Global economy is focused on unbridled consumerism based on the products manufactured by multinationals. Several times it was emphasized that it is possible thanks to the exploitation of the labor force in countries where workers’ rights are a mere utopia and where big companies can do what they want outside of controls.

The prove comes from Amnesty International report titled “The largest palm oil scandal: human rights violations behind the best-known brands”. Amnesty International attacked Wilmar (160 plants in 20 countries and 60 thousand workers who produce palm oil to multinationals present in over 50 countries), accusing this company of exploiting child labor: it comes to children aged 8 to 14 years forced to work in plantations in Sumatra and Kalimantan. But that’s not enough: women are subject to an exploitation to the limit of slavery (up to 12 hours a day of hard work to receive a fee of $ 2.5 per day, below the national average). Even work environment is under accuse: quite often workers are not protected against pesticides as the “paraquat” widely used in plantations.

And all this without a word from multinationals (as AFAMSA, ADM, Colgate-Palmolive, Elevance, Kellogg’s, Nestlé, Procter & Gamble, Reckitt Benckiser and Unilever) which buy this product from giant Indochinese firm.

Wilmar has tried to defend itself by invoking the RSPO-Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, a non profit organization established in 2004 after the scandal on oil from palm, which brings together stakeholders in the supply chain palm oil – environmental NGOs, social or development of palm oil producers, traders or refiners, manufacturers of consumer goods, retailers, banks and investors – to develop and implement global standards for the production of palm oil (http://www.rspo.org/members/88/Wilmar-International-Limited).

But RSPO talked about said “the existence of serious problems related to the protection of workers and human rights in the world of intensive agriculture sector. The no exception production of palm oil in this sense. These problems are more obvious in contexts characterized by poverty, poor law and the presence of gaps in the law, as pointed out by Amnesty, which make more difficult the challenge of making agriculture, and in particular the production of palm oil, really a task sustainable”.
“Companies are turning a blind eye to the exploitation of workers in their supply chain. Despite ensure consumers the contrary, continue to benefit from the terrible human rights abuses. Our conclusions should shock all those consumers who think of making an ethical choice by purchasing products stating the use of sustainable palm oil, “said Meghna Abraham Amnesty International.

Why they do this? The reason emerges from their annual budgets: last year, these companies, ended up in the crosshairs of Amnesty International, declared suitable for more than 300 billion dollars. Dirty money obtained also thanks to the low cost of semi-finished and materials purchased by exploiting women and children.


C.Alessandro Mauceri

https://www.amnesty.org


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