Reactive for immediate release
Yaoundé, 03 July 2020 – Greenpeace Africa calls for the immediate cancellation of Deutsche Bank’s $25 million loan to Singapore-based rubber producer Halcyon Agri to support investments in its Cameroon and Malaysia plantations. One of Halcyon’s Cameroon units, Sud Cameroun Hévéa (Sudcam), has displaced Indigenous People and destroyed 10,000 ha of pristine rainforest on the border of the Dja Faunal Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The company violates basic transparency standards and refuses to disclose the identity of Sudcam’s minority shareholder, widely believed to be the son of President Paul Biya, in power for 37 years.
“The heinous record of Halcyon Agri on human rights and environment, in violation of its own sustainability policy, puts it well below any standard to qualify for financing. Deutsche Bank must cancel its loan to Halcyon Agri. The bank would do better to invest its millions directly in the communities whose livelihood the firm destroyed and the rainforest it trashed,” said Irène Wabiwa Betoko, Greenpeace’s Congo Basin Forest campaign manager.
In 2018, Norway’s national pension fund divested from Halcyon Agri due to “an unacceptable risk that the company is responsible for severe environmental damage as a result of its conversion of tropical forest into rubber plantations in Cameroon.” The fund’s Council on Ethics found it “astonishing” that Sudcam’s environmental impact assessment failed to mention that two species in the area to be deforested are critically endangered and “at very high risk of […] becoming extinct.”
Last year, after its Hevecam rubber mill spewed effluent with Total Suspended Solids levels 250% over the legal limit, Halcyon Agri explained to shareholders repairs were put off “in response to the challenging market conditions.” A June 2019 UNESCO mission report listed three of the four herbicides and fungicides used by Sudcam as known or probable carcinogens.
The Deutsche Bank loan, part of which will be used “to provide additional food security and boost the income of 13,000 local smallholder farmers,” comes only a week after Halcyon Agri prepared workers at the Hevecam plantation for massive lay-offs of reportedly 1,500 employees, out of a total 6,000. The company told Greenpeace the number of workers to be “relieved” hadn’t been determined yet.
Contact for interviews, footage and more information:
– Irène Wabiwa Betoko, Greenpeace’s Congo Basin Forest campaign manager
– Eddy Mbuyi, Regional Communications and Story manager for Congo Basin, [email protected], +243-82189666
– Tal Harris, International Communications coordinator, [email protected], +221-774643195