Society for Threatened Peoples Switzerland & BKW Group
Lead NCPSwitzerland
Supporting NCP(s)Norway
DescriptionSpecific instance alleging a non-observance of the OECD MNE Guidelines.
Theme(s)General policies, Human rights
Date16 Jan 2020
Host country(ies)Norway
Industry sectorElectricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply

Read the initial assessment published 12 May 2020: English
Read the final statement published 26 August 2021: English

On 16 January 2020, the Swiss NCP received a specific instance from the Society for Threatened Peoples Switzerland, an NGO, alleging that BKW Group, an energy and infrastructure company, did not observe the General Policies (Chapter II) and Human Rights (Chapter IV) provisions of the Guidelines. Specifically, the submitters alleged a violation of the human rights of the Sami indigenous people as a result of its minority stake in the construction of the “Fosen Vind DA” wind power plant in Norway. The submission relates to BKW Group's due diligence process to prevent or mitigate possible impacts and consultations with the indigenous community.

On 12 May 2020, the NCP published its initial assessment in which it concluded that the issues raised in the submission merited further consideration. The NCP accepted the specific instance and offered its good offices to the parties.

On 26 August 2021, the Swiss NCP published a final statement concluding the case with a full agreement after both parties participated in mediation. Notably, BKW agreed to revise its Code of Conduct and integrate the respect of human rights as well as the the Principle of Free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) concerning vulnerable groups. BKW further agreed to make its grievance mechanism accessible to all groups affected by its projects and provide for or cooperate in the appropriate remediation of adverse impacts. BKW will demand a similar commitment from its business partners and will reflect its human rights standards in contracts with business partners, including the option to withdraw in the case of continued non-compliance.

The NCP further recommended that both parties continue their dialogue and collaboration, and BKW continue its efforts to work on the implementation of the agreement.
A follow-up will be conducted in six months, including written progress reports from each party and a follow-up meeting to discuss results.