India / Tata Tea/CAO Vice President Request
This case relates to labor related aspects of IFC's investment in Amalgamated Plantations Private Limited (APPL), a company which manages tea plantations in the Northeast of India.
The compliance appraisal of IFC's investment in APPL was initiated by the CAO Vice President in May 2012 based on unresolved concerns submitted by the International Union of Food Workers (IUF) to IFC's Communication Portal for Performance Standard 2 (PS2). Concerns in relation to the investment were triggered by incidents on two APPL plantations in 2009/10 which led to disputes with unions representing APPL workers.
CAO concluded its appraisal of the case in January 2013. Having held discussions with the IFC team and reviewed relevant documentation, CAO has questions as to the extent of implementation of IFC's policies and procedures, in particular requirements to:
• conduct an Environmental and Social (E&S) review that is “commensurate with the level of social and environmental risks” of the project (Policy on Social and Environmental Sustainability, 2006, para. 13);
• assess whether the client's E&S Assessment meets the requirements of PS1, and if not request that the client undertake additional assessment(s) (Sustainability Policy, 2006, para 17);
• identify any gaps between the client's assessment, the Performance Standards in the Environmental and Social Review Summary (ESRS), and where gaps exist, develop an Environmental and Social Action Plan (ESAP) to close these gaps (E&S Review Procedure, 2006, para. 3.2.12);
• ensure that Annual Monitoring Reports (AMRs) provide adequate information to assess the client's performance against the requirements of the investment agreement and the Performance Standards; and that
• follow up to ensure that the root causes of serious incidents are being investigated and appropriate corrective action is taken to prevent reoccurrence (E&S Review Procedure, 2009, para 6.2.8).
At a more general level, CAO finds that this case demonstrates challenges in the assessment and supervision of PS2 risks that emerge from the nature of the relationships between an IFC client, its workers and the unions that represent them. Thus, in accordance with its Operational Guidelines, CAO will develop Terms of Reference for a compliance audit with regard to the following issues:
• whether IFC exercised due diligence in its review and supervision of the PS2 risks attached to the Project;
• whether IFC policies, procedures and staffing structures provide a robust framework for the advancement of the objectives of PS2 in its clients; and
• whether IFC policies and procedures provide sufficient guidance to staff on how to respond effectively to complaints regarding clients' E&S performance.
While CAO has assumed for the purposes of the current appraisal that the E&S review process should have been conducted under IFC's 2006 Sustainability Framework, this question will remain open as part of the compliance audit.
The Terms of Reference for the audit are in preparation. CAO's appraisal report is available in English at the link below. CAO has another case open under its Ombudsman function related to IFC's involvement in APPL. Details of that case (India/Tata Tea-01/Assam) can be found through the link at the bottom of this page.
- Project Name & Number
- Tata Tea 25074
- Amalgamated Plantations Private Limited (APPL)
- South Asia
- Environmental Category
- $7.87m Equity
- Under Appraisal: Completed
- Under Audit: In Process