Golden Agri-Resources (GAR) has again been ranked as an Achiever in Global Child Forum’s latest Corporate Sector and Children’s Rights Benchmark study of 250 of the largest companies in Southeast Asia. GAR’s score improved to 7 out of 10 from 5.9 previously. Using publicly available data, Global Child Forum, in collaboration with Boston Consulting Group, assessed how companies implement children’s rights, and sustainability governance. The regional study covered six countries, eight sectors and assesses companies against 27 indicators.
Global Child Forum’s assessment acknowledges that GAR has developed and implemented policies and practices that address its impact on children’s rights. GAR’s score put it above the industry average score of 4.8.
“Safeguarding children’s rights is a central principle in our company as we strive towards becoming an ever-more responsible agri-business. We firmly believe that children need to be protected and nurtured to achieve their full potential, and our policies and initiatives for children especially in education and healthcare are geared towards this,” said Jesslyne Widjaja, Executive Director and Chair of GAR’s Sustainability Committee.
GAR scored highest in having policies; implementation structures; and carrying out reporting and actions both in its own workplace and its supply chain. In recent years, GAR has stepped up engagement with its suppliers on the issue of children’s rights, beginning with raising awareness and training on the prohibition of child labour in the palm oil sector. GAR is also working with suppliers to help them design better needs-based CSR initiatives for communities including children, based on Social Impact Assessments.
GAR itself has a long history of providing various programmes and projects designed to reduce the risk of child labour and improve child welfare and development. In particular, GAR believes that education is key to breaking the poverty cycle and improving the lives of future generations and supports educational facilities for children who live in and around all its estates.
Currently, GAR supports over 280 schools which employ more than 2,100 teachers and is attended by over 40,000 students. Free education is provided for employees’ children. Free bus services for schoolchildren are also available and the company donates books and learning materials to thousands of recipients annually. GAR also provides USD2.4 million in annual scholarships.
Aside from schools, GAR also provides day care centres for workers’ children to ensure that parents have somewhere safe to send their children and do not feel the need to take their children to work with them. This helps reduce the risk of child labour.
Other community programmes focused on children include providing free vaccinations and programmes on child health and nutrition to over 8,600 beneficiaries last year. GAR has also constructed over 36 Rumah Pintar or Smart Houses since 2011. These serve as community resource and training centres focussing on early child education and women’s educational programmes.
About Golden Agri-Resources Ltd (GAR)
GAR is one of the leading palm oil plantation companies with a total planted area of 499,770 hectares (including plasma smallholders) as at 30 September 2020, located in Indonesia. It has integrated operations focused on the production of palm-based edible oil and fat. Founded in 1996, GAR was listed on the Singapore Exchange in 1999 and has a market capitalisation of US$1.3 billion as at 30 September 2020. Flambo International Limited, an investment company, is currently GAR’s largest shareholder, with a 50.52 percent stake.
GAR has several subsidiaries, including PT SMART Tbk which was listed on the Indonesia Stock Exchange in 1992. GAR is focused on responsible palm oil production. In Indonesia, its primary activities include cultivating and harvesting of oil palm trees; processing of fresh fruit bunch into crude palm oil (CPO) and palm kernel; refining CPO into value-added products such as cooking oil, margarine, shortening, biodiesel and oleo-chemicals; as well as merchandising palm products throughout the world. It also has operations in China and India including a deep-sea port, oilseed crushing plant, production capabilities for refined edible oil products as well as other food products such as noodles.
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