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21 Aug 2022

Resty Woro Yuniar, South China Morning Post

Indonesia: Villagers seek US$3,600 each as compensation for damage caused by climate change in a lawsuit against Swiss cement co. Holcim

"Indonesian villagers take on Swiss cement giant Holcim to seek climate justice", 21 August 2022


The increased frequency and severity of tidal floods on the 43-hectare (106-acre) island have prompted Edy and three other residents to embark on legal action against a massive multinational firm with operations in 70 countries – but not in Pari – and its headquarters in Switzerland, 11,000km (6800 miles) away.

[...] the groundbreaking lawsuit Pari islanders filed in a Swiss court last month against cement giant Holcim is the first by a marginalised Indonesian community against a multinational on climate change grounds.

If they succeed, it will also be the first time a Swiss company is held legally accountable for its planet-heating role, according to a statement from Swiss Church Aid HEKS/EPER, which campaigns for a fairer world.

It is supporting the Pari Island plaintiffs, as are the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) and Indonesian environmental organisation Walhi.


There has been little legal action so far against the cement industry, although it is very polluting. In their lawsuit, the four plaintiffs have demanded Holcim pay around US$3,600 to each of them to compensate for damage caused by climate change.


Asked why the legal action was directed at Holcim, Saage-Maasz said the plaintiffs and their supporters wanted to show that other industries, aside from oil and gas, are also responsible for climate change.


Talking to AFP, Holcim declined to comment on the case but said it “takes climate action very seriously”.

“We significantly reduced our footprint over the last decade and will cut it further by 2030,” the firm said. “We are focused on supporting our customers to build more with less to improve living standards for all while reducing emissions.”