The world’s largest palm oil producer, FGV Holdings, has had the sustainability certification process for some of its plantations suspended by the palm oil industry watchdog, the Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), Thomson Reuters Foundation reported Wednesday.
The certification for FGV’s Kilang Sawit Serting mill has been suspended for the second time since 2018. This first suspension, following an investigation that uncovered a risk of workers being subjected to forced labor, was conditionally lifted in August 2019 on the grounds that the RSPO would make regular checks to ensure the company’s compliance with labor laws.
However, further audits have demonstrated that migrant workers in the company continue to face serious issues and there is reportedly little evidence to prove that FGV is in line with domestic labor laws regarding its workers’ pay and working conditions.
Bakhtiar Talhah, RSPO’s interim chief executive officer, said “It is the duty of all members to ensure that human and labour rights are protected and all complaints panel directives must be complied with and implemented within the given timeline.”
The Thomson Reuters Foundation reports:
“FGV has also failed to ensure that newly-hired foreign workers do not pay their agents unnecessary recruitment fees, and that they have been adequately briefed about their future working conditions, the watchdog said.
All work on achieving certification for FGV’s uncertified management units has been suspended, the RSPO said.
A spokeswoman for FGV said the company will appeal the decision and seek further clarification from the RSPO. “FGV will officially appeal this decision to the complaints panel and the RSPO in view of FGV’s progress updates and action plans which are all in the process of being implemented,” FGV said in a statement.
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