Cambodia: ANZ reportedly financing Phnom Penh Sugar, a company beset by allegations of child labour & forced evictions

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Article
7 July 2014

Cambodia: ANZ cuts off ties with Phnom Penh Sugar allegedly due to “inadequate response” to a plan to remedy concerns about forced evictions, child labour

Author: Khmer Times

“ANZ cuts off ties to Cambodian firm”, 6 July 2014

…ANZ Bank’s commercial relationship with Phnom Penh Sugar has come to an end…[T]he relationship broke down over the company’s inadequate response to a detailed project plan developed by ANZ, which was designed to remedy longstanding concerns about the use of child labour, forced evictions and military-backed land grabs...“While I’m limited in what I can say about individual customers, I can confirm that PP Sugar has paid out its loan and is no longer a customer of ANZ,” the [ANZ] spokesman said…PP Sugar is understood to have secured cheaper finance when all the compliance costs associated with the ANZ facility were factored in. The company, however, has made progress in some areas. It put in place a zero-tolerance policy towards child labour…The company also held a forum with villagers and NGOs to hear the concerns…And it reached further financial settlements with other affected village families, although not all families accepted the compensation deal offered…

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Company response
1 May 2014

Response by Phnom Penh Sugar: re alleged involvement in land grabs & other abuses

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Article
23 January 2014

ANZ ethics under scrutiny over Cambodian sugar plantation loan

Author: Richard Baker & Nick McKenzie, Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)

...ANZ is financing a Cambodian sugar plantation that has involved child labour, military-backed land grabs, forced evictions and food shortages. ANZ's support of the Phnom Penh Sugar Company's plantation is disclosed in confidential audits that reveal the project is beset by a series of social and environmental problems. The revelation raises serious questions over the bank's due diligence process and its compliance with a global ethical banking code it is a signatory to, as well as its own policies. Senior ANZ executives…met representatives of the more than 1000 families forcibly removed from their homes….An ANZ spokesman said...the bank was monitoring the situation in Cambodia and had...requested PP Sugar to engage with affected communities in order to resolve problems…[refers to ANZ Royal, Intl. Environmental Management]

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Article
23 January 2014

ANZ monitors Cambodian sugar client accused of human rights abuses

Author: ABC New (Australia)

ANZ says it is carefully monitoring the situation at a Cambodian sugar plantation linked to child labour, forced evictions and land grabs backed by the military…The bank says it has…asked the sugar company to hold direct talks with community leaders…"Where impacts are identified that are not consistent with ANZ's policies, our aim is to be a positive force for engagement and for change," the bank said. "Where we have found that a client does not meet our environmental and social standards and they are not willing to adapt their practices, ANZ has declined funding or exited the relationship." [refers to ANZ Royal, Phnom Penh Sugar]

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Article
23 January 2014

Phnom Penh Sugar responds to questions [Cambodia]

Author: Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)

…The allegations are not accurate and have greatly oversimplified the actual process. The land in question was hardly developed and without an apparent community before we have obtained the rights for the plantation…When the protests got feistier and violent, our properties were practically burnt down to the ground. That was when a security unit was called in, not by us but the local provincial authority…Fingerprints of the local folks, upon receiving the compensations, prove that they are satisfied with the arrangements…It is too much of a fantasy to figure that people needed to be fed, or they would starve to death. It may be true in certain parts of Africa but not in Cambodia…Any direct application of child labour, previously put in force by the families themselves, is strictly prohibited and stopped. However, we can't transform long tradition of families tagging along their under-age children…

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