Skip to main content

To: Simonetta Samaruga President of the Swiss Confederation, Lonza SA, Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), Valais/Wallis Environmental Department, Lonza SA employees

#Lonzagate - Catalytic converter by 2021

-> Français:
-> Deutsch:
-> Italiano:

Dear Simonetta Samaruga President of the Swiss Confederation,
Dear Lonza SA,
Dear Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN),
Dear Valais/Wallis Environmental Department,
Dear Lonza SA employees

About two weeks ago, a shocking article appeared in "Das Magazin"(1), uncovering how one single factory is responsible for more than one percent of Switzerland's greenhouse gas emissions. The factory in question is D29, and it is part of the chemical company Lonza SA in Visp.

Our Planet’s Worth
There is a simple solution to the problem: a catalytic converter that would eliminate about 98% of the emissions. However, Lonza refuses to invest in it - it apparently is too expensive for the company. The billion-dollar corporation even goes one step further, and wants to be paid to stop emitting nitrous oxide. This is no doubt a scandal in itself. Shouldn’t our planet and our lives be worth more than the cost of a catalytic converter?

The Climate Emergency in Word And Deed
Our planet is in flames, and we must act now. But instead of doing so, the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) and the Environmental Department of Valais have been dragging out the Lonza case for years.* On a side-note; the Valais Environmental Department has already been involved in a scandal due to its lack of reaction to mercury pollution caused once again by Lonza SA.

Climate activists, employees and employers must now join forces for climate justice, equality and employment. Together, we can make the change towards a world that is environmentally and socially just. Let us stand up for equal rights, effective climate protection and fair working conditions!

Given the gravity of the climate-crisis, the Climate Strike movement calls for an effective and immediate response from all parties involved in the LonzaGate scandal:

1. The catalytic converter must be installed at the plant in Visp in 2021 at the latest.
2. Lonza SA must assume a reasonable part of the cost for the new catalytic converter.
3. None of Lonza SA's employees should have to fear dismissal due to the costs of the converter.
4. The FOEN must revise the the outdated environmental regulations from the 1980s.
5. Lonza shall participate in an open discussion about climate responsibility; the Climate Strike movement offers its assistance.

Why is this important?

1) Christoph Lenz, Die Klimaschande von Visp. Retrieved on Nov 10, 2020 from Das Magazin via Tagesanzeiger:

* In the course of the campaign, the Department of the Environment Valais (DUW/SEN) contacted us and asked us to remove it from the petition text, as, from its point of view, it isn’t responsible for this case by law.
Since the gas N2O is still not regulated in the Swiss Federal Ordinance on Air Pollution Control (LRV/OPair) and the DUW/SEN acts on the basis of the cantonal environmental protection law (USG/LcPE), we have been asked to remove it from the petition text. Since the gas N2O is not yet regulated in the Federal Air Pollution Control Ordinance (LRV/OPair) and DUW/SEN acts on the basis of the cantonal Environmental Protection Act (USG/LcPE), which in turn is based on the LRV/OPair (Art. 18), it can be concluded that DUW/SEN is not directly responsible by law. Nevertheless, the environmental law of the Canton of Valais also formulates goals for the protection of life from air pollutants, and the greenhouse gas N2O must be clearly assessed as harmful. This is the reason why DUW/SEN remains partly responsible for the current situation.
Lonza has known since April 2017 that it emits this gas. DUW/SEN could have taken action even without a clear legal basis, or it could have demanded this basis vis-à-vis the institutional politics in Valais, as is usual when a cantonal department has no legal power in its area of responsibility. DUW/SEN could also have put pressure on the Federal Office for the Environment BAFU/OFEV. We therefore continue to insist on the responsibility towards the population and also demand that DUW/SEN becomes active and contacts the institutional politics of the Canton of Valais. For future cases, we also wish that DUW/SEN, together with institutional politics, creates bases to be able to react to such incidents.
Furthermore, we hope for a learning effect with #Lonzagate. Jurisdiction does not end where laws stipulate this in black and white, but the authorities have a responsibility towards the population in general to protect it from threats and pollution.




2020-12-15 20:35:31 +0100

10 signatures reached