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The French National Contact Point (NCP) for the OECD Guidelines received a complaint on 26 November 2004 from Friends of the Earth, an NGO, against Électricité de France (EDF) concerning the construction of a hydroelectric dam in Laos (Nam Theun 2) by the NTPC consortium in which EDF is the principal shareholder.
The NCP gathered documents from the NTPC consortium, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, and the international network of the Ministry for Economic Affairs, and engaged in consultations with experts from the Coface and the French Development Agency (AFD).
In the light of the information available, the NCP concluded that no violation of the OECD Guidelines was attributable to EDF. In view of EDF’s agreement on social responsibility (signed on 24 January 2005), the NCP found that EDF had actually made commitments going beyond the Guidelines.
However, recognizing its responsibility for monitoring the effective implementation of the company’s voluntary commitment to comply with international environmental and social standards, the NCP decided to make the following recommendations to EDF:
EDF and its partners in the NTPC consortium must continue to implement all compensatory measures, as agreed with the Laotian national authorities in a framework on sharing responsibilities. The NCP emphasized that the said sharing of responsibilities must be equitable. Taking note of the consortium’s assessment of the potential environmental impact of its activities, the NCP encouraged the NTPC to continue these evaluations and take appropriate protective measures.
Multinationals operating in countries with weak environmental and social laws should do their utmost to apply the same internationally recognized good practices that they follow in their home states. The NCP identified fundamental ILO standards (particularly regarding trade union rights) as the appropriate rules of conduct for enterprises.
Finally, the NCP proposed to EDF regular engagement through consultations (at least on an annual basis), in order to monitor the impact of the construction project and to discuss the necessary corrective action.
French NCP Final Statement: