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Domini and Other SRI Leaders Urge Dow Chemical to Address the Aftereffects of the Bhopal Disaster

William S. Stavropoulos
Chairman of the Board
Dow Chemical Company
2030 Dow Center
Midland, MI 48674
 
Michael D. Parker
President, CEO, and Director
Dow Chemical Company
2030 Dow Center
Midland, MI 48674
 
Dear Dr. Stavropoulos and Mr. Parker:
 
As institutional investors with approximately $13 billion in assets, we are writing with concern
about the ongoing controversy over the company’s accountability for the tragic chemical disaster
that occurred at Union Carbide’s Bhopal facility eighteen years ago.
 
As arguably the world’s worst industrial accident, Bhopal remains both a potent symbol around
the globe, and an ongoing medical disaster for the numerous residents of Bhopal. We were glad
to learn of your willingness to meet with representatives of Bhopal survivor groups during The
Dow Chemical Company’s annual general meeting in May.
 
We believe the continuing protests and media coverage around this issue pose a risk to Dow’s
reputation and a undermine Dow’s stated commitments to sustainability. We are also concerned
about a potential judgment the company may face in a pending lawsuit in the U.S. over
groundwater contamination from improper waste disposal at Union Carbide’s Bhopal facility as
well as ongoing litigation in Bhopal, India for compensation, environmental remediation, and
medical rehabilitation. We urge you to continue dialogue with representatives of Bhopal citizens
groups, to take their claims seriously, and to work towards a mutually acceptable solution.
 
We also view with concern Dow’s continued sale of products containing the insecticide
chlorpyrifos (known as Dursban in the U.S.) in India and other countries. As you are aware, last
year in the U.S. this chemical was pulled from consumer products designed for home use due to
concerns about its toxicity, especially to children. The tragic disaster in Bhopal occurred in large
part because a U.S.-based chemical company engaged in practices overseas that it would not
have engaged in here in the U.S. We are concerned that continuing global sales of chemicals
restricted in the U.S. for safety reasons represents a less dramatic, but equally troubling case of
double standards that pose a threat to the people of India and elsewhere. We urge Dow to adopt
global policies to prevent the company from being faced with charges of hypocrisy, and potential
future legal liabilities abroad and in U.S. courts.
 
We welcome your response about how Dow is addressing these sensitive issues, and appreciate
your time and attention to these matters.
 
Sincerely,
 
Steve Lippman, Senior Social Research Analyst, Trillium Asset Management
369 Pine Street, Suite 711, San Francisco, CA 94104
 
Conrad MacKerron, Director, Corporate Accountability Program, As You Sow Foundation
540 Pacific Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94133
 
Julie Gorte, Director, Social Research Department, Calvert Group, Ltd.
4550 Montgomery Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland 20814
 
Adam Kanzer, General Counsel, Domini Social Investments LLC
536 Broadway, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10012-3915
 
Bob Walker, Ethical Funds
1441 Creekside Drive, 8th Floor, Vancouver, BC V6J 4S7, Canada
 
Amy Perry, VP for Shareholder Advocacy, Green Century Capital Management
29 Temple Place, Suite 200, Boston, MA 02111
 
John Harrington, President & CEO of Harrington Investments, Inc.
1001 2nd Street, Suite 325 Napa, CA 94559
 
Neil Stallings, Director of Shareholder Advocacy, Progressive Asset Management
1730 Franklin Street, Suite 201, Oakland, CA 94612
 
Tim Smith, Senior Vice President, Walden Asset Management
40 Court St., Boston, MA 02108
 
 cc:
Bob Charlton, Global Vice President, Public Affairs
Larry Washington Jr., Corporate Vice President, EH&S, HR, Public Affairs
Richard L. Manetta, Corporate Vice President, General Counsel
Scott Noesen, Director of Sustainable Development