Power firm watches Colombian coal suppliers

20 May 2011

22 May 2011 | Lindsay Clark

Energy firm RWE is monitoring ethical practice at key Colombian coal suppliers closely.

According to the firm's corporate socialresponsibility report for 2010, RWE had been made aware of allegations in respect to human rights in the South American nation’s mining industry, but found no basis for the claims.

“Our imports from Colombia, which accounted for 22 per cent of our hard coal purchases in 2010, have repeatedly been a target of criticism, although neither our own assessments nor further investigations have been able to substantiate the allegations made. We will continue to monitor the situation carefully, while upholding our dialogue with suppliers,” the CSR report said.

Respect for human rights and compliance with environmental standards in the coal mining industry worldwide were currently a topic of intense debate among non-governmental organisations and governments, the firm said.

Meanwhile, RWE added it was developing a group-wide approach to procurement of biomass for power generation. “Most of the biomass we use in Germany is waste wood or storm-felled timber, which fuels small, de-centralised power stations. The relevant specifications ensure that only sustainably produced biomass is used to generate electricity,” said the report.

“A team of corporate responsibility experts conducts checks to ensure that the biomass to be used comes from sustainable sources and makes procurement recommendations. We believe there is a need for group-wide principles governing the procurement of biomass. In 2010 a working group headed by RWE AG [the German part of the company] therefore began drafting a group directive,” the report said.

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