SDP Receives Approval From US Customs After Making Sweeping Changes On Labour Practices

Sidme Darby Plantation has received the green light from the United States Customs and Border Protection to export its palm oil into the country. This comes from the change in its forced labour finding against the planter which means, effective immediately, the USCBP will now permit the importation of palm oil from SDP into the United States.

With this decision, the USCBP has recognised the comprehensive process undertaken by SDP in the last two years to review, revise and – where necessary – upgrade its protocols for recruiting, managing, and working with its workers. Mohamad Helmy Othman Basha, Group Managing Director of Sime Darby Plantation, commented: “This exercise has been hugely valuable in establishing a market-leading approach to ensure our employees feel safe, satisfied, supported, and fairly treated.”

Mohamad Helmy said: “It took us more than 500,000 manhours to undertake our reviews and to revise what we already had in place. To ensure change is embraced and entrenched, we also put in place key enablers to empower our workers. It is essential that such safeguards are in place to protect those who are vulnerable.”

SDP introduced a number of industry firsts as part of its renewed commitments, among them was the reimbursement of recruitment fees that may have been paid by current and eligible former workers to secure employment with SDP. To ensure appointed recruitment agents are contractually accountable for compliance to ethical and transparent recruitment standards, as well as SDP’s own policies and standards and commitment to conduct regular due diligence on contractors to ensure they strictly adhere to SDP’s Contractor Vendor Management policies and guidelines when managing workers.

The creation of social dialogue platforms where workers elect representatives from every nationality to meet with estate management fortnightly. There are over 1,500 formal worker representatives from 9 nationalities, across the Group’s
Malaysian operations. More than 14,200 issues have been raised, with approximately 13,800 issues resolved over 17 months.

As the world’s leading sustainable palm oil producer, SDP said it will continue to work with nongovernmental organisations and like-minded parties to advocate for change at an industry level. It is vital that the palm oil industry does all it can to meet its responsibilities to its people and to the planet.

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