Guatemala: Cargill & Repsa acknowledge need to prevent abuses related to toxic spill of palm oil; other companies yet to respond

Palm_Oil_Credit_Via_Flickr_Craig_Morey

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8 June 2016

Global palm oil traders acknowledge the need to prevent human rights abuses in Guatemala

Author: Guatemala Human Rights Commission/USA; Friends of the Earth-United States; Rainforest Action Network; Oxfam America & ActionAid USA

…One year after a massive spill of toxic palm oil effluent into Guatemala’s Pasión River that was labeled an ‘ecocide’ by a Guatemalan court, and nine months after the killing of a Guatemalan activist who denounced the spill, social movement groups in Guatemala are still demanding justice, and companies have begun to recognize that such violence and ecocide must not be tolerated. Last week, Cargill, one of the largest purchasers of palm oil from Guatemala, published a statement requiring REPSA, the Guatemalan company that was the defendant in the ecocide case, to take a series of actions to prevent future violence. The same day, REPSA published a “Policy on Non Violence and Intimidation.”…[C]ivil society groups in Guatemala have pursued a series of legal actions and non-violent protests, and a coalition of international advocacy groups…have called on global palm oil giants Wilmar, Cargill, IOI, ADM, AAK and Bunge to publicly denounce the violence, cut ties to REPSA, and take clear steps to address human rights risks in their supply chains. Friday’s statements from Cargill and REPSA are the first visible signs that companies recognize the need to address civil society’s demands…It is too early to tell what repercussions Cargill’s statement may have for the resolution of grievances in Guatemala, or for its palm oil supply, much of which is sold in Europe…

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Author: Repsa

…Nuestra política toma como base la Declaración Universal de Derechos Humanos y los Principios Rectores sobre las Empresas y los Derechos Humanos de Naciones Unidas. REPSA condena el uso de la violencia o la intimidación por parte de cualquier persona relacionada con la empresa y no tolerará ningún tipo de violencia, acoso, amenazas, intimidación y otros comportamientos disruptivos…En los casos en que surjan conflictos vamos a abordarlos de manera pacífica y de forma justa y transparente, respetando los derechos humanos de todos los involucrados…REPSA y sus empleados son responsables de promover un ambiente seguro…También aplica a los empleados fuera de nuestras operaciones cuando se actúe en nombre de REPSA con nuestros grupos de interés o con las comunidades locales…REPSA se compromete a cooperar plenamente con las investigaciones judiciales cuando surjan acusaciones formales de violencia o intimidación en contra de la empresa, sus empleados y contratistas…Invitamos a nuestros grupos de interés a opinar sobre este borrador de política durante los próximos dos meses o hasta el 30 de julio 2016…

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Article
2 June 2016

REPSA & Cargill’s Commitment to Sustainable Palm Oil

Author: Cargill

…In November 2015, in response to reports from Reforestadora de Palmas del Petén, S.A. (REPSA) and other organizations, Cargill changed the terms of its contract with the supplier. Under the new terms, we required REPSA to implement a transparent action plan to meet our standards for business operations. Cargill’s continued sourcing from REPSA will be contingent upon the execution of a corrective action plan with key milestones to be completed over the next six months. Cargill is requiring REPSA to take the following actions:Issue a strong “zero tolerance” policy on violence and intimidation…Strengthen environmental and social protections…Engage local communities and civil society groups…Adhere to local and national laws…Cargill has engaged with REPSA and outlined these necessary actions. We have activated our grievance process and are committed to working with partners across sectors to build a more sustainable and transparent palm industry…

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