Australian NCP concludes ANZ's action not in line with the company's human rights policy in Phnom Penh Sugar case

The Australian National Contact Point (AusNCP) has released its final statement in a case relating to ANZ's financing of Phnom Penh Sugar (PPS), a Cambodian company linked to forcible evictions and other human rights abuses. In its statement, the AusNCP levels criticism at ANZ Bank, saying it is "difficult to reconcile ANZ’s decision to  take on PPS as a client with its own internal policies and procedures—which appear to accord with the OECD Guidelines—as the potential risks associated with this decision would likely have been readily apparent".

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Autor/in: Holly Robertson, ABC News

12 October 2018

ANZ will consider whether to compensate hundreds of Cambodian families who were forcibly evicted from their farms to make way for a sugar plantation and refinery partially financed by the bank, chief executive Shayne Elliott has told a parliamentary committee.

...Phnom Penh Sugar, which received a $40 million loan from ANZ joint venture ANZ Royal Bank in 2011, forced hundreds of families off their farming land to make way for a sugar plantation and refinery in Cambodia's Kampong Speu province, and employed child labourers in dangerous conditions.

...Elliott said the bank provided financing for purposes of building the refinery, not to acquire the plantation land, but "that doesn't excuse it".

"This is a dreadful situation and nobody's proud of the situation that's happened," he said.

..."The profit on something like that would have been quite de minimus, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't do the right thing," he said.

...Australian National Contact Point recommended that ANZ should introduce internal human rights compliance procedures, improve its screening of potential clients, and establish a grievance resolution mechanism.

...Elliott said the bank's human rights processes were "radically different" now, partly as a result of the Phnom Penh Sugar debacle.

"I believe that transaction would not get approved at ANZ today."

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Autor/in: Richard Baker & Nick McKenzie, Sydney Morning Herald

11 October 2018

ANZ Bank failed to meet its own human rights standards when it financed a Cambodian sugar plantation that was linked to forced evictions, child labour and workplace deaths, according to an Australian Government investigation.

The criticism...is made in a report by the Australian National Contact Point...

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Autor/in: Australian National Contact Point

2018

On 7 October 2014 the Australian National Contact Point (AusNCP) received a Specific Instance complaint from Equitable Cambodia (EC) and Inclusive Development International (IDI) on behalf of 681 families against Australian and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ Group) and its group entity ANZ Royal Bank (Cambodia) Limited (ANZ Royal) (together, ANZ).

...The Specific Instance alleged non-observance by ANZ of certain parts of the General Policies Chapter and Human Rights Chapter of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (OECD Guidelines) in relation to ANZ’s involvement with the developer of a sugar plantation and refinery project in Cambodia. The project is alleged to have forcibly displaced the families and dispossessed them of their land and productive resources...

The AusNCP considers that in this case it is difficult to reconcile ANZ’s decision totake on PPS as a client with its own internal policies and procedures—which appear to accord with the OECD Guidelines—as the potential risks associated with this decision would likely have been readily apparent...

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