‘Still buying blood coal? That’s not how we do business!’ With this message PAX held a small protest on the doorstep of energy utility Essent’s headquarters in Den Bosch, The Netherlands, last December. The occasion was a conference on the results of the efforts that have been made to improve the coal supply chain. Sadly, there was hardly any progress to report on.
Several representatives from government institutions, energy utilities, mining companies and NGOs discussed the efforts towards more corporate social responsibility in the coal supply chain, and most importantly: the (lack of) results. According to PAX very little concrete improvements have been realized for the victims of violence in the mining region of Cesar. The victims are still waiting for some form of remedy. The mining companies on their part so far have not cooperated constructively.
As part of the broader discussion on improving the coal supply chain, the energy companies have now shifted the debate towards the issue of disengagement in case of insufficient improvement. According to PAX, improvements have definitely been insufficient so far, and the peace organization has asked the energy companies to publicly outline a clear disengagement strategy pending significant improvements for the people in Cesar (see here for the handout that was distributed during the conference).
The action outside the conference venue reminded the participants that as long as there is no remedy for the victims, the issue of blood coal nor the protests by civil society will go away.