Because they lack both the resources and political power, poor and minority populations are more vulnerable to the environmental degradation and health and safety risks that may result from living near heavy industrial areas. ICCR members encourage companies operating in heavily impacted communities to consult with local community groups and to implement plans to mitigate and remedy the adverse impacts of their operations.
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Surrounded by 14 industrial facilities that spew over a thousand tons of toxic pollutants into the air, Mossville, LA residents are quite literally being poisoned by their environment. Working alongside Mossville Environmental Action Now (MEAN), ICCR members have been instrumental in ensuring that corporations address and respond to local resident's concerns. ICCR members Mercy Investment Services, Inc. and Trillium Asset Management asked for a meeting with Sasol management to discuss its community engagement plan, and Sasol responded positively.
Companies without strong community engagement plans face real reputational risks. We were pleased Sasol sought to mitigate these risks by meeting regularly with the community in Mossville, and seeking meaningful ways to communicate. Sasol has instituted a comprehensive, voluntary home purchase program (VPP) to purchase the land on which it seeks to build its new plant. Sasol has agreed to pay for up to three appraisals per home, and will pay up to 160% of the average of the two highest appraisals. The community further asked to be allowed to retain any mineral rights they may currently have as property owners, and Sasol has consented. Over 80% of eligible homeowners initially registered to participate; as of July, 294 have accepted offers and 116 homes have closed. While not an ideal solution – i.e., one that would allow residents to stay in their homes with clean air and water – it is a step in the right direction.
Compared to several industry peers, Sasol has exhibited elements of exemplary community engagement