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5 Jan 2022

Forest Peoples Programme (FPP) & other 27 CSOs

Ecuador: CSOs urge Energy & Palma and its suppliers to drop strategic lawsuit and end intimidation against human rights defenders

'Open letter to downstream consumer goods companies on the criminalisation of rights defenders in Ecuador', 1 December 2021

Open letter from civil society to consumer goods companies re: concerns over Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation by palm oil company in Ecuador

We are writing to seek your engagement regarding serious ongoing human rights and environmental harms connected with the operations of Energy & Palma, which is part of La Fabril group, its Extractora San Carlos palm oil mill and its third-party suppliers and business partners. It is our understanding that several multinational companies including Nestle, Pepsi, Kellogg and General Mills have direct sourcing relationships with Energy & Palma and La Fabril group, and therefore bear a responsibility to uphold human rights and environmental standards.

Civil society groups in Ecuador have raised concerns with us over legal action brought by the palm oil company Energy & Palma against afro-descendent human rights defenders in the Esmeraldas Province...

Given the above serious ongoing human rights and environmental harms and risks connected with Energy & Palma’s operations, we respectfully request that Nestlé, Pepsi, Kellogg and General Mills fully disclose and explain its process of ongoing supply chain due diligence with regard to Energy & Palma, the Extractora San Carlos palm oil mill, Fabril Group and its third-party suppliers and business partners, with particular attention to the protection of human rights, community land rights and environmental defenders. We urge you to immediately suspend sourcing from Energy & Palma and conduct an investigation into the actions taken against the environmental human rights defenders. Multinational consumer goods companies should take the following actions:

  • urge Energy & Palma to drop all charges against human rights defenders;
  • investigate legal and customary ownership of lands claimed by Barranquilla de San Javier, and reinstate these lands to the community complainants, should irregularities be found;
  • articulate and adopt a clear set of policies and procedures to require La Fabril Group and all suppliers to ensure Zero Tolerance for violence, intimidation, and criminalization of environmental human rights defenders.