ANZ monitors Cambodian sugar client accused of human rights abuses

ANZ says it is carefully monitoring the situation at a Cambodian sugar plantation linked to child labour, forced evictions and land grabs backed by the military.

The Financial Review is reporting that ANZ’s Cambodian joint-venture, ANZ Royal Bank, is financing the Phnom Penh Sugar plantation in Cambodia, which has been plagued by social and environmental troubles.

In a statement, ANZ says senior executives of the ANZ Royal Bank met members of the local community and not-for-profit association Inclusive Development last weekend to hear their concerns.

The bank says it has since asked the sugar company to hold direct talks with community leaders.

ANZ says it does review its clients’ social and environmental impact assessments and sometimes appoints technical experts to provide advice on specific issues.

“Where impacts are identified that are not consistent with ANZ’s policies, our aim is to be a positive force for engagement and for change,” the bank said.

“Where we have found that a client does not meet our environmental and social standards and they are not willing to adapt their practices, ANZ has declined funding or exited the relationship.”

ANZ also says that not all banks, particularly in Asia, engage in such a way on environmental and social issues.

It says it is continuing to monitor the situation in Cambodia closely.