Vigeo Eiris goes back on false claim

The company which certified a Moroccan energy project in occupied Western Sahara has rectified a report it submitted to UN Global Compact in which it erroneously claimed that the UN body had approved of its operation.
Published: 21.02 - 2018 21:59Printer version    
The French-UK company Vigeo Eiris in 2016 certified a Saudi energy project in occupied Western Sahara, without first obtaining the consent of the people of Western Sahara. The territory is treated by the UN as being under decolonisation, and partially under foreign Moroccan occupation. Morocco increasingly cements the occupation through energy production.

As an adherent to the UN Global Compact (UNGC), Vigeo Eiris is obliged to annually report on its compliance with ten Global Compact principles. 31 January, WSRW wrote that Vigeo Eiris in its latest so-called 'Communication of Progress' report to UNGC had claimed that the UNGC had found the company to be operating in line with the UN Global Compact principles.

"Vigeo Eiris were not found to have breached any of the 10 Principles of the United Nations Global Compact”, the company wrote on its report, published 15 January 2018.

However, UN Global Compact never made such an assessment. WSRW therefore on 31 January 2018 asked UNGC to request Vigeo Eiris to rectify the incorrect reference to the name of UNGC in the report – a report which was posted on the website of UN Global Compact itself.

That change has now been made. The new file is dated 19 February 2018 and was posted here on 19 or 20 February.  

The company refuses to answer questions concerning its operations and interpretation of international law. The map on the front page of ignores the UN and EU position on Western Sahara, and includes the territory as part of Morocco. Instead of referring to "Western Sahara" in its Communication of Progress report - posted on the UN website, it refers to "Western side of Sahara", which is not in line with UN terminology. The company uses different ways to argue why it should operate in the territory. Read that here.

On 27 February, the Court of Justice of the EU will rule on the EU fisheries practices offshore the territory. The Advocate General of the Court already underlined in an opinion on 10 January 2018 that self-determination is a human right, and that entering into agreements with Morocco for the territory of Western Sahara constitute a violation of that right. He underlined, referring to UN resolutions, that the territory is under foreign occupation, and that international humanitarian law applies.

Ironically, Eiris Foundation has a project on businesses in occupied Palestine and Crimea while the company facilitates business operations for the occupier in Western Sahara.

Besides the reference to UNGC having been rectified, there is also another correction in the new version of the report. Vigeo Eiris claims in its original report to have “responded publicly to WSRW”. WSRW in an article on 31 January wrote that "only one letter was sent from Vigeo Eiris to WSRW, dated 19 December 2016. Other letters, sent to Business & Human Rights Center (and not to WSRW) are not addressed to WSRW, and they fail to address the questions WSRW had sent the company. Letters sent from WSRW to Vigeo Eiris on 14 February 2017 and 3 March 2017 were never responded to, and the questions have not been answered."

Probably as a correction to that, Vigeo Eiris has corrected the reference to its letters to WSRW. It now reads: "Vigeo Eiris responded three times to these letters in public correspondence".

Read here all the questions that WSRW did not get an answer to from the company.

Published 18 January 2018

Published 19 February 2018


21.03 - 2018 / 21.03 - 2018EU Commission dead set on fishing in Western Sahara
20.03 - 2018 / 20.03 - 2018Does OPEC consider Western Sahara to be part of Morocco?
20.03 - 2018 / 27.08 - 2010Support Western Sahara Resource Watch
06.03 - 2018 / 06.03 - 2018Kosmos Energy maintains propaganda site after Western Sahara exit
02.03 - 2018 / 01.03 - 2018What is HeidelbergCement doing in occupied Western Sahara?
01.03 - 2018 / 01.03 - 2018Confirmed: Innophos key client of Western Sahara phosphate rock
28.02 - 2018 / 28.02 - 2018South Africa stands up against the plunder of Western Sahara
28.02 - 2018 / 28.02 - 2018Bermuda shipping company drops Western Sahara
27.02 - 2018 / 27.02 - 2018EU and Morocco announce continued fisheries partnership
27.02 - 2018 / 23.02 - 2018EU Parliament slams Commission on Western Sahara talks
27.02 - 2018 / 27.02 - 2018Polisario: open to negotiate Western Sahara deals with the EU
27.02 - 2018 / 27.02 - 2018Saharawi refugees celebrate EU Court victory
27.02 - 2018 / 27.02 - 2018BREAKING: EU Court stops EU-Morocco fish deal in Western Sahara
23.02 - 2018 / 23.02 - 2018SA Court confirms: Morocco has no ownership over Saharawi phoshates
23.02 - 2018 / 21.02 - 2018EU Member States disagree over toxic fertilizers
21.02 - 2018 / 21.02 - 2018Vigeo Eiris goes back on false claim
20.02 - 2018 / 20.02 - 2018EU Parliamentarians concerned over Commission's respect of rule of law
15.02 - 2018 / 15.02 - 2018Sweden to vote against new EU-Morocco fish talks
08.02 - 2018 / 08.02 - 2018Studies continue on Kosmos Energy's block
07.02 - 2018 / 07.02 - 2018Kosmos and Cairn have pulled out of Western Sahara


Morocco occupies the major part of its neighbouring country, Western Sahara. Entering into business deals with Moroccan companies or authorities in the occupied territories gives an impression of political legitimacy to the occupation. It also gives job opportunities to Moroccan settlers and income to the Moroccan government. Western Sahara Resource Watch demands foreign companies leave Western Sahara until a solution to the conflict is found.
EU Court cases on Western Sahara for dummies


It's not easy keeping up with all the different legal proceedings relating to Western Sahara. For the sake of clarity, here's an overview of the three different cases at the Court of Justice of the European Union.
Stand up for the Gdeim Izik 25!


Leading activists from Western Sahara are condemned to sentences ranging from 20 years to life imprisonment in connection to a mass protest in 2010 denouncing the Saharawi people’s social and economic marginalization in their occupied land; the Gdeim Izik protest camp.
Support Western Sahara Resource Watch


Help us to protect the natural resources of Western Sahara for the Saharawi people. Support our work by making a donation.
Report: Moroccan green energy used for plunder


At COP22, beware of what you read about Morocco’s renewable energy efforts. An increasing part of the projects take place in the occupied territory of Western Sahara and is used for mineral plunder, new WSRW report documents. News Archive 2018 News Archive 2017 News Archive 2016 News Archive 2015 News Archive 2014 News Archive 2013 News Archive 2012 News Archive 2011 News Archive 2010 News Archive 2009 News Archive 2008 News Archive 2007 News Archive 2004-2006

Register for our English newsletter:

These web pages have been built with the financial support of the trade union Industry Energy