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Company Response

16 Jun 2023

Statkraft responded

The need for renewable energy is inevitable, not only for Norway to reach its climate goals and obligations under the Paris agreement, but it is also key to the full enjoyment of a wide range of human rights, including the right to life, clean air, sanitation, water, and the right to food. At the same time, renewable energy and wind power raises various dilemmas and might, in some cases, pose a threat to other human rights.

To follow up concerns regarding human rights is an important priority for Statkraft. These principles are included in Statkraft’s Code of Conduct, approved by the Board of Directors, and our Statement on Human Rights, signed by the Statkraft Corporate Management. The full company approach to human rights can be found at the company website and in the Annual Report 2022.

From 2006 until today, Fosen Vind and Statkraft have continuously assessed how our activity at Fosen could affect the reindeer husbandry in the area, both during the licensing process, during construction, during operation, and after the Supreme Court's judgment, see timeline on Fosen Vind’s homepage. The companies acted in faith that the licenses awarded in 2013 did not violate the Sami groups’ indigenous rights.

However, the Norwegian Supreme Court found, in October 2021, that the licences awarded for the Roan[1] and Storheia wind farms as part of the Fosen development were in violation of international human rights. The Supreme Court established that the wind power development would have a significant adverse effect on the reindeer herders' possibility to practice their culture on Fosen, which was deemed by the court to be the relevant threshold under Article 27 of the ICCPR (International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights). Against that background, the Supreme Court found that the herders' rights would ultimately be violated if satisfactory mitigating measures are not implemented. The judgment did not assess what should happen to the wind turbines as a consequence of this conclusion.

The state of Norway has the primary responsibility to remedy the human rights violation, which is in process. However, in line with the company commitments and the legal requirements of the Norwegian Transparency Act, both Statkraft and Fosen Vind acknowledge our independent responsibility. We take the Supreme Court decision very seriously. We also acknowledge that the current situation has been and continues to be demanding for the affected people, both on a personal and professional level. We continue the efforts to understand how the impacts can be addressed with the aim of adopting appropriate mitigating measures that safeguard the reindeer herders’ cultural rights in line with Article 27 of the ICCPR. As part of ongoing processes initiated by the Norwegian ministry in charge, Fosen Vind has suggested an impact assessment programme with the purpose of gaining a better understanding of the extent of the impacts, so that this can inform which measures shall be implemented. Moreover, in line with our obligations, we have offered temporary measures to address the adverse impact on indigenous people’s rights by proposing economic compensation and assistance to the reindeer husbandry. Additionally, we have also covered legal expenses and travel costs.

Apart from a close dialogue with the affected people and offering temporary measures, Fosen Vind cooperates in good faith with the mediation process established by the national mediator, in its personal capacity, together with the affected people and the state, as a non-judicial mechanism. Fosen Vind participated in all the meetings organized throughout spring 2023.

For the processes outlined above to be successful and legitimate, the state of Norway and the companies are working to align the processes with the knowledge, insights, feedback and expectations the affected people put forward. Finally, we take learning from this process with us further and will implement internal measures to strengthen the respect for indigenous people's rights in future projects.

A full write-up of Fosen Vind’s approach to human rights and the case at Fosen, can be found in the company’s report under the Norwegian Transparency Act, which will be published on the company’s website by 30th June 2023.

[1] After the sale of the Roan wind park in February 2021, Fosen Vind consists of five wind parks.