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Article

4 May 2020

Author:
Global Witness

Philippines: Del Monte, Dole, and IFC commit to protect HRDs by reviewing policies and practices in supply chain

"Six Months On: Defending the Philippines," 04 May 2020

...Last year, our report showed how officials branded protesting communities as “terrorists”, activist grandmothers as “economic saboteurs” and environmentalists as “narcos”...

Not only that, our investigation showed how household brands such as Del Monte Philippines and Dole Philippines, and international investors like the International Finance Corporation (IFC), failed in their due-diligence – backing projects opposed by local communities and connected to the intimidation or murder of land and environmental defenders.

Two months after the launch of our investigation, legislators filed a resolution in the Philippines Congress calling for an independent investigation into the ‘staggering number of killings’ of land and environmental defenders in the country, and demanding accountability.

In recent statements, Del Monte Philippines, Dole Philippines and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) outlined positive action taken on the back of our report.

The agribusiness companies acknowledged the need for clear and concrete internal policies to address the issue of reprisals against those speaking out about their projects...

Del Monte Philippines have gone a step further, engaging with civil society organisations as they review their “impact assessment and due diligence processes”, while “identifying areas of no compromise or zero tolerance.” ...

...[T]he IFC confirmed that, following its 2018 Position Statement on Non-Retaliation, the lender is “developing internal protocols and guidance for staff on reprisals screening, prevention, and response”. In December, the IFC launched a new “contextual risk tool” which will be included as part of due diligence processes across all investments. The IFC told Global Witness that the tool includes a “reprisals-specific dimension… to screen for project contexts with high risks of retaliation and violence”.

They also announced the creation of a “Stakeholder Grievance Response team” reporting directly to the CEO, and committed to bring forward new guidance on “stakeholder engagement practices” and to “engage with its clients or other appropriate parties” when reprisals allegations are raised.

The challenge for all three business actors now is to use the next six-months to turn intent into action, including by:

...ensuring transparent consultations with a diverse range of civil society...

...reporting publicly on the implementation of new policies through their operations...

...providing redress for the victims of any abuses and environmental harms associated with their operations...

 

 

 

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