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Swiss commodity trader Trafigura is selling toxic fuel to Africa – with dramatic consequences for people’s health. Together, we are taking on the polluters by returning a container filled with toxic air from Ghana to the sender.

Swiss commodity trading companies, like market leader Trafigura, dominate the dirty business with “African quality” fuels for West Africa. They systematically benefit from weak standards in African countries by selling fuels that could never be sold in Europe.  Swiss companies are operating within the law because fuel standards in these African countries are so lax. Nevertheless, their business model is illegitimate because it blithely ignores the health of people living in these countries.

Civil society organizations from Ghana, Nigeria, Mali, and the Ivory Coast have taken up the fight for strong fuel standards. They are joining us in calling on Swiss companies to stop flooding their countries with poisonous fuel and to start producing gasoline and diesel with the lowest possible content of toxic substances – for Africa as for the rest of the world. 

The facts

The scandal

Our report “Dirty Diesel (PDF, 8.8 MB)“ reveals for the first time how commodity trading companies systematically exploit the lax African standards to optimize their profit margins with toxic fuels – at the expense of the health of millions of Africans. The report also shows that Swiss commodity trading companies dominate the dirty business with “African quality” fuels for West Africa.

Would the CEOs of Swiss commodity trading companies produce such toxic fuels if they could be sold where they themselves live and breathe? Hardly. Are African lungs worth less than theirs? No, they’re not!

These companies should start behaving like they claim they do in their corporate social responsibility statements. To remind them, we decided to ship a container full of dirty air from Ghana’s capital Accra back to the sender: To Trafigura, the company in Geneva that aspires “to become acknowledged sector leaders in the way we manage corporate responsibility.“

Accompanied by the sounds of African drums and dozens of activists, Public Eye dropped off the container full of dirty air from Accra and a petition signed by almost 20'000 people at the corporate offices of Trafigura. Trafigura accepted the petition but continues to hide behind the legality of its toxic business model, claiming that any such decision is the sole responsibility of African governments.

Public Eye Handing over of the petition and the dirty air to Trafigura in Geneva


The report (PDF, 8.8 MB)by Public Eye reveals how commodity trading companies optimize their profit margins with toxic fuels – to the detriment of the health of people in Africa.


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