Protest group Hou Friesland Mooi has filed a complaint with the Dutch NCP against energy company NUON to address their concerns regarding the construction of a wind park. In their complaint they allege that NUON has not engaged in meaningful engagement with those living in the vicinity of the wind park, and with the construction of the wind park would breach the human rights and environment provisions in the OECD Guidelines by not respecting the right to a healthy living environment and disregarding the requirement for an environmental managment system for the project.
Relevant OECD Guidelines
In its initial assessment, the Dutch NCP accepted the case for further consideration and offered its good offices for mediation. Both parties accepted this.
Talks started in June 2018, and in August 2018 both parties came to an agreement. The parties acknowledge that prior to the filing of the complaint at the NCP, problems existed concerning communication about the specific role of Nuon in relation to the Province. The parties remain in disagreement about whether or not Nuon has fulfilled its duty to properly communicate with local residents.
The NCP concludes that during the planning phase of the project, it was unclear what exactly the role of Nuon was in relation to that of the Province, but that Nuon nevertheless did have a responsibility to adhere to the Guidelines.
Going forward, Hou Friesland Mooi and Nuon will start rebuilding their relationship and increase mutual trust. The NCP recommends that Nuon better communicate its specific role in its projects and its relationships with other stakeholders (in this case the Province) so other stakeholders may be able to assess whether or not Nuon is conducting business responsibly, based on the OECD Guidelines. The parties agreed to follow-up with the NCP regarding these recommendations after one year.
On 21 October 2020, the Dutch NCP issued a follow-up report regarding the complaint following a review that began (later than planned) in May 2020. The NCP asserts that dialogue between the parties did not continue following the completion of the mediation, because the construction phase of the wind farm had already basically been completed, and the complainants did not feel that they had anything more to gain through dialogue with the company. Nuon, and its parent company Vattenfall, did commit to improving their stakeholder engagement practices in the future, specifically during the operation phase of the project. In its final recommendation, the NCP again emphasized to the company the importance of due diligence and of meaningfully engaging stakeholders throughout the entire project cycle, including in the planning and construction phase, even if another party (in this case the local government) is formally responsible for communication with stakeholders. The NCP reminded Nuon/Vattenfall that, under the OECD Guidelines, companies have their own responsibility to meaningfully consult stakeholders that it independent of any actions taken by governments.