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WWF has not received a response from Norilsk Nickel to its appeals and expects a prompt reaction from the company

14 july 2020
In June, WWF-Russia sent a letter to Vladimir Potanin and then to the Board of Directors of the company with a request to provide the public with a report on the results of the internal investigation, as well as to present an emergency oil spill response (OSR) plan for critical analysis and preparation of recommendations. To date, the organisation has received no response

During the hearing on the topic “The Accident in Norilsk: Environmental Damage and Restoration Programs” which took place on July 14 at the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation, Dmitry Gorshkov, Director of WWF, called on the company to provide responses to the letters sent to Norilsk Nickel.

“In the last month and a half alone, we have witnessed repeated accidents involving Norilsk Nickel, which indicates inefficient corporate governance.  In this case, we need to talk about the environmental problem not only in connection with the spill in late May, but rather about a 'chronic' environmental disaster that has been going on here for decades,Dmitry Gorshkov said. "I hope that the spill will become the 'last straw,' and the company will begin to systematically resolve issues not just to reduce its environmental impact but also to restore the contaminated nature. We keep hoping to find out about such a solution in the responses to our open letters.”

Norilsk Nickel’s degree of withholding information is well-perceived in the corporate profile prepared as part of the analysis of environmental transparency rankings. Experts also found out that MMC Norilsk Nickel does not have voluntary insurance of environmental risks, moreover, the company neither publishes documentation on environmental impact assessment in the public spotlight nor provides emergency response plans. The dynamics of the company in the ranking itself bears compelling evidence to this: from the 7th place in 2017, by 2019, Norilsk Nickel has moved to the 12th place in terms of environmental transparency. It is clear, that if only being aware of the information from that profile, Nornickel's management team could handle environmental risks more efficiently.

“It is significant that this meeting is taking place at the Civic chamber of Russian Federation. The basis of the business responsibility is its transparency. The more transparent businesses’ relations with stakeholders, indigenous peoples, NGOs, the more responsible it performes,– says Alexey Knizhnikov, the head of environmental business responsibility programme at WWF-Russia. – The topic which is «chronical» for Russian companies is hiding of information about accidents and controversial situations. Obviously, companies do not want to share such discoveries, but that is the problem we need to solve first. The accident happened near Norilsk in May shows us how withholding information on the scale and time of the accident makes clean up more complicated and less efficient". 

In his speech Alexey Knizhnikov also reminded that almost a month ago WWF-Russia addressed to President of the company and the Board of directors. Knizhnikov called on the company to discuss the documents related to OSR  openly, it is clear that they were prepared poorly. “Lets make it openly and publicly, let’s show that you are ready for a dialogue related to solving complicated issues with the society", – stated Knizhnikov. Most of the participants of the hearing have agreed with that. WWF-Russia’s appeal was supported by Elena Sharoykina, Commission Сhairperson on the Ecology and Environment at Civic chamber of Russian Federation. 

WWF-Russia works in a number of areas in the field of public involvement. As part of the People for Nature project, the organisation identifies accidents and controversial situations at enterprises, works with space imagery and air monitoring, monitors illegal logging, forest fire prevention, and much more. 

For additional information please contact
Head of the responsible industry Program