Sustainable Development Institute (SDI) and Milieudefensie researched Golden Veroleum Liberia (GVL)’s compliance with three social contracts or Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with local communities in 2014. On the basis of these MoU’s, Numopoh, Tartweh-Drapoh, and Nitrian communities provided GVL with access to their customary lands for the development of palm oil plantations. In return, agreements stated that the communities would receive benefits, including jobs, training, education, health care, a healthy environment and opportunities to develop their own farms.
GVL is controlled by Singapore stock listed Golden Agri-Resources. Both companies are members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and publicly pride themselves on their sustainability credentials. Yet, GVL’s operations in Liberia have been anything but sustainable. Since 2012, communities have raised numerous formal complaints and grievances regarding the company’s sustained environmental and human rights abuses. After seven years of signing the MoU’s, it is time for the company to fulfill its promises.