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Article

2 Mar 2021

Author:
Representatives of Indigenous Peoples, environmental and human rights organizations via Association of Ethical Shareholders

“BASF must take action to address NorNickel’s violations”: Open response letter to BASF

[B]ased on the evidence that we have seen, we do not yet share your optimism that NorNickel is willing to work towards sustainability. We believe BASF’s failure to take action to address NorNickel’s impacts to Indigenous Peoples of Russia’s Far North represents violations of BASF’s Group Position on Human Rights and its Supplier Code of Conduct...

Although NorNickel has publicly promised to improve its environmental legacy and sustainability efforts, we are skeptical because the company has made such claims for nearly 20 years, only to extend its timeline repeatedly...

In regards to Nornickel’s claims, repeated in your letter, about company responses to the catastrophic oil spill of May 2020, experts report that proposed company measures to compensate and consult Indigenous residents are incomprehensive and insufficient...

Moving forward, a true commitment to Free, Prior, and Informed Consent [...] requires good-faith engagement and consultation with Indigenous Peoples, including all Indigenous communities and groups on lands affected by Nornickel, not just with a single, government-controlled Russian Indigenous organization. Given Nornickel’s history, we fear that despite Nornickel’s promises, it will not be able to meet the international industry practices outlined by ICMM and IRMA principles.

We believe that BASF’s failure to take action to address Nornickel’s impacts to Indigenous Peoples of Russia’s Far North represents a violation of BASF’s Group Position on Human Rights...

[W]e fear that BASF SE is unable to adhere to its Supplier Code of Conduct as long as it continues a business relationship with Nornickel.

By maintaining a business relationship with NorNickel, we also believe that BASF will be in violation of the OECD Guidelines... By sourcing minerals from NorNickel without fulfilling these responsibilities, BASF is contributing to severe impacts on Indigenous Peoples’ human rights. Failure to uphold these responsibilities leaves BASF open to a complaint under the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (2011).

In summary, NorNickel’s serious reputational problems and abysmal environmental record demonstrate that NorNickel’s internal company assessments cannot be used as sufficient evidence to demonstrate its efforts to improve sustainability. We therefore respectfully reiterate our earlier request for you to not buy products from NorNickel until its compliance with internationally recognized social and environmental standards is validated by an independent third party...

We hope that a meeting can explore how best to jointly ensure that NorNickel undertakes meaningful steps on these issues...

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