Wilmar International
A worker harvests palm fruit at a plantation in Indonesia's north Sumatra province. Reuters

The world's biggest palm oil processor Wilmar International has launched fresh policies to enhance the welfare of children living in oil palm plantations.

Wilmar was targeted in an Amnesty International probe last year which found children as young as eight were working in "hazardous" conditions on plantations run by the Singapore-based firm and its suppliers in Indonesia, according to a Reuters report.

Wilmar launched a child protection policy last week to upgrade and improve access to schools in and around its palm oil estates.

"The policy will be implemented throughout Wilmar's global operations, including its joint ventures, third-party suppliers and contractors, making it the first Child Protection Policy in the palm oil industry that explicitly applies to external parties," it said in a statement.

In this regard, Wilmar said it embarked on a School Redevelopment Programme, wherein all 15 schools in and around Wilmar's oil palm estates in Indonesia will be upgraded and will undergo redevelopment works.

"This will benefit between 6,500 and 7,000 children in pre-primary school through to secondary school annually," the company said.

The Amnesty investigation also alleged other labour abuses, including working long hours for low pay without adequate safety equipment. It found at least nine global consumer companies were sourcing from these Indonesian plantations, as per Reuters report.