Arif, Asmania, Bobby and Edi demand climate justice

They demand Holcim:

  • to redress proportionally their climate induced damages on Pari island.
  • to reduce its absolute CO2 emissions in line with the greenhouse gas reduction pathway modelled by the IPCC, which limits global warming to 1.5°C with little or no overshoot, and corresponds to a 43%-reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030 and a 69%-reduction by 2040, compared to 2019 levels.1.
  • to contribute to climate change adaptation measures on Pari island.

or to reduce their emission according to the recommendations of the climate science in order to limit global warming to 1.5°C.

Climate Change is already today threatening the effective enjoyment of human rights of millions of people around the world. Among other consequences, climate change causes rising sea levels. This is increasingly damaging low-lying coastal areas and small islands, in particular in the Global South.

On Pari Island in Indonesia the rising sea levels have already caused damages to houses, roads and shops and impairs the effective enjoyment of human rights of the inhabitants. Under current CO2-emission levels most of Pari island could disappear in the next decades.

The inhabitants of Pari island are not responsible for causing climate change, yet they bear the costs to invest in adaptation measures to protect their island. The effects of climate change undermine their economic development and wellbeing and jeopardise the livelihoods of future generations.

The Swiss company Holcim is the world’s largest producer of cement and among the 50 greatest corporate CO2 emitters. The question arises as to the extent of Holcim’s responsibility. HEKS/EPER has commissioned a study, which shows that between 1950 and 2020, Holcim produced over seven billion tonnes of cement and generated almost the same quantity of CO2 emissions. That is 0.42 per cent of all global industrial CO2 emissions since the year 1750. Or more than twice as much as the whole of Switzerland caused in the same period.

Arif, Edi, Asmania and Bobby are therefore seeking justice on behalf of the entire island. They filed a lawsuit against the cement company Holcim in court in February 2023 – as one of the carbon majors that has contributed significantly to climate change and hence to their plight. They have lodged a civil action with the Cantonal Court in Zug, where the headquarters of the Holcim group is located. Earlier conciliation talks with the group had failed, as Holcim was unwilling to address the plaintiffs’ concerns.