Article

Swedish companies unite to criminalize ecocide

Several Swedish companies from various industries – SPP, Houdini, Icebug, Polarbrödgruppen, Svea Solar, and Rejlers – are now backing the Ecocide Law Alliance initiative to criminalize large-scale environmental destruction – ecocide – within the framework of the Rome Statute, the statute of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, ICC. The companies are thus increasing pressure on the Swedish government to work towards an international law against serious environmental crimes. The initiative is backed by Exponential Roadmap Initiative and We Don’t Have Time.
On February 27, the CEOs of these companies published a joint call to action on the Swedish media platform Aktuell Hållbarhet (article in Swedish), stating:
 “55% of the world's GDP depends on nature's services. Despite this, we are increasingly witnessing how our ecosystems are disrupted and destroyed through reckless exploitation of nature. It is high time to make serious environmental crimes punishable under international law.
Responsible decision-makers globally must understand that reckless actions against nature can also have serious consequences in the form of imprisonment or hefty fines.
We demand that the Swedish government push for ecocide rules to become global and be included in the Rome Statute. And we urge more Swedish companies to join the Ecocide Law Alliance initiative. Let us come together to establish a strong international law that prevents the worst forms of destruction of our living ecosystems!”
Deforestation for oil palm plantation in Riau province, Sumatra, Indonesia. Photo: Aidenvironment
Deforestation for oil palm plantation in Riau province, Sumatra, Indonesia. Photo: Aidenvironment

On the same day as the co-signed op-ed was published, the European Parliament voted yes on approving the agreement with EU member states on the updated environmental crime directive, which expands the list of serious environmental crimes within the EU and introduces new sanctions against those committing the most serious environmental crimes - ecocide.
 ”It's great that the EU is moving forward on this issue and tightening regulations and sanctions, but it's not enough. The reason is simple: the EU has 27 member states, on one continent. The International Criminal Court has 123 member states, on all continents of the world. Crimes against the environment should be on par with crimes against humanity”, say the CEOs of the companies now supporting the initiative.
The Ecocide Law Alliance argues that despite many conventions, guidelines, and laws in the environmental field, an important piece of the puzzle is still missing: international criminal law, so that decision-makers worldwide can be held accountable for the most egregious crimes. This is also one of the recommendations from the high-level working group on the environmental consequences of the war in Ukraine. Since the legal framework and procedures for amendments to the Rome Statute already exist, it is relatively easy and practically feasible to get the law in place.
 "Because there is a gap in the law, a small number of highly destructive activities continue to harm the living systems that everyone depends on. An international law against such activities would help protect healthy and vibrant nature, human health and human rights, and limit climate change. At the same time, it strengthens the competitiveness of Swedish companies," adds Johanna Lundgren Gestlöf, Sustainability Manager at SPP, in a press release on the call to action, and continues:
 “A law that criminalizes the most serious destruction of the Earth's living ecosystems would reduce the possibility of doing business at the expense of nature while paving the way for companies with truly sustainable solutions, and Sweden is at the forefront in this regard.”
Johanna Lundgren Gestlöf, Sustainability Manager at SPP. Photo: Dan Coleman
Johanna Lundgren Gestlöf, Sustainability Manager at SPP. Photo: Dan Coleman

There are several advantages with a law against ecocide:
• The law starts at the right end to address key issues, as it is over-arching, addresses the most serious damage, and also intervenes at the beginning of the value chain.
• It creates a new decision-making situation and risk analysis for individuals responsible for activities that potentially cause significant harm to vital ecosystems.
• The law contributes to fair competition, both in Sweden and globally.
• The law creates increased pressure for transition, which in turn contributes to a higher rate of innovation.
"A criminal law is a powerful steering tool, not least because it also affects our values: what is criminal, we also see as morally wrong. Introducing international law against large-scale environmental destruction is a big step in the right direction. The purpose of the law is primarily preventive: to encourage carefully considered decisions before engaging in activities that could be highly environmentally damaging. We urge the Swedish government to support in every way possible the establishment of a global ecocide law," conclude the undersigned CEOs.
 Here are the business leaders and initiatives behind the call to action:
Jenny Rundbladh, CEO, SPP (occupational pension provider)
Karin Bodin, CEO, Polarbrödsgruppen (food manufacturer)
Eva Karlsson, CEO, Houdini Sportswear
David Ekelund, CEO, Icebug (footwear)
Jenny Edfast, CEO, Rejlers Sweden (technical consultants)
Erik Martinson, CEO, Svea Solar (solar company)
Johan Falk, CEO and co-founder, Exponential Roadmap Initiative
Ingmar Rentzhog, CEO and founder, We Don’t Have Time
Nina Macpherson, Chairperson, Ecocide Law Alliance
 
ABOUT INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL CRIMES
In today’s legislation, the International Criminal Court in The Hague can prosecute for four crimes under the Rome Statute: crimes against humanity, genocide, war crimes, and aggression crimes (crimes against peace). The proposal is to add large-scale environmental destruction, ecocide, as a fifth crime.
 The definition of the proposed crime by a panel of experts in international criminal law is: "illegal or reckless acts committed with the knowledge that there is a substantial likelihood of serious and either widespread or long-term damage to the environment caused by those acts."
 
ABOUT THE ECOCIDE LAW ALLIANCE
The Ecocide Law Alliance foundation brings together companies that support this legislation, provides information on what the law would entail, and how as a business owner one can advocate for it.

  • Regina Siepelmeyer

    6 w

    Will you cooperate with this organization? https://www.stopecocide.earth/ What about IKEA? It is one of these 13 companies responsible for deforestation: https://earth.org/major-companies-responsible-for-deforestation/

    4
    • zelda ninga

      6 w

      If these laws become effective globally that will be the best thing ever for the planet.

      1
      • DIPANJANA MAULIK

        6 w

        SPP undoubtedly demands climate love for this daunting task.

        4
        • Abdulrahman Almiujahed

          6 w

          I fully support this measure and will suggest that an additional condition be added to the conditions of employment for employees of companies that cut down trees. The condition is to present a certificate of entry into a cultural course on vegetation and its importance to keep the Earth’s temperature from rising and its importance for the continuation of life for future generations. This condition will be implemented by allowing workers to attending specialized courses online. It can be considered like sexual harassment courses held for employees of international organizations

          2
          • Negar Riahi

            6 w

            What do you then Call Iran as a dissapeared natural place to live or Breath?

            3
            • Felicia Konrad

              6 w

              A step in the right direction, thank you!!!

              3
              • Helena Wänerstrand

                6 w

                Great move! I hope many more companies will join. Proud to be your customer #SPP !

                4
                • CHRIS NGATIA

                  6 w

                  This is a great step. Swedish is headed in a great direction

                  4
                  • walter lungayi

                    6 w

                    It's great to see Swedish companies coming together to support the criminalization of ecocide. This initiative shows a commitment to environmental protection and corporate responsibility.

                    5
                    • Jane Wangui

                      6 w

                      @walter_lungayi There is no other way to do it but together!!! If we want to make a difference.

                      4
                    • Sarah Chabane

                      6 w

                      Great to see corporations leading the way, now it's time for countries to follow!

                      5
                      • walter lungayi

                        6 w

                        @sarah_chabane_874 Indeed, I agree with you.

                        4
                        • Boniface Kuria

                          6 w

                          @sarah_chabane_874 I know this will face alot of opposition especially from those who propel climate denial but we soldier in. Rome was not built in a day. We will celebrate every small win.

                          4
                        • mary Mwihaki

                          6 w

                          This is great deal for the love of climate

                          5
                          • Munene Mugambi

                            6 w

                            This is going to be a very big deal. When companies with enormous influence through a social and financial sense support such a cause, it will surely sail through. Time to criminalise environmental harm and punish the perpetrators

                            6
                            • Boniface Kuria

                              6 w

                              @munene_mugambi Well, I'd love to see prosecution for ecocide at the Hague.

                              4
                            • Chris Ndungu

                              6 w

                              Nice work. It is the time companies that acts nonchalant toward climate change to be given the taste of their own medicine. They should be punished under international law.

                              5
                              • Munene Mugambi

                                6 w

                                @chris_ndungu Ignoring the climate and environment is one thing, but destruction of the ecosystem and going scot-free is totally different and cannot go unanswered which is what we look to get implemented in such a case.

                                4
                              • Patrick Kiash

                                7 w

                                I support this joint call of action. Indeed it is high time to make the dangerous environmental crimes be punishable under international law. By doing so! We can salvage a lot for our planet and for generations to come.

                                7
                                • Munene Mugambi

                                  6 w

                                  @patrick_kiash We expect to see these laws implemented and strictly adhered to. No law bending should be allowed to circumvent the will of the people for the benefit of a few individuals interested in profits at the behest of the planet's lifespan.

                                  3
                                • Tabitha Kimani

                                  7 w

                                  Criminalizing ecocide is long overdue. Endangering humans and life on earth is a crime.

                                  6
                                  • Munene Mugambi

                                    6 w

                                    @tabitha_kimani The dangers of ecocide transcend the needs of the environment, they harm the planet, the inhabitants and the social economic development by rendering the planet unprofitable. They also endanger future generations who cannot be successful in an apocalyptic world

                                    4
                                  • George Kariuki

                                    7 w

                                    The involvement of these companies puts additional pressure on the Swedish government, and by extension other countries, to seriously consider adopting the Ecocide Law Alliance initiative. This can set a positive precedent and encourage further international collaboration.

                                    5
                                    • winnie nguru

                                      7 w

                                      It's always good to see organisations come together for a good course..this is incredible

                                      7
                                      • Gorffly mokua

                                        7 w

                                        Great! This sends a strong message that corporate responsibility & environmental protection are essential for a sustainable future

                                        6
                                        • Saustine Lusanzu

                                          7 w

                                          Eco side law will help to make companies and people engaging in Environmental destruction to be held accountable, this is a bold move ahead the realization of the Climate change goal

                                          6
                                          • johnte ndeto

                                            7 w

                                            Criminalisation of ecocide is really the way to go in stopping this whole mess

                                            13
                                            • Saustine Lusanzu

                                              7 w

                                              @johnte_ndeto exactly, and people will be careful and abstain from harming the nature

                                              4
                                              • Gorffly mokua

                                                7 w

                                                @johnte_ndeto completely agree. Criminalizing ecocide is an effective solution to help ensure that our planet's natural resources are protected and preserved ..

                                                4
                                              • Boniface Kuria

                                                7 w

                                                Ecocide should come with hefty fines and a long jail term

                                                9
                                                • Markus Lutteman

                                                  7 w

                                                  Great to see these companies pushing for this important legislation!

                                                  17
                                                  • Gorffly mokua

                                                    7 w

                                                    @Markus_Lutteman All other companies should follow suit!✔

                                                    5
                                                    • Munene Mugambi

                                                      6 w

                                                      @Markus_Lutteman Indeed. It is the push we needed to make a difference in the face of many organisations hiding behind greenwashing to hide their ills.

                                                      3
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