Indofood Exploiting Laborers on Oil Palm Plantations: RAN Report

Tuesday, 05 December 2017 , 14:00:00 WIB -

Laborers are seen working on a plantation belonging to PT Lonsum (Indofood) in Sumatera Utara. (Nanang Sujana/OPPUK/RAN)

JAKARTA, GRES.NEWS – A report from Rainforest Action Network (RAN), compiled in cooperation with International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF) and the Small Business Empowerment and Development Organization (OPPUK), "The Human Cost of Conflict Palm Oil Revisited: How PepsiCo, Banks, and the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil Perpetuate Indofood’s Worker Exploitation," has revealed ongoing exploitation and labor abuse on RSPO-certified palm oil plantations owned by palm oil giant Indofood.

The findings are results of field investigations and interviews with laborers working on three oil palm plantations run by Indonesia’s largest food producer, Indofood – the sole snack producer for PepsiCo in the country.

Indofood has made no efforts to improve working conditions on its plantations. The same high risks of forced labor and child labor are still happening. Laborers are exposed to dangerous pesticide, receiving pay below the regional minimum wage, working as temporary workers with little hope of receiving a permanent-worker contract and deterred from forming labor unions.

"As a leading oil palm producer, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) must take action and demand responsibility from Indofood. The organization can’t continue certifying companies while neglecting the sufferings faced by laborers," said Herwin Nasution, Executive Director, OPPUK, in a press release sent to, Wednesday (29/11).

Violations of labor rights are actually frequent on oil palm plantations, but Indofood is very behind. The company has not made efforts to improve its policies and practices to meet the latest benchmark for responsible oil palm businesses, which are committed to avoid deforestation, expansion on peatland and to not violate human rights and worker rights at all its operations and assure that these commitments are met by third parties, including suppliers.

ILRF Director of Legal Affairs and Policies, Eric Gottwald, said the investigation result is disappointing, placing the reputation of PepsiCo as a multinational company at risk.

"PepsiCo has been boasting itself as a company that adopts sustainable goals of high standards, but how can labor rights be part of sustainable? PepsiCo must also be responsible for the actions by Indofood as is partner. It must force Indofood to follow the norms of human rights and manpower. Staying quiet is not an option," he said.

The report also contains recommendations to improve the situation for Indofood, First Pacific, PepsiCo, Nestle and the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). (mag)