Carondelet community against the oil palm company Palmeras del Pacfico, Ecuador

Description

In 2004 twenty workers of the oil palm company Palmeras del Pacfico initiated a process of self-organization and formed the Comit de Empresa de Trabajadores- Union Committee after being threatened with possible dismissals by the company. Once the company had notice of this action, it fired the workers involved. As a consequence of that, the fired workers and the whole community to which they belonged started a conflict against the oil palm company. Despite the fact that the original demands were for better labor conditions, environmental concerns along with claims of illegalities committed in the process of land acquirement emerged during the development of the conflict.

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Basic Data
NameCarondelet community against the oil palm company Palmeras del Pacfico, Ecuador
CountryEcuador
ProvinceEsmeraldas
SiteSan Lorenzo
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture and Livestock Management)
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Agro-fuels and biomass energy plants
Plantation conflicts (incl. Pulp
Specific CommoditiesPalm oil
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsEach oil palm tree produces in average 80-230 kg of palm fruit per harvest. Each fruit is made up of an oily, fleshy outer layer (the pericarp), with a single seed (the palm kernel), also rich in oil. The oil is extracted from both the pulp of the fruit (palm oil, an edible oil) and the kernel (palm kernel oil, used in foods and for soap manufacture). For every 100 kilograms of fruit bunches, typically 22 kilograms of palm oil and 1.6 kilograms of palm kernel oil can be extracted.

Type of PopulationSemi-urban
Start Date2004
Company Names or State EnterprisesPalmeras del Pacifico from Ecuador - nowadays is named as Energia y Palmas (Ecuador)
Energia y Palmas from Ecuador
Relevant government actorsPolice, Army, Sub-secretary of Work, Employment and Human Resources., National Institute of Agriculture Development -Intituto Nacional de Desarrollo Agricola , Environment Ministry
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersComarca Afroesmeraldea del Norte de Esmeraldas (CANE), Ombudsman, Confederacin Ecuatoriana de Organizaciones Sindicales-CEOLS (Ecuadorian Confederation of Union Organizations), Corporacin Gestin y Derecho Ambiental-Ecolex (Environmental Management and Law Corporation).
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LATENT (no visible organising at the moment)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingTrade unions
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Forms of MobilizationBlockades
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
Health ImpactsPotential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Malnutrition, Deaths
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Increase in violence and crime, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment
Outcome
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCompensation
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.The labour conditions in the oil palm plantations are very hard; workers are exploited and exposed directly to highly toxic substances. Within a context of violence, cheap and excess of labour force, oil palm workers have difficulties to organize themselves and to exercise their rights.
Sources and Materials
Legislations

Work Law.

Ecuadorian constitution (1998)

Executive Decree 2961 which converts 40.000 hectares of state-owned forests into areas of the agriculture use.

References

Caas Benavides, Vernica. 2009. Conflicto socio ambiental y laboral entre la comunidad Carondelet y la palmicultora Palmeras del Pacfico. Tesis de maestria. Programa de Antropologa. FLACSO Ecuador.

Carrere, R., Sokoudjuo, H., Buitron, R., (2001). El amargo fruto de la palma aceitera:

despojo y deforestacin, Movimiento Mundial por los Bosques tropicales, Novib

y Sociedad Sueca para la Conservacin de la Naturaleza, Moreton-in-Marsh,

Reino Unido.

Meta Information
ContributorSara Latorre
Last update08/04/2014
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