US-based agribusiness giant Cargill has suspended business with a major Guatemalan palm oil supplier accused of human rights violations and environmental degradation, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported on 31 December.
The newspaper said Cargill suspended business with Reforestadora de Palmas del Petén SA (REPSA) in late November and would not enter into any new purchase contracts until the firm could meet the requirements of its sustainable palm oil policy.
Singapore-based Wilmar International had also put purchases from REPSA “on hold”.
Cargill's review of REPSA began after the September 2015 shooting death of a man who had spoken out about millions of fish dying due to effluent discharged into a river from a REPSA palm oil operation, the Star Tribune said. REPSA denied any involvement. A Guatemalan judge ordered REPSA to shut down the plantation for six months, but a higher Guatemalan court overturned the order.
Cargill has said it would reassess its “business relationship” with REPSA if the supplier showed a renewed commitment to its sustainability goals.