Family association, owners of an adjacent farm
Environmental pollution (water, soil, noise and air)
Alqueria is the third-largest dairy company in Colombia. It processes milk and sub-products into dairy products such as UHT milk, flavored milk, cream and yoghurt (through a joint venture with Danone), as well as fruit beverages from concentrate. IFC has extended a $15 million A loan and $5 million in equity to expand production capacity across the company’s plants; to incur capital expenditure aimed at gaining efficiencies and cost reduction; and to generate incremental working capital.
In April 2013, a complaint was lodged by owners of a farm adjacent to the company’s plant in Cajica, raising concerns related to pollution, including industrial discharges to rivers and other local water resources, soil pollution, noise pollution, inadequate disposal of toxic residues, and air emissions.
CAO found the complaint eligible for further assessment in April 2013, and an assessment was conducted in July 2013. Based on discussions held with the stakeholders during the CAO Assessment, the complainants and company agreed to work with CAO's Dispute Resolution function to try to resolve the issues raised in the complaint using a collaborative approach.
The parties have engaged in a CAO dispute resolution process to address the complaint since September 2013. In June 2017, Alqueria reached an agreement with the owners of the Golpe de Agua farm, which is adjacent to the Alqueria plant, addressing the issues raised in the complaint. CAO oversaw the implementation of the signed agreement, which is confidential at the choice of the parties. Since December 2017, the parties have followed up closely on progress made regarding noise mitigation measures, including structured engineering for the implementation of those measures.
CAO was in contact with the parties to follow up on the commitments. Some operational challenges—coupled with the impact of the pandemic and social unrest in Colombia—contributed to delays in the implementation of the agreement in recent years. Due to internal changes, a new team took over the case in November 2021. Between November 27 and December 3, 2021, CAO undertook a trip to Bogota and Cajica to hold meetings with the parties, visit the plant and farm, and facilitate a joint monitoring meeting. As a result of the trip, the parties renewed their commitment to move forward with the prompt implementation of the agreed actions regarding noise mitigation and agreed upon the next steps.
On August 17, 2022, CAO informed the parties that it would close the dispute resolution process after reviewing the challenges, the progress of the monitoring phase, and the relationship the parties had established. Given that the agreement had not yet been fully implemented, CAO asked the complainants whether they wanted the case to be transferred to CAO’s Compliance function for appraisal of IFC’s performance in relation to the project in accordance with CAO’s Policy. After obtaining a letter from Alquería on October 12, 2022, ratifying the company’s commitment to fully implement the agreement signed during the CAO process, the complainants informed CAO that they did not wish to transfer the case to the Compliance function. Therefore, CAO closed the case in March 2023.
The conclusion reports are available in English and Spanish in the "Case Document" section below.
The dispute resolution process concluded and the case closed in March 2023.
Status as of March 21, 2023