Daabon Organic, once a major palm oil supplier to cosmetics giant the Body Shop has spoken out against accusations that it acted improperly when purchasing land, and subsequently seeking the eviction of farmers from the property, saying “we have complied with the law,” reported El Espectador Tuesday.
Daabon, which provided the Body Shop 90% of its palm oil, was part of a consortium which bought 2,700 acres of land north of Bogota in an area known as “Las Pavas,” and shortly after went to the courts to request the removal of the peasants from the land.
The case was successful, and in July 2009, police in riot gear forcibly evicted over 100 peasants from the land.
NGO Christian Aid was particularly active in putting pressure on the ostensibly “eco-conscious” Body Shop to drop Daabon Organic as a supplier, and after a nine-month investigation by the Body Shop, they cut business ties with Daabon Organic.
Alfonso Davila Abondano, the vice president of Daabon Organic, claims that the decision was hasty saying that the “most affected by this decision are 230 families from Magdalena who produce oil for the Body Shop through partnership schemes.”
In the official press release on their website, they take a more conciliatory tone, “Our company is committed to finding a well-balanced solution for all parties involved and it is open to dialogue at any time with any organization that feels it has a stake in the matter.”
The incident with Daabon Group is only a single episode in a long history of chronic displacement and eviction from the land for the farmers of “Las Pavas.” El Espectador has chronicled the land dispute the farmers have had with paramilitaries, guerrillas, and now large corporations, which began in the 1990s and continues to this day.