Case story

  • Netherlands

CEDHA - Equator Principles Compliance Complaint against ING on pulp mill project in Uruguay

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Case Status

CEDHA Filed an Equator Principles Compliance Complaint against ING of Netherlands for intending to finance Botnia, a controversial pulp mill project by Oy Metsa Botnia (now owned by UPM) of Finland.


Story

Original Press Release by CEDHA

CEDHA Files Equator Principles Compliance Complaint to ING On Pulp Paper Projects in Uruguay

December 9, 2005 – London. The Center for Human Rights and Environment (CEDHA) filed today an unprecedented compliance complaint to the ING group of the Netherlands, for the alleged violation to the Equator Principles of two International Finance Corporation (IFC) paper pulp projects on the Argentine-Uruguayan border.

The complaint calls for ING attention to the IFC Compliance Advisory Ombudsman’s (CAO) recent report which sustained many of the arguments against the paper mills originally presented by CEDHA on behalf of 40,000 local stakeholders whose environment and livelihoods would be devastated by what is to be the world’s largest paper pulp production using second rate technology already phased out in Europe for 2007.

CEDHA demands that ING uphold its commitment to the Equator Principles, originally signed in 2003 by a group of investment banks committed to sustainable development, and now adhered to by over 30 international private banks, including ING. The Equator Principles state signatory bank adherence to basic commitments to sustainable and responsible development and investment, environmental and social projection, and ground their commitments to IFC’s Environmental and Social Safeguard Policies.

Given the CAO’s findings that the IFC’s pulp mill projects in Uruguay violate IFC environmental and social safeguards, that proper consultation with stakeholders did not occur (a key element of the Equator Principles), and the many accusations faced by these projects of violations of international law, CEDHA requests that ING suspend all consideration of financing these projects, initiate internal investigations into the Equator Principle Compliance Complaint allegations, and that it adhere to the CAO recommendations. Furthermore, CEDHA asks ING to publicly inform clients, customers, stakeholders and the general public on its position with respect to the suspension (or otherwise) of consideration of financing the projects.

As a global citizen responsible for promoting responsible environmental stewardship and socially responsible development, and as a signatory to the Equator Principles, ING has a moral, ethical and professional obligation to uphold its commitment to the Equator Principles and must respond to stakeholder and public complaints and concerns over its projects.

Outcome

ING cancelled US$480 of investment funds to Botnia. 

For more information contact the author of this article:

Jorge Daniel Taillant Center for Human Rights and Environment (CEDHA) +54 9 351 507 8376 jdtaillant@cedha.org.ar