On October 21st, a group of civic organizations and elected officials have filed an official complaint against Rockwool with the Danish Mediation and Complaints-Handling Institution for Responsible Business Conduct. The complaint describes how the Denmark based company has violated the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises with its actions related to the proposed mineral wool factory in Ranson, West Virginia, USA.
The complaint is co-signed by West Virginia Delegate John Doyle, West Virginia Delegate Sammi Brown, Jefferson County Commissioner Jane Tabb, Jefferson County Commissioner Ralph Lorenzetti, Leesburg Town Council Member Neil Steinberg, Mid-Atlantic Center for Children’s Health and the Environment, Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, Potomac Riverkeeper Network, Potomac Valley Audubon Society, West Virginia Citizen Action Group, West Virginia Interfaith Power & Light, and West Virginians for Sustainable Development. In total, more than thirty community organizations and municipalities have formally opposed the Rockwool factory in Ranson since its groundbreaking in the summer of 2018.
The Mediation and Complaints-Handling Institution for Responsible Business Conduct is a non-judicial institution that enables companies, organizations and public authorities to resolve disagreements regarding infringements of human rights, international environmental standards or corruption. Within two weeks, the Institution will choose either to reject the complaint or accept it for further consideration, and the process could ultimately lead to formal mediation between Rockwool and the complainants.
The filing states, “The complainants believe that Rockwool has neglected the recommended principles and standards of conduct associated with good corporate citizenship. After a careful review of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, it is our contention that Rockwool has violated several of the General Policies. In sum, these violations create significant risk to the environmental and social wellbeing of Jefferson County, West Virginia and the surrounding region.”
The complaint focuses on three primary areas of concern – political improprieties, air quality risks, and water quality risks – associated with the proposed Rockwool factory in Ranson, West Virginia. The remedy section of the complaint calls on the company to immediately stop construction of the factory. Alternatively, the co-signers ask for more than a dozen concessions including use of a cleaner burning electric arc furnace, independent human health and environmental risk assessments, and additional air and water quality monitoring.
“If Rockwool intends to build a factory that is not only located outside a traditional industrial zone but also across the street from a school, the company should at least be obligated to utilize manufacturing technologies that minimize air quality risks at all reasonable cost. The cleaner electric arc melt furnace as proposed at their new facility in Soissons, France, or equivalent protections, should be the minimum acceptable option for the Ranson plant. Ideally, the company should withdraw from the location,” states the complainants.
For more information or to download the full complaint, please visit www.sustainablewv.org.