Indonesian residents file climate case against Holcim in Swiss court

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Swiss cement maker Holcim is seen at its headquarters in Zug, Switzerland October 26, 2022. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo

GENEVA (Reuters) - Several Indonesian residents have submitted a legal complaint to a Swiss court against the world's top cement-maker Holcim, which they claim is doing "too little" to cut carbon emissions, a statement by civil society groups backing the complainants showed on Tuesday.

A spokesperson for the Zug-based company said that climate change was a "top priority for Holcim at the heart of our strategy".

"We do not believe that court cases focused on single companies are an effective mechanism to tackle the global complexity of climate action," he said.

The civil case was first initiated in July last year by four residents of the Indonesian island of Pari, which has been repeatedly flooded as global warming has driven up sea levels.

This was followed by informal negotiations in October which failed, according to Lorenz Kummer from Swiss Church Aid (HEKS/EPER), prompting the formal submission of the complaint to the Zug court on Jan. 30.

The case is the first filing against a Swiss company and demands "proportional compensation" from Holcim, the statement says.

NGOs backing the complainants said they had singled out Holcim because the company was one of the major carbon dioxide emitters worldwide and the largest so-called "carbon major" in Switzerland.

Holcim's website says that it is committed to decarbonising building and updated its climate targets in 2022.

(Reporting by Emma Farge; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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