Brevet hvor UP kræver en undskyldning fra Karen Ellemann
Karen Ellemann, social og indenrigsminister V, skylder på sjette år det dansk kontrollerede United Plantations en undskyldning.
Hendes udeblevne undskyldning er igen aktuel efter at UP har modtaget en pris for at være det selskab i Malaysia, der udviser den største sociale ansvarlighed overfor sine ansatte.
En kendsgerning hun har været med til at fordreje og underkende.
Da Politiken kørte sin hetz imod plantageselskabet i 2010 var hun Miljøminister og hun kendte intet andet til UP andet end Politikens usande artikler, der handlede om gift og slavelignende plantager.
Alligevel udtalte hun til Politiken:
“Det er ikke acceptabelt at se plantager, hvor medarbejderne bliver syge af at arbejde med giftige sprøjtemidler. Det bliver ikke mindre frastødende af, at der er tale om en danskkontrolleret virksomhed. Jeg vil opfordre United Plantations til med det samme at sikre deres medarbejderes sundhed.”
Hendes eget ministerium og Energistyrelsen frikendte blankt UP for nogen som helst misforhold, og efterfølgende bad plantageselskabet ministeren om en undskyldning for at have udtalt, at UP’s medarbejdere blev syge af sprøjtegifte.
Det gengivne brev er et af tre som UP CEO, Carl Bek Nielsen sendte til Karen Ellemann, fordi han ville have en undskyldning for den skade hendes som hendes usande udtalelse havde forvoldt UP.
Brevet er gengivet her:
Your Excellency, Minister Ellemann,
16th November 2010
RE: DAMAGING STATEMENT MADE BY YOURSELF AGAINST UNITED PLANTATIONS ON THE 9TH OF SEPTEMBER 2010 IN THE NEWSPAPER POLITIKEN
I have for acknowledgement your letter dated 8th November 2010 in reply to my letter dated 26th October 2010 pertaining to the above mentioned subject.
Whilst I appreciate the sentiments expressed in your letter, namely that you were very pleased with the findings of the Danish Energy Agency, I nevertheless respectfully wish to reiterate that this has not prompted you to withdraw the allegations made against United Plantations made on the 9th of September 2010 where you stated the following, namely:
￼￼￼“It is not acceptable to see plantations where workers get ill from working with dangerous pesticides. It becomes even more repulsive as it concerns a Danish-owned company. I encourage United Plantations to immediately ensure that their workers’ health is taken care of”
The above statement was unfortunately made without investigating the actual facts on ground and has consequently been very damaging for United Plantations’ reputation as it clearly insinuates that our employees are ill and that this has arisen from working with pesticides. This is simply incorrect and misleading.
Whilst United Plantations has transparently been using Paraquat, United Plantations has not for at least 15 years had any cases of pesticide poisonings as insinuated in your statement: “it is not acceptable to see plantations where workers get ill from working with dangerous pesticides”.
I repeat this is simply erroneous. All our employees working with pesticides undergo a monthly medical examination and are subjected to a more thorough medical examination once a year where specific emphasis is given to detect any signs or symptoms of pesticide poisonings.
Not one of these have in the last 15 years shown any incidences of pesticide poisonings. Full documentation for this is available. This was also clearly the findings in the independent verification reports written by the Danish Energy Agency as well as AarhusKarlshamn/PricewaterhouseCooper.
I therefore respectfully take sharp objection to your misleading statement and again humbly request for a simple apology, which I can not understand should be so difficult to give, especially in a country like Denmark where apologies are readily given if one has made a mistake.
In this connection, I also wish to bring to your kind attention that the United Nation’s Senior Officer-Pesticides Management, Mr Mark Davis, who was portrayed in Politiken to have made a statement against United Plantations on the 29th of October 2010, subsequently wrote to the Chief Editor of Politiken informing him that he had been misquoted and wished that his statement be corrected accordingly.
An abstract from Mr Mark Davis’s letter received from FAO on the 3rd of November 2010 addressed to the Chief Editor of Politiken can be noted below:
“Politiken has published an article on the 29th of October 2010 about the pesticide use by the Danish-owned plantation company United Plantations in Malaysia. The article includes several quotes attributed to me which are incorrect. When interviewed by the author of the article, Claus Blok Thomsen, I was very specific in stating that I was not familiar with practices on the United Plantations sites in Malaysia nor had I read the Danish Energy Agency report that has been quoted. I was therefore in no position to express astonishment, criticism or any other opinion about the report or the specific reference to pesticide use in Malaysia”.
The United Nations has now acted and made it perspicuously clear that they have not wished to be party to nor in support of any misleading statements made against United Plantations.
United Plantations has been wrongly branded by the Danish Ministry of Environment in the sense that your comments have branded our Company of having employees getting ill from working with pesticides.
We respect your personal view on pesticides, however, insinuating that our employees get ill without the faintest knowledge about the realities on ground is something we take strong objection towards.
I hope and trust that fairness and magnanimity will prevail and look forward to hearing from you at your convenience so we once and for all can close this chapter and move on.
In this context I would also like to re-affirm that it would be our pleasure to have you visit United Plantations at any time convenient to yourself so you can witness and get an understanding of the various environmental practices and social initiatives that has been a part of this Danish Controlled Companies culture for generations.
With kind regards,
Dato’ Carl Bek-Nielsen
Executive Director Corporate Affairs
UNITED PLANTATIONS BHD