If you are looking for EIA UK, it's overhere.

United Cacao Breaks AIM Rules

Indigenous, environmental, and rights groups call for removal from London Stock Exchange

Para leer este comunicado en español, haga clic aquí.

LONDON – Today over 60 indigenous organizations and NGOs from Peru, Europe, and the United States called for United Cacao Limited SEZC (ticker symbol: CHOC) to be removed from trading on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) of the London Stock Exchange. As the basis for their demand, the groups cited the company’s breaches of AIM rules and illegal clear-cutting of Peruvian rainforests, claimed and depended upon by Indigenous peoples for survival. In a sign-on letter to the Exchange and UK market regulators, groups made clear connections between financing raised on AIM, the London Stock Exchange’s junior market, and at least 11,100 hectares of illegal deforestation in the Peruvian Amazon by United Cacao’s direct subsidiary, Cacao del Peru Norte, and two related companies, Plantaciones de Pucallpa and Plantaciones de Ucayali.

Each of these three Peruvian companies has derived significant financing from the AIM-listed company, United Cacao, which in addition to trading in London, is based offshore in the Cayman Islands, a British Overseas Territory. United Cacao began raising funds in London on AIM in December 2014, despite ongoing Peruvian government actions to sanction its subsidiary, related companies, and their employees for breaking Peruvian laws governing forests and agriculture. United Cacao’s CEO, Dennis Melka, controls a network of at least 25 corporate entities based in Peru.

“The illegalities, abuses, and forest destruction perpetrated by Dennis Melka’s companies in the Peruvian Amazon have been public for years now," said Julia Urrunaga, EIA´s Program Director in Peru, and Peruvian citizen. "In spite of the Peruvian government having ordered the companies to stop operations and comply with the law, they continue to systematically violate Peruvian laws and ignore the Peruvian authorities. A model of illegal forest destruction, violation of indigenous rights, and disrespect for the national authorities is not the kind of investment that Peru needs or wants.”

Alongside the letter, the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) also published a detailed evidence briefing, including dozens of primary source documents from Peruvian government entities which contradict claims made by United Cacao on AIM and surface serious omissions of relevant information. This is the second blow for United Cacao in a week, after the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil ordered related company, Plantaciones de Pucallpa, to immediately stop operations through a preliminary resolution released on April 25, citing evidence that the company had violated indigenous rights and was in non-compliance with multiple Peruvian environmental standards.

“If AIM and UK financial regulators do not investigate and sanction United Cacao, they will be sending a signal that UK markets are a profitable place to bet against law enforcement, environmental sustainability, and human rights in countries like Peru,” said Rose Davis of EIA. “After the egregious non-compliances presented today, the only logical conclusion for AIM is to remove United Cacao from trading on the exchange, and to publicize these consequences to dissuade market actors from further abuses.”

The letter also calls upon UK regulators, like the Financial Conduct Authority, to investigate whether United Cacao’s breaches of AIM rules have violated other UK laws or regulations intended to prevent market abuse and misleading statements by corporations. Putting the focus squarely on London’s role in global finance, the letter represents a clear outcry by civil society against the abuses related to land acquisitions and plantation development of cacao, oil palm, and other agro-commodities at the expense of forests and community lands.

“In the Peruvian Amazon, 20 million hectares of land customarily occupied and owned by Indigenous Peoples still lack formal titling,” said Sedequías Ancón Chávez, member of the council of directors of the Interethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian Amazon (AIDESEP), the largest organization of indigenous Amazonian communities in Peru. “Actions like this, with the participation of local, national, and international civil society, and supported by indigenous organizations like ours, are key to revealing the links between investments in large scale agro-industrial projects that foment illegal deforestation and their social and environmental impacts in countries like Peru, affecting and threatening our rights, territories, forests, and livelihoods.”

###

Contact:
Maggie Dewane, +1 202 486 6621, mdewane@eia-global.org (Washington, DC)
Julia Urrunaga, +51 980731328, julia@eia-global.org (Lima)
Rose Davis, +1 404 488 6566, rosedavis@eia-global.org (London)

To read the briefing, click here.

To read the sign on letter, click here.

Para leer la carta firmada en español, haga clic aquí.

To access the Annexes containing primary evidence, click here.

View all Press Releases

Recent Blog Posts

Singapore Court Returns Nearly 30,000 Illegal Madagascar Rosewood Logs to Trafficker
04/24/2019
Singapore Court Returns Nearly 30,000 Illegal Madagascar Rosewood Logs to Trafficker
South Korea Says "아니요" (No) to Illegal Timber
11/08/2018
South Korea has joined the ranks of countries prohibiting the import of illegal timber.

Recent Reports

Toxic Trade: Forest Crime in Gabon and the Republic of Congo and Contamination of the US Market
03/25/2019
For four years, EIA has investigated the logging sector in the Congo and Gabon, countries that together account for approximately 60 percent of the total area under forest management in the Congo Basin. EIA’s findings reveal that one of the largest and most influential Chinese timber companies in Africa, the “Dejia Group,” has built its business model on bribery and crime.
Commerce Toxique
03/24/2019
Pendant quatre ans, l’Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) a enquêté sur le secteur de l’exploitation forestière au Gabon et en République du Congo, deux pays qui représentent environ 60% de la super cie totale allouée à l’exploitation forestière dans le bassin du Congo.

Recent Press Releases

Toxic Trade: Forest Crime in Gabon and the Republic of Congo and Contamination of the US Market
03/25/2019
For four years, EIA has investigated the logging sector in the Congo and Gabon, countries that together account for approximately 60 percent of the total area under forest management in the Congo Basin. EIA’s findings reveal that one of the largest and most influential Chinese timber companies in Africa, the “Dejia Group,” has built its business model on bribery and crime.
New LEED Credit Rewards Timber Transparency and Traceability
03/19/2019
New LEED credit rewards timber transparency and traceability

Recent Videos

În Spatele Scenelor: Cum se ascund distrugerile pădurilor antice din Europa
07/26/2018
În Spatele Scenelor: Cum se ascund distrugerile pădurilor antice din Europa
Behind The Scenes: How Log Yards Hide the Destruction of Europe’s Ancient Forests
07/13/2018
Behind the Scenes takes detailed look at how the Austrian timber giant Holzindustrie Schweighofer, one of the largest wood processors in Romania, continues to fuel the destruction of Europe’s last old growth forests, in spite of five years of pledges not to source timber from national parks or protected areas.
Follow us @eiaenvironment on twitter for the latest updates!