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Eye On Multinationals
Cover Stories Series 2011> Eye On Multinationals
UPDATED: September 26, 2011 NO. 39 SEPTEMBER 29, 2011
Recent Scandals Involving Multinationals

ConocoPhillips: Bohai Bay oil spill

The oil spill started at the Penglai 19-3 Oilfield on June 4, but the oilfield operator ConocoPhillips did not publicize the information. The accident was disclosed by the media in early July. ConocoPhillips held its first media conference on August 24. Under the pressure of public opinions and investigation by the State Oceanic Administration, ConocoPhillips started to adopt measures to plug the leaks.

Kumho Tires: Shoddy products

The scandal was disclosed by China Central Television (CCTV) on March 15. The company denied any defects in its products, but after three follow-up reports by CCTV, Kumho admitted it had used excess recycled rubber during production and decided to recall more than 300,000 tires produced in 2008-11.

Apple Inc.'s Chinese suppliers: Pollution

In August, five Chinese environmental protection organizations jointly issued a report titled The Other Side of Apple: Pollution Spreads Through Apple's Supply Chain, disclosing that environmental problems exist in 27 suppliers and suspected suppliers of Apple.

This is the second time Chinese environmental protection organizations have disclosed pollution problems of Apple's supplies. A similar report issued in January this year indicated there were serious problems concerning environmental protection, occupation health and labor rights.

Knorr: Condensed soups

In August, condensed bouillon by Knorr was criticized for confusing words on the packages of some of its products, which stated that "This product may contain" certain ingredients. Later supermarkets in many cities removed Knorr products.

Unilever, Knorr's parent company, responded that the word "may" was used in accordance with international practices to warn the consumers who are allergic to certain substances. The company decided not to recall the condensed soup products.

KFC: Cooking oil

A KFC employee said in early September that the restaurant was using cooking oil used the previous day and only changed cooking oil every four days. The restaurant also adds new oil to used oil. This information was later confirmed by a related government supervisor.

KFC avoids increasing the frequency of its cooking oil changes by saying its cooking oil fully complies with related national standards on the usage of edible vegetable oil.

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