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21 Jan 2020

Swiss energy co. BKW to improve policies & complaint mechanisms, following OECD arbitration process over wind project opposed by Indigenous Sami people

On 16 January 2020, the Society for Threatened People (STP) filed a complaint with the Swiss National Contact Point against energy company BKW for investing in a wind farm project in western Norway. Storheia, the site of one of the wind farms is an important winter pasture for the reindeer herds of the indigenous Southern Sami people, the loss of which would force the last of the reindeer herders to give up their livelihood and culture, STP says.  

In August 2021, STP reached an agreement with BKW. The Swiss company has accepted to revise its code of conduct and further develop its due diligence on third party projects. BKW has agreed to introduce an opt-out clause in contracts with third parties, meaning BKW will have the option to withdraw its contractual commitments if human rights violations are identified, and the partner does not address them satisfactorily. 

STP welcomes BKW’s willingness to take more steps towards corporate responsibility, and expects implementation of BKW's improved policies and mechanisms.

More information on the wind project is available here.