Ensure plantations free of forced labour, Tenaganita tells FGV

Three US NGOs have expressed concern over forced labour and human trafficking on FGV’s oil palm plantations.

PETALING JAYA: Civil society group Tenaganita has urged plantation company FGV Holdings Berhad to ensure that there is no forced labour or human trafficking taking place on its plantations.

This follows calls by NGOs to US authorities to ban imports of palm oil from FGV and investigate the company, citing concerns about forced labour.

The NGOs — International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF), Rainforest Action Network (RAN) and SumOfUs — said they had filed a complaint with the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which is required to deny entry of goods made with forced labour.

Expressing concern over the development, Tenaganita’s executive director Glorene Das said it comes in the wake of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil’s (RSPO) announcement that it has lifted the suspension of its certification of FGV oil palm mills.

“We urge FGV to consolidate its remedial steps to ensure that it is free of forced labour and complies with all relevant ILO conventions, especially those concerning the status and treatment of migrant workers, placing them in forced labour situations,” she said in a statement today.

Das said Tenaganita was prepared to work with FGV to ensure that its operations were free of forced labour.

Reuters quoted FGV as saying in a statement yesterday that it had always admitted to oversights and mistakes in the past, “all of which are being or have already been corrected”.

“However, FGV is fully aware that there is always room for further improvement, and we are always grateful when stakeholders engage with us or suggest refinements that will benefit everyone. FGV is committed to ethical and responsible development,” it said.

FGV is the world’s top producer of crude palm oil, with an output of 2.8 million tonnes of the edible oil last year.