About the Basel Action Network – BAN

What is BAN?
Mission Statement
Where We Operate
Why Toxic Trade is Important
What We Do
Current Campaigns
Policy Principles
BAN Home Office
Who We Are
Join Us / Support Us!


What is BAN?

BAN is the world’s only organization focused on confronting the global environmental injustice and economic inefficiency of toxic trade (toxic wastes, products and technologies) and its devastating impacts. Working at the nexus of human rights and environment, we confront the issues of environmental justice at a macro level, preventing disproportionate and unsustainable dumping of the world’s toxic waste and pollution on our global village’s poorest residents. At the same time we actively promote the sustainable and just solutions to our consumption and waste crises — banning waste trade, while promoting green, toxic free and democratic design of consumer products.

BAN is a 501(c)3 charitable organization of the United States, based in Seattle, Washington

Our Mission:

BAN works to prevent the globalization of the toxic chemical crisis. We work in opposition to toxic trade in toxic wastes, toxic products and toxic technologies, that are exported from rich to poorer countries. Alternatively, we work to ensure national self-sufficiency in waste management through clean production and toxics use reductions and in support of the principle of global environmental justice — where no peoples or environments are dispro-portionately poisoned and polluted due to the dictates of unbridled market forces and trade.


Where We Operate:

BAN works both domestically in the USA as well as globally with particular focus in Europe (due to strong leadership in global environmental initiatives), Asia (due to being primary victim area of toxic trade) and in theUSA (due to poor record of global stewardship and their indiscriminate dumping of toxic wastes such as electronic waste and toxic ships).

Why Toxic Trade is Important:

There is an ugly underbelly of economic globalisation that few wish to talk about. Under the guise of simply utilizing the “competitive advantage” of cheap labour markets in poorer areas of the world, a disproportionate burden of toxic waste, dangerous products and polluting technologies are currently being exported from rich industrialised countries to poorer developing countries. In effect, rather than being helped to leap-frog over dirty development cycles directly toward clean production methods, developing countries are instead being asked to perpetuate some of the world’s most toxic industries and products and are even asked to become the global dumping ground for much of the world’s toxic wastes.

BAN is named for the Basel Convention, a multilateral environmental agreement, which in 1994 passed a landmark decision to reverse this deadly trend and ban the export of hazardous waste for any reason from rich to poorer countries. The Basel Ban Amendment is a clear unabashed trade barrier erected for the environment, and for human rights, supported by developing countries in recognition of the present disparate economic playing fields that, if exploited, will shift pollution problems to those least able to deal with them, rather than solve them at their source. Part of BAN’s mission is to protect this groundbreaking, precedent-setting decision from attack by industry and free-trade zealots that now see the Ban Amendment as a threat to globalisation-as-usual.

The mass migration of the “effluent of the affluent” in the name of development, globalisation and free trade is in fact a violation of environmental justice and can be considered a crime against the environment and human rights. It is vital to halt this unsustainable and unacceptable trade not only as it disproportionately destroys the environment and health of those in developing countries, but because such “environmental cost externalisations” serve as a disincentive to sustainable global solutions that involve greening our manufacturing processes and products upstream through “green design” and through “toxics use reductions”.

What We Do:

• Definitive Source of Information on Toxic Trade – BAN serves as the information clearinghouse on the subject of waste trade for journalists, academics and the general public. BAN maintains the definitive website on international toxic trade (www.ban.org), an E-mail newsletter, including electronic action alerts. BAN serves as toxic trade media centre, regularly working in coalition with other groups to hold numerous press events each year. BAN is also a regular contributor to various journals and international publications.

• International Policy Advocacy – BAN is recognised by the United Nations Environment Program as the leading organization dedicated exclusively to issues of “toxic trade” and as such, is invited regularly to participate as NGO experts and stakeholders in internal meetings and policy deliberations. BAN has also worked closely with the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the UNEP Chemicals Program and Governing Council. BAN works with country allies in these meetings to secure commitments and decisions in support of our mission. BAN has also produced Model National Legislation on toxic waste trade for developing countries.

• Research and Investigations – BAN is experienced in conducting field investigations in developing countries as well as providing photographic and video documentation of toxic trade. We have released stories that have been groundbreaking and will continue to do so. Recently BAN produced its first documentary film on global e-waste dumping that has been distributed widely and is still in high demand. We expect to increasingly use this medium.

• Campaigns – BAN is always engaged with NGO organizations around the globe in campaigns to counter any form of toxic trade. This type of coalition campaigning is an exciting and effective means to help educate the public via the mass media and to empower NGOs globally. Currently BAN is involved in the following primary campaigns:

Current Campaigns:

• E-Waste Stewardship Project – Program to ensure that exports of hazardous electronic waste (Particularly from the USA) to developing countries, exposed by BAN, are eliminated and replaced with producer responsibility and green design programs/legislation.

• Green Shipbreaking – Ensure that all hazardous materials are removed from US government ship reserve vessels prior to export or are processed domestically, while ensuring that the Basel Convention export controls cover ships as waste globally.

• Zero Mercury Campaign – Work toward an internationally binding treaty on mercury pollution to eliminate its extraction, use, trade and recycling and to promote permanent storage and alternative uses. Work is particularly focused on eliminating surplus mercury trade to developing countries.

• Basel Ban Ratification – We work to promote Basel Ban Amendment Ratifications globally and to prevent the weakening of this amendment. In the United States, we insist on dual ratification of the Ban simultaneous with the treaty and work to prevent their efforts at undermining this landmark agreement.

Policy Principles:

Read the Basel Action Network Policy Principles


BAN Home Office:

The Basel Action Network (BAN) is a non-governmental organization (NGO) whose mission is to prevent the globalization of the toxic chemical crisis. BAN is a tax exempt charitable (IRS 501(c)3) organization based in Seattle, Washington, USA. BAN can be contacted at:

Basel Action Network
206 First Ave. S., Suite 410
Seattle, WA 98104

Phone: 1-206-652-5555
Fax: 1-206-652-5750
Email: inform@ban.org

Who We Are:

Richard Gutierrez, J.D., LL.M. Richard is a licensed practitioner of law in the Philippines. Prior to joining BAN, he was with the Manila affiliate office of Baker & McKenzie, where he worked for almost 3 years on international project finance, mergers and acquisitions, and international trade and investments. In late 1999, he took leave and pursued a Master of Laws degree in Columbia University in New York. At Columbia, his interest towards the environment was rekindled to such an extent that after finishing his Master’s degree, he joined BAN in early 2001. Richard is now BAN’s resident Toxics Policy Analyst. Contact: rgutierrez@ban.org
Jim Puckett has been an environmental health and justice activist for 22 years. In the past he served as Greenpeace International’s Toxics Director and before that, as co-coordinator of Greenpeace’s Toxic Trade campaign, both posts being based in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The Greenpeace Toxic Trade Campaign was instrumental in achieving the Basel Ban as well as numerous regional waste trade bans. In 1997, he left Greenpeace to return to Seattle to help found the Basel Action Network program. He has represented civil society within the Basel Convention since its inception in 1989 and has traveled extensively researching, writing, producing films and campaigning against all forms of toxic trade. Contact: jpuckett@ban.org
Sarah Westervelt is the e-Waste Project Coordinator at the Basel Action Network (BAN), and the Reuse/Recycling Chairperson for the Electronics TakeBack Coalition. Her work includes administering the Electronic Recycler’s Pledge of True Stewardship, developing the e-Steward’s certification program, educating the public about issues associated with exporting e-waste, as well as highlighting the worst-case scenarios. Sarah co-authored BAN exposés including films and reports documenting horrific “recycling” in China and Nigeria. Through programs, policy, and education, the e-Waste Project provides guidance to go beyond inadequate regulations and practices, and better understand existing international laws that pertain to trade in toxic wastes. Sarah has a Master’s Degree in Organizational Systems Renewal from Antioch University, and worked for years as a consultant in organizational development before joining the Basel Action Network in 2001. Contact: swestervelt@ban.org
Mandy Knudtson is the e-Stewards Business Director. In her role she provides guidance for electronic recyclers entering the e-Stewards certification program, offers on-going support to members, as well as initiates ongoing program development of the e-Stewards certification program. Mandy facilitates program activities and collaborative efforts conducive to a high performance teams to promote the e-Stewards program and brand to a global audience. Mandy holds a Masters’ Degree in policy studies from the University of Washington where she continues to be involved with current students. Through a community-based learning program, Mandy works with students to promote increased awareness of the importance of proper recycling of hazardous electronic waste.