Indonesia’s largest food company, Indofood, was SANCTIONED by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), the world’s largest certification system for “sustainable” palm oil.
Why is it being penalized? Indofood has been consistently exploiting workers on its plantations.
A string of independent reports over the past several years revealed that Indofood has violated RSPO standards, national and international norms and laws, and engaged in exploitative labor practices — including child labor, unpaid workers, precarious employment, and toxic working conditions.
RAN and our partners first revealed these abuses two years ago, and compiled another report in 2017. After years of dragging its heels, the RSPO has finally acted to discipline Indofood by suspending the “sustainability” certificates of the palm oil mill and estates it investigated, as well as by requiring a full audit of all other RSPO-certified units of Indofood’s palm oil subsidiary within three months.
This is a critical step towards justice for workers who face dangerous, oppressive, and illegal working conditions on Indofood’s plantations.
Unfortunately, relying on the RSPO is not enough. Joint venture partners PepsiCo, Yum! Brands, Wilmar, and other major brands must take action on Indofood. There is simply no excuse for inaction on exploitation.
Many banks and investors who claim to be socially and environmentally responsible are also exposed to Indofood’s exploitation via their finance portfolios. Major banks like Mizuho, Mitsubishi UFJ (MUFG, parent company of Union Bank), SMBC Group, Rabobank, and Standard Chartered are financing Indofood and must immediately take action or continue to knowingly do business with a company engaging in illegal and unethical behavior.
RAN and our partners have laid out clear requirements which Indofood must meet in order to remedy documented labor violations, including:
- immediately promoting all workers who perform core plantation work to permanent employment status
- paying a living wage and retroactively compensating workers for withheld wages, benefits, promotions, and unremunerated work
- fully respecting workers’ right to Freedom of Association and ensuring non-reprisal against any workers
- guaranteeing women’s rights by addressing the ongoing, egregious discrimination against female workers on Indofood’s plantations
- ensuring production targets are set fairly and transparently in consultation with workers, worker organizations, and independent unions.
Help us put pressure on the companies enabling Indofood’s exploitation. Demand that buyers, joint venture partners, and financiers end all business with Indofood immediately until the company adopts a comprehensive “No Deforestation, No Peatland Destruction, No Exploitation” policy and implementation plan and remedies Conflict Palm Oil cases documented on its plantations, starting with its labor violations.