Norges Bank (NBIM), the Norwegian sovereign investment fund, the world’s largest, has sold its US$12.3 million investment in Alicorp. Alicorp is Peru’s largest food products wholesaler and a key part of the Romero group which also includes the Banco de Crédito. The NBIM did this because it considered that Alicorp was sourcing palm oil from a company in the Peruvian Amazon associated with deforestation, land trafficking and human rights violations.
NBIM’s action, first announced on 31 December, was in response to a request last June from the Santa Clara de Uchunya indigenous community, the Ucayali indigenous federation (FECONAU), the Norwegian Rainforest Foundation (RFN), the Forest Peoples Programme (FPP) and the Peruvian NGO, Instituto de Defensa Legal (IDL) that the Fund use its influence to persuade Alicorp to retire the Peruvian palm oil company Ocho Sur P. from its supply chain.
Ocho Sur P. is responsible for deforesting 7,000 hectares of forest claimed by the community as their traditional territory. It has also been accused of involvement in land trafficking and human rights violations.
NBIM determined that Alicorp’s operations did not comply with the fund’s minimum standards. This position stands in contrast with the decision of the industry’s Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) last May to refuse to investigate the complaints because the area was too remote. Alicorp had admitted purchasing palm oil from the company and that the RSPO Complaints Commission had condemned Ocho Sur P. for its practices in April 2017.
For its part, Alicorp, in a letter date 6 March, claims that the retirement of NBIM had been foreseen since last year and was due to stock market conditions. Furthermore, the company says that it sources its palm oil from nine extraction plants and claims that it is dedicated to sourcing palm oil from “sustainable” agricultural sources.
The Santa Clara de Uchunya community is now awaiting the decision of the Constitutional Tribunal concerning a solicitude presented in May 2016 for the restitution, titling and remediation of its lands.