Comment on progress by Golden Agri Resources Ltd in implementing their Forest Conservation Policy

Press release - May 21, 2015
In 2011, after pressure from Greenpeace, customers and other NGOs, GAR announced a Forest Conservation Policy that aims to protect forests and peatlands in its estates. While GAR at the time was the first company to publish such a commitment, at the moment it is seriously falling short in implementation, which is emphasized by the fact that its implementation partner Tropical Forest Trust has now suspended the membership of one of GAR’s subsidiaries, the plantation company PT SMART.

In December 2014 Greenpeace released  'Golden Agri Resources - A progress report' that showed while GAR has made important progress on the development of the HCS Approach, the company still has much work to do to ensure that its palm oil is truly from a responsible source. In that report -- which GAR responded to publicly by saying it took the “constructive” recommendations seriously -- we urged GAR to take immediate action to improve performance. We especially called on the company to implement the Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) process and conflict resolution in its dealings with local communities. Also we urged the company to publish a supply chain policy to ensure that all the palm oil it trades is from responsible sources. At the moment the company is falling behind companies like Wilmar and Cargill, that are taking serious steps to clean up their trade in palm oil.  

Since the launch of the report, however, the company has failed to provide us with a clear action plan on how to resolve most of those issues. Also, from our NGO colleagues and partners we understand that GAR is failing to address critical issues. A serious complaint was submitted by Forest Peoples Program to the RSPO, which subsequently found the company to be in breach of RSPO Principles and Criteria.

We are very disappointed with how the company is currently dealing with the commitments they made when they launched their FCP. In particular we would like to see immediate actions and a clear plan on how the company will ensure the protection of the HCS forests, HCV areas and peatland within the areas they propose to develop, and how they will ensure that their third party suppliers are doing the same.