The palm oil industry’s sustainability certifier has for the first time been asked to review allegations that one of its member companies paid bribes to cover up the improper use of protected forest land in Indonesia—a case that highlights the difficulties facing multinationals whose supply chains rely on the widely used vegetable oil.
The bribery and land-use claims against Golden Agri-Resources Ltd., one of Indonesia’s largest palm oil producers and a supplier in recent years to Kellogg Co., Unilever PLC, Nestlé SA and others, is under review by the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil, an organization comprising producers, buyers and environmental groups.
The complaint that the Roundtable published Thursday was filed by the U.K.-based human rights organization Forest Peoples Programme and U.S.-based Elk Hills Research. The groups used public records and satellite imagery to examine deforestation on Golden Agri plantations and encroachment on protected areas.
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