CEDHA’s complaint alleges that Botnia’s Orion pulp mill project will impact local communities’ economic livelihoods and human rights. The complainants maintain that the project is plagued with environmental problems, including the company’s failure to collect and provide reliable information about the project’s real and foreseeable impacts. The complaint also mentions problems regarding discloure and bribery and states that the project is straining regional diplomatic relations between Argentina and Uruguay.
Finnvera, the Finnish Export Credit Agency, is supporting Botnia’s Orion pulp mill project. Nordea is a Swedish-Norwegian financial institution that is set to provide Botnia with a multi-million dollar package to finance the project The Nordea complaint alleges that the bank violated the Guidelines in two respects: first, through its partial financing of the Orion paper mill, and second, by refusing to provide information about its dealings with Botnia. Apart from providing $300,000 of its own funds towards the pulp mill, Nordea also helped arrange finance from other banks and financial intermediaries.
The Botnia and Finnvera cases were filed with the Finnish NCP, while the Nordea case was submitted to the Swedish and Norwegian NCPs.
Relevant OECD Guidelines
- Version 2000 Chapter II
- Version 2000 Chapter II Paragraph II.1
- Version 2000 Chapter II Paragraph II.2
- Version 2000 Chapter II Paragraph II.5
- Version 2000 Chapter III
- Version 2000 Chapter III Paragraph III.1
- Version 2000 Chapter V
- Version 2000 Chapter V Paragraph V.1 Subparagraph V.1.A
- Version 2000 Chapter V Paragraph V.3
- Version 2000 Chapter V Paragraph V.5
- Version 2000 Chapter V Paragraph V.6
- Version 2000 Chapter V Paragraph V.6 Subparagraph V.6.A
At the June 2006 annual meeting of NCPs, the Finnish NCP invited CEDHA to a meeting to discuss the Botnia and Finnvera cases in August 2006.
In August, the Finnish NCP informed CEDHA via email that the complaints against Botnia, Finnvera and Nordea will be discussed during the August 30 meeting in Helsinki. However, the Finnish NCP did not confirm it has accepted the Finnvera and Botnia cases.
In October 2006, the Finnish NCP rejected the Finnvera complaint citing the fact that the OECD Guidelines are not applicable because Finnvera is not a multinational enterprise and the Guidelines cannot be considered to refer to state’s export guarantee activities .
In response, CEDHA lodged two complaints with the OECD’s Investment Committee and Finland’s Parliamentary Ombudsman concerning the Finnish NCP’s decision to reject the complaint in January 2007.
In February 2007, the Finnish NCP refused to review its decision.