Kuala Lumpur, 13 May 2019 – A recent study on Asean Business and Human Rights agenda that placed Sime Darby Plantation Bhd (SDP) at the top, reaffirms the company’s belief that SDP’s sustainability journey is on the right path.
The study called ‘Human Rights Disclosure in ASEAN’ is a collaborative study by ASEAN CSR Network, the Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies, Mahidol University and Article 30. It was conducted on 250 listed companies in Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore and measured the companies’ disclosure through materials made public against the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGP) and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards.
SDP’s Chief Sustainability Officer Dr Simon Lord said SDP is humbled by the ranking awarded and believes this is a positive encouragement for the company to continuously improve its sustainability standards and protection of human rights.
“The palm oil industry continues to be under scrutiny over allegations of unsustainable practices and human rights abuses. SDP is serious in addressing the risks of these issues occurring within our operations through various policies and initiatives. The commitments we pledged in our Human Rights Charter and Responsible Agriculture Charter are further strengthened by our partnership with various other independent organisations and NGOs, to ensure that we are on the right track where human rights are concerned,” he added.
Lord also said that although Malaysia requires Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) reporting as a listing rule, there are no clear guidelines on disclosure directives in relation to human rights. Despite this, SDP decided to perform beyond compliance to have these measures in place to achieve sustainable operations throughout its value chain.
SDP had also felt that the enactment of its Human Rights Charter that was developed in-house by the Company’s Human Rights Taskforce (HRTF) in 2015, was an important step in its goal to preserve the rights of communities it is associated with. The HRTF was co-chaired by the SDP’s Group Human Resources, Group Sustainability and Quality Management (GSQM) as well as other key departments from the Company’s operations.
“I must congratulate our employees who have made this achievement possible, especially knowing that human rights solutions may appear simple in concept, yet pose many challenges during execution,” he added.
The United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) was endorsed by the UN Human Rights Counsel in June 2011, and was globally accepted as an objective measure of social responsibility and sustainability.
Under the UNGPs, governments and business enterprises must ensure effective remediation should violations or harm occur while protecting and respecting fundamental human rights. As part of their responsibility in enabling that, business enterprises should disclose at least 21 points of information as detailed in HR/PUB/11/04: “Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: Implementing the United Nations ‘Protect, Respect and Remedy’ Framework”.
The companies in the study were scored based on a 30 point diagnostic framework under six categories including Fundamental Human Rights Commitments; Policy Statements on Human Rights; Operational Information; Due Diligence; Monitoring and Reporting; as well as Claims and Remediation.