“Malaysia’s Sime Darby Plantation Banned From U.S. Markets Over Alleged Forced Labor Issues” – Chain Reaction Research – January 7, 2021

On January 7, 2021 Chain Reaction Research reported that “the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency once again issued a Withhold Release Order (WRO) on palm oil produced by a Malaysian company. This time, the subject is the palm oil plantation owner and trader/refiner Sime Darby. The WRO, which became effective on December 30, 2020, bans palm oil from Sime Darby entering U.S. ports. It covers Sime Darby’s subsidiaries, joint ventures, and affiliates.

The WRO was initiated by an April 2020 petition from legal advocacy organization Liberty Shared to the CBP calling for a ban on palm oil products produced by Sime Darby. In its summary of the petition, the organization highlighted labor abuse issues in Sime Darby’s holdings, ranging from passport retention, unpaid overtime, issues with salary payments, sexual harassment, and unethical employment practices.

In response to the petition, the CBP conducted an investigation into the Sime Darby’s daily operational activities, as well as its subsidiaries, joint ventures, and affiliated companies. The investigation found ‘strong indications of workers abuse’ in the company’s day-to-day operations.”

You may read the article on the Chain Reaction Research internet site.

“Symbiotics launches COP 35,8 billion (USD 10,5 million) Social Bond with La Hipotecaria Colombia” – Symbiotics – December 23, 2020

In a press release distributed on December 23, 2020 Symbiotics – “the leading market access platform for impact investing” – announced that it “has arranged its first Social Bond to be used for affordable housing and associated household financing, by means of a loan in local currency of COP 35,8 billion (USD 10,5 million) for La Hipotecaria Compañía de Financiamiento (“La Hipotecaria”).

Banco La Hipotecaria and its subsidiaries (“Grupo La Hipotecaria”) have been providing access to mortgage financing in Central America for 23 years, entering the Colombian market in 2011. As a mortgage provider, its mission is for individuals to own their residence and thus improve quality of life of tens of thousands of Latin American families through its product offering.

The proceeds of the Social Bond will be used to finance access to financing services, with its eligible subcategories: affordable housing and household financing. This is in line with the Colombian government’s affordable housing programs to support vulnerable and low-income families. This social bond will be used to finance beneficiaries of those programs and their household financing needs.”

You may read the press release on the news page of the Symbiotics internet site.