OECD complaint filed against Swiss energy company for investing in Norwegian wind project opposed by indigenous people

On 16 January 2020, the Society for Threatened People (STP) filed a complaint with the Swiss National Contact Point against energy company BKW for investing in a wind farm project in western Norway. Storheia, the site of one of the wind farms is an important winter pasture for the reindeer herds of the indigenous Southern Sami people, the loss of which would force the last of the reindeer herders to give up their livelihood and culture, STP says.  

According to swissinfo.ch, "BKW said it was open to dialogue and that it would follow the negotiation procedure if the complaint is taken up by the Swiss National Contact Point of the OECD".

More information on the wind project is available here.

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Article
20 January 2020

New complaint says 288-MW Norwegian wind farm violated Sami rights

Author: Renewables Now

Swiss energy company BKW Energie AG is facing a complaint under the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises for its failure to protect the rights of the Southern Sami people in Norway during planning and construction of Fosen Vind’s 288-MW Storheia wind farm...

BKW has an indirect stake of 11.2%, according to information by STP. The latter says the Swiss utility has not taken actions to comply with its human rights due diligence obligations in respect of the wind project, nor used its influence as an investor to help find a friendly solution...

STP said the project violates international agreements and human rights conventions. With the complaint it wants BKW to adjust its internal guidelines and improve its human rights due diligence, introduce a complaints mechanism that local and indigenous communities can use, and respect the land rights of indigenous communities in future projects.

In December 2018, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights asked the Norwegian government to stop the construction of the wind park because of an earlier complaint by Sami reindeer herders. The Ministry of Petroleum and Energy saw no basis for halting work on the project at the time, saying it had passed through all legal inspections.

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Article
16 January 2020

Swiss investment in Norwegian wind power project opposed

Author: Anand Chandrasekhar, swissinfo.ch

[T]he Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) filed a complaint with the Swiss National Contact Point of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) against the BKW energy company. BKW holds shares in Nordic Wind Power DA - a European consortium of investors founded by Credit Suisse Energy Infrastructure Partners – that holds a 40% stake in the joint venture Fosen Wind DA that is implementing the project in the Fosen peninsula in western Norway...

Storheia, the site of one of the biggest of these wind farms, is an important winter pasture for the reindeer herds of the indigenous Southern Sami people. STP claims that the loss of these lands to the wind power project would force the last of the reindeer herders to give up their livelihood and culture.  

Despite opposition by the Sami and environmental groups as well as ongoing legal proceedings the Storheia wind power plant was completed in the autumn of 2019...

When contacted by swissinfo.ch BKW said it was open to dialogue and that it would follow the negotiation procedure if the complaint is taken up by the Swiss National Contact Point of the OECD.

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