Friday, 4 June 2010

Trafigura: Sideshow

Given the allegations of last week and the now started court case in Amsterdam, yesterday’s findings of the Dutch Advertising Code Committee are no more than a sideshow

Two weeks ago I reported

“Greenpeace and Trafigura faced the Dutch Advertising Code Committee over the accuracy of a Trafigura advert published in September last year.”

Fuller details of the complaints are available from that post and the links therein. 

The findings are reported in DutchNews and I append the article below:

Trafigura misled with newspaper ad: advertising standards body

Friday 04 June 2010

Oil trader Trafigura misled the public when it published advertisements in a number of Dutch newspapers claiming the company had done its best to be economically and socially responsible in western Africa, the advertising standards authority said on Thursday.

The complaint was brought by environmental organisation Greenpeace.

The authority said the passage in the advert in which Trafigura said it 'always strives for positive economic and social involvement in the West African region' was 'misleading and unfair'.

The claim relates to the Probo Koala scandal, in which tonnes of toxic waste owned by Trafigura was dumped in Ivory coast by an unqualified local contractor.

But Greenpeace's complaint that the advert also stated an independent British judge had agreed the waste dumped in Ivory coast was not dangerous was rejected.

The commission said the advert made it clear enough to the average consumer that the statement was part of a settlement between the company and 30,000 Ivory Coast people who claim to be victims of the dumping.

According to the Volkskrant, Trafigura tried to have the complaint rejected by saying it was not an advert but a form of freedom of expression. The commission said the publication was a 'public praising of goods and services' and as such fell under its control.


A sideshow to the main attractions indeed but the complaint allowed Greenpeace another opportunity to publish more details which were potentially harmful to Trafigura’s overall case.


  1. Keep on posting Calum. The more the news is out there the more discomfieted Trafigura will be.

  2. Bet they regret the day they started messing with you, Calum.

  3. If only, James, if only!

    I'm insignificant to them.

    I become significant only if I can do them damage by breaking important news - very very unlikely - or by becoming so big that the sheer volume of readers is a problem - even less likely.

    I need to have a look back at old posts to see what old questions remain open.

    Mrs c thinks I'm mad .... but then she always thought this!!

  4. Typical Green media coverage. Everything that Greenpeace alleged in its complaint was found to be a gross exaggeration or a lie that was confounded by already settled legal issues. The only complaint the DACA raised against Trafigura was that it hadn't explained fully its social and humanitarian programs in West Africa; including sponsoring local football teams, charities and environmental remediation. Perhaps Trafigura will explain this more fully in response to this media distortion. Other than that the DACA found that the Greenpeace complaint was pure bollocks. What a shambles.