Most companies that pollute try to draw attention away from their environmental impact. The World Bank just came across a handful that tried to overstate it.
On Tuesday the world’s largest international financial institution announced the debarment of six companies that submitted inaccurate documents to qualify for grants related to an environmental project in Vietnam. The companies, in an apparent attempt to show their potential to stem pollution, overstated the extent of their emissions of hydrochlorofluorocarbons — a man-made, ozone-depleting chemical.
The first phase of the Vietnam HCFC Phase-Out Project was designed to help the government of Vietnam reduce the country’s output of these pollutants — in order to comply with Montreal Protocol obligations, which were put in place nearly 30 years ago to protect the ozone layer that absorbs solar radiation.
Polluting private sector companies received grants to phase out HCFCs, and according to an investigation by the World Bank Integrity Vice Presidency, six companies submitted fraudulent documents to qualify for bank funding in a case that demonstrates “the challenge of environmental record keeping and reporting.”
“This case offered significant insight to our environmental work with clients facing similar challenges ... of weak systems and institutional capacity,” a World Bank spokesperson told Devex. “And while the project achieved its environmental objectives, the World Bank’s focus on ensuring integrity of the development dollar remains a priority.”
The companies, which have acknowledged misconduct, will not be eligible for any World Bank-financed contracts for one year. They are 6M Insulation Panel Co., Ltd.; Huu Nghi Engineering Corporation; TST Co., Ltd.; Sai Gon Insulation Co., Ltd.; Sea Refrigeration Electrical Engineering Company; and Asia Refrigeration Industry Co., Ltd.
Jeff is a global development reporter for Devex. Based in Washington, DC, he covers multilateral affairs, U.S. aid and international development trends. He has worked with human rights organizations in both Senegal and the United States, and prior to joining Devex worked as a production assistant at National Public Radio. He holds a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree in international relations and French from the University of Rochester.
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