Norwegian consultant admonished over Sarawak dams
(OSLO / NORWAY) The Norwegian consultancy company, Norconsult, has promised to become more transparent on its involvement in dam planning in Sarawak, a Malaysian state on the island of Borneo. The company also admits not to have carried out any human rights due diligence before entering into a business relationship with the Malaysian power supplier and dam builder, Sarawak Energy.
The confession is the result of a mediation between Norconsult and the Norwegian NGO FIVAS by the Norwegian National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.
The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises demand companies to carry out due diligence prior to any business relationship. The National Contact Point of the OECD in Norway confirmed that this also applies to consultancy companies such as Norconsult. Due diligence with regard to human rights was not part of Norconsultâs ethical guidelines, which will have to be amended. Norconsult promised to catch up on this omission and to involve affected communities.
A joint statement between Norconsult and FIVAS, which was signed on Tuesday, obliges Norconsult not only to due diligence but also to publish information on their involvement in projects.
In May last year, Norconsult CEO, John Nyheim, refused to receive a delegation of dam-affected communities from Sarawak visiting their headquarters in Oslo. Subsequently, FIVAS lodged a complaint against Norconsult with the OECDâs National Contact Point in Norway.
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