Campaigners inflict major blow on asbestos trade in Asia as investment bank acts

After many years of campaigning, the global ban asbestos campaign has chalked up a major win as a major funder of infrastructure work said no to the fatal fibre.

The Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has amended its Environmental and Social Framework to exclude asbestos containing materials from AIIB-financed projects. The bank has an annual spend of US$3.3 billion on infrastructure across Asia.

The campaign to eliminate asbestos related diseases by global and national trade unions and asbestos ban groups and victims has been targeting multilateral banks for many years, including AIIB, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the World Bank Group.

The AIIB has now published the updated exclusion policy which now includes the “production of, trade in, or use of asbestos fibres, whether or not bonded”.

The ‘Not Here Not Anywhere’ asbestos campaign is now seeking the same urgent exclusion by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).  Phillip Hazelton, coordinator of the Australian union backed global justice group APHEDA, commented: “This is an overdue but an important step by the AIIB. We call on all multilateral investment banks and international financial institutions to quickly do the same and exclude asbestos containing materials from any investments they support.”

Apolinar Tolentino Jr, the Asia-Pacific regional representative of the global construction union BWI, added: “We expect the ADB to follow suit to this long awaited policy to ensure that working families and their communities are not exposed to this highly dangerous industrial substance.”


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