Nestlé has dropped three subsidiaries of Indonesia’s second largest palm oil producer as suppliers after the company was associated with human rights and labour abuses.
According to Friends of the Earth (FoE) US, the Swiss foods giant said it would no longer source from the three subsidiaries of Astra Agro Lestari (AAL).
Last week 55 organisations representing indigenous peoples, civil society and communities delivered an open letter to the world’s largest consumer companies urging them not to source palm oil from any AAL companies.
The letter accused AAL subsidiary PT Mamuang of using local police to arrest farmers who had protested against the company’s role in forcibly grabbing communities’ land, contributing to environmental destruction.
“Since PT Mamuang commenced palm oil operations in 1991, the company has been involved in protracted land conflicts with local communities,” the letter stated.
It said the firm had been accused of forcibly taking communities’ land without their consent, criminalising farmers as well as land and environmental defenders, and illegally occupying Indonesia’s protected forest zone.
FoE hand-delivered the letter to members of the Consumer Goods Forum during New York Climate Week.
“Nestlé’s suspension of AAL from its supply chain is an important first step toward ensuring accountability for ongoing human rights violations,” said Gaurav Madan, senior forest and lands campaigner at FoE.
“But Nestlé and other multibillion-dollar consumer giants – who for years have pledged to protect forests and respect human rights – cannot simply walk away from these abuses.
“These companies now have a monumental opportunity to ensure grievances are redressed, conflicts are resolved, and justice is delivered to communities on the frontlines of violent extraction and the climate crisis.”
Other consumer companies such as Hershey’s, Kellogg’s, Unilever and PepsiCo continue to do business with AAL, said FoE.
This was “despite mounting evidence and documentation of ongoing violations to international human rights laws, companies’ policies and industry best practice”.
It claimed Danone had privately pledged to suspend AAL from its supply chain earlier this year but had failed to confirm its decision.
☛ Want to stay up to date with the news? Sign up to our daily bulletin.