Responding to issues
At FMO, we listen to the topics and concerns of our stakeholders, and seek to respond to them fully.
At the end of 2010, a local Argentinian newspaper accused our
Argentinian client Nidera of "slavery practices". This article was
later translated and published in a major Dutch newspaper,
ultimately triggering questions in the Dutch parliament.
When we were first notified of this news article in December of 2010 we agreed with our client to hire an independent environmental and social consultant to investigate the matter. The investigations lead to the conclusion that there was no evidence of slavery practices nor other human rights violations. However there were some other elements which could be improved in accordance with the local context, since the working fields are often far away from any kind of normal habitation and are thus not connected to the main grid of common facilities. Most of the points were already identified at the time of contracting and were in the agreed social and environmental action plan which was set in progress earlier, but not yet finalized. Since then, Nidera has allocated more resources, both financial and human, together with an external consultancy, in order to accelerate the implementation of the action plan, including ISO certification of industrial plants.
During the process we thoroughly investigated the situation both personally and through our local partners. We held constructive talks with the client, banks and diverse civil society organizations. When we found the accusations to be groundless, we also sought contact with the newspaper and the Member of Parliament who had tabled the questions, to clarify the situation.