Illovo Sugar Africa said on Friday it had collaborated with land rights non-governmental organisation Landesa and the UK Department for International Development (DFID) to help the company implement its land rights policies and commitments.
In a statement, it said the joint project had culminated in the creation of Landesa’s new LandAssess tool using Illovo’s operations in Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania as the backdrop for its development and testing.
Illovo said Landesa, which works with governments, civil society, and businesses to develop pro-poor and gender-sensitive laws, policies and programmes to strengthen land rights for rural farming communities, was a key partner in the company's African land rights journey, as was DFID which funded the project.
Landesa developed the tool – a risk assessment and management instrument - to help companies conduct land rights due diligence and monitoring specifically for agricultural projects. While the tool currently focuses on agricultural issues, it can also provide important guidance to other sectors as well.
"While many companies make commitments to better recognise and respect land rights throughout their supply chains, some still struggle with how to implement those commitments," Illovo said.
"The LandAssess tool guides companies through a series of questions to measure whether they have carried out specific actions that demonstrate compliance with best practices for responsible land-based investment."
The tool uses a set of checklists to assess the company’s performance, such as policy and capacity assessment; legal, administrative and institutional review; impact assessments; consultation and engagement; contracting and agreements; grievances and feedback; encroachment and land-use change.
Illovo Sugar is Africa’s biggest sugar producer and has extensive agricultural and manufacturing operations in six countries on the continent.
It produces raw and refined sugar for local, regional African, European Union, US and world markets.