FGV says not hit by RSPO suspension, has 33 other certified mills

by FARA AISYAH/ graphic by MZUKRI

THE suspension of FGV Holdings Bhd’s certification bids for its mills and the reinstated suspension of its Negri Sembilan mill by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil’s (RSPO) Complaints Panel will not materially affect the plantation company.

“This is not expected to have any material impact on FGV and its subsidiaries as FGV still has 33 mills which were previously certified,” it noted in an exchange filing last Friday.

The group added that it will continue to work towards good practices and sustainability.

Last week, the RSPO Complaints Panel suspended the principles and criteria (P&C) certification processes for all uncertified units of FGV.

RSPO, in a statement, noted it has reinstated the suspension on FGV’s milling unit, Kilang Sawit Serting in Jempol, Negri Sembilan, for non-compliance of the panel’s directives stated in its decision letter on labour issues dated Nov 28, 2018.

“Effective immediately, the RSPO Complaints Panel has suspended the P&C certification processes for all uncertified units of FGV and re-imposed the suspension on its Kilang Sawit Serting for non-compliance of the Complaint Panel’s decision dated Nov 28, 2018.

“As directed by the Complaints Panel, the RSPO Secretariat has instructed the certification bodies to re-suspend FGV’s P&C certificate for Kilang Sawit Serting and its supply bases.

“In addition, all work on achieving certification at FGV’s uncertified management units are suspended,” it said.

The Complaints Panel also mentioned in the decision letter that FGV’s recruitment processes require further improvements as indicators of forced labour are present and point to a breach of RSPO’s P&C.

“As such, FGV shall undertake an urgent legal and operational audit and review of its current recruitment and employment processes to identify and accordingly, eliminate all features of forced labour in full compliance with the national and international laws,” RSPO said.

In addition to Kilang Sawit Serting, the Complaints Panel has suspended the ongoing certification processes at 20 other complexes, following its latest findings and pending resolution of the identified non-compliances.

The Complaints Panel conducted audits at six FGV complexes, namely Jerangau Baru Complex, Selanchar 2B Complex, Serting Complex, Triang Complex, Lanchang Kemudi Complex and Nilam Permata Complex.

With the exception of Serting Complex, Jerangau Baru, Selanchar 2B and Triang; the other two complexes are currently uncertified.

All the non-compliances identified by the Complaints Panel were in Triang, Pahang, and Sabahbased Lanchang Kemudi and Nilam Permata.

Following the notice, FGV in a statement said it will “officially appeal this decision to the Complaints Panel and the RSPO”, in view of the company’s progress updates and action plans which are all in the process of being implemented.

Shares of FGV closed seven sen or 4.93% higher at RM1.49 last Friday, giving the company a RM5.44 billion market capitalisation.