Complaint about Titan Group’s Cement Company in Egypt Proceeds to CAO’s Compliance

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, invested 80 million euros in the Titan Group subsidiary Alexandria Portland Cement Company (APCC) in 2010.

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The investment provided the IFC with a 15.2 percent equity stake in Alexandria Portland Cement Company, through Titan’s holding company Alexandria Development Limited (ADL).

As a client of the IFC, APCC is obliged to uphold the IFC’s Environmental and Social Performance Standards. Far from upholding “higher environmental and social standards” and serving the development needs of the local community, APCC has been accused of violating these standards by damaging the health and livelihoods of the local community through exposure to harmful emissions and dust; violating labor and worker’s rights; and polluting the environment.

A complaint by Egyptian rights groups, community members, and laborers was filed against APCC with the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO) on April 8, 2015. The CAO, the IFC’s independent grievance mechanism, deemed the complaint eligible to move through the grievance process. CAO then conducted an assessment report which included discussing the various issues with all stakeholders including APCC and complainants to determine whether a mutually agreeable plan of mitigating these issues could be reached through a mediation process.

The major concerns related to the company’s violations fall under four categories: 1- labor and worker rights, where issues of Discriminatory Employment Practices, Non-disbursement of Benefits, and Violence and Intimidation are identified; 2- Community Health and Livelihoods, where issues of Deteriorating Health, and Harming Local Industries are identified; 3- Environmental Pollution; and 4- licensing.

On May 4, 2016, the CAO’s assessment report was finalized and made public. The assessment found that while complainants were tentatively willing to work through the mediation process to find a solution to their concerns with the company, APCC is unwilling to recognize complainants as legitimate stakeholders.  According to the CAO’s guidelines, the case will now proceed automatically to CAO’s Compliance function, which will determine whether IFC has complied with its policies in this investment.

To access the Complaint filed to the IFC on Alexandria Portland Cement, click here

To access CAO Assessment Report regarding IFC investment in Alexandria Development Limited, click here

To access IFC response to the CAO Assessment Report, click here