Necessity Still Breeds Ingenuity - Archive of SQUALL MAGAZINE 1992-2006

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Something Fishy At Mitsubishi

Mitsubishi win US Greenwash award

Squall 16, Summer 1998, pg. 38.

A DEFINITION OF GREENWASH: 'The phenomenon of socially and environmentally destructive corporations attempting to preserve and expand their markets by posing as friends of the environment and leaders in the struggle to eradicate poverty.'

Corporate Watch USA awarded the Mitsubishi Group of Companies their Greenwash award for "ceaseless efforts to portray its various businesses, some of the most destructive on earth, as environmentally friendly".

More specifically the award goes to Mitsubishi Corporation, Mitsubishi Chemical, and the Mitsubishi subsidiary ESSA (in a joint venture with the Mexican government) for their ongoing public relations initiative to convince the world that it is environmentally benign, as well as socially and economically desireable, to establish the largest industrial salt evaporation facility in the world in a lagoon that is the last pristine calving ground of the California Gray Whale.

The most ominous aspect of the salt mined is that it will be used primarily for chlorine production, which in turn is the element responsible for some of industrial society's most toxic chemicals.

Dr Mark Spalding, professor at the University of California, San Diego, and an expert on Mitsubishi's salt operations in Mexico commented: "If you want clorine to bleach paper, you want salt from Baja."

The global expansion of the chemical industry includes chlorine production. New chlorine facillities are currently being built in Mexico, India, Brazil, Egypt and Thailand. All will require salt to produce various chlorinated products. Mitsubishi's operations in Baja already provide at least 50 per cent of Japan's industrial salt.

Pressure from communities and environmental groups in Mexico, as well as concerned groups in the USA, have put the pressure on the Mexican government to reject Mitsubishi's initial environmental impact assessment. A new assessment is due in Spring 1999, until then activists are continuing to pressure Mitsubishi and the Mexican government, as well as providing support for Mexican activists on the ground.

Check out the Corporate Watch USA website on