BREAKING: PepsiCo’s Business Partner and Palm Oil Giant Indofood Sanctioned by Leading Palm Oil Sustainability Body

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November 05, 2018

Indofood Subject of International Campaign Against its Labour Rights Violations

In victory for campaigners, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil responds to 2 year old complaint backed by over 240,000 people, finding 10 legal offenses and “grave and methodical” breaches on Indofood palm oil mills and estates.

San Francisco, CA - Environmental and human rights activists are celebrating a significant victory against conflict palm oil company Indofood, after it was sanctioned on Friday by the world’s largest palm oil certification scheme, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).

Over 240,000 people signed a SumOfUs petition to push Indofood’s abuse into the public eye, after Rainforest Action Network (RAN), the International Labour Rights Forum (ILRF) and Indonesian labor rights organization OPPUK documented serious labor rights abuses on Indofood-owned plantations two years ago –– including cases of child labor, unpaid workers, precarious employment and toxic working conditions.

The RSPO finally responded after SumOfUs members drove up pressure on the ‘sustainable’ certifier to take action during the summer of 2018. In addition to the huge petition, more than 130,000 people watched a viral campaign video highlighting Indofood’s abuse, and over 7,000 people tweeted directly at the RSPO—putting the self-proclaimed palm oil authority under significant pressure to make its decision.

“People-power has exposed one of the palm oil industry’s worst offenders,” said Fatah Sadaoui, campaigns manager at SumOfUs. Over 240,000 SumOfUs members have forced Indofood to finally face the consequences of using child labour, unpaid workers, and forcing workers into precarious and toxic employment conditions. We’ve been demanding that Indofood’s business partner PepsiCo cuts all ties with the scandal-mired company for years. After this decision, PepsiCo has no excuse: The company must end its joint venture partnership if its ‘sustainable’ palm oil commitments are to retain any ounce of credibility.”

Many palm oil buyers have already cut ties with Indofood prior to this sanction, including Nestlé, Musim Mas, Cargill, Fuji Oil, Hershey’s, Kellogg’s, General Mills, Unilever, and Mars.

SumOfUs members are now calling on PepsiCo, Wilmar and Yum!Brands, that still hold joint venture partnerships with Indofood, to immediately cut ties with the company. Otherwise, the group argues, they knowingly continue to do business with a company engaging in illegal and unethical behavior.

In the RSPO’s decision on Indofood, it cites 24 violations of the RSPO’s Principles & Criteria and 10 legal violations. The RSPO has now suspended its certificate of Indofood’s audited mill and estates, and requires a corrective action plan in 30 days, quarterly reporting and verification of changes in 6 months.

The RSPO is also requiring all Indofood certified units to be re-audited and then those audits to be audited. It also say any non-compliance with the plan can lead to suspension or termination of membership.

SumOfUs, alongside RAN, ILRF and OPPUK has laid out clear requirements that Indofood must meet to address its ongoing labour violations, including (1) immediately promoting all workers who perform core plantation work to permanent employment status; (2) paying a living wage and retroactively compensating workers for withheld wages, benefits, promotions and unremunerated work; (3) fully respecting workers’ right to Freedom of Association and ensuring non-reprisal towards all workers; (4) guaranteeing women’s rights by addressing the ongoing, egregious discrimination against female workers on Indofood’s plantations; and (5) ensuring production targets are set fairly and transparently in consultation with workers, worker organizations and independent unions.

View the RSPO’s decision on Indofood (see CP Final Decision Letter, 2nd November) HERE: https://www.rspo.org/members/complaints/status-of-complaints/view/92

View SumOfUs’ petition HERE: https://www.sumofus.org/rspo-take-action  

View SumOfUs’ viral campaign video HERE: https://www.facebook.com/SumOfUsOrg/videos/489057718239604/