Posted on July 30, 2019
Double Standards: the ban on asbestos, does not pray for the dividend flows
Author: Francisco Báez Baquet ( firstname.lastname@example.org )
PRELIMINARY NOTE: This article consists in the updating of a part of the content of the sub-chapter nº 2.6 of our book, published in 2014: Amianto: un genocidio impune (Asbestos: an unpunished genocide)
Ediciones del Genal. Málaga 2014. ISBN 978-84-16021-11-6. 480 págs.
The decision, on our part, to proceed to update that part of our previous publication, approximately five years ago, is due, (after being warned of the situation, through personal communication by Antonio Bernardo Reyes), to the knowledge of the following recent work:
Asbestos Shame: At Home and Abroad International Ban Asbestos Secretariat, July 22, 2019 http://ibasecretariat.org/lka-blog.php
Francisco Báez Baquet
As the reader will have the opportunity to be able to appreciate, and despite the time lag that the elapsed interval implies, the respective contents, treated with different lengths, come to coincide in a large proportion, both as regards the facts narrated, as well as the ethical reasoning, which can be deduced, from taking into account what the situations described presuppose.
We present below the result of this update work, applied to our 2014 text:
A case to consider is that of the Spanish company “Texsa, S.A.”, for participation in the Mexican “JMTEXSA, S.A. de C.V.”, by the “Johns Manville Company ”.
This highlights the hypocrisy that this situation of double standards entails, which only a widespread worldwide ban could come to remedy.
The parallelism of asbestos with the narcotic substances is thus evident. For the latter, it is known how some states, by impotence or by complicity, tolerate drugs in their respective territories, which are basically destined for export.
In the case of chrysotile, the situation is even more bleeding and inhuman, when it is the state itself that protects, subsidizes and promotes abroad that iniquitous trade, determining, in addition, the affectation of its own mining workers and millers and the surrounding environment of the mines, with high rates of mesothelioma, and also do so with promotional tools, which cover the entire panoply of the “conspiracy of silence”: misinformation, corruption, coercion, opacity, war dirty, etc., etc.
Now what we want to attend, is the case of those other nations that, without participating in this active promotion, allow, sinning by omission, that they are the seat of multinationals dedicated to the same type of trade, without their respective governments tackling that situation , while maintaining in their territory the prohibition of the use of chrysotile and other types of asbestos.
If in the ports of Rotterdam, Gibraltar, etc., items of raw asbestos or products made with such substance are loaded or unloaded, even if only in transit to third countries, the respective national prohibitions are being violated.
But, at the same time, if these nations are the seat of the multinationals that handle the financial threads that mobilize all that commerce; if these multinationals, with headquarters located there, in those nominally prohibitionist nations, take part in the capital of those mining companies operating in the producing countries; If these multinationals are equally involved in industries that make massive use of chrysotile asbestos, and continue to obtain benefits from these prohibited activities in the respective countries that host their headquarters, then, necessarily, we have to conclude that as long as that situation remains to modify, the prohibition will not cease to be, after all, only a great farce, valid, at most, for the respective nationals themselves, but void for the rest of Humanity. See: Price & De Kezel (2010).
Typical example of what we are commenting on, we will have in the case of the French multinational “Saint-Gobain”, which while in the French nation has been forced to have to do without manufacturing products containing asbestos, at the same time it will maintain for years its production of asbestos-cement articles, in its Brazilian subsidiary.
Let’s return to parallelism with the illicit drug trade. If in this last situation we had similar tolerance situations, how would the respective public opinions react?
In our opinion, there is no doubt about this: we must descend to analyze the shareholding of mining companies and large manufacturers of asbestos, especially asbestos-cement; we must always try to obtain the lifting of the corporate veil. You have to tear off the last mask.
We can be argued that the respective situations – narcotic drugs and asbestos – are not legally equivalent, and indeed it will be, as long as the laws are not modified; but it is precisely that legal helplessness that we denounce.
Laws are (or should be) the coercive expression of moral principles, and only indirectly are we talking about laws, because what offers no doubt is that if ethical principles were applied that should inspire their content, it is obvious that Laws would already exist. It is the lack of application of these principles, which we want to highlight here.
The description of some examples of such situations, will allow us to land in the analysis, “with names and surnames”, “with hairs and signs”, of companies, nations, circumstances, etc.
We attend to the content of the text accessed through the link:
The headline already informs us that “THE GLOBAL ASBESTOS FIBER MARKET IS EXPECTED TO GROW TO «CAGR» 2.9% AND FORECAST FOR 2023″.
As is known, the “CAGR” (in Spanish, the “TCAC”), is the compound annual growth rate, accumulated in the period considered.
It is an economic technicality, and its determination is governed by a protocol, applying a mathematical formula. First, the final value is divided by the initial value, etc., etc.
The expected growth of 2.9% refers to the year 2018, still unfinished when the report was written, and with the addition of an extrapolation until 2023.
The study is worldwide, including Europe, we assume that under the exceptions tolerated, thanks to business influence, as is the case of the chlorine industry.
For our part, we want to highlight some of the data and peculiarities of that report, which what it will never include, like any other, of a similar type, will be no estimate of the effect that all this will have, in the long term, on the figures of business of those companies whose activity consists in the manufacture and sale of articles of funeral use.
Let us also add, with some disgust on our part, that the slightest hint of modesty is not noticed, by those who assume this information and manage its contents, at the time of accounting for an expected increase in the business of selling of asbestos fibers, as if it were almonds or bananas … come on, as if it were something harmless, in short.:
Companies dedicated to the production and export of asbestos fibers or products that include them, without encapsulating:
«Johns Manville», «Owens Corning / Fiberboard Corp.», «R. Grace and Co.», “National Gypsum Corporation”, “Raybestos-Manhattan Co.”, “Amatex Corporation”, “Dana Corporation”, “Celotex Corporation” and its subsidiary “ Carey Canada Incorporated” (as well as some of the others mentioned companies, operate under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code of the United States), “Samarth Industries” (asbestos gloves), “Hiren Industrial Corporation” (asbestos gloves), “Udyog Mumbai Unique” (asbestos fiber cord ), etc.
All of them are registered as active, in the “Asbestos Mining Global Market Research Report 2019”.
All this information forms the context that allows us to evaluate the real effectiveness, and its limitations, with respect to all the provisions for the prohibition of the use of asbestos, at the national level, in their respective fields of application: with regard to the flow of dividends derived from that use, its porous permeability does not prevent those succulent benefits from going, solicitously, to the pockets of the respective unscrupulous fellow investors, whether we are referring to those of nations under the ban, or not is it so.
In addition, for this we will also use, mainly, the content of the work of Roman Shleynov (2010), included in our bibliography, complementing it with some own contributions, derived from our inquiries.
Our first example refers to the case of the company “C.J. Petrow & Co. (Pty) Ltd ”, established in South Africa since 1954, with offices open in London, Genoa, Athens, Singapore and Tokyo, and dedicated to the trade of mineral fibers.
Integrated into the Petrow Group, there is the firm “CJP International”, which, in turn, consists of five associated companies, including “Ural Marketing Services Ltd”, based in Moscow, and dedicated to export of chrysotile produced by the Uralasbest mine.
Interestingly, the word “chrysotile” will not see it appear on any of the websites of these companies, as we will find it euphemistically masked under the generic concept of “mineral fibers“.
The annual death toll from exposure to chrysotile, only in Russia, is ten thousand four hundred, according to the Geneva headquarters of the International Labor Organization: Shleynov (2010 -2 ref.-).
Officially, it will be the Russian subsidiary that processes the export, “from end to end”, under the tutelage of the holding company, whose headquarters is in South Africa, which is not an obstacle for the remaining subsidiaries to act, in practice, as as many commercial tentacles, to the capture of chrysotile sale business, in the most diverse geographical areas.
That they can act like this does not mean that it is proven that they do, but everything leads us to think so.
It seems clear that the Group was initially created in South Africa, in the heat of extraction settlements and free trade of various types of asbestos, none of which was then prohibited.
Subsequent prohibitions, in South Africa itself, first of crocidolite, and then also of amosite and chrysotile, as well as of other minority varieties, did not, however, prevent the headquarters from continuing to operate for the same type of commerce, and with subsidiaries settled, in turn, in countries, where the prohibition also prevails: United Kingdom, Italy, Greece, Japan and Singapore.
Against these other subsidiaries, in addition, it is practically impossible to act, with or without coverage laws in between, since, as long as the contrary is not proven, those other subsidiaries are engaged in the trade of other minerals, which have nothing to do with chrysotile.
Only the headquarters, in South Africa, seems to be theoretically exposed to some possible additional type of ban, which could be implemented.
Based in Scotland, «CJ Petrow International» is an “associate company” of one of the world’s largest asbestos traders, the South African company «CJ Petrow & Co (Pty)».
The South African company «CJ Petrow & Co (Pty)» exported 65,324 tons of asbestos valued at $ 38.7 million, to India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Mexico.
It is difficult to determine the property of the largest asbestos producers in Russia – “Orenburg Minerals“, followed in importance by “Uralasbest” -, as is also the case with “Kostanai Minerals“, from Kazakhstan, but, in any case, which is true, is that both companies, “Orenburg Minerals” and “Kostanai Minerals“, were managed, as of 2003, by a British firm: “United Minerals Group Limited“.
The name of the company changed, in 2005, to “Eurasia FM Consulting Ltd.”, although it is not clear that this company, with its new name, continues with the two operations, but, anyway, what yes it is confirmed, is that in 2004, “United Minerals Group Limited” controlled the 30% of the world chrysotile market.
The elimination of the term “Minerals“, in the new denomination, could respond to what was sought with identical or similar nominal mutations, which have been lagging throughout the history of the asbestos industry, with the most diverse “prestidigitation passes” happened.
Registered in the English city of Leeds, “Eurasia” exhibits a single shareholder, the “PL Company Nominees Ltd.”, which shares the same address as “Eurasia” itself, and was founded by the British businessman Peter Michael Levine, with important interests in Siberia and in Kostanai, Kazakhstan.
It is evident, therefore, that the chrysotile extraction, trade and transport ban, in force in the United Kingdom, clamorously does not pray for the cross-border activities of its companies: double standard.
The prohibition laws, for these purposes, turn out to be, therefore, pure “political-fiction”; nothing to do with the underlying international reality.
At the same time, a company based in Cyprus, “UniCredit Securities International Ltd.”, belonging to “UniCredit”, one of the largest banking groups in the world, with ten thousand branches in fifty countries, also has interests in both companies that extract chrysotile, “Orenburg Minerals” and “Kostanai Minerals“, on behalf of clients whose identity has not been disclosed, nor, therefore, with known nationality or country of residence. The opening of this “Pandora’s box”, would undoubtedly bring us many surprises.
As soon as Cyprus acceded, as planned, to the European Union, Community asbestos legislation would have to generate its transfer at the national level, for that country.
From that moment, if the aforementioned situation was maintained, we would be contemplating another example, of double standards.
The role of the large bank in the entire business framework of the chrysotile, should be able to be the subject of a specific study, dedicated monographically to that end.
The financial records of “Kostanai Minerals” show transactions with at least nine companies based in the United States, and registered in Delaware, Colorado, New York and Oregon. (As is known, Delaware acts, in fact, as a “tax haven”, in relation to the protection of bank secrecy, as a safeguard of the total opacity of commercial transactions, collections and payments, and the identity of its clients, including your nationality, habitual place of residence, etc., etc.).
The largest of these companies, currently extinguished, was the company “Asters Investments LLC“, based in Eugene, Oregon, which bought more than 48,000 tons of asbestos from “Kostanai Minerals“, in 2004.
In 2006, “Asters” conducted business worth more than one million dollars, with a Ukrainian asbestos distributor, which had partnerships with both mining companies, “Kostanai Minerals” and “Orenburg Minerals“; all this, according to a report to investors, of April 2006.
The largest distributor of “Kostanai Minerals“, the company “United Minerals Global Trading“, registered in London in 2002, bought 152,000 tons of chrysotile in the same founding year, according to the aforementioned report to investors.
The name of the company was changed to “Minerals Global Trading”, in 2004, when it acquired five percent of the production of asbestos from “Kostanai Minerals”. The asbestos was sent to India, China, Iran, Turkey and Vietnam.
In short: in London, decisions that determined that pollution and death continued to expand in non-Western countries continued.
“Kostanai Minerals” and “Minerals Global Trading“, in the years 2008 and 2009, conducted business with each other, for millions of dollars.
Dozens of companies are registered at the same address in London, without it being feasible to discern whether they shared owners, directors or shareholders with “United Minerals Global Tradig” or, referring to their current name, with “Minerals Global Trading”. Apparently, and as you can see, opacity is the norm.
Financial support for chrysotile mining is, of course, not limited to external: “Kostanai Minerals” has received the backing of state-controlled banks, both in Russia and in Kazakhstan.
In March 2008, the “Sberbank” of Russia granted the company a loan of 3.6 million of dollars.
In 2007, “Kostanai Minerals” also received a loan of 2.9 million of dollars from the “Development Bank of Kazakhstan”.
In comparison, the property of “Uralasbest” turns out to be somewhat more transparent. Indeed, we have that, according to a report of the company, of March 2010, the main managers of the company, with a 38% participation, correspond to two groups; one based in Johannesburg, South Africa: “CJ Petrow Group”, of whom we have already worked, as an asbestos importer, and which already held about 14% of the property, at least until 2003.
The other, the “Marvol Group”, established in Germany, and with offices in CapeTown (South Africa), Amman and Moscow, controlled approximately 7% of “Uralasbest”, at least until 2006. Its activities with “Uralasbest” are they had started in 1992.
This firm, founded in the mid-1980s, by the dentist Marcos Voloshin, apparently had his opportunity to expand, in an operation selling Russian military equipment to South Africa, in the framework of the emergence of unbridled capitalism and opportunist, after the decomposition of the former Soviet Union, in 1991.
When, in 1997, the largest asbestos mining company in Russia, “Uralasbest”, was privatized, after filing for bankruptcy, the company, through that sale to private capital, quickly resumed its activities, partly in control of the private capital of Russia, and partly that of German investors: Marsili (2007). The chrysotile was already banned in Germany, since 1993.
In “BRITISH ASBESTOS NEWLETTER”, ISSN 1470-8108 Summer 2012, in the report entitled: “Annual Parliamentary Asbestos Seminar”, and citing as source the “SOMO-Center for Research on Multinational Corporations”, it was reported that some British companies, including banks and financial institutions, they were investing in the asbestos industry in India, specifically mentioning well-known European financial institutions, including: “Prudential Plc” (as a part of the “Prudential ICICI Asset Management Company“), “Jupiter Global Active Fund / South Asia Investor”, “Barclays”, and “HSBC Bank”. See it in:
Dividend flows jump over borders, without distinguishing between national territories, governed, or not, by a ban on asbestos.
The official “bastards” are still the usual ones: Russia, Brazil, Canada, etc., but there are many more governments that, as with drugs, “look the other way”.
This reflection is equally valid for those other companies whose object of manufacture or trade is not that of the raw fiber, but of the products made from it, and also when they also affect the double circumstance, of having anchored headquarters in prohibitionist countries, and, at the same time, they have direct subsidiaries or branches, in permissive nations, and that is where production is concentrated, and, eventually, the centrifugal action is focused, of exporting to third destinations, in which the use, transport and transit of asbestos goods is also allowed.
A very eloquent example of this is shown in Italy, when, after the banning of asbestos, in 1981, an insulation manufacturing industry made with it, and whose factory was located in the Italian town of Busseto, was moved to Romania: problem solved! … See: Silva (2003).
It is, in these cases, a situation that is the result of the inheritance of a recent past, in which asbestos was not banned anywhere, but in which that possibility was already glimpsed, so, predictably, these companies undertook the exodus to more welcoming public opinion climates, with cheap labor and little or nothing demanding, with nonexistent or lax hygienic standards. See, for example: Courtice et al. (2011).
In this work, it is explained how the non-cooperation of the industry and a culture of corruption, condition and hinder or impede the registration and medical investigation of asbestos pathologies.
It is a situation, in short, that is the result of a corporate risk export policy, but in which the flow of benefits, with an open headquarters in the country of origin, remains a living heritage of that recent past, with the implicit acquiescence of their respective governments, simultaneously aimed at the prohibition in their own territory: double standards.
It is of this other type of non-mining companies, neither dedicated to the trade and transport of the gross fiber, of which we will deal next.
On page 14 (18 of the PDF), of this report:
CENTRAL POLLUTION CONTROL BOARD (MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT AND FORESTS)
HUMAN HEALTH RISK ASSESSMENT STUDIES IN ASBESTOS BASED INDUSTRIES IN INDIA
PROGRAMME OBJECTIVE SERIES: PROBES/123/2008 – 2009 http://cpcb.nic.in/upload/NewItems/NewItem_135_Human-Health.pdf
…we will find mentioned the Indo-Japanese company «M / Allied Nippon Pvt. Ltd.». It is an industry dedicated to the manufacture of brakes, with the inclusion of asbestos. Use which, as is known, is prohibited in Japan. I believe that these export practices of risk industries (and double standards, therefore) should always be publicly denounced.
Fiber-receiving companies, in the countries of destination, do not normally make a direct import, but instead rely on the intermediation of importers or commercial banks, especially when it comes to firms that are not integrated into transnational groups.
We will initially deal with those that are, starting with a first case, by way of example: the ETEX group, with headquarters in Belgium, counts among the 96 companies that make up the group in 41 countries, including the same, from the company “FAPESA – Fábrica Peruana ETERNIT, SA”.
In Belgium, the asbestos is prohibited, and in Peru it is not prohibited. In Belgium, obviously, the “Etex Group” currently has no plant in which asbestos is handled, and, conversely, in Peru, where its use is permitted, it has been manufacturing and marketing asbestos-cement materials, until January 1, 2004.
The flow of benefits, from where they originated, in Peru, ended in Belgium, where the aforementioned prohibition has not been an obstacle for such benefits to continue enriching them that in the recent past they did too, with dire consequences for their nationals Belgians and for the rest of the planet. In the same circumstance these other ten subsidiaries were found:
COLOMBIT S.A. – COLOMBIA
EMENITE LTD. – NIGERIA
ETERNIT GRESIK (T) – INDONESIA
ETERNIT GUANGZHOU BUILDING SYSTEMS CO. LTD. – CHINA
ETERNIT KALUGA – RUSSIA
ETERNIT LTD. – NIGERIA
GIWARITE LTD. – NIGERIA
NIGERITE LTD. – NIGERIA
PROMAT INTERNATIONAL (ASIA PACIFIC) LTD. – CHINA
UAB ETERNIT BALTIC – LITHUANIA
In the document: “Por la prohibición del amianto o asbesto en la subregión andina” (For the asbestos ban in the Andean sub-region), (http://www.abrea.com.br/espinstitandino.pdf)…published in October 2006, by the Andean Labor Advisory Council and the Andean Labor Institute, it is indicated that “ETERNIT claims to have stopped manufacturing with asbestos, since 2004; however, it continues to commercialize corrugated sheets containing asbestos or asbestos”.
Given the affirmations of “Eternit” as good, our reflections would remain relevant, at least, as long as manufacturing or trade has continued, after the prohibition of both activities has occurred, in the country that hosts its parent company, that is, in Belgium.
And it is that «Eternit», during all those years, continued promoting its asbestos-cement in other parts of the world. See: Ruers & Schouten (2005).
Under the “Eternit” brand, it was still manufactured with asbestos; In other words, while the prohibition has to be respected at the headquarters of the group, as a legal imperative, this is not an obstacle for the continued production of asbestos-cement materials in other nations.
For example, in Pakistan, where the company “Dadex Eternit Limited” has been doing it for 45 years, in its factories in Karachi (since 1966), Hyderabad (since 1959) and Sunder (Lahore), making pipes (both pressure as for sewage), corrugated plates, decorative plates, and the so-called “Nalidar” beams, to withstand roof and wall coverings, usually in industry, where large lengths are required; all this, with chrysotile as one of its raw materials.
The Belgian government, which once legislated, to prohibit in its territory the industrial use of the lethal raw material, “forgot” to take any action, to prevent this situation, manifestly unfair and murder, could continue to be maintained, in other territories outside its jurisdiction, but under ownership, and consequent perception of benefits, by the parent company, based, yes, in the nation under its mandate.
That is precisely the legal use of a double requirement level, that is, the practice of double standards.
The disclosures that the same government may eventually have, regarding strict compliance with the ban, within its own national territory, can be interpreted as an act of hypocrisy and chauvinism.
When that same Belgian government, in international forums, may eventually pronounce itself in favor of a universal chrysotile ban, what credibility could be attributed to it?
While it is true that, in the subsidiaries held in ownership, the “Etex Group“, formerly “Eternit“, has chosen to change raw materials in the manufacture of fibro-cement, as of January 1, 2004, and any that is the geographical location of these subsidiaries, even in countries where the asbestos ban does not govern, however, in the case of those from which it has been removed, sometimes this has meant that the company that has moved to a new property, with that new owner, what he has done is to significantly increase the use of asbestos. This is the case, for example, of the sale to the «ACC Group» of its subsidiary in India.
Abundant in everything already expressed, consider, for example, the case of capital holdings corresponding to an asbestos mining company, such as the Brazilian «SAMA», belonging to the «Eternit Group».
Among the investment funds that make up your financial support, we can see the following included:
(source: ADAO, http://www.asbestosdiseaseawareness.org/archives/20303 )
1) – SANTANDER ASSET MANAGEMENT (LUX) S.A. – This is an investment fund manager, based in Luxembourg (a country that has the double status, of being, at the same time, a tax haven, and a member of the European Union).
It belongs to “Banco Santander“, Spanish, and counts among the funds it manages, for example, the “Sant Latin Amer Corp Bd A Cap”, the “Sant Latin AM Equity A Cap”, the “Sant AM Latin Am Equity B Cap “, the “Sant AM LatinAmer Fixed Inc A “, the ” Sant AM LatinAmer Fixed Inc B”, the “Sant Brazilian Short Dur A”, the “Sant AM Brazilian Equity A Cap”, the “Sant Latin Amer Small Caps A”, the “Sant Latin Amer Small Caps B”, the “Sant Brazilian Short Dur B”, the “Sant AM Brazilian Equity B Cap”, the “Sant AM LatinAmer Fixd Inc AE”, the “Sant AM Brazilian Equity AE”, the “Sant Brazilian Short Dur AE”, or the “Sant Latin Amer Corp Bd AD”.
Both Luxembourg and Spain, due to their status as members of the European Union, have established a ban on asbestos in their respective territories.
2) – «Reil & Cie S.A.» – Headquarters in Switzerland, a nation that also has an asbestos ban established.
3) – “Schroder Investment Management Ltd. (SIM)” – Based mainly in Denmark, a member of the European Union, and, consequently, with a chrysotile ban. On its website we will find allusion to the “social responsibility” of the company.
4) – «Quoniam Asset Management GmbH» – It is one of the largest asset managers in Germany, another member country of the European Union, and which, therefore, also governs the prohibition of asbestos. In all cases, they are purely minority interests in the capital of the company.
With this, one of the characteristics of modern finance is enshrined, in which, at one end of the causal chain, environmental damage and people’s lives are being generated, while in the other, after an impenetrable veil of In practice, impossible uprising, other individuals are blurred, which are the final recipients of the capital gains generated by the polluting activity. Inside or outside those nations whose legislation limits or prohibits that activity.
The investment funds are the capitalist version of the “perfect crime”: the investment of the funds provided (frequently, through retirement plans, private and eventually complementary) by widows, retirees, children, heirs in guardianship, income of invalids, or of workers, peasants, etc., who end up placing those savings, putting them at the service of the manufacture of armaments (including the most bloodthirsty), the coltan, the “blood diamonds”, the illegal market for transplant organs, at the service of obtaining exorbitant benefits, from the pharmaceutical industry (with the sale of medicines, in conditions -practically-, of monopoly, and that are vital for the cure of serious diseases, including specifically asbestos-related), and finally, also in risk transfer activities to nations where the prohibition does not govern of asbestos. All this, conveniently submerged in anonymity, the dilution of responsibilities and the mixing with other activities that on the contrary are perfectly lawful, in a maneuver, sought or not, of camouflage.
Investments, also, frequently carried through “tax havens”, with the purpose of evading taxes, but also with the purpose of masking, hiding, the transfer of risks, also by those of asbestos, to nations not protected by a prohibition law of the deadly mineral.
What guarantee, real and effective, can these investors have, that their capital contributions, will not be used to participate in the financing of the business of any of the various mafias existing in various countries, and certainly recognized as such ?… and do they care, or not? See, in this regard, the content of our work:
Donald Trump y el asbesto (Donald Trump and the asbestos)
To appreciate, in addition, another characteristic of contemporary capitalism, we can go to make a test, say that “walking around the house”, that is, without claiming, in any case, to break any record of methodological rigor: it is only about reach an intimate conviction.
Let us consult, in the Mercantile Registry, the composition of the board of directors of any corporation, identifying the component members thereof.
Let us look in that register, in turn, for those other mercantile companies, in which some of these members also appear as a member of the boards of directors of other companies.
If we now consult the composition of these other boards of directors, we will find in them, those members already known to us, as well as others, new to our knowledge.
If we repeat the search cycle, we will agree to identify new companies, in which some of these members are also part of these boards of directors, etc., etc.
When will we have finished the process? When will there be no more new companies that share the nexus of at least one of the members of its board of directors, with a similar presence in another company, so that all those who meet that condition are already registered?
In the practice, that is impossible; we will get bored and give up, before we have reached that goal, if it exists.
Although companies compete fiercely with each other, for the dominance of the market, deep down, they all share a “thread of Ariadne” that unites them, for the simultaneous participation of the same members of the respective boards of directors. The crossing of shareholdings will do the rest.
All these circumstances show that everything that is not a universal prohibition of asbestos, which leaves no one out of coverage, is basically an exercise in cynicism and double standards.
We will then analyze the advertising claim of the firm “Research and Markets”, based in Dublin (Ireland), which has been titled: “China asbestos product manufacturing industry, 2010” and which can be accessed at: http://www.researchandmarkets.com/reports/1204774.
The service offered is to access a report, in pdf format, whose content is summarized in the aforementioned announcement, from which we then extract a paragraph, which will allow us to get a good idea of its total content.
We are told that the report “is useful for anyone who wants to invest in the asbestos-cement transformation industry…”
This is how, without any shame, from a corporate headquarters located in the territory of the European Union, a tool is offered to contribute to the expansion of a lethal industry, prohibited in the nation itself where the headquarters are located, so that it can continue in this homicidal activity in an extra-community country, and in which its local authorities protect this situation of un-protection.
For the manufacturers of asbestos-cement products, neither the existence and availability of alternative materials to the use of asbestos, has never been a stimulus to decide the change, nor has its supposed fault ever been a real impediment.
This is eloquently evidenced, for example, by the current behavior of the Mexican company “Elementia”, in which the fiber cement is made with chrysotile, when the production is destined for local sale to those countries where its use is permitted – including Mexico itself, while fiber cement products destined to be exported to the United States, are made with the incorporation of cellulose or polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), instead of chrysotile.
That is to say, that technology, machinery, access to the necessary raw materials, etc., are available and used, but only for the production of products destined for where the incorporation of chrysotile is objected, either through its prohibition. , either, in practice (as is the case in the United States), for fear of possible lawsuits from consumers, and that there have been so much lavish, with an obvious deterrent effect for import operations.
Neither the users, nor the workers themselves, are prevented from mortal risk, more than when there is no alternative but to accept the ban – legal or virtual, de facto – if you want to be able to export there.
The financing -the contribution of capital, to be able to profit from the industrial use of asbestos in the manufacture of its products, located where there is no prohibition, exporting the risk-, all this constitutes one of the two sides of the coin, the another is made up of the transnational trade of asbestos, and of the products made with the aforementioned mineral, when it is practiced from corporate headquarters in countries where we will nominally have a prohibition of use, but in which, at the same time, we will not it is neither impeded nor difficult that, from those offices established therein, and with the return of the benefits thus originated, the aforementioned transnational trade in asbestos is practiced, and of the products made with that sinister and indestructible raw material, with the added problem, of the huge differences between the respective exposure limit values, in the works authorized to be excluded from the prohibition In general, as is the case, for example, with asbestos dismantling operations already installed: Puche (2014).
Main global asbestos traders, with connections in the United Kingdom:
«Astrade Solutions LP», registered in a virtual office, (company number SL014431), registered in the ambiguous and wide range of “unspecified activities” companies, at number 39 of Duke Street, in Edinburgh, EH6 8HH, UNITED KINGDOM, together with 133 other companies, all registered with the same address.
He was responsible for 106 asbestos shipments, for a total of 34,636 tons, destined for Cuba and Vietnam, worth approximately 13.7 million of dollars.
«Minerals Global Trading LLP», previously based in North London, formerly constituted as «UNITED MINERALS GLOBAL TRADING LLP», and in turn dissolved on August 8, 2017, sent 263,660 tons of asbestos, worth more than 71 million of dollars, destined for India, Indonesia, China, Mexico, Malaysia, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Thailand and Sri Lanka.
«Worldwide Cargo Logistics Solutions, LLP», headquartered in Miami (United States), is also registered in the United Kingdom, with company number OC387036 and domiciled in North London.
As with all shipping companies that accept asbestos fiber as cargo, or products made with such raw material (mainly asbestos-cement), all these logistics resource facilitating entities constitute as many links in the chain of necessary cooperators of a great crime against all the Humanity. See, on this issue, the content of our works:
Manifiesto de Roma, sobre el comercio del amianto (Rome Manifesto on the asbestos trade)
«Rebelión». 18-11-2014 http://www.rebelion.org/noticia.php?id=192104
Protagonismo de los estibadores en el comercio mundial del amianto (Protagonism of the dockers in the global asbestos trade) «Rebelión», 06/02/2017 http://www.rebelion.org/docs/222538.pdf Edited in English: https://www.gban.net/2017/03/11/guest-blog-dockers-importance-in-asbestos-worldwide-commerce-by-francisco-baez-baquet/
With regard to the practice of double standards, in addition to its more conspicuous manifestation – the transfer of risk industries, to underdeveloped countries -, we consider it pertinent to reproduce here, in relation to the use of asbestos by the chlorine industry, as stated In this regard, in our work:
Amianto: una “conspiración de silencio” (Asbestos: a “conspiracy of silence”) «Rebelión», 08/06/2017 – 254 págs. http://www.rebelion.org/docs/227623.pdf
“…it is a practice of double standards, since it implies, necessarily, to make sense, that the industrial use of chrysotile is not prohibited, in those countries where it is extracted.
The laxity environment deserves special mention, which made possible the exception to the prohibition, contemplated in the legislation of the European Union, concerning the use of asbestos in the chlorine industry, and which is based, although not expressly stated, in the assumption of the premise that there is no widespread ban on asbestos, worldwide, as already indicated.
This is unquestionable, since in that case, even if the aforementioned exception was to be maintained, it would, in practice, be unfeasible, because that single use would be insufficient for the economic support of asbestos mining.
The exception only makes sense, if it is previously assumed that, in the rest of the world, this general prohibition does not occur. If nobody produced it, no one could import it, as an exception to a national ban on their own.
In fact, let’s imagine the following scenario: the growing number of countries that decide to ban chrysotile, causes the asbestos-cement, friction products (brakes, clutches, etc.), fire-retardant insulation, textiles asbestos, etc., choose to change raw materials in their respective manufacturing, regardless of chrysotile; Could asbestos mines remain active, so that it can only continue to supply chrysotile for chlorine manufacturing diaphragms? Obviously, not. They would be economically unsustainable.
Therefore, maintaining the authorization for the use of the chrysotile for chlorine extraction, necessarily implies an almost inevitable condition: that, at the same time, the chrysotile, for widespread use, and for countries outside of the European sphere, continues to be maintained in absence of a current prohibition for any use. Only under that premise does the maintenance of the exception make sense.
It is an example, “of manual”, of the implementation and maintenance of double standards: I generate a legal text, which only makes sense, if you – developing countries -, keep your generalized lack of protection, regarding the use of the chrysotile.
Thus, what apparently could be considered a marginal issue, in the context of a generalized prohibition of the remaining uses of the chrysotile, is transformed, once analyzed correctly, into a central premise regarding the conflicting positions for the universalization of the prohibition of the use and consumption of the chrysotile“.
Asbestos intermediaries, with the participation of offshore companies, based in opaque tax havens, such as in Seychelles, in Panama, in the Marshall Islands, etc., in combination with the opacity provided by the ultra-liberal protections provided by the Dark British law (and like what happens also with other European nations), and that allows companies to trade in secret, they show that while these companies are willing to get dividends from their participation in the asbestos trade, they are not willing, however, to disclose details of its nature or the scope of its activities.
As Laurie Kazan-Allen comes to tell us, in her aforementioned paper, the great hypocrisy and the practice of double standards is evident, of the aforementioned companies, in the United Kingdom, a nation that has the highest worldwide incidence of asbestos mortality and that has prohibited its use, since it is about protecting and protecting the secret, of trade agreements between Russia and the most diverse developing countries.
It is appropriate to highlight that the asbestos trade, in a large proportion, has been carried out with nations that have a significant democratic deficit (this is undoubtedly the case of Russia and China, but also of other countries), covering their nose , and with crocodile tears.
In 2015, almost half of all asbestos extracted in Russia was marketed by companies registered in the United Kingdom, or by companies associated with them.
All this is manifestly true, but, as we have had occasion to verify, that does not become, after all, more than just another example, in an endless chain of enormous nonsense.
Regarding, specifically, the role that played all this, with the participation of investment funds, we will say that the pious thesis that only one is responsible for what is controlled, that clashes, in a strident way, with the expansive and invasive nature of activities such as, for example, the diffusion reached by non-professional mesothelioma, generated by environmental pollution, or the consequences of climate change, aggravated by its denial.
The insurmountable gap, between what it is, and what it should be, is immense, as is what is also happening, regarding the problem of climate change: business activity or at least a part of it, and mainly the private, It is generating unbearable dangers, for all the Humanity.
Courtice MN, Demers PA, Takaro TK, Vedal S, Ahmad SK, Davies HW, Siddique Z Asbestos-related disease in Bangladesh ship breakers: a pilot study Int J Occup Environ Health. 2011 Apr-Jun;17(2):144-53 https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Tim_Takaro/publication/51171264_Asbestos-Related_Disease_in_Banlgadeshi_Ship_Breakers_A_Pilot_Study/links/54a59fc30cf267bdb90828c5.pdf
Paul Erker A Comparative Perspective of Asbestos as an Industrial and Environmental Hazard Global Environment 7 (2014): 73-105 The White Horse Press https://sci-hub.tw/10.3197/197337314X13927191904844
Carolina Garrido y Paco Puche La ruleta rusa y la espada de Damocles del amianto, dos metáforas para un material con el que se asesina (Russian roulette and the sword of Damocles of the asbestos, two metaphors for a material with which he is killed) Rebelión», 28-02-2018 https://www.rebelion.org/noticia.php?id=238461
Daniela Marsili Salute e sviluppo: il caso dell’amianto nei Paesi in via di sviluppo / Health and development: asbestos in developing countries 2007, iv, 96 p. http://www.iss.it/binary/publ/cont/07-20.1189416830.pdf
Rohan BE Price & Evelien De Kezel Can a Government of a European Nation be Liable Under the European Convention on Human Rights for Employees Exposed to Asbestos? European Review of Private Law, Forthcoming. October 18, 2010. https://poseidon01.ssrn.com/delivery.php?ID=436070084067083015112090017070124098100075028006087054119098109100087075077082094022097027039000046111005102111120124095098074042057047080049026096099078072067084091004081083009094125027065116125000075090114082077095121009095110066085124067067076087105&EXT=pdf
Paco Puche Amianto: una ruina basada en las evidencias (Asbestos: an evidence-based ruin) Rebelión. Septiembre, 2014 http://www.rebelion.org/docs/189374.pdf
Puche, P El genocidio del amianto (The asbestos genocide) SERTOX, 2013 http://www.sertox.com.ar/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=888
RF Ruers & N Schouten The tragedy of asbestos – Eternit and the consequences of a hundred years of asbestos cement September 2005. 34 pp. http://www.colombre.it/files/TheAsbestosTragedy_Eternit_Bob_Ruers_2005.pdf
Roman Shleynov The World’s Asbestos Behemoth The Center for Public Integrity – DANGERS IN THE DUST – Inside the Global Asbestos Trade. July 20, 2010 BBC & ICIJ – International Consortium of Investigative Journalist www.publicintegrity.org/investigations/asbestos/articles/entry/2187/
Roman Shleynov Government and Capitalist Alliance Makes Russia an Asbestos Behemoth Center for Public Integrity. August 30th 2010 http://www.thecuttingedgenews.com/index.php?article=12514&pageid=&pagename
María Alejandra Silva-Globalización y gestión de los riesgos del trabajo en el MERCOSUR (Globalization and management of occupational hazards in MERCOSUR)
Revista Venezolana de Gerencia (RVG). 2003;8(22): 181-216 http://www.revistas.luz.edu.ve/index.php/rvg/article/viewFile/5652/5444