Back in 1984, Union Carbide had a nasty chemical accident in Bhopal, India. The executives quickly cut and ran and the area has been a black eye for the company for years. When Dow Chemical bought Union Carbide a few years ago, it inherited their mess, and apparently their ethics as well.
Now, imagine Dow appearing on BBC to announce they had suddenly had a change of heart on the twentieth anniversary of the accident and were going to liquidate Union Carbide and set up a $12B reparation fund for the 120,000 inhabitants of Bhopal for deaths and medical costs associated with the accident.
Sound like fantasy? Well, that’s what millions of BBC viewers were led to believe this Friday the 3rd when a faux Dow representative appeared on News24 to claim full responsibility for the catastrophe and promised to make ammends, going so far as to lay out a rather compelling plan to repay the Bhopal denizens by liquidating it’s Union Carbide assets and promising to turn a leaf and become a better corporation.
The markets responded by tanking Dow’s stock, and real Dow quickly called BBC and angrily denied everything, threatening that they may sue the BBC over the hoax. I guess stockholders don’t really give a shit if the company they invest in harms people, just so long as it doesn’t adversely effect their profits.