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Human rights working group

The Human Rights Working Group (HRWG) was established early 2014 and became an official part of the RSPO structure. The work of the HRWG is directly linked to the globally accepted UN Guidelines on Business and Human rights (‘the Ruggie Framework’):

  • The State duty to protect human rights;
  • The business responsibility to respect human rights; and
  • The access to remedy for human rights victims.

The responsibility of businesses to respect human rights in the palm oil sector implies that companies apply due diligence to human rights and develop action plans to avoid human rights violations. It also calls on companies to be pro-active and constructive in the remediation of situations where rights have been abused.

The core mission of HRWG (link to HRWG Terms of Reference) is primarily ensuring the successful implementation of the Principles of the 2013 RSPO Principles & Criteria, that are relevant for the protection and respect of human rights (link to P&C relevant criteria).The HRWG regularly reviews the Criteria and associated Guidance for adequacy, clarity, relevance and meaningfulness, and works to provide all RSPO members with mechanisms to identify, prevent, mitigate and address human rights issues and impacts.

For 2017, the HRWG will focus on the following areas of concern:-

  • It will continue it’s efforts in enhancing the understanding and effective implementation of the Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) process by companies;
  • Improving social auditing mechanisms and practices both at P&C level and related bodies such as the accreditation organizations and certifying bodies;
  • Addressing the rights of plantation workers, both men and women, in order to prevent and mitigate bad practices such as the use of forced labor and child labor, to address the rights of vulnerable groups such as migrant workers and casual workers and to promote living wages, health and safety conditions at the plantation, Freedom of Association etc.

Members of the Human Rights Working Group

Madeleine Brasser
(Oxfam Novib)
Noor Izlin Andrina (Sime Darby Plantation)


Goodhope Asia Holdings Ltd. Agropalma Group Sime Darby Plantation Sdn. Bhd Kuala Lumpur Kepong Berhad Bumitama Agri Ltd.

Processors & Traders

Wilmar International Limited Cargill Incorporated Musim Mas Holdings Pte. Ltd. Fuji Oil Group Bunge Limited

Social NGOs

Oxfam International Forest Peoples Programme Solidaridad Hukatan Stichting CNV Internationaal

Consumer Goods Manufacturers

Mars, Incorporated

Unilever PLC

Kellogg Company

Environmental NGO


Financial Institutions

NN Investment Partners Holdings N.V.

Guide to Free, Prior and Informed Consent for RSPO members