The Council on Ethics’ recommendation, 6 September 2013
Since 2010, the Council on Ethics has been in dialogue with Australian corporation Incitec Pivot Ltd, which operates in chemical fertiliser. The dialogue has focused on their procurement of phosphate from Moroccan producer Office Chérifien des Phosphates, OCP, whose operations include a phosphate mine, Bou Craa, which is located in Western Sahara, occupied by Morocco since 1975. Phosphate is an important ingredient in manufacturing chemical fertiliser.
The aim of the Council’s dialogue has been to convince the company to stop buying phosphate from OCP, or to show that the phosphate is mined in accordance with the interests and wishes of the Western Saharan population, in line with the UN Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs Hans Corell’s 2002 statement regarding the situation in Western Sahara.
The dialogue has focused on the extent of the purchases, the nature of the contracts, possible alternatives to buying phosphate from the Bou Craa mine, and various reports on the situation of Western Saharan people in the area around the mine.
The Council deems that continued dialogue with Incitec Pivot is no longer meaningful. There is nothing to indicate that the company intends to stop buying phosphate from Western Sahara. This means that the company is linked to violations of the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the UN Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The Council therefore recommends that Incitec Pivot be excluded.