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Weekly Update - 7 October 2015

Lead Story

Palm oil spotlight

Indonesia: "Sumatra Burning" - documentary alleges increased palm oil production & related deforestation fires have led to serious social & environmental harms 

Coconuts Singapore

  • local alleged impacts include: pollution, respiratory problems, deaths & displacements 
  • deforestation also cited as "major contributor to climate change" globally
  • we invited Golden Agri-Resources, Musim Mas, Sime Darby, Wilmar to respond; responses provided
Liberia: Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil hands down decision relating to community complaints against Golden Veroleum

In Profile Daily (Liberia); Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil; Al Jazeera

  • decision says company must take steps to seek free, prior & informed consent, "right of communities to say ‘no’ must be respected"
  • also makes recommendations on land rights, transparency, security & intimidation
  • statement by Golden Veroleum provided - welcomes RSPO decision
  • also provided: Al Jazeera report on causes & aftermath of May 2016 riot at company's plantation

(Photo credit: Aidenvironment CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons)
Asia & Pacific
Europe & Central Asia
Middle East & North Africa
From us

From Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
Companies take stand to support more compassionate response to refugee crisis in Europe
  • statements by Aviva, Bosch, BMW, Daimler, Deutsche Telekom, FC Bayern, OMV, SAP, ThyssenKrupp, Vodafone
  • if your company would like to make a statement in support of refugees please contact
Latest additions to our "Debate the Treaty" blog series:  
  • victims' voices must be heard in treaty process, says Tchenna Maso, Movement of People Affected by Dams (Movimento de Atingidos por Barragens)
Blog: Etsy, B Corporations and Tax Avoidance

Elizabeth Umlas, Lecturer, University of Fribourg (Switzerland) 

"Inside Exxon’s Great Climate Cover-Up" - investigative report accuses ExxonMobil of blocking climate action despite its own research confirming role of fossil fuels in climate change decades ago

Inside Climate News; DemocracyNow!

  • we invited ExxonMobil to respond; response provided
93 companies sign letter committing to address environmental & societal challenges of climate change

Paul Polman, Unilever & John Bryant, Kellogg Company (on behalf of 93 company signatories)

US Dept. of Labor releases its 2014 "Findings on the Worst Form of Child Labor"
  • mobile app released to put information on "global child labor in the palm of your hand"
"In work but trapped in poverty: A summary of five studies conducted by Oxfam, with updates on progress along the road to a living wage"
"Chains of Abuse: The Global Diamond Supply Chain and the Case of the Central African Republic"

Amnesty Intl.

  • examines diamond trade's contribution to conflict in CAR, abuses in artisanal mining sector, tax abuse
  • report includes responses by Badica, Kardiam, Sodiam
So. Africa: Bread for All rejoinder disputes Vitol's claim that it does not have leverage to influence Coal of Africa (CoAL) re its alleged negative social & environmental impacts
  • we invited Vitol to respond; response provided
  • also available in German
Liberia: Community attributes contamination of water & crops to pollution by Chinese Intl. Construction Company (CICO) - article includes company comments

New Dawn (Liberia)

US Govt., states & BP settle for USD 20 billion over Deepwater Horizon oil disaster 

Guardian (UK); NPR; (USA)

Unions concerned over alleged death threats against Prosegur union members & unsafe working conditions in Colombia, Chile & Peru


  • we invited Prosegur to respond; we will indicate in a future Update whether it does or not
"Deaths of four anti-mining protesters a catastrophic consequence of Peru’s weakened environmental safeguards", says Global Witness

Mexico: IndustriALL calls on Bata to drop subsidiary's criminal charges against workers protesting closure of shoe factory


  • we invited Bata to respond; response from Calzado Sandak (the subsidiary concerned) provided
Asia & Pacific
Cambodia: H&M suppliers linked to illegal use of short-term fixed-duration contracts

Fair Action; Phnom Penh Post

  • we invited H&M to respond; response provided
Bangladesh: H&M accused of failing to honour its commitments to make fire & building safety repairs

Clean Clothes Campaign, Intl. Labor Rights Forum (ILRF), Maquila Solidarity Network, & Worker Rights Consortium; Financial Times

  • even H&M's best performing factories have failed to make repairs in mandated timeframes
  • H&M's public statement also provided
Consultations on Draft Environmental and Social Framework of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) extended to 23 Oct following NGO pressure over timetable

China: Guangdong Federation of Trade Unions plans to make democratic trade union elections universal within 5 years

China Labour Bulletin

Australia: 7-Eleven accused of running "indentured labour scheme" following reports of workers paying AUD 70,000 for visas

Sydney Morning Herald

  • senior executives & alleged victims to appear at Senate hearing 
  • article includes company comments
Europe & Central Asia
Armenia: Kimprom chemical plant workers protest over alleged unpaid salaries & concerns over dangerous chemicals; article includes company comments

Hetq Online

NGOs urge World Bank to suspend loans to Uzbek Govt. until it stops using forced labour in cotton fields

Walk Free; Cotton Campaign; Intl. Labour Rights Forum (ILRF)

UK: Morrisons joins Lidl in announcing pay rate in excess of govt.'s National Living Wage


Middle East & North Africa
Turkey: Unions file complaint with European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) against Türk Traktör over alleged dismissal of striking workers

Birleşik Metal

  • we invited Türk Traktör to respond; response provided
Egypt: Habi Center demands Suez Cement & LafargeHolcim commit to complying with local & intl. environmental laws over coal use
  • also calls on companies to publish environmental impact assessments & related information re switch from gas to coal
  • we invited Suez Cement (part of Italcementi) & LafargeHolcim to respond; responses provided
Legal experts say CEMEX's position on legality of Israeli settlements is at odds with intl. law 

Dr Shane Darcy, Irish Centre for Human Rights, National University of Ireland Galway; Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights (LPHR); Electronic Intifida

Company responses Non-responses
Public consultation for draft Chinese due diligence guidelines for responsible mineral supply chains - deadline for comments: 31 Oct

Registration open: Multistakeholder consultation on Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights' Accountability and Remedy Project (Geneva, 19-20 Nov)
Forthcoming events:
  • one-day courses on the essentials of ethical trade (London, 8 Sep-15 Dec)
  • workshops for solicitors on business & human rights (UK locations, 9-13 Oct)
  • Oil Justice Project speaker tour (UK locations, 12-23 Oct)
  • panel discussion on implementing the SDGs (Geneva, 16 Oct)
  • "Ethical Trade and Human Rights Forum" (London, 19-20 Oct)
  • "Peoples' Forum on Human Rights and Business 2015" (Nairobi, 26-30 Oct)
Details of these and other events further in the future can be found here.  Please send relevant event information to Alex Janczenia:  
3 Internships at Business & Human Rights Resource Centre - deadline for Research & Projects intern is today

Other current vacancies: Further details and other recently posted jobs available here.  Please send job announcements to Alex Janczenia:  
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