Latinamerikagrupperna

STORA ENSO ACCUSED OF ENVIRONMENTAL CRIMES AND CORRUPTION

Pressmeddelande  •  2011-04-20 10:26 CEST

Friends of the Earth International
Cepedes (Centro de Estudos e Pesquisas para o Desenvolvimento do
Extremo Sul da Bahia)
Friends of the Landless Finland
MST (Movimento dos Trabalhadores Sem Terra)
WRM (World Rainforest Movement)

Press conference at Helsinki, 20.4.2011 12-13.00

Guest speakers will attend to Stora Enso annual general meeting
Marcelo Durão, Brazil (MST) and Kerstin Edquist, Sweden (Latinamerikagrupparna)
Rikhardinkadun kirjasto/ Rikhardstreet library
Meeting room, 1. Floor
Rikhardinkatu 3, 00130 Helsinki

Press release

20 April 2011
For immediate release

STORA ENSO ACCUSED OF ENVIRONMENTAL CRIMES AND CORRUPTION

Helsinki, April 20 – At today's annual shareholder meeting, Stora Enso
plans to give out part of its 2010 EUR 817.4 million profit to its
shareholders [1]. But Friends of the Earth, Friends of the Landless
and the Rural Landless Workers movement (MST) warn that Stora Enso's
profit comes on the back of violations of environmental and labor laws
and the criminal code in Latin America.

In Bahia, Brazil, the public prosecutor is accusing Veracel (a joint
venture of Stora Enso and the Brazilian company Fibria) of money
laundering, tax evasion and corruption. The Committee on Agriculture
of the Brazilian House of Representatives will be holding a public
hearing on the accusations against Veracel [2].

The company is further accused of environmental crimes. The company
has already been convicted of illegal deforestations and inappropriate
use of pesticides. Large tracts of Veracel's eucalyptus monoculture
plantations are operating without an environmental license [2]. A
recent evaluation by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) showed that
the label obtained by Veracel should in fact never have been awarded
because of breaches of the FSC guidelines [3].

Additionally, Veracel is accused of workers' rights violations. During
the past years, the employment tribunal in Eunápolis counted more than
850 lawsuits against Veracel and its subcontractors [2].
“Stora Enso claims that their activities are environmentally friendly
and that their investments in the South alleviate poverty. But when
accepting the dividend from Stora Enso, shareholders should know that
the profits are made at the expense of criminal activities with
massive social and environmental impacts. Stora Enso should take
responsibility for their impacts and stop unsustainable production
models.” says Noora Ojala from Maan ystävät (Friends of the Earth
Finland)

In both Brazil and Uruguay, eucalyptus monoculture plantations for
pulp mills have led to displacement of local communities, soil erosion
and water shortages. In Uruguay, Montes del Plata plantations (jointly
owned by Stora Enso and Chilean company Arauco) has caused local water
wells to dry up, cutting off water access for thousands of
families.[2]

In Brazil, Stora Enso is responsible for exacerbating food insecurity
and causing misery to millions of landless people. They have for
example illegally planted eucalyptus on state-owned land intended for
land reform. Stora Enso now owns hundreds of thousands of hectares of
land in Brazil and Uruguay while the food security of millions of
people are threatened as they remain without land to live on.[2]
In direct action against hunger and poverty, several of Stora Enso's
plantations in Brazil have been occupied by women and children of the
Rural Landless Workers movement (MST) and the peasant movement Via
Campesina. Many of these occupations, which transformed the land to
grow food rather than eucalyptus for export, were evicted brutally by
military police brigades on behalf of Stora Enso.[2]

”Instead of bringing development, Stora Enso causes land conflicts and
threatens food sovereignty. Genuine sustainable development promotes
small-scale farming to feed people and not large-scale plantations to
make profits for companies. We cannot eat eucalyptus!” says Marcelo
Durao Fernandes from MST (Movimento dos Trabalhadores Sem Terra,
Brazil).

***

For more information, please contact:

Noora Ojala, Maan ystävät (Friends of the Earth Finland): +358 50
4082355 (Finland), noora.ojala@gmail.com

Clarissa Abreu, Núcleo Amigos da Terra (Friends of the Earth Brazil):
+55 51 98085755 (Brazil), clarissa@natbrasil.org.br

Kerstin Edquist, Latinamerikagrupperna, 073 029 74 21, kerstin.edquist@latinamerikagrupperna.se

NOTES

[1] Stora Enso's proposal for the distribution of dividend:
http://www.storaenso.com/investors/governance/shareholders-meetings/agm_2011/proposals/Documents/E_Proposal_dividend_2.pdf

[2] More details on the accusations against Stora Enso can be found in
the background briefing ”Stora Enso: negative impacts in Brazil and
Uruguay” at:  http://www.maanystavat.fi/index.php?cat=82&aid=8&lang=fi&mstr=2

[3] The report, conducted on behalf of FSC International by ASI
(http://www.accreditation-services.com/summary_sgs.html) is based on
observations made during the audit of Veracel conducted by SGS
Qualifor. It concludes that the criteria used by SGS Qualifor to
assess Veracel's operations do not conform with FSC standards.

The film ”Sustainable on Paper” by Leo Broers and An-Katrien Lecluyse
illustrates that Veracel is not following the rules regarding
certification of FSC products, showing evidence of  destruction of
biodiversity; pollution and overuse of groundwater; neglect of the
rights of local and indigenous peoples; breaches of criminal, civil
and employment law; and bribery of local government officials. The
film is 40min long and can be bought for 8€ by e-mailing
famke@motherearth.org

Kontakt Latinamerikagrupperna:

Francisco Contreras, ordförande
Francisco.Contreras@latinamerikagrupperna.se
mobil: 070-7953842

Pontus Björkman, pressansvarig
pontus.bjorkman@latinamerikagrupperna.se
mobil: 073-7711850

www.latinamerikagrupperna.se
www.latinamerika.nu

Latinamerikagrupperna är en solidaritetsförening som tillsammans med latinamerikanska folkrörelser arbetar för ett rättvist och hållbart samhälle. Föreningen är partipolitiskt och religiöst obunden.

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