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West Virginians for Sustainable Development v Rockwool

Case overview

Date filed 21 October 2019
Current status Pending
Issue Rockwool building mineral wool factory in West Virginia
Summary of the case On 21 October 2019 a specific instance was filed by West Virginians for Sustainable Development (WVSD) against Rockwool Group International A/S and its subsidiary ROXUL USA Inc (together, ‘Rockwool’) at the Danish NCP. The complaint concerns activities of Rockwool in Jefferson County, West Virginia related to the proposed mineral wool factory. It is joined and supported by civil society organisations and elected officials representing a cross section of those affected by the construction and operation of the Rockwool factory. The complainants allege that Rockwool has neglected the recommended principles and standards of conduct associated with good corporate citizenship and has violated several of the General Policies set out in the OECD Guidelines. The complaint is focused on three primary areas of concern: political improprieties; air quality risks; and water quality risks associated with the proposed Rockwool factory. The complainants contend that these violations create significant risk to the environmental and social wellbeing of Jefferson County, West Virginia and the surrounding region.

In July 2017, Rockwool announced that it would build a mineral wool manufacturing facility in Jefferson County, West Virginia. By the summer of 2018, the public had become more aware of the likely environmental and human health impacts of the factory and began organising to block its construction and operation. The complaint to the Danish NCP was filed after many months of pursuing other legal and political mechanisms to stop or otherwise improve the project.

The complainants are seeking an immediate end to construction of the factory. Alternatively, the complainants seeks more than a dozen remedies related to the environmental and health risks of Rockwool’s proposed West Virginia facility, including reconsideration of the factory’s air quality permit, agreement to operate under appropriately protective water discharge requirements, independent human health and environmental risk assessments, and additional air and water quality monitoring.
Developments/Outcome The complainants accepted mediation offered by the Danish NCP, but on 17 September 2020, the Danish NCP announced that Rockwool declined mediation. Because Rockwool declined mediation, the NCP also announced that it would proceed to an investigation of the complaint, expected to be finalized in the first quarter of 2021. In a press release, the NCP asserted it would focus on the OECD Guidelines’ Chapter II on General Policies (including paragraph 14 on stakeholder engagement), Chapter IV on Human Rights, and Chapter VI on Environment.
Relevant OECD Guidelines
Case keywords Les droits de l'homme, Environnement

NCP Information

NCP name National Contact Point Denmark
NCP address Copenhagen, Denmark
NCP website https://businessconduct.dk/
Other NCPs involved

Complainant

ONG

Company Information

Company responsible Rockwool Group International A/S
Company address
Company website
Company in violation
Country of operations United States
Other companies involved

Timeline of developments

Date Actor Action Description Document
17 September 2020 National Contact Point Denmark initial assessment Danish NCP proceeds to investigation of the complaint download pdf (215Kb)  
17 September 2020 West Virginians for Sustainable Development (WVSD) press release Complainants' press release at announcement of investigation download pdf (317Kb)  
23 October 2019 West Virginians for Sustainable Development (WVSD) file Complaint filed to Danish NCP. download pdf (12878Kb)  

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