KUALA LUMPUR (February 18): Sime Darby Plantation Bhd (SDP) said today that the name of the independent third party tasked with undertaking a human rights assessment of its operations will soon be known.
The appointment was taking a while as it was “no small task,” said group chief executive Mohamad Helmy Othman Basha, stressing that SDP must find the right person to conduct the assessment,
“The party must have full credibility, not only on the part of US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), but also be acceptable to customers,” Helmy said at a virtual press conference to announce the results. of the fourth quarter of SDP.
“Credibility is extremely important. Especially with Covid-19, where travel is limited, it is almost impossible for some parties to travel. You have to be present here to make this assessment, ”he said, adding that this independent party should be an international group.
On November 10 last year, the SDP announced that an independent international organization specializing in the rights of migrant workers will be appointed to further strengthen its commitments and respect for human rights.
This came after CBP received a petition in April 2020 alleging that the SDP is using forced labor and child labor to produce palm oil and related products.
When asked at today’s briefing if SDP is concerned that “no buy orders” from General Mills will impact its business, Helmy said the planter has a list of customers who have purchased its products directly and the US-based company is not on the list. .
“But if they buy from our direct customers, we won’t know because we don’t have a clue who our customers’ customers are,” he said.
On February 8, Reuters reported that SDP and FGV Holdings Bhd (both of which were subject to suspension of release orders – or WRO – by CBP on charges of forced labor) had not been subject to ” no large orders ”from General Mills, along with others the buyers are also asking to limit or exclude the two planters’ products for supplies entering not only the United States but also Europe, Australia and Japan.
As part of its efforts to resolve the issue, the SDP said it will conduct the human rights audit, as well as implement programs such as passport lockers, trainings, commitments and complaint channels to resolve the issue. This is in addition to its commitments with all stakeholder groups.
SDP shares rose 0.82% or four sen to RM 4.94 in afternoon trading, valuing the group at RM 34.01 billion. Some 3.29 million shares were traded.
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