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Company Response

9 Aug 2015

Feronia (DRC)

Feronia response

Feronia is making a huge difference to people’s lives in one of the world’s poorest places. Over 3500 people now have jobs in a region where there are no other employment opportunities. Not only are there jobs but Feronia provides access to schools, hospitals and infrastructure for our workers and the community. We’re...making improvements to the way we operate and to the conditions facing our people and the local community. Feronia’s management has a policy of transparency...Whilst we believe that Grain.org’s over-arching intention in the work it does is well meaning, we simply do not recognise the criticisms arising from the report...If Feronia had not acquired this business and secured substantial international funding for the rehabilitation of the operation and its social infrastructure, there would be no employment, no medical facilities or professionals, no education, no hope. We are committed to building something that respects the community and our environment and allows people to not only survive but flourish...Since Feronia acquired PHC, shareholders have not taken any money out of the business and have continued to support us in our long-term commitment to improve the living and working environment of our employees and their communities and in our commitment to sustainable agriculture, environmental protection and community inclusion...Allegations of community harassment against Feronia are simply not true...The company has in place a comprehensive reporting system that advises an independent Environmental and Social Governance (“ESG”) committee of any incident of a social, environmental, health and safety or governance nature and these incidents are logged and investigated...Feronia...generally operates on land which is leased from the DRC government by way of over 80 fixed-term  ‘concessions’...Where issues relating to land are expressed by local communities, whether they are legally valid or not, Feronia endeavours to engage with those communities to assist in achieving a fair solution within the bounds of the country’s land laws...We have a massive positive impact on the quality of life of people. Feronia provides all medical care, including, hospitals, nursing staff, drugs and equipment, for its employees. People in local communities also have access to these facilities...Over 95% of PHC’s permanent workers are employed under a Collective Agreement..[that]...stipulates wage levels, hours of work...bonuses and additional benefits such as assistance towards school fees. Additionally, employees receive free healthcare for themselves and their families and...