Italian confectionary giant Ferrero has announced that they will stop sourcing palm oil from the Sime Darby Plantation Sdn. Bhd. Reportedly, the decision came after the U.S customs service found that the local company used forced labour.
In regards to this, Ferrero, which uses palm oil in its products such as the Nutella chocolate spread and also the all-time favourite Ferrero Rocher chocolates, spoke to Reuters, “We will comply with the U.S Customs and Border Protection’s decision,” NST reported. They have also asked for their global suppliers to stop supplying palm oil and kernel oil from Sime Darby.
Labour practices across the Southeast Asian country have come under scrutiny in the past two years, the international news outlet further reported. So far, it was also revealed that the U.S. authorities have tracked down around six companies, including Sime Darby, under suspicion of forced labour services.
The supply of palm oil from Sime Darby is relatively little. Still, Ferrero’s decision is considered a huge “reputational blow” to both the company and also the country. As per NST, Malaysia has been facing mounting allegations of labour abuses of migrant workers in various industries. Prior to Ferrero, three other companies, namely Cargill Inc, Hershey Co, and General Mills Inc, have also taken similar steps last year.
Speaking to Reuters, Sime Darby revealed that it has taken steps in the area of human rights. Not only that, the company has also reassured all the stakeholders of their commitment and leadership in the industry. They then stated that Ferrero is not included in the list of their “customers”.
Apart from Ferrero Rocher and Nutella, Ferrero is also well-known among the public for its other products including Kinder Bueno, Kinder Joy and also Tic Tac.
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