities will be the largest plastics production facility in the world. Moreover, the planned site of the “Sunshine Project” was originally a cemetery where slaves were buried in the 18th century, which is of special significance to the local community. If allowed to be built, it would hit the environment and climate hard again, exacerbating existing environmental racism and other issues.
Nancy Bui, vice president of Formosa Plastics Victims Justice Association, directly addressed Formosa Plastics: “Formosa Plastics, reaching an agreement with the Vietnamese communist government will not make your problems go away. These under-the-table transactions cannot become the cause of Formosa Plastics in Vietnam. An excuse for the worst environmental disaster. Formosa’s ruined reputation can only be saved by compensating the victims, restoring the already polluted coastline, and stopping all activities that are still polluting.”
Sun Xingxuan, a researcher at the Environmental Rights Protection Foundation, said that Formosa Plastics Group’s violations in Vietnam were not limited to the 2016 marine pollution incident. In October last year, Formosa Yue Steel emitted thick yellow smoke, and nearby students felt like fainting. Some residents said that if they used a washbasin to catch water when it rained, they would see a layer of black soot on the bottom of the basin. What impact will these yellow smoke, black smoke, and other substances discharged into the water and soil have on the body, environment, and ecology of local residents? For seven years, residents have had no answers. There have never been any credible scientific reports available for private review. But isn’t it a basic human right to know how the air we breathe into our bodies, the water we drink, and the fish we eat affect our health? Sun Xingxuan called on Formosa Plastics Group to immediately arrange for an impartial third party trusted by the public to conduct environmental and human rights impact assessments at Formosa Plastics Corporation and report publicly. Assessing the impact of all corporate actions and disclosing information are only the most basic obligations of a company as part of civil society, and Formosa Plastics, as a large enterprise group with abundant resources, has an even more duty-bound responsibility. At the same time, it also calls on Formosa Plastics Industrial Corporation’s tenth largest shareholder, Labor Fund Utilization Bureau, to implement its socially responsible investment policy, exercise shareholder activism, and actively guide Formosa Plastics Corporation to implement corporate social responsibility.
Victim protest wrong occasion? Formosa Plastics blurs the focus, perfunctory!
In fact, as early as the beginning of the shareholder meeting, when the victims of the United States and Vietnam entered the venue to try to speak, Formosa Plastics sent someone to tell us in private: “You can’t talk about the case of Luzhou and Vietnam, because the “occasion” is wrong”, like this We have been listening to the sentence for several years.
The chairman of Formosa Plastics said every year that these American-Vietnamese victims went to the wrong place. Taking Formosa Plastics Vietnam’s Ha Tinh Iron and Steel Plant as an example, “Formosa Plastics Industrial Corporation only holds 11.432% of the shares”, and it does not have much decision-making power. But in fact, the chairman should be very clear in his heart that the entire Formosa Plastics Group “jointly holds 75.431% of the shares of Formosa Plastics Yuegang”. Governance unit and the center for making business decisions”, which implies that the “board of directors” of Yuegang is a role that can make decisions for Yuegang. Of the 11 members of the board of directors of Yuegang, including the chairman of Formosa Plastics himself, 8 of them are senior members of the Formosa Plastics Group. Even the supervisor of Yuegang is also a senior member of the Formosa Plastics Group.
At the end of the shareholder meeting, even though American-Vietnamese victims and our association’s researcher continued to call on Formosa Plastics to stop the infringement, the chairman of Formosa Plastics still gave the same response as last year’s shareholder meeting, with the sentence “We (Formosa Plastics) will help you to (Vietnamese Plastics) Even in the meeting, we have clearly emphasized that this is not a matter of conveying or notifying, but that Formosa Plastics has the right to make decisions at all, and even has the right to not act! The Board of Directors of Formosa Plastics used the wrong occasion as an excuse to try to fool the victim and make the victim’s speech “improper”. Responsibility!
Earlier outside the shareholder meeting, Father Ruan Wenxiong, director of the Vietnamese Migration Office of the Catholic Hsinchu Diocese, said that Taiwan Formosa Plastics Group established the Formosa Plastics Ha Tinh Steel Plant in Vietnam. In April 2016, it polluted the coast of Vietnam in 4 provinces of Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Binh and Hue. Pollution along more than 125 miles of Vietnam’s coastline has destroyed local industries, livelihoods, and food sources. Pollution killed more than 100 tons of fish. Pollution has put many fishermen out of work. It caused the worst environmental disaster in Asia and one of the worst environmental disasters in Vietnam. Taiwan’s Formosa Plastics didn’t learn their lesson, and they continue to pollute the rest of the world, from Cape Comfort, Texas, to Ha Tinh, Vietnam; Iliopolis, Illinois; and Yunlin County, Taiwan. The Formosa Plastics Group has left a global record of how the rights and safety of local communities and the health of people, as well as the environment and public health, have fallen victim to corporate profits. Formosa Plastics’ long history exemplifies the profound risks that the entire petrochemical and plastics industry poses to human health, human rights, local ecosystems, and the global climate. We demand that Formosa Plastics: (i) cease all polluting activities; (ii) implement strict environmental controls; (iii) report transparently; (iv) compensate affected communities; and (v) invest in sustainable alternatives.
Lawyer Guo Hongyi, a member of the legal team for the Vietnam Iron and Steel case and secretary-general of the Environmental Lawyers Association, said that lawyer Guo Hongyi, a representative of the Formosa Plastics Vietnam Iron and Steel Marine Pollution Incident, said that through the large-scale marine pollution incident of Formosa Plastics in Vietnam, it is known that our country treats overseas victims The judicial remedies of China are very unfriendly, especially in the face of a totalitarian country like Vietnam. According to the Civil Procedure Law, the private document must be proved to be authentic by the witness. We provided relevant videos and photos and went to Vietnam to sign the power of attorney in person, but we were still required to go through the verification and certification of the representative office abroad, which caused our victims to worry. Revealing his identity could be deterred by retaliation from the Vietnamese government. During this period, many victims were forced to leave Vietnam to work as migrant workers, or the plaintiffs or those who assisted in this case were monitored and arrested by the Vietnamese government. We call on the government not to sit idly by and not only allow Taiwanese companies to cause pollution abroad, but also hide behind the totalitarian government for protection. It is hoped that the judiciary of our country should establish as soon as possible an effective way for the foreign infringement of Chinese enterprises to our country.