EXCLUSIVE-Ferrero to stop buying palm oil from Sime Darby in Malaysia due to labor issues

KUALA LUMPUR, April 15 (Reuters)Italian confectionery giant Ferrero said it would stop sourcing palm oil from the Sime Darby plantation SIPL.KL after US Customs discovered the Malaysian planter had used forced labor.

“Ferrero will comply with the ruling by US Customs and Border Protection,” Ferrero, which uses palm oil in Ferrero Rocher chocolates and Nutella spread, told Reuters by email.

It said it has asked its global suppliers to stop supplying palm oil and palm kernel oil from Sime Darby.

Although Ferrero buys relatively little edible oil from Sime Darby, its move – following similar shutdowns by Hershey Co HSY.N and General Mills Inc. SIG.N – is another blow to the reputation of Sime Darby and Malaysia, which is facing growing allegations of labor abuses by migrant workers in various industries.

Sime Darby told Reuters it has taken action on human rights and that all of its sustainability stakeholders can be assured of its commitment and leadership in the industry. Ferrero is not a customer, he added.

Ferrero said it does not buy directly from the Malaysian company, which it says supplies 0.25% of its palm oil volumes.

Following a 2020 ruling that pointed to “indicators of forced labor” at Sime Darby, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in January it had sufficient evidence the company’s goods were doing the job. object of a seizure.

The United States says there is sufficient evidence of forced labor at the Sime Darby plantation in Malaysia

US Blocks Sime Darby Palm Oil Imports In Malaysia Over Allegations Of Forced Labor

(Reporting by Mei Mei Chu; Editing by William Mallard)

(([email protected]; +603-2333-8005; Reuters Messaging: @meixchu on Twitter))

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