February 20, 2024

Keep forced labor off the shelves

From Joanna Ewart-James, Freedom United 

Did you know that there is a high risk that palm oil linked to forced labor and environmental destruction could end up on supermarket shelves, making its way into everything from shampoo to ice cream?

But consumers don’t have to accept this as business as usual —we can fight back.

FGV, one of the world’s largest producers of palm oil and joint
venture partner of Procter & Gamble, is under fire for forced labor
on their palm oil plantations in Malaysia.[1]
We believe FGV and Procter & Gamble should put protecting
workers’ rights before their bottom line. And we have a way to make our belief reality. Will you join us?
We’re calling for imports of FGV tainted palm oil to be blocked to show we mean business when we ask that they clean up their

We recently reported that U.S. Customs blocked the import of five goods produced with forced labor,[2] including medical rubber gloves from Malaysia, which triggered international calls for action.[3]

Blocking imports of goods sends a powerful message to retailers, buyers and suppliers that we expect goods produced in clean supply chains and in decent working conditions. As consumers, we can stand up for the rights of workers on palm oil plantations.

Our partners, International Labor Rights Forum, Rainforest Action Network, and SumOfUs recently filed a formal complaint with US Customs and Border Protection over forced labor in the production of FGV palm oil.[4]

This now means US government must decide if it will block imports of FGV palm oil, and your voice can help show public support for this move. If the US acts to block imports, this will spur other countries into action to join our call, making clear that companies must act to ensure goods we buy are not made with forced labor.

Independent audits of their Malaysian plantations uncovered severe red flag indicators of forced labor — including passport retention, unfair termination clauses, and debt bondage — prompting suspension of FGV’s membership in the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, an industry certification-body, last year.

FGV claims to have cleaned up its act, but we have no proof or
independent verification that this is true. Until we can be 100%
sure, we’re calling on for a block on imports of FGV palm oil.
We say enough is enough. There is no excuse for imports that
harm people and the planet.

[1] https://www.foodnavigator.com/Article/2018/11/30/RSPO-suspends-FGV-palm-oil-mill-and-four-plantations-over-labour-rights-abuses
[2] https://www.freedomunited.org/news/in-rare-move-us-blocks-imports-of-goods-linked-to-forced-labor/
[3] https://www.business-humanrights.org/en/malaysia-medical-and-rubber-glove-manufacturers-accused-of-labour-abuses#c180883
[4] By law, under the Tariff Act of 1930, US Customs is required to deny entry to goods if there is reasonable cause to believe they contain materials made with forced labor.

TO ACT GO TO: https://www.freedomunited.org/advocate/blocktaintedpalmoil/?trk_msg=1B1MU5KQNJBKHCKII0G7T5RTHC&trk_contact=037FSGUJ91I19DOFIHRSCHO86K&trk_sid=PTESNN12L2BGROJERFDBHAUK50&utm_source=Listrak&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Act+now!&utm_campaign=FU-24Oct2019_US+Customs+Palm+Oil+ACTIVE&utm_content=FU-24Oct2019_US+Customs+Palm+Oil+ACTIVE

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