Helping People Thrive

Our Commitments

We are committed to helping people thrive and ensuring their well-being.

One of our central commitments is to respect, support and uphold the fundamental human rights of those in and around our operations. These commitments have been inked in our Human Rights Charter (HRC), the core values of our business, and is governed by our Code of Business Conduct and Group Policies and Authorities.

Our HRC also provides the scope of our commitments and clear guidelines on how to approach human rights issues within our operations. We review and update our HRC periodically to reflect our progress and welcome constructive feedback.

SD Guthrie commits to all Fundamental and Core International Labour Organization (ILO) Conventions. We also adhere to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. We proactively report our human rights progress through our UK Modern Slavery Act Statement.

Due to our complex supply chains, we are faced with human rights challenges. We see these as opportunities to continue identifying areas where we can create positive change. We do this in partnership with other like-minded organisations and experts who share our beliefs and have pledged to protect human rights. The outcomes from our due diligence programmes have allowed us to prioritise our efforts in areas where human rights risks exist and have the most severe impact on people and our business.

Our Approach To Due Diligence

Our Human Rights Due Diligence programme is guided by the United Nations Guiding Principles (UNGP) on Business and Human Rights. We endeavour to meet internationally recognised standards and practices, including the International Bill of Human Rights and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, International Labour Organisation core labour standards and relevant industry standards and protocols. We adopted these principles and standards, as we believe it is the best way to run our business.

We began our programme in 2016 by partnering with SHIFT, a leading expert on the UNGP on Business and Human Rights. Together, we worked on a business learning programme that included an assessment of human rights impacts in our operations.

Through the partnership, we conducted structured assessments in almost 50% of our operations (specifically in Malaysia and Indonesia) and have identified pertinent issues through our Human Rights Heat Map. Given the breadth of our operations, we recognised the need to improve our approach to mitigate risks through a prioritised methodology that is unique to the people in locations we operate in. Our phased approach considers the likelihood of issues occurring, the severity of the impact on people, and our operations' landscapes.

We also monitor prevalent issues within the oil palm industry to understand areas where a more industry-wide approach to mitigation is required.

Our human rights heat map helps us prioritise risks based on their severity and likelihood. This assessment supports our dialogue with estate managers in prioritising and addressing issues in our plantations.

The Progress of Human Rights Due Diligence Work in Our Operations

In December 2020, the United States Customs and Border Protection (US CBP) imposed a Withhold Release Order (WRO) on palm oil produced in our Malaysian operations. As part of our effort to address the WRO, we are currently working with Impactt, an ethical trade consultancy organisation, to conduct an independent evaluation of labour practices in our Upstream Malaysia operations. We are also working with Andy Hall, a human rights activist, to review and improve our foreign worker recruitment processes.


In 2021, we implemented a more robust Human Rights governance structure. We monitor and verify the implementation of human rights policies, guidelines and initiatives within our operations through a working group that comprises representatives from various key functions – namely Finance, Sustainability, Human Resources, Upstream operations, Communications, Legal, Governance, Assurance & Compliance (GAC), and Risk Management, Corporate Services. This working group is also made up of operating functions responsible for implementing various improvements and initiatives.

The Chief Finance Officer chairs this Working Group and reports to the Steering Committee made up of the members of the Plantation Leadership Committee (Senior Management). The Steering Committee reports directly to the Board's Sustainability Committee.

Our Initiatives