1609 Working Group News on Corporate Justice – September 2016

      1.       Company Executives could now be tried for Land Grabs and Environmental Destruction


The International Criminal Court of The Hague has decided that company executives, politicians and other individuals can be held accountable under international law for economic crimes such as illegal dispossession of land, the illegal exploitation of natural resources and the destruction of the environment. This move by the ICC gives hope to these communities in developing countries suffering from economic crimes.   


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1607 Working Group News on Corporate Justice – July 2016

  1.       Illegal Gold Trade in Congo still Benefiting Armed Groups, Foreign Companies

Illegal gold trade in DR Congo is a problem yet to be solved. This practice benefits armed groups in Congo, by illegally taxing artisanal which earns them at least 25,000$ per month. On top of that foreign companies are also contributing to this illegal gold trade. There are reports that a Chinses company paid the armed groups 4,000$ and provided them with heavy weapons. The Congolese Chamber of Mines reveals that every month approximately 400 kilograms of gold leave the South Kivu province illegally.


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1606 Working Group News on Corporate Justice – June 2016

  1.  Business and Human Rights: The world is still Waiting for Action

The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) were approved in June 2011, pledging to address the adverse impacts of business activities. The UNGPs are only as effective as our governments allow them to be. Five years later, multitude of human rights and environmental scandals has continued to surface. The alarming scale and serious nature of the abuse taking place globally makes effective action on business and human rights an urgent matter.  


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1605 Working Group News on Corporate Justice – May 2016

  1.   Country-by-country reporting to affect only 10% of multinationals

The European Parliament has adopted a draft directive that would see 90% of multinational companies escape compulsory country-by-country reporting requirements. The document suggests that the EU’s efforts to improve tax transparency by enforcing country-by-country reporting for businesses’ activities are merely a façade. Members of the EU Parliament rejected a crucial amendment to the draft directive from the European Commission, which would have ensured the transparency rules applied to a large proportion of multinational companies operating in the EU.  


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1604 Working Group News on Natural Resources – April 2016

  1. Community rights widely abused by cobalt mining in Democratic Republic of Congo

Human rights violations and environmental pollution are happening in Democratic Republic of Congo as a result of cobalt mining, including water pollution and forced evictions. Cobalt is used in rechargeable batteries for smart phones and laptops.  About half of all mined cobalt comes from DRC. The mining takes place close to towns and villages. Local communities regularly are cut off from their farmland and water sources near mines, without having had a say in the matter.  


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1603 Working Group News on Natural Resources – March 2016

  1. Progress for an African Mineral Governance Framework

In 2009 African leaders adopted the African Mining Vision (AMV), which seeks to foster an African framework for a transparent, optimal and equitable exploitation of mineral resources.  The exploitation and export of mineral resources has been troubling for many African countries, as they did not benefit from the mineral price boom and now have to deal with financial leakages and the ongoing collapse of mineral prices on the international market. Until now very few countries have aligned their minerals policy to the reform agenda. However, on March 21-22, 2016 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, a renewed effort to move towards implementation of the AMV brought 120 participants from various African governments, the AU, UNECA, AMDC, Pan-African institutions and civil society to a round-table to further develop and refine the African Minerals Governance Framework (AMGF). Africa working together on a framework stands in contrast to recent developments in the EU, with the position of the Council threatening a comprehensive EU regulation for conflict minerals {LINK} and with the Supreme Court in the US ruling in favour of corporations and against their involvement in a trade scheme {LINK}. 


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1602 Working Group News on Natural Resources – February 2016

  1.        EU Parliament and Council Remain Divided over Conflict Mineral Law

On 20 May 2015 the EU Parliament had voted for a strict regulation concerning the conflict minerals law. This vote advocated mandatory requirements throughout the whole supply chain of products containing minerals from conflicted areas. This decision was applauded by many NGOs and civil society organisations, including AEFJN {LINK}. However, since then no progress has been made in the further negotiations with the Council. The member states broadly support a non-binding system that would only be applicable to EU importers. This position is even weaker than the initial proposal of the Commission that, although also voluntary, includes smelters and refiners of minerals in the scheme. The Councils position fails to ensure real change in business practices and corporate social responsibility.


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1505 Working Group News Natural Resources - May 2015

  1.       AEFJN Welcomes decision of the European Parliament on Conflict Minerals

AEFJN welcomes the vote of 20 May in the European Parliament, adopting mandatory requirements throughout the whole supply chain of products containing minerals and/or their derived metals from conflict areas. All companies sourcing tantalum, tungsten, tin and gold (3TG’s) as raw material or in (semi-) finished products will henceforth be obliged to conduct due diligence to make sure that their products do not finance armed groups or contribute to human rights violations. 

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1504 Working Group News Natural Resources - April 2015

  1.       Lack of Ambition to stop Conflict Minerals

The Committee of International Trade (INTA) of the European Parliament has shown very little ambition to effectively get rid of conflict minerals in company supply chains that produce for the European market. The MEPs of the INTA Committee refused to adopt mandatory transparency requirements throughout the supply chain of companies using minerals from conflict zones. 


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1502-1503 Working Group News on Natural Resources – February/March 2015

  1.       Regulation Responsible Sourcing of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High Risk Areas 

Currently, the European Parliament (EP) is discussing a draft for a Regulation on the responsible sourcing of minerals from conflict affected and high risk areas, which was proposed by the European Commission in order to break the link between minerals, conflict (financing armed groups) and Human rights abuses. Civil society has been overviewing the process the past year and has raised concerns regarding the voluntary character of the as well as the scope of companies and minerals (tin, tungsten tantalum and gold) included. That being said, it is positive that the proposal has broad geographical scope and is not limited to one region (i.e. Great Lakes region in US Dodd-Franck 


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1501 Working Group News on Natural Resources – January 2015

  1.        Koudiadiène, a Mining operation to the tes of… Texts

Last December, the secretariat presented a joint report with Cicodev Africa during a conference at the European Parliament. In May 2014, a member of the Secretariat traveled to Senegal and identified a mining operation that has a negative impact on the local population. A member of the secretariat conducted a first field survey and then AEFJN and Cicodev cooperated to produce a case study of this village. The first conclusions and recommendations have been published on our website. In the village of Koudiadiène European companies are active in phosphate mining to be exported to European markets. The activities of these companies have a negative impact on the local economy, since very few jobs are created for the local youth and a loss or decrease in revenues takes place formerly derived from gathering activities, agriculture, animal husbandry, to exploitation of natural resources and transformation. Therefore, poverty and hunger in the village increases due to losses of arable land for agriculture and livestock. In addition to the toxic dust emission of construction plant poses a health risk to people and the risk of irreversible pollution to the environment. From the study it appears that neither legislation nor the Senegalese international frameworks were respected by companies. Read the report here for more details.

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1412-11 Working Group news on Natural Resources – December 2014

  1.        DRC: Belgian mining giant lied over bulldozing homes

On 24 and 25 November 2009 police in the Katanga province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo ordered the demolition of hundreds of homes and businesses in the village of Kawama, next to the Luiswishi mine. Following the forced evictions, Groupe Forrest International, whose subsidiary was the mine operator at the time, denied that homes and businesses of permanent residents of Kawama had been affected. This report presents new evidence exposing the scale of the demolitions and demonstrating that the company lied about the scale and impact of what happened at Kawama.


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1410 Working Group news on Natural Resources – October 2014

  1. Church Leaders call for EU Rules on Conflict Resources to be Binding

As the European Parliament prepares to debate legislation on responsible mineral sourcing (conflict minerals), 70 Catholic bishops from around the world are urging the EU to make the legislation’s requirements consistent in scope and binding for companies, rather than the current voluntary approach. The international alliance of Catholic development agencies warn that European citizens expect guarantees that they are not complicit in financing conflict and human rights abuses.


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1409 Working Group news on Natural Resources – September 2014

  1. Africa: Tracing the Oil Money

From 2011 to 2013, the governments of [ten oil-producing African countries] sold over 2.3 billion barrels of oil. These sales, worth more than $250 billion, equal a staggering 56 percent of their combined government revenues. But there is little transparency about these sales, a quarter of which were made to little known Swiss trading companies. Payments of this scale that affect the development prospects of poor countries require public oversight. Transparency provides citizens with a tool to hold their government to account for the management of their country's most valuable asset. Oil-producing governments should adopt rules and practices that encourage integrity in the selection of buyers and determination of the selling price.


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1407 1408 Working Group news on Natural Resources – July August 2014


1.       Rough and Polished: South Africa Shortchanged on Diamond Trade


According to 100reporters investigation "South Africa's diamond industry is benefitting from royalty and export tax structures riddled with loopholes, shortchanging citizens of one of the world's premier sources of diamonds of tens of millions of dollars a year in revenue." The diamond industry has been a dominant player in the South African economy and while benefiting massively the industry has avoided paying many mining royalties. Even with the introduction of royalties in 2010, transnationals such as De Beers "pay a royalty rate far lower than that of other African states." The article identifies the causes and historical roots of this lost public revenue. 


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  1. Natural Resource Charter


The Natural Resource Charter is a set of principles to guide governments' and societies' use of natural resources so these economic opportunities result in maximum and sustained returns for a country's citizens. It outlines tools and policy options designed to avoid the mismanagement of diminishing natural riches, and ensure their ongoing benefits. The charter is organized around 12 core precepts offering guidance on key decisions governments face, beginning with whether to extract resources and ending with how generated revenue can produce maximum good for citizens.


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  1. Tax breaks for multinationals outstrip spending on schools and clinics in Sierra Leone


A new report, Losing Out, realized by several civil society organizations of Sierra Leone, highlights the huge amount of revenue that one of the poorest countries in Africa loses each year through tax breaks for multinationals. In 2011, Sierra Leone spent more on tax breaks than on its development priorities, with mining firms the biggest beneficiaries. The following year, the tax exemptions amounted to more than eight times Sierra Leone’s health budget and seven times its education budget, when more than 50 per cent of its citizens live below the national poverty line.


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  1. Illicit capital flows are the elephant in the EU-Africa economic

The EU-Africa economic relationship wants to promote sustainable growth, but as long as the EU and financial institutions allow transfers of illicit funds from Africa, this goal will not be met. In 2011 alone, it’s estimated that €43.7 billion left Africa by way of illicit financial flows; this money should rather have been invested in infrastructure, education and healthcare while African countries received a combined €34.3 billion in developmental aid the same year. Money often floats through a labyrinth of different companies, in different jurisdictions, leaving a confusing and incomplete paper trail.   


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  1.       Country by country Reporting: requirements for corporations

The German Catholic Bishops’ Organisation for Development (Misereor) and the Protestant Churches Development Services (Brot für die Welt), have recently published a working paper about the Country by Country Reporting requirements for corporations .This paper gives an introduction into new regulations devised on the European level for new reporting requirements for the extractive and logging industries as well as banks. This legislation is a contribution to strengthening public finances in countries in the Global South.


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  1. The link between the Extractive Industry and Land Grabbing


The Gaia Foundation has published in 2012 an interesting report 'Opening Pandora's Box ' that makes links between Extractive Industry and Land Grabbing. The report shows how the extractive industry is expanding its activity in many countries and occupying great lands extension. This activity is supported by governments in developing countries and it is the result of the convergence of economic, political, and geographical factors. While Western countries are controlling natural resources in Africa, there are a lot of evidence showing that the depletion of the planet is causing mass species extinction, climate change and more.


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  1. Diamond Producers Refuse to Move Towards Greater Transparency

The annual meeting of the Kimberley Process, which represents producers and industrial countries of the diamond, refused to go further in transparency. The organization, which brings together representatives of NGOs, major producing companies and 81 countries, is responsible for ensuring that the sale of diamonds does not fund armed conflicts. NGOs members of the organization want to assure consumers that diamonds are not only used to destabilize governments, but their extraction is free of human rights abuses. However, the producers refuse to go further with more transparency.


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The Copper Storm Brewing in North-Western Zambia

In Copperbelt Province, Zambia, the action of First Quantum Minerals (FQM) mining company is affecting the live of the community. FQM has been accused of corruption, illegal exploitation, environmental pollution and non-compliance of contractual clauses for some civil society organizations. The government of Lusaka had established some conditions for the mining exploitation and the company had offered some economic compensation that has been breached. The government, investors and civil society are caught up in a series of accusations that need the action of the justice to be solved.


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Uganda’s mining sector new Challenges

There are expectations about Uganda’s oil and gas sector and the wider mining industry. The mining sector faces challenges including land issues and limited infrastructure. Difficulties of access, compensations and utilization of land remain a hindrance to the development of mining. The Uganda’s government has the challenge of driving the mining sector forward with good laws or put their wealth on foreign hands without profit its people.



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Raw Materials Working Group News July 2013

Advancing Due Diligence in the Mining Sector of Africa's Great Lakes Region. New measures of control on the field of supply chains of minerals, coming from conflict-affected and high-risk areas, seems to be relevant in the next coming years in Africa and Europe. The reflection about an European Union initiative on Transparency, along with the implementation of the OECD Due Diligence Guidance in the mining sector in Africa’s Great Lakes region, have been met with skepticism. Although the implementation of legal measures have provoked a difficult situation, especially on artisanal mining, companies working with minerals like tin, tantalum and tungsten, have moved from reluctance to progressive engagement.   


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Raw Materials Working Group News May-June 2013

ACP countries and specially Southern African Development Community (SADC), which is the main producer of sugar in Africa have called on the European Union to honour its commitments under the Cotonou Accord and EPAs, arguing that abolishing sugar quotas before 2020 could cripple their developing economies. A recent report confirmed the results that this would make imports less attractive. The EU would move to self-sufficiency and may even become a net exporter from time to time. ACP sugar exports will drop to a negligible fraction of what they are today, or be wiped out altogether of the EU market.


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Raw Materials Working Group News February 2013

Mining is a pillar of the economy of Burkina Faso. With more than 1.1 billion Euros, gold has been the first export in 2012. This is about 5% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). But gold also has its dark side. It kills. Civil society calls for measures to prevent child labor in artisanal mining sites. There are at least 600,000 miners spread over 700 sites. A UNICEF study in Burkina has estimated 20.000 children aged 5 to 18 on a sample of 90 sites.

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CSR News - January 2013

The jurists and lawyers association Sherpa, specialized in the fight against economic crimes, announced that it was withdrawing from the agreements it had concluded in 2009 with the company Areva.  

These agreements should have promoted the establishment of health observatories in mining areas in Niger and Gabon to prevent health risks associated with uranium exploitation. But they should have also helped to compensate former employees African of Areva Group who contracted diseases related to their professional activity.

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CSR News - October 2012

The court case against Shell in the Netherlands has started again. Ghana’s oil wealth is not reaching the poor. Angola: Oil-rich Cabinda in Angola is getting ever the poorer for it. Oil companies in the US are trying to undermine the recently approved transparency requirements.

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CSR News - September 2012

Two years after the U.S. Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Act, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of the American government has at last issued the rules detailing how that law will be implemented. U.S.-listed companies will have to publish a detailed account of what they pay the U.S. and foreign governments on a country-by-country and project-by-project basis. Over 1,100 companies will be covered by the information disclosure requirements, including a majority of the most profitable international oil companies and the largest global mining companies.

The legal committee of the European Parliament approved measures similar to Dodd-Frank earlier this month.

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CSR News - May 2012

The Angolan government is unable to explain how it spent $32-billion - mostly revenues coming from the oil sector - which it collected between 2007 and 2010.

The Inter-Religious Council of Uganda (IRCU) presented a memorandum to the Natural Resources Committee of the Parliament of Uganda at the beginning of May 2012. They gave their recommendations concerning Bills addressing petroleum exploitation.

In March 2012, Kenya became the second East African country, after Uganda, to have discovered oil.

In April the European Parliament discussed for the first time the directives that would introduce, in the EU, transparency of payment regulations for extractive industries, similar to the US Dodd-Frank Act.

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Namibia: the disenchantment

On March 21, Namibia celebrated the 22nd anniversary of its independence obtained in 1990. Has Namibia really used the chances it had in the cradle of independence? Pleasant climate, abundant natural resources (fish, meat, diamonds, uranium, copper, etc.), an excellent road network, a functioning government and civil law, quality tourism, little debt, only 2 million inhabitants on an area of 825,000 km2.

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CSR News Update - February 2012

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of the United States tasked with implementing Dodd-Frank has taken far more time than originally foreseen and has not yet been able to do so. The delays of the SEC give multinational corporations the opportunity to lobby against the provisions and to try to weaken them as far as possible. Many of the same companies praising transparency have been actively lobbying since the law was passed to water it down.

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CSR News Update November - 2011

In October the European Commission presented draft directives requiring companies listed on EU stock exchanges and large private companies based in member states to disclose their payments to governments for oil, gas, minerals and timber. The reporting has to take place on a country-by-country and project-by-project base. The European Commission also released its new communication on corporate social responsibility.

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CSR State of Play and Future Perspectives - May 2011

Mining Ban in Eastern Congo lifted - March 2011

The EU's Raw Materials Initiative

Let there be light - Areva in Niger

European Parliament demands inclusion of CSR in Trade Agreements

Namibia at the heart of the global uranium strategy

CSR State of Play - October 2010

The Gibe III Dam in Ethiopia

Holding Shell Accountable

Joint EU Council Presidency Statement on CSR - November 2009

Corporate Social Responsibility - An Introduction