Nestlé has announced a collaboration with Sime Darby Plantation (SDP) to pilot a project that it says will help eliminate human and labor rights abuses in their shared palm oil supply chain in Malaysia.
Using solution developer ELEVATE’s cutting-edge Laborlink mobile worker survey platform, workers will be able to report on working conditions, recruitment, safety and other labor issues.
Co-developed with the Responsible Business Alliance, the robust helpline is the first of its kind in the palm oil sector and it builds on previous work in the manufacturing sector in Malaysia.
The mobile worker survey platform also aims to assess actual and potential human rights risk, deliver mitigation plans and track effectiveness of actions taken.
Nestlé says technology-enabled communication channels will allow workers to voice their concerns through ‘channels that are most appropriate for them’. These channels include SMS, Facebook Messenger or a toll-free number accessible seven days a week during peak call times, with after-hours messaging options.
Workers’ issues will then be handled via clear protocols with consistent attention to follow-up and resolution of issues. The objective is to significantly reduce the risk of human and labor rights abuses by giving workers an opportunity to report issues directly to trained helpline officers, Nestlé says.
Magdi Batato, Nestlé executive vice president, head of operations, said: "This initiative marks another milestone in the implementation of the Nestlé action plan on labor rights in palm oil. We are very clear that human and labor rights abuses have no place in Nestlé’s supply chain. This is why we are committed to tackling this issue and helping drive positive change in the palm oil sector."
"We are working alongside other stakeholders including suppliers and we believe these ongoing efforts will help improve the lives of those affected by unacceptable practices," he added.
Earlier this year, The Danish Institute of Human Rights and The Forest Trust published the industry’s first collaborative assessment report looking at identifying labor and human rights impacts in Nestlé’s direct and indirect palm oil supply chain in Indonesia.
The assessment was conducted with support from Nestlé and one of its main suppliers Golden Agri-Resources (GAR). Following the assessment, Nestlé developed its labor rights action plan for palm oil.