Indonesia palm oil traders are failing land and environmental defenders
Global Witness | 9 December 2020

Indonesia palm oil traders are failing land and environmental defenders
Our new investigation uncovers how two major US commodity traders – ADM and Bunge – are failing to ensure that the hundreds of Indonesian palm oil mills they source from in Indonesia are free from abuse against land and environmental defenders.
This failure to identify and prevent human rights abuses and conflict in their supply chains means that consumers may unknowingly be buying conflict-tainted palm oil in products shipped around the globe from some of the world’s biggest brands such as Nestlé and Unilever.
Download the full report Trading Risks: How ADM & Bunge are failing Land & Environmental Defenders in Indonesia
Key Findings
ADM and Bunge are failing to ensure compliance with national laws and international standards, as well as their own policies.
Palm oil's links to environmental and human rights abuses
Palm oil is big business in Indonesia. It is the country’s most valuable agricultural export, and Indonesia is the largest palm oil exporter in the world. But the industry has historically been tainted by abuse, from deforestation to pollution and violations of community rights.
Land and environmental defenders – those communities and individuals that take a stand against the unjust, discriminatory, corrupt or damaging exploitation of natural resources and the environment – have often faced violent reprisals for their work in opposing palm oil expansion.
Indonesia is one of the deadliest countries in Southeast Asia for land and environmental defenders, with at least 12 defenders killed there since 2015.
Under international standards, global agribusiness companies have a clear responsibility to monitor and address the human rights and land rights abuses in their supply chains. Yet our investigation shows that neither ADM nor Bunge have sufficient checks or mitigation processes in place to ensure the mills they source from are free from these harmful impacts on local communities.
ADM rejected Global Witness’ evidence base and our analysis of their due-diligence process. However, ADM investigated all mills identified in this report as linked to land and human rights abuses. ADM replied to Global Witness that it would be monitoring 9 mills identified in our report, and continuing investigations on a further 36 mills. It closed investigations or otherwise declined to investigate the remaining mills.
Bunge acknowledged that the alleged incidents were in Bunge’s indirect supply and reiterated that the company includes credible instances of human rights violations in its grievance list for engagement.
Both traders have palm oil supply chain links to major global buyers, ultimately implicating some of the world’s biggest brands such as Nestlé and Unilever, among others, in these abuses.
ADM and Bunge should:
The Indonesian government should:
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Source: Global Witness

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