FMO, the Dutch development bank, has been implicated in human rights violations stemming around its financial support of palm oil company Feronia.
The results, which came via a Human Rights Watch study, claims that the Congo based plantations underpay workers, expose them to toxic materials, as well as contaminated water. The study comes after a year of investigation, which also implicates 3 other such development banks.
Financially, the study claims that the 7,000+ plantation workers are paid an average of 1.08 euros per day (1/3 less than the World Bank imposed absolute minimum). Healthwise, numerous opportunities for chemical exposure have been uncovered including inadequate protective clothing when combatting weeds with pesticides and the lack of properly disposed of chemical waste. Of course, this does not even mention the environmental detriment caused by the plantations, including the contamination of the Congo River.
Of the 3 development banks, FMO is partly subsidized by the Dutch government and is meant to invest in companies located in developing countries. On the issue, Feronia director Xavier de Carniére says, “the waste has no environmental effects. The opposite is true, it works well as fertilizer on the plantations.”