Socially Responsible Investors to Home Depot: Damming Patagonia Risky

Monday, February 2, 2009

The pressure is mounting on Home Depot because it has so far failed to keep its promise to protect Chilean forests threatened by plans for dams and transmission lines in Patagonia.

In mid-January 2009, 5 of the top US Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) funds warned Home Depot in writing that the plans to dam Chile's Baker and Pascua rivers threaten Home Depot's relationship with investors looking for environmental and social responsibility. The problem is that Home Depot suppliers CMPC and Arauco are deeply involved in the Patagonian dam and transmission line plans that would destroy Chilean forests. Therefore, according to the SRI funds, Home Depot's continuing relationship with CMPC and Arauco violates the specific, written agreement Home Depot signed with CMPC, Arauco and 10 environmental groups in November 2003. In that agreement, HD promised "to provide for the protection of native forests in Chile."