Hydro supports dirty Russian aluminium production

Despite severe health and environmental consequences caused by the Russian aluminum production, the Norwegian company Hydro imports a significant proportion of their aluminum from the country. A number of Russian and European environmental organizations are demanding Hydro to either cease the import, or put significant pressure on the Russian aluminum industry to improve the environmental performance.

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Download the report “Environmental and health effects of RUSAL activities in Russia”

Te report “Environmental and health effects of RUSAL activities in Russia”, made by the Russian NGO Ariston and Friends of the Earth Norway documents continuous and severe environmental and health effects from RUSAL to their surroundings. Despite the grave environmental impact from RUSAL plants, the Norwegian company Hydro supports the production through its import of more than 200 000 tons of Russian aluminum. A number of Russian and European environmental organizations demands Hydro to put pressure on RUSAL and ask for improved environmental performance.

Norwegian import of Russian aluminum is at the expense of the health of Russian children, says Andrej Koslovich, leader of the Russian environmental organization Ariston.

Koslovich speaks for the many people in Russia who has been affected by the aluminum production of RUSAL. His main cause is the wellbeing of the nature and people living nearby Nadvoicy aluminum plant in Karelia.  Waste from the local plant has been contaminating drinking water in Nadvoicy for many years, causing severe health problems. The teeth of the local population suffer from chronic fluoride intoxication, fluorisis. The situation has been worst for the many innocent children, as their bodies are more vulnerable to high levels of intoxication.

Despite numerous actions, trials, and letters to the Russian federal government, the Karelian government and to the plant, RUSAL and the authorities have done little to improve the situation. It is clear that RUSAL is not eager to invest in cleaning facilities to reduce current emissions, nor clean up legacy waste scattered in the woods around Nadvoicy, nor pay any compensations to the plant victims.

The situation of Nadvoicy is not unique.  The report documents similar and serious problems around all the plants managed by RUSAL.

RUSAL United Company is the largest producer of aluminum in the world with main production in Russia. It is operating in 19 countries, covering 12% of aluminum market and exporting to 70 countries around the world, including Norway. In 2008, Norway imported 322 000 ton aluminum from Russia, in which 226 00 ton was imported by Hydro. In 2009, Hydro imported 216 000 ton. This accounts for almost 15% of their total production of aluminum.

-          Hydro is supporting environmental degradation as well as severe health and social problems among Russian citizens, states Yngvild Lorentzen, head of Project Departments of International Projects in Friends of the Earth Norway.  – Their statement about making the same demands to their suppliers as to themselves, is not worth the paper it is written on. Hydro must either use its position to initiate environmental improvement in cooperation with Rusal, or withdraw from this import, she states.

The environmental organizations supporting the campaign consist of a wage range of environmental organizations from Friends of the Earth Europe, Norges Naturvernforbund (Friends of the Earth Norway), Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland (BUND), and a number of Russian organizations such as Green World, Green Russia, Association of the Greens of Karelia, Karelian Regional Environmental Protection NGO, Foundation Altai, twenty-first Century, GAIA and Ariston.