in Norway, Sweden, Uganda

The Oakland Institute: Swedish Energy Agency “must cancel its relationship with Green Resources once and for all”

Four years ago, the Oakland Institute published a report that exposed the impacts of Green Resources’ industrial tree plantations on local communities in Uganda. The impacts include forced eviction, limited access to land and food, and lost livelihoods.

Since the Oakland Institute’s report, journalists from Sweden’s TV4 Kalla Fakta, the Finnish Broadcasting Company, Yle, and Thomson Reuters Foundation have visited the area and reported on the problems the plantations have caused for local communities.

Green Resources is a Norwegian company that establishes industrial tree plantations in Africa. In addition to the timber products from the plantations, the company also sells carbon credits from its plantations. The only buyer of carbon credits from Green Resources’ operations in Uganda is the Swedish Energy Agency.

Shortly after TV4 Kalla Fakta’s documentary was broadcast the Swedish Energy Agency announced that it had frozen carbon credit purchases from Green Resources.

Now, in a letter to the Oakland Institute, dated 26 September 2018, Robert Andrén, the Director General of the Swedish Energy Agency, states that “the SEA did not suspend the Emissions Reductions Purchase Agreement or defer payments for Certified Emission Reductions”.

On 25 October 2018, the Oakland Institute sent the following letter to Andrén, asking for a clarification of the current situation:

Mr. Robert Andrén
Director General, Swedish Energy Agency

Dear Mr. Andrén,

We are in receipt of your letter to the Oakland Institute dated September 26, 2018 regarding the Swedish Energy Agency (SEA) and its relationship with Green Resources. We are writing to publicly respond to several troubling comments that it contained.

First, we are shocked to read that “the SEA did not suspend the Emissions Reductions Purchase Agreement or defer payments for Certified Emission Reductions” to Green Resources. Your response runs directly counter to a statement made by the SEA on November 3, 2015 that clearly outlined its intention to freeze payments of the remaining SEK 35 million (US$4 million) until Green Resources successfully implemented a number of significant changes. This response helped the SEA manage the public outrage and resulting global campaign against its purchase of carbon credits from Green Resources, given its adverse impact on the local communities.

We ask you to publicly clarify if payments to Green Resources were indeed frozen in 2015 or was the public lied to? Were the payments re-instated? If yes, when did this happen, under what conditions, and how were these decisions made?

You also mention that the SEA has commissioned yet another audit of the Kachung project, meant to take place in October/November of this year and that will consider plans for the implementation of activities for Kachung in 2018 and 2019. Why would the SEA conduct another audit when it already received an audit from EOH Coastal and Environmental Services in March 2017? In addition, the Oakland Institute conducted independent research between November 2016 and August 2017 and shared with you their assessment of the situation in Kachung in December 2017. The report clearly outlines the continued failure of Green Resources to address many of the issues faced by local communities in relation to its project, including a dire food security crisis and loss of livelihoods.

It is very obvious that what the people of Kachung need is not another audit. What they need is true action from the SEA to stop facilitating this land grab by Green Resources.

It has been four years since the devastation that Green Resources is having on communities surrounding the Kachung plantation was first exposed, including forced eviction, restricted access to land and food, and loss of livelihoods. The Oakland Institute’s findings were supported by an investigation undertaken by Sweden’s TV4 program Kalla Fakta. As the 2017 follow-up report shows, Green Resources has not addressed the dire situation faced by local communities. Simply put, Green Resources’ industrial monoculture plantation forestry project is incompatible with needs of local people who rely upon the same land for their livelihoods and must end now.

With the abundant evidence of Green Resources’ ongoing failures, your agency must cancel its relationship with Green Resources once and for all.

Sincerely,

Anuradha Mittal, The Oakland Institute, USA
Mikael Sundström, Friends of the Earth Sweden
Samuel Jarrick, Climate Action Sweden
Amanda Tas, Protect the Forest Sweden
Gaute Eiterjord, Natur og Ungdom Norway (Nature and Youth Norway)
Vanessa Cabanelas, Justiça Ambiental, Mozambique
Bryan Ashe, Timberwatch, South Africa

 


PHOTO Credit: Karin Edstedt on afrikagrupperna.se.
 

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