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CAVE and FoE Netherlands vs. Royal Dutch Shell

Case overview

Date filed 15 May 2006
Current status Rejected
Issue Shell and Exxon's chemical storage & health impact in Brazil
Summary of the case In January 2005, the government called on Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon Mobil to stop the practice of storing chemicals at and below their facilities in Brazil and to help workers and local residents with health complaints arising from the high concentrations of chemicals and heavy metals in their blood.

The complainants charge the companies have demonstrated little concern for their own employees and local residents.

Developments/Outcome In June 2006, the Brazilian NCP conducted an initial assessment and accepted the complaint as a specific instance. The Dutch NCP also wrote to the Brazilian NCP and “offered its assistance in the handling of the instance’’ by providing suggestions on how it would handle the case and declaring it would closely follow the case.

The case against Exxon was dropped as the NCP regarged Shell to be mainly responsible for responding to the allegations in the complaint. Shell responded to the complaint stating that the alleged violations were already being considered by domestic legal bodies and thus should not be considered under the NCP/OECD Guidelines process. In early 2007 the NCP decided not to “interfere” in the legal proceedings by further examining the issues and requested that the complainants make specific proposals for areas that could be negotiated with the Shell that were not covered by any parallel legal proceeding. On 7 April 2007 the complainants provided suggestions, but Shell refused to agree to mediation, again claiming that the issues were under judicial review. The NCP thus concluded that its involvement in the case would not be effective and decided to terminate the specific instance in the NCP framework on 20 March 2008.

The complainants are disappointed with the NCP’s refusal to examine the merits of the allegations due to the existence of parallel legal proceedings and its limited contact with the complainants.
Relevant OECD Guidelines
Case keywords Santé et sécurité, Secteur minier, Rechercher / accepter des exemptions, La participation politique, Environnement, Secteur de l'énergie, Procédures judiciaires parallèles, Divulgation de renseignements, Collaboration des PCN

NCP Information

NCP name National Contact Point Netherlands
NCP address Den Haag, Netherlands
NCP website
Other NCPs involved



Company Information

Company responsible Koninklijke Nederlandsche Petroleum Maatschappij
Company address Carel van Bylandtlaan 30
2596 HR Den Haag
Company website
Company in violation Pool São Paulo
Country of operations Brazil
Other companies involved

Timeline of developments

Some developments are only visible to logged in users.
Date Actor Action Description Document
16 May 2006 Friends of the Earth Netherlands press release The complainants issued a press release about the filing of the OECD complaints against Shell for the violations of the OECD Guidelines in Brazil and the Philippines. download pdf (85Kb)  
15 May 2006 Friends of the Earth Netherlands file The complainants filed complaints regarding Shell's activities in both Brazil and the Philippines in one document. download pdf (299Kb)  
28 December 2005 report Report on public health situation in São Paulo Brazil. download pdf (121Kb)  

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