Shadow report criticizes Glencore's record in Latin America, as well as national governments

4 June 2017

Since 2012, a group of NGOs has been developing research on the activities of Glencore. Glencore is a multinational corporation based in Switzerland and the UK, and is the owner of the Tintaya-Antapaccay operation in Espinar, Cuzco, as well as share holdings in other mines.

The group describes itself as the Shadow Network of Glencore Observers. The Peruvian participants involved are Derechos Humanos Sin Fronteras (DHSF) and Cooperacción, both with a long history of involvement with communities affected by Tintaya’s operations. The group has now produced an 84-page report covering four countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia and Peru.

The report is severely critical of the lack of transparency within Glencore. Perhaps more controversially, it claims to document “Glencore’s common behavioural patterns, which violate national and international regulatory frameworks, and cause irreversible damage to our communities and territories.” At the same time, the report registers “great concern about Glencore’s active role violating fundamental rights and threatening the means and sources of livelihood for small-scale farmer and indigenous communities in the regions where it operates.” This dynamic, it claims “has worsened as these impacts and damages have increased and accumulate irreversibly on an ecological, demographic, and economic level.”(p14)

The chapter on Peru uses well-known secondary sources, mostly studies undertaken by different parts of the Peruvian state. The narrative is accurate and clear and the synthesis is helpful. But it makes for depressing reading.

An interesting section relates to the documentation on the Obras por Impuestos (Works for Taxes) programme. This has enabled the company to implement a series of development projects for which costs are later deducted from tax obligations. The report highlights the lack of any accountability or consultation around such projects, including reference to a useful study by the Peruvian NGO Propuesta Ciudadana (pp62-64).

Throughout the four-country report, the shadow team is as critical of the national state for regulatory failures, as it is of Glencore for lack of transparency and adequate control of its environmental impacts. It makes nine recommendations for Latin American states and five for the company.

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