by ASILA JALIL / Pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
FGV Holdings Bhd will appoint an independent auditor to assess its operations against the 11 International Labour Organisation Indicators of Forced Labour as advised by the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
The group said it is determined to take all necessary steps towards the lifting of the Withhold Release Order (WRO) issued by the CBP on September 30 last year against palm oil and palm oil products made by FGV and its subsidiaries and joint ventures based on unsustainable labour practices allegations.
“FGV is currently calling for proposals from prospective organisations and expects to finalise the appointment of the independent auditor in August 2021, following which the assessment work will immediately begin,” it said in a statement today.
The crude palm oil producer aims to submit the assessment report and its proposed remediation plan to the CBP within eight months upon the appointment of the independent auditor.
“FGV recognises that upholding labour standards is a continuous endeavour and is committed to prioritising efforts to advance the sustainability and human rights agenda,” it added.
FGV established Foreign Workers Working Committee in November last year, presided over by its chairman, to focus on continuous improvement regarding infrastructures on the ground to ensure the welfare of its workers is fully taken care of.
The committee has initiatives such as upgrading workers’ housing, improving access to healthcare by establishing clinics in remote areas, upgrading facilities to provide uninterrupted water supply and electricity in areas that do not have access to the national power grid and state water supply.
It also implemented an e-wallet system to enable convenient salary payment and cashless transactions.
The group stated previously that the system is in its final rollout state and is also being implemented in its plantations in Sabah and Sarawak.
Besides FGV, the CBP had issued a WRO to Sime Darby Plantation Bhd for similar labour allegations last year.
The CBP issued a similar order to Top Glove Corp Bhd and its subsidiaries, apart from oil palm planters.