Palm oil

Nestlé announces new action to address labour rights issues in palm oil sector

By Anthony Myers

- Last updated on GMT

Nestle said its vision is of a sustainable palm oil sector. pic:
Nestle said its vision is of a sustainable palm oil sector. pic:

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In a recently released new action plan, the global food manufacturer said workers in the palm oil industry - in particular migrant workers - are vulnerable to labour rights abuses, including forced labour.

They often face adverse working conditions such as excessive working hours, low wages, inadequate social security, unsafe working conditions, unreasonable movement restrictions and limited access to communication,​” it said in a statement.

Nestlé said the abuse is unacceptable, and the company has been working for many years to prevent and remediate human rights violations in its palm oil supply chain, leading it to gain a much better understanding about the root causes of the problem.

Benjamin Ware, Global Head of Sustainable Sourcing and Climate Delivery, Nestlé, said: "Our vision is of a sustainable palm oil sector - where nature is protected and restored, where human rights and labour rights are respected, where workers and smallholder farmers are offered decent working conditions and livelihoods.”

Robust guideline

He said the updated action plan provides a clearer, more robust guideline to take action in its supply chain to help tackle the root causes together with all relevant stakeholders.

Nestlé said it has has developed a framework that will help the company prioritize supplier engagement and systematically take action based on suppliers' risk profile and their capacity to address labour rights issues. Under the framework, the company will work with external partners to develop corrective action plans for suppliers and put monitoring systems in place to track against a set of key performance indicators.

The company will also deploy, together with its suppliers, specific guidance and tools to improve recruitment practices and the working and living conditions of workers and scale up its efforts to provide an effective and safe communication channels, such as the Suara Kami helpline for workers in its supply chain to report issues.

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