CORE, and NGOs REDRESS, Kituo Cha Sheria and the African Coalition for Corporate Accountability, have written to Unilever CEO Paul Polman to express their concern with how Unilever is handling a case brought by tea workers in Kenya who suffered horrific abuses under their watch. Unilever UK argue that they have very little to do with their Kenyan subsidiary, and therefore were not responsible for the safety of its plantation workers. The case is due to go to trial at the Court of Appeal 24-26th April.
Under the leadership of CEO Paul Polman, Unilever has been an enthusiastic (and very public) advocate for business and human rights standards. Yet this does not sit easily with their attempt in this case to hide behind its corporate structure in order to avoid legal responsibility to these victims of serious human rights abuses seeking redress in UK courts. The letter therefore urges CEO Paul Polman to reconsider Unilever’s litigation strategy in this case to bring it into line with the company’s own rhetoric.
You can read the letter here.