Paz Oil, Delek Group, ICL Are Among Israel’s Biggest Polluters, Report Says

Environmental Protection Ministry releases first ever ranking of Israel's 100 largest public companies.

Ora Coren
Ora Coren
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Ora Coren
Ora Coren

Granite Hacarmel, Israel Chemicals, Delek Group and Paz Oil are the biggest polluters of all the companies on the Tel Aviv-100 Index, announced the Environmental Protection Ministry yesterday.

The ministry released its ranking of the country's 100 largest public companies, which rates them based on the extent to which they adhere to environmental regulations. This is the first time the ministry has published such a listing.

Pollution in Haifa Bay.Credit: Baz Ratner

The greenest companies are Ormat Industries, TowerJazz, Given Imaging, Avgol Industries, Perrigo, Plasson Industries, Protalix and FMS Enterprises Migun, the ministry stated.

The most polluting companies have a financial incentive to clean up, the ministry noted - otherwise, they might find themselves facing fines or sanctions, including being forced to shut down.

For instance, between 2009 and 2011, Israel Chemicals was recorded as having 50 environmental violations. Strauss had six, Paz had 25, Frutarom Industries had two, Teva Pharmaceuticals had six and Hadera Paper had one. In some cases, the companies were warned and later convicted and fined.

The ministry also published a list of companies working to minimize their damage to the environment. That list was led by Ormat. Trailing behind were Israel Chemicals, Strauss and Haifa Oil Refineries.

Israel Chemicals was at the top of both lists because, while it was trying to preserve the environment, its many factories created a large amount of environmental damage, said the ministry.

Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan called the list another valuable tool for investors when evaluating the risks facing companies.

"Environmental considerations have to be an integral part of companies' operations. I believe the ranking and the increased transparency will make companies adopt more environmentally friendly practices and prevent unnecessary pollution," he said.

The ranking drew criticism from the Manufacturers Association of Israel.

"The ministry's ranking hurts industry and will actually serve as a disincentive for companies to protect the environment, and thus achieves exactly the opposite of what it seeks to achieve," stated the group. "The ranking is called an 'adherence ranking,' but in practice it does not address adherence levels - a company that meets all the ministry's demands and fully reports any minor incidents is judged harshly regardless of its actual adherence to regulations."

The report relies on misleading methods, it adds.

It also criticized the ministry's decision to publish lists differentiating between adherence to environmental standards and pro-environmental action.

The industry group had tried to block the publication of the list and had hired lawyers to consult on the matter.

"Public companies provide thorough, detailed information on their adherence to environmental regulations and the environmental risks inherent in their operations. This information is meant for investors and financial institutions, and it is based on trustworthy information and on risk-evaluating methodology," it stated. "Publishing the ranking in its current form seriously misleads investors and the public at large."



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