Paris / Bogota / Sao Paulo – December 2, 2022 – The eleven organizations that filed a lawsuit against Casino have refused the mediation suggested by the judge during last June’s hearing. According to the organisations, this case does not lend itself to a negotiated solution with the company without a proper public debate on its responsibility.
On March 3, 2021, a coalition of Brazilian and Colombian indigenous peoples’ organisations (COIAB, FEFIPA, FEPOIMT and OPIAC) and international NGOs (Canopée, CPT, Envol Vert, FNE, Mighty Earth, Notre Affaire à Tous, and Sherpa) sued Casino for breaching its duty of vigilance . They accuse the supermarket chain of not having taken the necessary measures to exclude beef linked to deforestation and to the appropriation of indigenous territories from its supply chain in Brazil and Colombia .
Last June, the judge proposed that the parties enter mediation – an alternative dispute-resolution process in which a third party (the mediator) facilitates the negotiation for an amicable solution between the parties involved.
Following the first mandatory meeting with the appointed mediators, the organizations decided to refuse to engage in any mediation.
This lawsuit, indeed, raises fundamental questions about the responsibility of a company in the destruction of ecosystems and the violation of the rights of indigenous peoples in the Amazon. Because these issues are of public interest, this case must be subjected to a public debate and give rise to a judicial decision, in accordance with the law. It cannot be resolved through negotiations happening behind closed doors, in opaque confidentiality.
The duty of vigilance law makes it finally possible to bring cases of human rights and environmental abuses caused by the activities of multinational companies to justice: up until recently unbalanced negotiations or flawed non-judicial mechanisms such as the OECD’s National Contact Point were offered as sole resorts for the victims.
While the indigenous peoples of the Brazilian and Colombian Amazon are facing unprecedented attacks and deforestation, Casino, so far, has been content with claiming that its vigilance plan was perfectly in line with the law and that the organizations’ demands were irrelevant. Given the situation’s critical emergency, it is crucial to avoid unnecessary delays in reaching a judicial decision, which is the only way to force the Casino group to take real measures to stop more damage.
Dinamam Tuxa, the coordinator of the APIB states: “We are getting involved in the Casino case because we accuse the company of selling beef that is linked to deforestation and socio-environmental conflicts. These large groups that buy raw materials from Brazil must respect the principles of traceability because many of these products come from areas of socio-environmental conflicts, where deforestation is a major problem and where the rights of indigenous peoples are being violated.” APIB is an organisation representing indigenous peoples in Brazil, gathering several associations part of the coalition.
 The law of March 27, 2017, establishes the duty of vigilance of parent companies and ordering companies. Therefore, large French corporations must implement effective vigilance measures to prevent human rights violations, health and safety hazards, and environmental abuses resulting from the activities of their subsidiaries, subcontractors, and suppliers.
 A report by the Center for Climate Crime Analysis (CCCA), produced as evidence in the proceedings, shows that one of the suppliers of Casino’s Brazilian subsidiary sourced beef from the protected territory belonging to the Uru Eu Wau Wau people in the State of Rondônia in Brazil – these lands were invaded and destroyed to allow livestock farming.
Press release from:
Sherpa, Canopée, Coordinator of the Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon, Pastoral Land Commission, Envol vert, Federation of Indigenous Peoples of Pará, Federation of Indigenous Peoples and Organizations of Mato Grosso, France Nature Environnement, Mighty Earth, Notre Affaire à Tous, National Organization of Indigenous Peoples of the Colombian Amazon.
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