On 23 November 2020, Centre d’Actions pour la Vie et la Terre (CAVT) [Centre of Actions for Life and Earth] and (acting jointly) 14 local Local Watch Committees (CRV) of 14 villages in Haute-Sanaga, Cameroon filed a complaint against the French enterprise COPAGEF Group about its sugar operations led by the Société d’Organisation de gestion et de Développement des Industries Alimentaires et Agricoles” (SOMDIAA, COPAGEF agri-food division in Africa) and the “Société Sucrière du Cameroon” (SOSUCAM, Cameroon subsidiary of SOMDIAA). The complaint concerns the agro-industrial activities of SOSUCAM.
The CRV are community organisations established by the local populations in the areas impacted by the company’s activities. They have worked with the CAVT since 2012 in relation to the companies’ activities, with the goal of the companies adopting more responsible business practices.
The complaint alleges improper due diligence regarding social, societal, and environmental impacts caused by SOSUCAM’s agro-industrial activities. The complaint referred to negative impacts on the environment and riparian neighbouring populations of SOSUCAM’s sugar cane plantations and processing plants. These impacts include noise and odour impacts, destruction of crops, a decrease in wildlife, and air and water pollution. The complainants seek the NCP’s good offices and to enter into a dialogue with the companies to find solutions to the issues raised in the complaint.
Relevant OECD Guidelines
On 12 March 2021, NCP France published its initial assessment, accepting the complaint for further examination and offering its good offices.
On 17 May 2022, NCP France published its final statement. Initially, the enterprises participated in the NCP’s good offices but ultimately decided to withdraw based on lack of agreement between the parties on the modalities of the dialogue.
In its final statement, the NCP determined that the companies “do not fully comply with several recommendations of the OECD Guidelines”, including in relation to their activities on human rights and the environment, engagement with stakeholders, and disclosure.
The NCP made five recommendations to the companies to improve their policies and due diligence. The NCP will follow-up within 12 months on its recommendations.
- Company in violation
- Other companies involved
- Affected people
- Date rejected / concluded
- 17 May 2022
- Centre d’Actions pour la Vie et la Terre et al. vs. SOSUCAM, COPAGEF, and SOMDIAA
- Centre d’Actions pour la Vie et la Terre et al. vs. SOMDIAA, COPAGEF and SOSUCAM