SDP seeks more details from group over allegations

KUALA LUMPUR: Sime Darby Plantation (SDP) Bhd has asked for more details from Liberty Share (LS) on allegations of breaches committed after the activist group petitioned the United States to ban SDP’s palm oil export.

SDP said it had contacted LS, an anti-trafficking group based in Hong Kong, by e-mail to initiate discussions and to better understand its concerns.

The company had also held a tele-conversation with Duncan Jepson, the author of the petition.

SDP said that it was committed to eradicating any and all instances of human rights infringements within its operations and supply chain and if needed, it would immediately institute appropriate corrective actions.

“For this reason, we have requested further details and information of the breaches and serious allegations in the LS petition, ” it said in a statement.

The SDP statement added LS had submitted a petition to the US Customs and Border Protection on April 20 to block its exports to the United States, which was estimated at US$3mil (RM12.8mil) annually (based on 2019 volumes).

Meanwhile, SDP said that it welcomed any further information from any other sources that could help it identify the existence of and/or root cause of any breakdowns in its system.

“The plantation company will continue to close all gaps and correct any lapses in our operations and supply chain”, it said.

The firm will also continue to further engage, raise awareness and train its managers, assistant managers, and supervisors on responsible business behaviour, added SDP.

“Any non-compliance with our commitments will be addressed swiftly and firmly, after thorough investigations are concluded.

“We will also take all necessary steps to minimise the risk of such issues recurring, ” it said, adding that SDP had responded to the matters raised by LS, which included background information for context and current practices and challenges.

While defending that it was transparent about the challenges it faced in its efforts to improve its practices on the ground, it also acknowledged the need to further improve, especially with on-the-ground implementation of its commitments.

It said SDP welcomed all stakeholders interested to discuss these issues in greater detail to engage with the company.

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