Chelsea Green Publishing

The Blogging Community at Chelsea Green

Conquered by Petrochemicals? Taiwan’s Disgrace! Formosa Plastics Wins Black Planet Award!

As people come and go from the Taipei City bus stop in front of the Formosa Plastics Group Headquarters and Changgeng Memorial Hospital on Dunhua North Road, they can’t help but note the words of an advertisement: “A million bus trips doesn’t add up to a single smokestack.” A large bright red Chinese character for “shame” stands out against a dark gray background portraying the smokestacks of Taiwan’s Sixth Naphtha Cracker Plant. The forlorn expressions of three Yunlin County children cry out “Give us back our clean soil, air, and water.” This bus-side advertisement was created and sponsored by environmental groups to mark Formosa Plastics Group’s winning of the International Black Planet Award. But on the day before the award ceremony, the word for “shame” was ripped out from one of the ads and while the bus company said “it wasn’t us” Formosa is threatening to sue the advertising agent. With everyone wondering who has the incentive to interfere with the right to speak the truth, environmental groups are undeterred, launching an international union to uncover the truth about the FPG ( and choosing 19 May, “Y. C. Wang Day”, to hold the award ceremony.


Following a transnational nomination and selection process, in November 2009 the German Ethics and Economics Foundation (ethecon) chose the management of Formosa Plastics to receive the Black Planet Award for 2009. They include the Y. C. Wang Family, Formosa Plastics President Lee Chih-tsuen, and other Formosa executives. Previous recipients of the award include these other industry leaders: US based pesticide, fertilizer, and genetically modified seed producer Monsanto; Swiss food processor Nestle; and US based military contractor Xe/Blackwater.

2009年11月德國倫理暨經濟基金會(ethecon) 經過跨國提名與決選程序,將「2009黑星球獎」(Black Planet Award 2009)頒發給台塑集團的經營者們-王永慶家族、台塑董事長李志村及相關的經營管理者,該獎項歷年得獎者為美國孟山都、瑞士雀巢、美國Xe/黑水國際,分別是基因改造及農藥肥料工業、食品工業、軍火工業的龍頭廠商。

Texas’s Calhoun and Wharton Counties, both hosts to some of Formosa’s US factories, designated 19 May “Yung-Ching Wang Day” as an “honor” to the group, but Taiwan’s NGOs have chosen this day to hold the Black Planet Award presentation “disgrace” ceremony. The ceremony will serve as the commencement for a series of the group’s actions with the goal of publicizing “Taiwan’s Disgrace” throughout Taiwan, the birthplace of Formosa Plastics Group. The campaign hopes to alert Taiwan’s policymakers, relevant government agencies, and society at large in order to prevent Taiwan ending up “conquered by petrochemicals.” Member organizations of the union include ethecon Foundation, Texas Calhoun County Injured Workers Union, Taiwan Wild at Heart Legal Defense Association, Mercy on the Earth Taiwan, the Green Party, Taiwan Watch, Green Formosa Front, Taiwan Matsu’s Fish Conservation Union, Taiwan Sustainable Union, Yunlin County Offshore Aquaculture Association, Taiwan Association for Victims of Occupational Injuries, Green Citizens’ Action Alliance, and Raging Citizens Act Now.


The award ceremony will begin with the showing of a film in which US environmental activist Diane Wilson presents the award. Ms. Wilson is also the 2006 recipient of the positive Blue Planet Award. She became famous as the little shrimp who resisted the enormous whale that is Formosa Plastics. The Chinese language version of her book detailing the struggle, An Unreasonable Woman, is on sale in Taiwan, and she’s already received the support of many impassioned individuals in printing and widely disseminating the book. Robin Winkler, chairperson of Wild at Heart, will read aloud the open letter from ethecon to Formosa Plastics, and Lee Ken-cheng, executive director of Mercy on the Earth, will read aloud an open letter from Taiwan’s NGOs to Formosa Plastics.

頒獎典禮一開始,先播放美國環運人士Diane Wilson頒獎影片,黛安女士也是2006年正面獎項Blue Planet Award得主,她以小蝦米對抗台塑大鯨魚而聞名,中文版「不講理的女人」已經在台上市,並獲得許多熱心人士助印廣發。蠻野心足創會理事長文魯彬宣讀ethecon國際組職給台塑的公開信,地球公民協會執行長李根政則宣讀台灣民間團體給台塑的公開信。

As expected, representatives from the government and Formosa Plastics did not attend. An actor portraying President Ma Ying-jeou bestowed the award on the resurrected spirit of the late founder and chief executive of Formosa Plastics, Wang Yung-ching. Also 24 groundwater samples collected from private wells of people who live in the area around the Renwu Plant were presented. Pollution levels 300,000 times greater than government standards are ironclad proof that Formosa Plastics truly deserves this Black Planet Award. The government, however, persists in declining to order cessation of the plant’s operations.


Gloria Hsu, professor of atmospheric science at National Taiwan University, pointed out that Formosa Plastics Group’s emissions account for more than a quarter of Taiwan’s total greenhouse gas emissions. The environmental debt it creates is far greater than its contribution too economic growth. Chien Hsi-jie, Fair Tax Union spokesperson, complained that Formosa Plastics Group enjoys exhaustive tax breaks, and denounced Taiwan as an island of injustice on which the government has been hijacked by corporate villains. Herlin Hsieh, Secretary General of Taiwan Watch, explained that the entire life cycle of PVC is extensively damaging to the endocrine and reproductive systems of children, and Formosa Plastics is the world’s number one producer of PVC. Huang Hsiao-ling, Secretary General of Taiwan Association for Victims of Occupational Injury, further described the occupational injury situation of Formosa Plastics Group. Lin Jin-lang, chairperson of Yunlin County Offshore Aquaculture Association, pleaded for the local livelihoods that have been sacrificed for Taiwan’s Sixth Naphtha Cracker petrochemical complex.


Pan Han-sheng, Green Party convener, stressed that if the advertisements are removed under pressure from Formosa Plastics, it would represent an expropriation of the people’s freedom of expression and that the national constitution will become a corporate “royal decree” (財團的「王法」). He also announced that on 25 June environmental activists will attend Formosa Plastics Group’s stockholders meeting to bestow the award. It will be the third such small stockholder green action following others in 2000 and 2006.


Press Release Contact: Taiwan Wild at Heart Legal Defense Association, 2382-5789, Janis Wang


Plastic Pellets in Lavaca Bay

Okay, folks, here’s a simple riddle:  What’s twice the size of Texas and floating in the ocean?  Answer:  The great Plastic Vortex! Plastic bags, plastic bottles, plastic toys. Plastic plastic!  Sylvia Earle, oceanographer and one of the world’s greatest advocates of the sea, said “Far and away the most abundant, troublesome, persistent, deadly debris in […] Read More..

What it Takes to Shut Me Up

A woman from the Texas coast discovered civil disobedience was the only way to change things. She put her own boat on the line and inspired others to join her for the sake of Lavaca Bay. By Diane Wilson Editor’s note: Diane Wilson of Seadrift, Texas, is a fourth generation shrimper. In March of 1994, […] Read More..

The Naked Truth of It All…

One of our first actions as Unreasonable Women of the Earth was to support the Bhopal hunger strike. Bhopal, India is the site of the worst environmental disaster in the world. Over 20,000 people have died from the insecticide-like poison that was released from a Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India, in 1984. In 2002, the survivors of Bhopal began another hunger strike to wrestle justice from the Indian government and also the Union Carbide Corporation. But they fell ill. The Unreasonable Women of the Earth heard about their plight and decided to begin a USA leg of the hunger fast. Read More..

An Open Letter to OSHA

We are the Injured Workers United from Calhoun County, Texas. We are writing this letter in the hope that we can have a meeting with you to express our concern about the Formosa Plastics facility in Point Comfort, Texas. We are former and current workers of Formosa who formed a group in order to support each other through our disabilities, illnesses, financial hard times, and the experience of working under a company that, we believe, has shown, and continues to show, a high disregard for its workers, community, and the environment. Read More..

CODEPINK Brings Public Outrage to BP in Houston Exposes the Naked Truth Behind “Drill Baby Drill”

Naked, dripping with oil and dragging nets full of dead fish, CODEPINK activists will expose the atrocities of BP's latest and greatest drilling disaster on the Gulf Coast. Read More..