Colombia: Swedish NGO criticizes links between Vattenfall and alleged abuses by Cerrejon’s coal operations

A new report on Cerrejon coal (part of Anglo American, BHP Billiton and Glencore) produced by a Swedish NGO ForyumSyd asks questions on the links between investments and value chain in the case of Vattenfall and the Swedish Pension Fund, in La Guajira area, where allegations against the coal industry continue to happen.  It includes comments by Vattenfall.  Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Cerrejon to respond; the response is available.

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Company response
4 August 2016

Response by Cerrejon

Author: Cerrejon Coal

...Cerrejón appreciates the opportunity provided by the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRRC) to comment on the report As Black as Coal, published by the Forum Syd organization. We appreciate that this organization visited La Guajira, met with members of communities, and experienced firsthand the challenges of operating in this department. We also welcome their interest in approaching Cerrejón officials before publishing the report, but we regret that the ample information provided was not included in this study in a balanced manner. Quite the contrary, the report privileges the opinions and accusations of third parties without any scientific backing as well as decontextualized information and generalizations....

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1 July 2016

“As Black as Coal: Business and human rights with focus on coal mining in Colombia”

Author: ForumSyd

This report discusses business and human rights with examples from coal mining at Cerrejón in Colombia. It looks at Sweden’s policies in relation to sustainable business and the roles and responsibilities of states, companies and institutional investors laid down in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. The report links this to the example of the coal mine Cerrejón in Colombia, since mining is a high risk sector as regards respect for human rights and Colombia is a difficult market which means particular risks and challenges for companies and investors. The report investigates Vattenfall and how they deal with the coal supply chain and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as well as the Swedish national pension funds (the AP funds) and their responsibilities as institutional investors…The report investigates implications for local communities of the Cerrejón coal mine in Colombia and raises voices of affected communities, particularly in relation to involuntary resettlement, inadequate consultation processes, water scarcity and current plans by the company to divert a river. The example of Cerrejón highlights the challenges for businesses and investors involved in mining in a country like Colombia…

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