FOCO and FoE Argentina filed a complaint against Royal Dutch Shells Argentine subsidiary, Shell Capsa, for violating domestic law and ignoring the Argentinean governments sustainable development campaigns and policies. The complaint alleges that the irresponsible actions at the companys oil refinery in the Dock Sud industrial area have put the health and safety of neighbouring residents in danger.
The affected community, called Villa Inflamable, is home to about 1,300 families who live in extreme poverty and lack access to basic sanitation, clean water and other essential utilities. Many of these problems stem from the socio-economic vulnerability of the inhabitants of the area. For decades, they have been living with the toxic fumes produced by Shell Capsas oil refinery. The complaint notes that the refinery was closed for seven days in August 2007 after Argentinas national environmental authority found multiple violations to national environmental law.
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 III Paragraph III.2
- Version 2000 Chapter III Paragraph III.4 Subparagraph III.4.E
- Version 2000 Chapter III Paragraph III.5 Subparagraph III.5.B
- Version 2000 Chapter V
- Version 2000 Chapter V Paragraph V.0
- Version 2000 Chapter V Paragraph V.1
- Version 2000 Chapter V Paragraph V.2
- Version 2000 Chapter V Paragraph V.3
- Version 2000 Chapter V Paragraph V.4
- Version 2000 Chapter V Paragraph V.5
- Version 2000 Chapter V Paragraph V.6
- Version 2000 Chapter V Paragraph V.7
- Version 2000 Chapter V Paragraph V.8
The case was filed simultaneously with the Argentine and the Dutch NCPs because the complainants believed the violations are a systemic problem in the global operations of Shell.
Despite the existence of parallel legal proceedings, in September 2008 the Argentine and Dutch NCPs accepted the case (with the former taking the lead). The Argentine NCP prepared a list of “considerations” and asked the parties to respond; both complied.
In April 2009, three members of the NCP visited Villa Inflamable to interview residents and to see the conditions.
However, Shell Capsa refused to participate in the process or even recognize the NCP as the appropriate body for addressing the concerns
In May 2009, the NCP indicated that it may close the case, but offered the parties the possibility of participating in a roundtable meeting outside the specific instance process. The complainants indicated that they would be open to such a meeting.
In November 2009, the Argentine NCP announced it would close the case and publish its findings, including the fact that the company refused to cooperate.
However, the case remained pending and Shell Capsa refused to respond to the complaint until the court case against it is closed.
In June 2012, the NCP again requested that Shell Capsa provide information about the actions it has taken in relation to the allegations and an update on the parallel court case.
As of May 2016 still no action has been taken by the NCP in this regard. The complainants have repeatedly asked the NCP to make a determination on the allegations and issue a final statement.