WSRW concerned: Vigeo Eiris greenwashes dirty energy on occupied land
International investors have shied away from funding Morocco's dirty 'green' energy in occupied Western Sahara. But a Moroccan subsidiary of the French-UK firm Vigeo Eiris has stepped in to certify the bonds which will secure the necessary financing.
Vigeo Eiris, a French-UK consultancy firm, in a letter to Western Sahara Resource Watch explains that Morocco's approach to Western Sahara is credible, and presents maps on its website that the territory is part of Morocco.
On 7 November it was known that the Moroccan subsidary of Vigeo Eiris had certified so-called green bonds for the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (MASEN) for Moroccan solar projects that will be built on two locations in Western Sahara.
Vigeo Eiris responded on 19 December. Vigeo Eiris surprisingly noted that it could be seen as an political statement to not take on an assignment in Western Sahara. Today, WSRW sent Vigeo Eiris a follow-up letter with questions regarding the contract, its policies and its interpretation of international law applicable to Western Sahara.
Vigeo Eiris is a recently merged company between Eiris in the UK and Vigeo in France. The latter is large on the Moroccan market, with a subsidary there. Erroneous maps of Western Sahara appear both on previous website and on its new website which was launched this month.
21 December 2016 the Court of Justice of the EU judged that EU-Morocco trade relations could not apply to the territory of Western Sahara, which is a separate territory from Morocco. The issue of Western Sahara has for many years been a hot issue in the EU institutions, where UK has insisted on respect for international law, while France has pushed for its own political interests and alliances with Morocco. The Court looked away from the political arguments, and instructed on the respect for law.
WSRW on 2 November published the report Powering the Plunder, about Morocco's highly problematic energy programmes in the occupied territory. Morocco is basically making itself dependent on green energy production on the land it holds under occupation. By 2020, more than a quarter of all the green energy produced by Morocco, will originate from outside of its internationally recognised borders.
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.
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.
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.
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.