Rabobank, Bumitama Agri Group (BGA) and the NGOs Friends of the Earth Europe and Friends of the Earth Netherlands/Milieudefensie
Lead NCPNetherlands
Supporting NCP(s)None Selected
DescriptionSpecific instance notified by the NGOs Friends of the Earth Europe and Friends of the Earth Netherlands/Milieudefensie regarding the activities of Rabobank and its business relationship with Bumitama Agri Group (BGA) operating in Indonesia.
Theme(s)General policies, Human rights
Date27 Jun 2014
Host country(ies)Indonesia
Industry sectorFinancial and insurance activities

Read the initial assessment - 16 December 2014

Read the final statement issued by the Netherlands NCP - 15 January 2016

On 27 June 2014, the Dutch NCP received a submission from the NGOs Friends of the Earth Europe and Friends of the Earth Netherlands/Milieudefensie alleging that Rabobank, a large financial institution, did not observe the Guidelines in Indonesia through its business relationship with Bumitama Agri Group (BGA). 

Specifically, the NGOs alleged that Rabobank had not taken the appropriate steps to prevent or mitigate alleged negative impacts related to the activity of their business partner, the Bumitama Agri Group (BGA), a palm plantation company in Indonesia, partially funded by Rabobank.

On 16 December 2014, the NCP issued its initial assessment accepting the submission for further examination and offering its good offices, which both parties accepted.

The NCP held joint meetings between September 2014 and June 2015, and two separate meetings with each party in July and August to set the dialogue procedure.

In its final statement published on 15 January 2016 concluding the specific instance, the NCP:

  • Acknowledges that Rabobank is a member of the Round table for Responsible Palm Oil (RSPO) but also highlights that financial institutions have a responsibility of their own to exercise individual leverage to seek to prevent or mitigate the impact of their business conduct and to increase their leverage if necessary with regard to their own clients;
  • Is of the opinion that disengagement of financial institutions that adhere to the RSPO principles will in general not benefit the goal of sustainability;
  • Believes that Rabobank must aspire to maximum transparency and consistency in its engagement in the light of the Guidelines, and recommends that Rabobank devote more attention to this in its policy and procedures;
  • Encourages financial institutions to actively take part in due diligence initiatives in the financial sector and in the industry and emphasizes the value of a constructive multi-stakeholder approach.

The NCP invited the parties to an evaluation dialogue at the beginning of 2017, to which both parties agreed to participate.