Scandinavia & UK
This site deals only with the corporate corruption of science, and makes no inference about the motives or activities of individuals involved.
There are many reasons why individuals become embroiled in corporate corruption activities - from political zealotry to over-enthusiastic activism; from gullibility to greed.
Please read the OVERVIEW carefully, and make up your own mind.
A Swedish property development company that became the mouth-piece for tobacco industry interests in Scandinavia through its association with the ventilation company ACVA Atlantic and its CEO Gray Robertson.
Nisses was used by Philip Morris to gain a foot-hold in Swedish labor-union circles and to spread disinformation about the source of poor indoor air in office blocks; it also actively promoted the concept of "sick building syndrome (SBS)."
SBS was a tobacco industry line designed to deflect attention away from environmental tobacco smoke polluting the air of office-buildings towards the lesser components of environmental chemical exudates and bacteria/fungii in air-conditioning systems.
Nisses was a Swedish real-estate, construction, and refitting company [Nisses Building Development Company] with numerous subsidiaries and joint-ventures having variations on the name. The Anders-Nisses (or Nisses Anders), Nisses-Anderson, and the Alviks-Nisses strands of the company all seem to been involved in construction or retrofitting buildings with air-conditioning and ventilation systems. Nisses was also closely associated with HIROSS, an Italian manufacturer of such systems.
Nisses an HIROSS also had a close association with ACVA Atlantic. They appear to have become a franchaisee of ACVA/HBI's Point system which involved retrofitting inspection/monitoring ports into office building air-ducting systems.
A closely associated company, Healthy Buildings Ltd . in the UK was possibly owned [or just managed] by Carl-Gustav Pettersson (the manager of Nisses) at the time Nisses was split into multiple separate companies. Healthy Buildings Ltd, was probably sold to ACVA which was then co-owned by Gray Robertson and Peter Binney and operating mainly in America.
Shortly after (circa late 1989), ACVA Atlantic changed its name to Healthy Buildings International (HBI) and began to expand rapidly. Gray Robertson was clearly the dominant partner (although Binnie continued as Vice President and chief report reviser), while Pettersson stayed in property development as a Director of REDAB in London.
• See also Carl-Gustav Petersson — also known as C-G or 'Ziggy'.
• In Swedish, Nisses is a house ghost — which can also mean Xmas.
|The air-testing racket|
|Philip Morris and the US Tobacco Institute had had considerable success at this time in recruiting a number of air-quality-testing companies [aka "ventilation companies"]. They were part-sponsored by the tobacco industry, which provided advertising and promotional materials, sent their executives on funded media-tours, paid for many testing projects, and provided financial incentives.
The only requirement was that they test the Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) of the buildings in ways that de-emphasises the role of second-hand smoke (called ETS) in the pollution of the atmosphere. They were also contracted to test public places, like airports, restaurants, casinos, etc. — and also aircraft themselves when the threat of airline smoking bans emerged.
The main 'independent' ventilation company working for the tobacco industry in 1988 was one known as "ACVA Atlantic" which was run by Gray Robertson and Peter Binnie. This company later changed its name to Healthy Buildings International (HBI) and began to work all around the globe. Finally it figured in a major scandal when a couple of their key staffers turned whistleblowers before a Congressional inquiry.
However, in Europe, this subversion of the air-quality testing companies had much less success in the 1980s, simply because Europeans relied less on air conditioning. Only a few companies were pushing the tobacco industry line — and these were companies involved mainly in the sale and installation of conditioning equipment.
1987 Mar 9: /E ETS Strategy in the Philip Morris EEC Region, includes a statement that they need to develop friendly ventilation companies like ACVA in Europe:
Indoor Air Quality: The fundamental reasoning behind the IAQ plan was to push this technology in the hope that a self-sustaining commercial niche could be created.
The burden of pushing the "IAQ" issue would then fall to the companies involved, who would have a commercial reason for doing so. For some reason, all this has not happened. Efforts to organize testing and symposia have been sporadic and one-shot.
Therefore, we should address this problem before all others. One possibility is to subsidize the creation of ACVA licensees, such as Nisses Ltd. in London, for a limited period.
In any case, other potential ventilation companies have to be identified and then supported (with technical and marketing expertise) until they can stand alone. Specific budgets have to be set aside for this, objectives set and timing mapped out.
Later in the same document they outline a plan for one major unionized workplace activity.
[Later they worked with Nisses on making the film, and they jointly published a number of booklets and funded special newspaper supplements, etc.]
Indoor Air Quality: If any real progress is to be made on this issue, we have to make IAQ a union issue.
Union representatives should be sent to Stockholm as observers to Healthy Buildings 88 [A building/construction conference which Nisses part-sponsored] and, generally, there should be a working, relationship set up between the industry and labor unions in all markets.
Responsibilities for union, contacts and follow-up have to be assigned and managed. Specific communications materials for use with labor unions will have to be produced and distributed, preferably by the coalition of five US labor unions concerned with the IAQ issue in the US.
There is also a need for a top-quality IAQ film, dubbed in various languages, for use with the media as well as the labor unions. This film should show as graphically as possible the "hidden dangers" present in the indoor environment [presumably other than tobacco!], and make the point [that] banning smoking is a common "smokescreen" for employers too lazy or cheap to solve the real IAQ problem.
|Solution - much more air!|
|Nisses, HIROSS and the tobacco industry shared an interest of focussing public attention on the need for building owners to upgrade their air conditioning systems, and increase the rate of exchange between indoor and outdoor air. This was at a time when oil-crises had made heating and cooling offices very expensive, and when frugal building operators were trying to reduce the air exchange rate to save money.|
1988 Feb: ACVA had been employed to do an Air Quality inspection for Alviks Strand development in Sweden which was run by Anders-Nisses AB . The report begins:
This is the report of the ACVA Point Installation and Air Quality Survey conducted at the Alviks-Nisses AB building located in Stockholm, Sweden and the subsequent inspection, measurements, and sampling made of the air supply systems to the occupied areas of these buildings. The installation and inspection was completed on the 24th of February 1988.
The object of the survey was to assess the amounts of particulate and microbial contamination present within the air supply systems; to trace the source of such contamination; to make observations on the structural condition of the various parts of the system inspected, and to generally evaluate the quality of the air being supplied in various parts of this building.
[This report appears to have been used as a promotional document by Nisses in marketing itself as a constructor/manager of "Healthy Buildings." — this healthy-building theme became their catch-cry and it involved both Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) and the shielding of electrical power and data cables against unwanted EMF exposures.]
1988 Apr 30: Monthly report of Gaisch, FTR includes notes on an "Evening meeting with Per Hellstroem of BNL (Philip Morris's Swedish PR company)."
The main point of discussion was the forthcoming conference " Health Buildings '88, scheduled for 5th to 8th September, 1988, in Stockholm.
It is planned to add a special workshop to the agenda of the conference with the title "A Contractor's Dilemma. How do we know that a building will be healthy?" The main speaker will be a representative of ANDERS-NISSES AB, a Swedish real estate company which has constructed a modern office building with a new system of air-conditioning devised by HIROSS.
ACVA has undertaken IAQ measurements both in that building and in a similar one with a conventional air-conditioning system.
GRAY ROBERTSON of ACVA will report the results. The main message will be that there are air-conditioning systems which can provide good air quality, irrespective of whether people smoke or not.
A third speaker of this section will be Dr. OLE ZETTERSTROEM of the Karolinska Hospital who will talk about a questionnaire on the differences in the "well-being" in both buildings.
1988 July 14: Stig Carlson [Philip Morris's Corporate Affairs head in Scandinavia] writes an explanatory note about the tobacco industry's involvement in the Healthy-Buildings-88 symposium to be held in Stockholm September 5 - 8 1988. It is a conference on building and construction techniques and equipment, with a slant on Indoor Air Quality and they are using it to play up sick-building-syndrome (SBS).
It is now clear that a four-way relationship has been established between:
Gray Robertson will be feted at the conference as a world expert in building-air problems, and he will hold a press conference to announce his 'Worldwide ETS survey' which is designed to " educate smokers and non-smokers about the minimal role of ETS on IAQ."
- the tobacco industry led by Philip Morris .
- Gray Robertson of ACVA/HBI
- Carl-Gustav Pettersson , the manager of (Anders) Nisses Building Development Company which has been promoting itself as a Healthy Building constructor.
- HIROSS , a manufacturer of indoor air filtering and processing equipment.
They plan a strategy of using the conference to downplay the effects of passive smoking.
- Utilize the promotion of the "Nisses Solution" and Robertson's pafticipation in HB -88 to focus the attention of delegates on the overall IAQ issue and the minimal role of ETS in IAQ.
- Via Robertson/ACVA research reports included in Nisses' future advertising/videotapes/brochures, communicate the ETS message to the building industry, unions, government safety experts, and via the media to the general public.
- Use Gray Robertson's visit to Sweden in early September for media interviews, union briefings, speeches etc. Gray Robertson is scheduled to appear in Sweden September 5 - 7, in Finland September 8, and Norway September 9 (Svenska PR Byran).
- Establish a genuine interest among Nordic union leaders to correct the real causes of sickness in buildings. [The unions and Gray Robertson will be given special attention in an 8-page Nisses supplement in a Stockholk newspaper]
- A 10 minute video featuring Gray Roberston and the "Nisses Solution" will be made for the conference and for later union 'education'.
- Professor Jack E Peterson, Peterson Associates in Wisconsin will attend, and a media tour is being arranged for him. [He is a long-term contractor to the tobacco industry on IAQ issues. Peterson Associates is a rival US ventilation company to Robertson's ACVA.]
- ACVA will issue a survey of Swedish workplace environments (codename Eureca [Eureka]) to the media.
- Nisses SEK 1.2 million (about $250,000) including the 8-page supplement.
- Philip Morris has agreed to fund the PR side of the operations
- Swedish Tobacco Company (an NMA) is considering funding 1/3 of Nisses's costs to a maximum of SEK 380,000 ($75,000)
Stig Carlson and John Rupp (lawyer of C&B) will review all editoral and advertising for the 8-page supplement. They will also check the lists of participants to see if they need other [friendly] experts to "attend HB-88 and participate knwledgeably in IAQ/ETS discussions - Q&A sessions"
They will also:
- Monitor participation of antis, if any;
- plan for maximising publicity about the ACVA "Eureca" study and other material;
- finalize the script for the Nisses video;
- agree on the details of the "Nisses/HB-88 press conference" and
- assist symposium organisers in their planning/arrangements for global media coverage.
[They plan to make the services of their PR company available to the conference organisers (via Nisses) — which would put a tobacco-controlled entity between the conference organisers and the media.]
- "finalize a marketing plan for Nisses by which their messages will be publicized in the general media and union papers after the HB -88 conference ends."
1988 July 14: This is Stig Carlson's explanatory piece about Healthy Buildings-88 for Philip Morris executives. He points out that Pettersson is the Manager of Nisses Building Development Company . He is aligned with ACVA, and has spokek out on IAQ at the conference, stressing his company's "Nisses solution" for achiving a quality working environment and basing his tobacco/ETS related comments on the Nisses-sponsored ACVA/HBI studies conducted earlier this year.
1989 /E: [in the 1994 Dec 9 Statement of Reg Simmons (who was a HBI whistleblower)]
On another occasion, my present team was sent to Stockholm, Sweden, and Oslo, Norway. We were under the direction of Mr Jo Keise in Norway and a Mr Peterson from Nisses Anderson [actually C-G Pettersson from Nisses-Anders] in Sweden. I believe both individuals were associated with the Tobacco Institute and its members.
1989 Mar 28: FTR Monthly report to Philip Morris says:
NISSES company has split apart and [there is now] no ALVIK Strand, MILLBANK and NISSES UK. Pettersson now heads a Swedish consulting firm in London, REDAB. REDAB continued the association with ACVA/HBI in England while FLAEKT became a franchisee of ACVA and became the principle promoter of pseudo air-quality testing in Sweden.
2010: Pettersson is Managing Director of REDAB Properties PLC, a Swedish company based in London. He has been a director of the company since 1989. [The company appears to have been in operation since 1984] Redab is still promoting Healthy Buildings International.
2010: See this REDAB site which features the HBI logo, and promotes the concepts:
To be competitive in today's business environment requires strategic planning to sustain growth, independent research has shown that high quality indoor working environments can increase end user performance through improved production.
- Improved air movement reduces employee absenteeism
- Superior quality air reduces risk of Sick Building Syndrome (SBS)
- Staff turnover (churn rates) reduced
- A stress-free working environment