Finalised mediation process with the OECD National Contact Point
25. June 2015
FIVAS withdraws complaint about Norconsult's business activities in Malaysia after mediation process facilitated by the OECD Contact Point in Norway.
The Association for International Water Studies (FIVAS) delivered a formal complaint on Norconsult and our Malaysian subsidiary NorPower Sdn Bhd (NorPower) to the OECD National Contact Point in Norway in August 2014. FIVAS is a non-governmental organisation which works to map out and spread information on issues affecting water, with aim to influence national and international policies with regards to human rights and the environment. After mediation in the Norwegian Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, Norconsult and FIVAS have now signed an agreement protocol establishing, amongst more, that claims FIVAS made in the complaint about Norconsult and Norpower's activities in Malaysia have been refuted.
Norconsult focuses on renewable energy in a world which needs more energy in the future, but less carbon based energy. NorPower was established in 2012 and the company's activites are currently related to assignments as technical adviser in projects that Sarawak Energy Berhad ('SEB') is carrying out or planning in Sarawak. The Malaysian state has great plans for industrial development in Sarawak and is planning development of about 20.000 MW hydropower beneficial to the environment in the region, and the standard of living in Sarawak.
Renewable hydropower can, however, also be controversial. Some of the projects have required, and some require if they are approved to be developed, that indigenous groups will have to move. All hydropower projects that affect indigenous peoples have an inherent risk of human rights violations. In line with our principles for Leadership, Values and Ethics (LiVE Norconsult), we are ethically aware and honest in all our activities. We have conducted Integrity Due Diligence of our business partners in these projects, and we have also considered how the projects affect indigenous peoples. This is also among what is established in the joint statement FIVAS and Norconsult have now signed and issued. Based on these evaluations, we have had no reason to criticise SEB or question SEB's conduct at any time.
During the mediation process, Norconsult was able to maintain a constructive dialogue with FIVAS. Norconsult and FIVAS formally agreed on 23 June that future contact should be based on mutual trust and clarification of facts. After signing the agreement protocol, however, FIVAS together with their partners Malaysian Save Sarawak Rivers and Swiss Bruno Manser Fonds have communicated false information about the process and the agreement protocol to the public. Norconsult warned the OECD National Contact Point in advance of the process that FIVAS and the NGOs connected to FIVAS systematically misuse information, but was nonetheless encouraged to prioritize engaging in mediation with the NGO. Norconsult deplores the misuse of the OECD National Contact Point, and the subsequent misuse of the Joint Statement resulting from the mediation process by FIVAS.