Afternoon Coffee: Palm oil, labor abuse, top brands; Do you have a 360-degree view of your suppliers?; JPMorgan Chase to pay $920M settlement in metals price manipulation

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In a recent Associated Press investigative report, palm oil labor abuses were linked to some of the world’s top brands and banks. In more than 130 interviews of current or former workers at two dozen palm oil companies in eight countries, almost all had complaints about their treatment.

Palm oil is used everywhere these days. From foods to paints to cosmetics brands, the oil is easy to make and has become the most-consumed vegetable oil. The report found that Asian banks are the most robust financiers of the plantations, but Western lenders and investment companies spent nearly $12 billion on palm oil plantations in the last five years.

Companies like BNY Mellon, Charles Schwab Corp., Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, State Farm, Deutsche Bank and even some government pensions are all reported to be heavy investors and users of the palm oil industry. The article said the biggest gains for banks affiliated with palm oil come from big-ticket financial services like corporate loans. However, some of the banks also offer banking services for workers.

“And this is where banks, such as Maybank, may find themselves at the heart of a forced-labor problem,” Duncan Jepson, managing director of a global anti-trafficking nonprofit, told the Associated Press. “Financial institutions have ethical and contractual obligations to all their clients, as set out in the customer charters. In this case, that means both the palm oil company and its workers.”

Jaggaer to host procurement innovation webinar with panel led by Spend Matters’ Magnus Bergfors

One week from today, Spend Matters’ lead analyst Magnus Bergfors will lead a panel discussion covering how professionals can have a 360-degree view of suppliers.

As part of a Jaggaer webinar series, Bergfors will be joined at 10 a.m. Eastern Oct. 6 by Heiko Schwarz, a founder and managing director of riskmethods, and Emily Rakowski, the chief marketing officer at EcoVadis. They’ll address solutions for minimizing contract risk, the threats of future economic disruption, and how corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability can impact overall risk.

The supplier panel is part of a Jaggaer four-part webinar series. Other topics covered during the series will be the evolution of supplier relationships and the importance of supplier diversity programs. The series will run from October through December. Other keynote speakers include Patrick Connaughton of Gartner, Duncan Jones of Forrester, and Chris Sawchuk of The Hackett Group.

Register for the Oct. 6 supplier webinar here.

JPMorgan Chase OKs $920 million settlement over precious-metals, Treasury markets misconduct

JPMorgan Chase made a settlement Tuesday where it will pay $920 million and admit misconduct tied to manipulation of precious-metals and Treasury markets, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The settlement resolves investigations by the Justice Department, Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission. The fine sets a record as the largest ever imposed for spoofing — a type of market manipulation — by the CFTC, according to the article. The goal of spoofing is to move market prices in a way that financially benefits the trader’s preexisting positions in the market, according to CNBC.

Three plaintiffs accused JPMorgan of manipulating the silver futures market from 2010 through 2011 with spoofing trades. They claimed they lost tens of millions of dollars as a result of the actions of the JPMorgan traders, CNBC reported. After failing to make it far in courts, federal prosecutors charged Michael Nowak, Gregg Smith and Christopher Jordan of JPMorgan with participating in a racketeering conspiracy in connection with a scheme to manipulate markets and defraud customers, along with other crimes related to alleged spoofing, CNBC reported.

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