ILRF Statement on Amnesty International Palm Oil Report

Image of palm oil farmer

Amnesty International recently released a detailed report exposing shocking labor violations – including children as young as 8 engaged in work that is hazardous to their health – taking place on palm oil giant Wilmar’s Indonesian plantations.  Amnesty was able to trace the palm oil from the Wilmar estates into the supply chains of major U.S. and European companies, including Unilever, Colgate-Palmolive, Kellogg's, Nestle, and Procter & Gamble.  Three of the five plantations visited for the report are certified as “sustainable” by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), an industry-driven multi-stakeholder initiative. 

The investigation echoes the findings of a joint report released earlier this year by ILRF, Rainforest Action Network, and Oppuk, which found child labor, wage theft, and abuse of migrant and casual workers on RSPO-certified plantations in Indonesia.  In recent years, reports by Finn Watch and the Wall Street Journal found widespread abuse of migrant workers on Malaysian palm plantations, including cases of forced labor and human trafficking. 

“Amnesty’s report is yet another wake-up call for the RSPO and companies with palm oil in their supply chains: ‘sustainable’ palm oil must respect workers’ fundamental human rights,” said Eric Gottwald, ILRFs Legal & Policy Director.  “The RSPO and palm industry are out of excuses and must take bold, verifiable measures or risk permanently linking their product with worker exploitation,” Gottwald said.  

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