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Smurfit-Kappa, Colombia


During the more than fifty years that they have been on Colombian territory, the company has destroyed a considerable part of the tropical rainforest area in Lower Calima in the Department of Valle del Cauca (the biogeographical Choco region) and the Andes. In 2009 a member of CENSAT, Friends of the Earth, Colombia, Diego Alejandro Cardona, described the problem in an interview with Radio Mundo Real: "In terms of forestry, the trees planted (pine, eucalyptus) occupy 250 thousand hectares and are located in strategic regions due to their water resources... This is causing the appropriation of territories in the sources of several community aqueducts of the country, affecting water sovereignty and restricting access to water for native, rural and also urban communities from several regions of the country. Other monocultures to produce biofuels, such as palm oil, have caused serious conflicts in Afro-Colombian populations, violating human and environmental rights and destroying ecosystems." Cardona also pointed out that since 1970s, when tree monoculture plantations began to appear, indigenous, black and peasant people started to carry out a strong resistance. "People started to sell or rent their lands and when that happens there is only trees, and not children going to school, public transport, or social dynamics like markets", said the Colombian activist. One of the main forestry multinational companies in Colombia is Dutch-Irish Smurfit Kappa Group, through its subsidiary "Carton de Colombia". 

Basic Data

NameSmurfit-Kappa, Colombia
ProvinceDepartment of Valle del Cauca
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level

Source of Conflict

Type of Conflict (1st level)Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Plantation conflicts (incl. Pulp
Specific CommoditiesEthanol
Carbon offsets


Project Details and Actors

Project DetailsThousand ha of land planted with Eucalyptus and Pines to produce paper and carboard for export.

The company describes itself as this: "Smurfit Kappa Colombia es una Compañía dedicada al negocio de pulpa, papel y cartón. Genera más de 4.000 empleos... Hace parte del Grupo Smurfit Kappa, uno de los principales productores de empaques a base de papel en el mundo, con alrededor de 42.000 empleados en aproximadamente 350 centros de producción en 32 países.

En Colombia tiene operaciones en Yumbo, Medellín, Bogotá y Barranquilla. De igual manera Smurfit Kappa Colombia tiene desde 1969 una Operación Forestal cuyas plantaciones forestales comerciales están ubicadas en la zona andina entre el eje cafetero, el Valle del Cauca y el sur del Cauca y cuenta con la certificación FSC® por manejo forestal responsable desde el año 2003."
Project Area (in hectares)69111
Type of PopulationRural
Company Names or State EnterprisesSmurfit Kappa Group from Ireland
Relevant government actorsMinistry of Environment, Colombia, National planning Department
International and Financial InstitutionsThe World Bank (WB) from United States of America
Inter-American Development Bank (IADB)
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersCensat - Friends of the Earth Colombia, Grupos Ecologicos de Risaralda, Fundacion Ecologica Cosmos

The Conflict and the Mobilization

Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LOW (some local organising)
When did the mobilization beginUNKNOWN
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Forms of MobilizationCreation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Public campaigns


Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Potential: Groundwater pollution or depletion, Desertification/Drought
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment
Potential: Loss of livelihood, Loss of landscape/sense of place


Project StatusIn operation
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.Smurfit continues to operate.

Sources and Materials


Law 1377, which regulates commercial reforestation activity

National Development plan (further expansion of plantations)


Memorias del Foro Realizado en el Dia Internacional contra los Monocultivos de arboles

El Imperio del Carton. Author: Joe Broderick

Video: Planta Acciones, No Plantaciones!


WRM web section focused on Colombia :

Media Links

2006, Carta de WRM para exigir la descertificación de Carton de Colombia

Other Documents

Logo Smurfit Kappa

Meta Information

ContributorTeresa Perez
Last update08/06/2016



Logo Smurfit Kappa