“FGV Banned from Selling Products to the United States Due to Ongoing Labor Issues, Increasing Reputation Risk” – Chain Reaction Research – October 6, 2020

On October 6, 2020 Chain Reaction Research reported:  “On September 30, 2020, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a Withhold Release Order (WRO) on palm oil products produced by Malaysian Felda Global Ventures (FGV) over concerns of alleged forced labor issues. FGV is a Bursa Malaysia-listed palm oil company with plantations, milling, and refining facilities. The WRO also covers its joint ventures and subsidiaries, including with IFFCO and P&G.

On November 24, 2019, Grant & Eisenhofer ESG Institute submitted a petition to the CBP that called for a ban on imports of FGV products. As CRR highlighted at that time, the move followed several years of coverage of FGV’s alleged workers’ rights abuses and the suspension of one of its mills and four plantations by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) in 2018. In response, FGV began taking corrective actions, such as making legal recruitments of migrant workers, eliminating passport-detaining policies, and adding a provision for adequate housing and healthcare benefits. However, the Rainforest Action Network pointed out that FGV has a history of faulty reporting. The company said in November 2018 and June 2019 that labor issues had been resolved, but months later the RSPO found contradictory evidence.

In its official statement, the CBP says that its investigations indicate forced labor is still occurring in FGV’s day-to-day operations. After a year-long investigation, the CBP found “abuse of vulnerability, deception, restriction of movement, isolation, physical and sexual violence, intimidation and threats, retention of identity documents, withholding of wages, debt bondage, abusive working and living conditions, and excessive overtime,” along with possible child labor.”

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