Date filed
7 December 2010
Countries of harm
Current status
No resolution


On 7 December 2010, complainants Sherpa, CED, FOCARFE, and MISEREOR filed a complaint at the French, Belgian, and Luxembourg NCPs against four holding companies of the Cameroonian palm oil company SOCAPALM (Société Camerounaise de Palmeraiess (SOCAPALM). The four holding companies – Bolloré (France), Socfin (formerly Financière du Champ de Mars) (Belgium), SOCFINAL (Luxembourg) and Intercultures (Luxembourg) – exert joint control over SOCAPALM’s operations in Cameroon through complex financial investments.

The complaint alleged that these holding companies breached the Guidelines by failing to take action to prevent or address SOCAPALM’s negative impacts on the environment, local communities, and workers, which included:
– SOCAPALM’s expansion of palm operations, which diminished the physical territory of local communities and the availability of public services and natural resources;
– SOCAPALM’s failure adequately to treat water and air pollution, causing problems for both the communities and the environment;
– SOCAPALM’s failure to disclose relevant information about the company and its potential environmental risks;
– SOCAPALM’s perpetuation of precarious work situations for workers, while limiting freedom of association;
– SOCAPALM’s provision of deplorable housing facilities for workers;
– SOCAPALM’s hiring of security agent Africa Security, which undertook physical abuse against local villagers;
– SOCAPALM’s failure to pay dividends promised to employees when SOCAPALM was privatised in 2000; and
– SOCAPALM’s failure to contribute to local development, thereby violating its contract with the Government of Cameroon as well as the OECD Guidelines.

Relevant OECD Guidelines


On 24 August 2011, the French NCP declared admitted the complaint against Bolloré, finding sufficient links between Bolloré and SOCAPALM. Following consultation between the French, Belgian and Luxembourg NCPs, the French NCP was declared the leader of the case because Bolloré resides in France and is linked to the three other companies concerned by the complaint.

Thereafter, no further engagement or discussion was had regarding SOCFINAL or Intercultures, the two Luxembourg-based holding companies.

For further information on development of the complaint against Bolloré (representing Socfin), please see the complaint Sherpa et al. vs Bolloré.

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