January 23, 2015
Protests against a new Kronospan formaldehyde plant in the Romanian town of Sebes continue into their third week. Their history dates more than ten years back when the company came to modernise the local plant with financing from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The ongoing demands for breathable air cast a shadow over the EBRD’s promises of sustainable development and transition.
December 2, 2014
In October this year, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) approved an up to EUR 50 million loan to a Belarusian subsidiary of the Austrian company Kronospan for the expansion of a particleboard facility at Smorgon in the Grodno region of Belarus. Belarus will provide a guaranteed return on investment for both Kronospan and the EBRD. With the country’s rich wood resources, generous state tax incentives, weak legal environment, toothless trade unions, cheap labour and a generally stifled civil society, the EBRD and its client are not likely to run into the same environmental and legal difficulties experienced by Kronospan in other eastern European countries.