Kuala Lumpur, 8 July 2020 - As a responsible producer of palm oil, Sime Darby Plantation Berhad (SDP) is concerned over the serious allegations in a petition that was submitted to the United States (US) Customs and Border Protection on 20th April 2020 to “exclude palm oil and palm oil products produced wholly or in part by forced labour and child labour by Sime Darby Plantation Berhad (SDP) owned and affiliated companies” which was made public by Liberty Shared yesterday.
These are serious allegations that are against the commitments that we have publicly made, as articulated in our Responsible Agriculture Charter and our Human Rights Charter.
We believe over the years we have made genuine progress in improving our labour practices on the ground through various initiatives and collaborations with multiple partners and NGOs. Our efforts can be seen in various disclosures that we have made public, which includes our latest Sustainability Report 2019, published in May 2020. We acknowledge the challenges and complexity of the supply chains across the industry and, therefore, of implementing our NDPE (No Deforestation, No Peat and No Exploitation) commitments. Nevertheless, we are truly committed to eradicating instances of non-compliance by imposing immediate and appropriate corrective actions if and when they arise.
We wish to point out that the petition was submitted without soliciting any feedback from our Company. Currently, SDP has access only to the petition summary which provides issues that were raised, without any details on the interviews that were conducted. In the spirit of openness, transparency and collaboration that SDP has always upheld, we intend to engage with Liberty Shared to further understand these allegations in detail to enable us to conduct a thorough and immediate investigation, and take corrective action, as the findings may warrant.
We believe this in turn will further help strengthen our practices globally to ensure we embed the respect for Human Rights on the ground throughout our operations