Specific instance of SOCAPALM

In 2010, a specific instance was lodged by NGOs from Cameroon, France and Germany to the NCPs of France, Belgium and Luxembourg over the activities of SOCAPALM Cameroon in relation to a French (Bolloré SA), a Belgian and two Luxembourg companies.

The specific instance concerned SOCAPALM’s palm oil production. According to this, living conditions and local agricultural opportunities of indigenous people were deteriorated, local labour was not adequately employed, environmental damage was caused, violence was taken against local population, occupational health and safety regulations were not complied with and no room left for collective bargaining.

According to the agreement of the three NCPs concerned, French NCP was the leader of the investigation and found that such like Bolloré SA, the other three companies also had a business relationship with SOCAPALM as minority shareholders and that Bolloré SA had infringed several chapters of the Guidelines in particular. Complained minority shareholders were suggested to take steps for remedy and were offered with mediation and conciliation services by the French NCP.

Bolloré SA refused to take part in the dialogue first, but decided later to use its influence to put an end to SOCAPALM’s behaviour in breaching the Guidelines. By September 2013, an agreement had been reached between the parties and they accepted the monitoring of their action plan. A dialogue could evolve with workers and with representatives of the local population, harmful environmental impacts were reduced, workers’ health and education opportunities were improved, so was the local infrastructural supply and compensations were paid.