SANDAKAN: Wilmar International Limited is among the top global achievers to create a positive impact on children’s rights recognised in an independent report published by the Swedish Non-Profit Foundation, Global Child Forum (GCF).
Wilmar scored 7.4 out of 10 in the GCF 2019 global benchmark study titled “The State of Children’s Rights and Business: From Promise to Practice”, surpassing the industry and overall company average score of 5.6.
A GCF report in September 2018, “Corporate Responses to Protecting Children’s Rights in Southeast Asia”, had previously assessed Wilmar as the best performing company in Southeast Asia for protecting children’s rights.
According to Cajsa Wiking, Secretary General of GCF, “We are encouraged to see Wilmar make such great strides; doubling their benchmark score since 2014 and addressing children’s rights and their well-being in their operations and communities.”
“The 2019 benchmark report, ‘The State of Children’s Rights and Business 2019’, demonstrates that companies are starting to understand the specificity of children’s rights issues within a corporate context and want to make a positive difference,” she further added.
The 2019 GCF benchmark report represents the most extensive assessment of the private sector’s performance in integrating children’s rights into their operations as well as their relations with communities. The release of the report is also in conjunction with the 30th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
In June 2019, Wilmar, together with major companies including Colgate Palmolive, Nestlé, Procter & Gamble and PepsiCo, among others, entered into collaboration with Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) to deliver a specific programme to protect the rights of children living in oil palm plantations. The programme, which will run until the end of 2020, will publish a manual on Child Protection and Safeguarding Implementation by December 2019.
Jeremy Goon, Chief Sustainability Officer of Wilmar, said, “We have a deep understanding and appreciation that prioritising our employees is critical to a responsible and sustainable business. There are over 12,000 children who live in our plantations with their parents, and it is important to us that they are provided with the safeguards and protection of their rights to education and a secure childhood. We believe that thriving children equals thriving families, and this in turn creates a stable and healthy environment for our employees.”
He further added, “It is an honour to be recognised for our efforts in protecting children’s rights, and this will encourage us to remain steadfast to our sustainability commitments.”
Wilmar was also named the winner for the ‘Human Rights and Labour Initiative’ category at the inaugural Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) Excellence Awards at the recent 2019 RSPO Roundtable conference in Bangkok held from November 3-6.
Wilmar was recognised for its comprehensive company-wide programme that covers a wide range of human rights and labour initiatives, which included promoting women’s rights, protecting the rights of children in oil palm plantations, and strengthening the rights and welfare of workers in oil palm plantations.
Wilmar International Limited, founded in 1991 and headquartered in Singapore, is today Asia’s leading agribusiness group. Wilmar is ranked amongst the largest listed companies by market capitalisation on the Singapore Exchange. Wilmar’s business activities include oil palm cultivation, oilseed crushing, edible oils refining, sugar milling and refining, manufacturing of consumer products, specialty fats, oleochemicals, biodiesel and fertilisers as well as flour and rice milling.
In Malaysia, Wilmar operates six mills in Sabah, and two mills in Sarawak with 75,878 hectares under the subsidiary of PPB Oil Palms Bhd.