Illovo Sugar Africa - Illovo Group Guidelines on Land and Land Rights

Illovo Group Guidelines on Land and Land Rights

    1. In line with the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) and the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGP), Illovo is committed to respecting internationally recognised human rights and has adopted policies and practices to protect against human rights abuses, including land rights. These are encapsulated in the Illovo Group Code of Conduct and Business Ethics (“Code of Conduct”), which is available on our website at
    2. In terms of our Strategic Intent, we aim to be welcomed in the communities in which we operate, without whose support our businesses would not be sustainable. As the leading manufacturer and supplier of sugar and downstream products in Africa, we are cognisant of the impact that our businesses have on the local communities, and the need to enrich these communities through job creation and poverty alleviation.
    3. These guidelines complement our Strategic Intent and Code of Conduct, underpinning our approach to land and land rights in the areas in which we operate.
    4. We require that all our businesses, as well as those of our suppliers, contractors, service providers, representatives and other persons contracting with us (“Suppliers”), are conducted in a manner that is socially responsible and reflects sound environmental, social and governance practices, and comply with the principles set out in our Code of Conduct.
    5. We are also committed to conducting businesses in compliance with local legislative frameworks and internationally accepted best practice standards, recognising in particular, the rights to land and natural resources of the communities in the areas in which we operate, and who may be impacted by our business activities.
    1. The Illovo Group adopts a zero tolerance approach to land grabs and requires that all its Suppliers do likewise.
    2. Recognising that there is growing pressure on land, leaving local communities vulnerable, we acknowledge our responsibility to take action and to use our influence to protect the land rights of the communities in the areas in which we operate.
    3. We endeavour to ensure that impacts on the land and livelihood of local communities resulting from our activities, and those of our Suppliers, are minimised and that any unavoidable impacts are managed for the mutual benefit of all stakeholders in an effective and timely manner.
    4. Mechanisms to achieve this objective include:-
      1. assessing the social, economic and environmental impact of our activities to ensure that our projects and other business activities are in line with, and are assessed according to, accepted international standards;
      2. stakeholder engagement with local communities and public authorities on matters affecting their land ownership and land use rights;
      3. implementing and providing technical and facilitating financial support to local communities, farmers and small grower schemes, in collaboration with reputable non-governmental organisations, development organisations and banks; and
      4. initiating and actively participating in programmes for the redistribution of land to previously disadvantaged communities.
    5. We have implemented a process to identify, and on an on-going basis we will continue to assess, through stakeholder engagement and other mechanisms, any negative impacts on land and land rights in the areas in which we operate.
    6. Where appropriate, we will endeavour to mediate or otherwise attempt to assist in the resolution of disputes involving competing land rights claims between the local communities and/or between local communities and local government.
    7. In relation to small grower development and other projects involving the development of local farm land, we will carry out a due diligence investigation in relation to land rights in order to identify any competing land claims, or other land rights issues, and will seek to address these insofar as possible.
    8. Since the bulk of our raw material (sugar cane) comes from the land surrounding our factories, we are mindful of the need to implement sustainable farming practices, both in relation to our own operations and those of the growers who supply sugar cane to our factories. Programmes are implemented by our operations to embed these sustainable farming practices. In addition, we collaborate with organisations and private sector initiatives which focus on food security, biodiversity and responsible land practices.
    1. Historically, Illovo has not engaged in agricultural land acquisitions. Our business practices seek to avoid the transfer of land rights away from local communities and national governments and we prioritise alternative models of investment, such as the development of small grower farming operations in the areas in which we operate, rather than acquiring their land for our own development.
    2. We are guided by the UNGC principle that, before buying, renting, acquiring or otherwise accessing land or property, it is necessary to ensure that all affected owners and users of the relevant land or property have been adequately consulted and compensated.
    3. Accordingly, in relation to any green-field or other project involving land acquisitions we will conduct detailed environmental and social impact assessments, engage with all affected stakeholders, and as a first priority, avoid the displacement of any persons from the land, or where displacement cannot be avoided, ensure that the free, prior and informed consent of all the affected persons is obtained and that the appropriate and agreed compensation is paid.
    4. Likewise, any leases of agricultural land from members of the local community will only be concluded with the free, prior and informed consent of all the affected persons.
    1. Working with stakeholders, including local and national government agencies and NGO’s in the countries in which we operate, we will promote the adoption of responsible land rights practices (including those of the UNGC and the UN Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security) in our countries of operation.
    2. Stakeholder engagement with local communities and other stakeholders must be conducted in a structured and culturally appropriate manner, taking into account the risks and impacts, the issues involved, the language preferences of the people affected and their decision-making processes as well as the needs of disadvantaged and vulnerable groups.
    3. We will consult with the local communities in which we operate in relation to any new project or major changes in our operations which may adversely impact upon them.
    4. The stakeholder engagement process must be free from external manipulation, interference, coercion and intimidation.
    5. Reputable grievance reporting mechanisms (such as Deloitte Tip-Offs Anonymous) are implemented to receive and facilitate the resolution of concerns and grievances in an efficient and timely manner.
    1. In line with our Code of Conduct, Illovo adheres to the principles of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) in relation to our dealings with our local communities. This requirement extends to our Suppliers, who are also required to adopt a similar approach throughout their supply chains.
    2. The implementation of FPIC in our business practices includes:-
      1. transparency when contracting with local communities;
      2. resolution of disputes involving land use or ownership rights via the existing company grievance mechanisms or other voluntary processes; and
      3. an enhanced awareness creation drive to encourage communities to use existing communication channels to raise issues or disputes (eg, Deloitte Tip-Offs Anonymous and internal channels).
    1. In order to qualify as a supplier of goods and services to the Illovo Group, all Suppliers are required to commit to adherence to the principles of Illovo’s Code of Conduct.
    2. We also seek to promote awareness of the principles in our Code of Conduct amongst our other stakeholders, including the farmers who supply sugar cane to our factories, inter alia, by:-
      1. publishing, and where applicable, providing training on our Code of Conduct and human rights related guidelines;
      2. collaboration with internal and external stakeholders, encouraging them to adopt complementary practices and sustainable solutions;
      3. contractual undertakings from our Suppliers to adhere to the principles in our Code of Conduct;
      4. implementing monitoring and assurance processes, including assessments which require disclosure of the extent of our Suppliers’ adherence to the UNGC principles; and
      5. working with Suppliers to align sustainability goals and practices in accordance with internationally recognised standards and, where applicable, setting joint targets.
    3. We will not source goods and services from business enterprises that are involved in human rights abuses.
    4. We will be vigilant in assessing Suppliers operating in countries where land tenure security cannot be assured, or where there is poor land governance, and will prioritise these for human rights due diligence assessments.
    1. Our businesses are required to conduct periodic assessments to monitor environmental, social and human rights risks and impacts in relation to their own operations as well as those of their Suppliers. In particular, these assessments must be carried out prior to embarking on any new projects.
    2. These assessments will also address compliance with internationally accepted standards and relevant country laws and include the measuring and monitoring of key risks and impacts on employees, local communities, the natural environment, land rights and land conflicts.
    3. The participation of affected communities will be sought in relation to any assessment process, and in order to facilitate the process, the appropriate assessment documentation will be made readily available to the affected people.
    4. Where appropriate, management, training and guidance programmes will be provided to our supply chain (especially to small grower operations), to educate and provide guidance on the implementation of internationally accepted business practices (including those related to land, the environment and the effects of climate change).
    5. Our assessments, which will become more comprehensive in a phased process, will be implemented, inter alia, through:-
      1. a detailed analysis of our business practices against the requirements of the UNGC principles, conducting a gap analysis across all our operations, and implementing the appropriate remedial measures; and
      2. assessments of our Suppliers’ business practices, and where they are found to be non-compliant, implementing a remedial process where this is possible, or where this is not possible, terminating the business relationship.
    6. In addition, we will engage reputable and independent third party experts to carry out socio-economic assessments and assurance processes on the social, economic and environmental aspects of our businesses, including factors relating to human rights impacts. Where these action plans involve the local communities and/or other stakeholders, they will be consulted.
    7. The results of our monitoring, assessment processes and action plans will be made available on the Illovo website and in our integrated annual reports.
    1. Illovo reserves the right to verify compliance with our Code of Conduct by its Suppliers. Where a review or audit demonstrates shortcomings, or if Illovo becomes aware of any act or omission in breach of our Code of Conduct, Illovo reserves the right either to request that corrective actions be taken, or to terminate its agreement with the Supplier concerned.
    2. Non-compliance with these guidelines may be reported through local grower forums and other communication and engagement structures, or directly to the Illovo Group Managing Director, or via the group’s independent tip-off reporting processes managed by Deloitte Tip-Offs Anonymous at 0800 455 686, email: or Freepost KZN 138, Umhlanga Rocks 4320.