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Society for Threatened Peoples vs. BKW Energie AG

Case overview

Date filed 16 January 2020
Current status Filed
Issue BKW Energie AG's wind production on Sami territory Norway
Summary of the case On 16 January 2020, the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) filed a complaint against BKW Energie AG at the Swiss NCP. The complaint concerns BKW’s continuing investment in Fosen Vind DA through the European consortium of investors Nordic Wind Power DA founded by Credit Suisse Energy Infrastructure Partners AG. This consortium, together with Statkraft and TrønderEnergi, is funding the construction and operation of a large onshore wind power plant in Norway.

One of the six wind farms is located in Storheia (Fosen peninsula), an area of crucial importance to the local indigenous Sami community as it represents 44% of the winter pastureland for their reindeer. The wind energy project has generated strong opposition from the Sami people since the wind turbines and associated infrastructure threaten their access to this area. This not only violates their territorial rights but also jeopardizes their practice of reindeer husbandry and as such their source of livelihood as well as an important part of their culture.

The complainant maintains that, given BKW’s knowledge of the human rights violations associated with this project, the company, in maintaining business relations with Fosen Vind DA as well as the implementing partner Statkraft, has not only disrespected its own internal polices but also breached numerous international standards and agreements, including the OECD Guidelines. Particularly, the STP alleges that BKW has neither taken concrete steps to exercise effective human rights due diligence nor has it leveraged its direct influence as an investor to encourage its investees to prevent or mitigate the adverse impacts of the project. The STP is therefore seeking mediation support from the Swiss NCP in order to negotiate with BKW regarding the adaptation and implementation of its internal policies as well as the improvement of its human rights due diligence. Most importantly, the STP seeks of BKW to commit to the UN principle of "Free, Prior and Informed Consent", in order to ensure a genuine consultation process with indigenous communities affected by the company’s investment projects. It also seeks for the energy company to introduce a grievance mechanism for local and indigenous communities and respect their land rights in this as well as in all future projects.
Developments/Outcome
Relevant OECD Guidelines
Case keywords

NCP Information

NCP name National Contact Point Switzerland
NCP address Berne, Switzerland
NCP website https://www.seco.admin.ch/seco/en/home/Aussenwirtschaftspolitik_Wirtschaftliche_Zusammenarbeit/Wirtschaftsbeziehungen/NKP.html
Other NCPs involved

Complainant

NGO

Company Information

Company responsible BKW Energie AG
Company address
Company website
Company in violation
Country of operations Norway
Other companies involved

Timeline of developments

Date Actor Action Description Document
16 January 2020 Society for Threatened Peoples file Complaint filed at Swiss NCP download pdf (928Kb)  
16 January 2020 Society for Threatened Peoples press release STP publishes press release on complaint filing download pdf (293Kb)  

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