The environment - Worth dying for?


Honduras is the deadliest country in the world for environmental and land activists. The murder of Berta Cáceres just ads to the list of already 124 killed campaigners opposing mines, dams, logging and tourist resorts since 2010.

Cáceres was leading the campaign against the Agua Zarca dam project on the Gualcarque river, which is a sacred river for the Lenca people.

The company behind the project is Desarrollos Energeticos SA (Desa) with two major shareholders: Potencia y Energia de Mesoamerica (Pemsa) and Inversiones Laz Jacaranda. The former is registered in Panama with Robert Castillo, a former military intelligence officer, as president (also president for Desa) and the later, is owned by the the Atala Zablah family. Desa secured loans from Dutch bank FMO, Finnish finance company FinnFund and the Central American Bank of Economic Integration (Cabei).

She pledged to the financers not to give funding but they didn’t suspend their loans until police arrested a Desa employee about her murder in May 2016. The three investors have now decided to withdraw from the Agua Zarca project.

Unfortunately, this is not a rare case. There are several investments launched regularly in South America that violates human rights and the environment. Those investments could be funded by regular citizens in countries like Sweden.

If you are holding funds or stocks I would recommend you go through their sustainability profile. In Sweden, there’s a tool call “hållbarhetsprofilen” where you can find funds not investing in the most unsustainable business. However, the sustainability profile among the funds are filled in by the funds themselves are there is no third part controlling its content. I have also e-mailed the organisation Swesif behind the tool regarding the aspects of mining and hydroelectric dam building. These several industries not listed among the unsustainable ones that the funds are guaranteeing not to invest in. 

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