ECOM Agroindustrial responded
8 December 2021
ECOM Agroindustrial Corp. Limited (ECOM), thanks the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre for inviting us to comment on the new publications by Public Eye. As appears to be Public Eye’s modus operandi, they did not contact us (or any other trading company to our knowledge) before issuing their report which seems to ignore all the positive initiatives being taken, both as regards steps to improve farmer livelihoods and environmental initiatives regarding deforestation in particular.
It is correct that ECOM is a joint venture partner in a palm oil business in Mexico. What is not stated however is that, of the approximately 17,400 hectares of land owned, only the previously degraded areas were converted from cattle grazing to palm and pine cultivation, this being 7,600 hectares dedicated to sustainable oil palm, and 3,700 hectares to sustainable pine, with the remaining 6,100 hectares designated as conservation land.
The business is proud to have been the first oil palm plantation in Mexico to obtain Rainforest Alliance certification in 2016. Recently, in recognition of its environmental, labour and social agricultural best practices, it has been certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and its industrial processes have been recognized by the PROFEPA environmental authority to comply with all environmental guidelines. The pine plantation is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council which confirms that the forest is being managed in a way that preserves biological diversity and benefits the lives of local people and workers, while ensuring that it sustains economic viability.
In the designated conservation area, native vegetation and wildlife are respected and preserved, supporting nearly 300 species of flora and more than 300 species of fauna; no land has been deforested.
ECOM’s name appears to have been included in this report without any regard to the facts on the ground and the report takes no account of ECOM’s substantial efforts to continually invest in and strengthen its risk assessments and transparency in its supply chain to combat modern slavery and associated environmental impacts. ECOM’s sustainability report can be found here: https://www.ecomsms.com/case_study/ecom-group-sustainability-report/.