The case of Poligrow

This report contains the results of an extensive investigation into the Spanish-Italian palm oil company Poligrow that operates in the Colombian Altillanura. SOMO and Indepaz investigated Poligrow using the OECD Guidelines as a benchmark. The research concludes that in a country where land disputes were a key driver of the civil war, and where territorial issues are highly contested, land-intensive sectors like palm oil risk creating renewed conflict and caution is warranted. Although Poligrow claims to have contributed to local development, the research paper sheds light on the many negative impacts of their operations. SOMO and Indepaz found many high-risk situations during the field work in the Meta region. These relate mainly to failures in community participation; lack of transparency of its complex corporate structure and tax payments; irregular situations in land acquisition, labour relations and environmental sustainability. The case of Poligrow shows how booming large-scale economic initiatives, such as extensive oil palm plantations, can lead to an increase in land dispossessions and at the same time consolidate an inequitable, discriminatory and undemocratic economic model. These investments rather increase the instability than enhance stability, as they collide head-on with the root causes of the conflict: the unequal distribution of land.

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