“Loss and damage” – these terms refer to the devastating consequences of climate change and are among
the focal points of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP27), which begins next Sunday in Sharm el-Sheik,
Egypt. In this context, the legal action taken by four inhabitants of the Indonesian island Pari against the
cement corporation Holcim have thus acquired even more relevance and urgency. As a so-called “carbon
major,” Holcim is one the largest CO2 emitters worldwide and thus bares a significant share of the
responsibility for climate change and its resulting ecological and economic losses and damages.
First round of negotiations inconclusive
The inhabitants of Pari are among those who suffer from the unchecked CO2 emissions of corporations such
as Holcim. Their livelihoods are in acute danger due to rising sea levels and the increasingly frequent flooding
of the island. In bringing their case before the conciliation authority in Zug, where Holcim’s Swiss
headquarters are located, at the beginning of July, they demanded not only a rapid and significant reduction in
the company’s global CO2 emissions, but also compensation for damages already incurred, as well as
financial assistance for urgently needed flood protection measures for their island.
At the conciliation hearing at the beginning of October, however, Holcim did not signal any willingness to
acknowledge its share of responsibility for climate change or the justified demands of the four islanders. The
negotiations thus concluded without results. The four islanders are now looking into further legal options such
as a civil lawsuit against Holcim. Together with the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights
(ECCHR) and the Indonesian environmental organization WAHLI, HEKS will advise and support those affected
during this next step.
Providing funding for compensation
Looking ahead toward the climate summit in Egypt, the three organizations expect the nations assembled
there not only to recognize the urgent necessity of a massive and rapid reduction of worldwide CO2 emissions,
as well as to take appropriate action without delay. These countries must also ensure that adequate and
consistent financial resources are made available to developing countries for compensation for climate
damage and for adaptation measures. The Swiss corporation Holcim, and the other "carbon majors" along
with it, can no longer shirk their climate-justice responsibilities to the world.
Further information on the topic “Loss and damage”.
Swiss Church Aid HEKS/EPER, the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) and
the Indonesian environmental organization WALHI are supporting the legal proceedings initiated by the
people on the island of Pari with the campaign "Call for Climate Justice" .