Axzon is a Danish pig farming and meat processing group with operations in Poland, Ukraine and Russia. The company, through its Ukrainian subsidiary Danosha, currently has around 10 pig production farms, a biogas plant, and over 11,000 hectares of farming land in the Ivano-Frankivsk region of western Ukraine. Considering the output and type of production, all the farms of the Danosha Company pose a high environmental danger. The number of pigs on each farm of the Company reaches 12,000-54,000. According to Ukrainian legislation, farms on such a scale should be regarded as the highest class of hazardous constructions.
Halych National Park in danger
Danosha’s pig farms are located in the Halych and Kalush districts of the Ivano-Frankivsk region. In the Halych district, the company's facilities are situated in the immediate vicinity of the Halych National Park, which protects extremely sensitive wetlands and is an important centre of biodiversity. The facilities for fattening pigs on the farm in Lany are located only 10-15 metres from the border of the park. Representatives of the park indicate that no consultations with the specialist of the Halych National Natural Park were conducted regarding the potential impact of the Danosha Company’s activities during the selection of the construction site, the construction itself, and the exploitation of the pig farm. In the Kalush district, where the rest of the pig farms are located, Danosha has already built additional facilities and plans a further increase in capacity, although this district has been recognized as an emergency environmental situation zone by a special Decree of the President of Ukraine, as well as by the joint United Nations/European Commission Technical Scoping Mission. Moreover, all Danosha’s pig farms are located in the basin of the Dniester River, which is a trans-boundary watercourse of regional significance.
Complaint to the Office of the Compliance Advisor/Ombudsman
In March 2013, the International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank group, provided a $70.6 million credit to Axzon for pig farming in Ukraine. The goal of the credit was to consolidate and increase the capacity via additional industrial buildings. In February 2014, a complaint to the Office of the Compliance Advisor/Ombudsman was lodged by members of communities from Deliyevo, Sivka-Voynylivska, and Lany in the Halych and Kalush districts in the Ivano-Frankivsk region, with the support of the National Ecological Centre of Ukraine. The complainants raised issues regarding odours and land and water pollution related to the project’s use of manure, improper use of land and compensation for it, a lack of information disclosure and consultation, impacts on road infrastructure, and environmental impacts on natural parks and other areas. The complainants also expressed concerns about the project being in violation of national law, as well as the International Finance Corporation Performance Standards. The Compliance Advisor/Ombudsman found the complaint eligible in March 2014. An assessment of the complaint was consequently undertaken and was completed in August 2014. On the basis of stakeholder discussions conducted as part of the Compliance Advisor/Ombudsman’s assessment, the complainants and the company agreed to engage in a voluntary dispute resolution process to address the issues raised in the complaint. In 2016, the International Finance Corporation provided the company with yet another loan despite the ongoing and unresolved process of mediation, causing the village representatives to terminate the meetings. Meanwhile, the case has been transferred to CAO Compliance Review for an appraisal of the International Finance Corporation’s performance related to the project. Another round of investigations will be conducted on whether the company adhered to the required standards in its activities and stakeholder engagement. Recently, the company has released its plans to expand, with more farms in the neighbouring village of Luka.
Axzon decided to change its name in 2017. From the end of February 2018 on the company, together with all its subsidiaries, including Danosha, will be called ‘Goodvalley’.
Further reading about the persecution of activists in Sivka Voynilivska: