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GAR Response to AP reports of abuse against women in the palm oil sector


Allegations of sexual harassment and assault in parts of the palm oil industry, as reported by AP, are deeply concerning, according to Golden Agri-Resources (GAR).

GAR employs more than 30,000 women directly, and indirectly supports the livelihoods of thousands more.

“The behaviour described in the articles is not acceptable. I am ashamed to think that this could occur in our sector. We are better than this. If you have evidence of this kind of harassment come forward, use the hotlines and grievance channels so that you can be heard. What is awful for you, our female workers, is also bad for us, the industry as a whole,” said Anita Neville, Senior Vice President, Group Corporate Communications.

The GAR Social and Environmental Policy sets out clear commitments to creating an equal employment opportunity workplace, and the company has a range of policies and measures to support and empower women in its business and the community.

Examples include:

  • Gender committees on more than 100 estates to provide a vehicle for women to raise, discuss and address issues, including the raising of grievances;
  • Confidential hotlines and grievance procedures to allow reporting of inappropriate behaviour or harassment;
  • Support for breastfeeding and working mothers, through the provision of pumping rooms for breastfeeding mothers who have returned to work, early childcare facilities, and access to free education for children.
  • In September 2020, more than 70 Human Resources and Sustainability staff participated in an internal socialisation event featuring Ibu Zaki (Wasingatu Zakiyah), gender advisor on Market Transformation for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (MTRE) Project at UNDP.
  • GAR has signed up to be a member of Indonesia Business Coalition for Women Empowerment (IBCWE).
  • GAR is currently taking part in Child Care Facilities Studied jointly sponsored by PROSPERA (Indonesia and Australia economic collaboration programme) and IBCWE to help women employees in their work.
  • 506 women have benefitted from skills training and increased household incomes from projects implemented as part of our Peat Rehabilitation Project in PT AMNL in West Kalimantan.

Jesslyne Widjaja, Executive Director of GAR, said: “Golden Agri-Resources does not claim to be perfect in relation to workplace harassment. No company or industry sector can. We remain committed to continuous improvement, and that starts with acknowledging that to eliminate sexual and other harassment and discrimination from the workplace we need to provide avenues for grievances to be raised and to hear and act on them appropriately and with compassion.”

Allegations of harassment must be properly reported and investigated, with empathy, not dismissed or hidden. We must encourage those with evidence of this kind of harassment to come forward, use the hotlines and grievance channels so they may be heard.

Editor’s Note: Helpline number +62 (0)88 1111 8000

For more information, please contact:
Anita Neville
Senior Vice President, Group Corporate Communications
anita.neville@goldenagri.com.sg

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