Palm Oil Giant GAR Needs to Step Up Efforts on Social, Environmental Commitments

Press release - November 13, 2014
Given growing public concern about the impact of deforestation on the climate, wildlife and forest communities, scores of international consumer companies have commitments to use deforestation-free palm oil. Producer companies such as Golden Agri Resources that wish to take advantage of this new market must move faster to make good on their promises, according to Greenpeace spokesperson Wirendro Sumargo.

GAR, the world’s second-largest palm oil company and the first to commit to a comprehensive Forest Conservation Policy (FCP) back in 2011, announced Q3 results yesterday. However, unresolved social and environmental issues show that the company needs to step up the speed and quality of its FCP implementation.

“A Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) complaint lodged last month by Forest Peoples Programme shows that GAR is struggling with implementation of basic social safeguards in its Indonesian operations. Failure to ensure the proper implementation of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) as a tool for the recognition of customary lands is a cause for serious concern. Greenpeace strongly encourages GAR to deal with the crucial issues outlined in the RSPO complaint. Beyond that, it needs to more rapidly and fully implement its Forest Conservation Policy,” said Wirendro in Jakarta today.

In Liberia, GAR also faces unresolved RSPO complaints against Golden Veroleum Liberia (GVL), in which GAR holds a commanding share. GVL needs to strenghten significantly FPIC implementation to address current social conflicts and divisions between communities, and prevent further problems.

Besides its own concessions, GAR sources fresh fruit bunches and crude palm oil from third parties for milling and refining at its own facilities. In February this year GAR announced that its FCP would also apply to this supply from third parties. However a report released this week by the Rainforest Action Network on threats to Sumatra's internationally significant Leuser Ecosystem shows that GAR is exposed to the risk of sourcing from suppliers linked to the destruction of the forests and peatlands in the Leuser Ecosystem, critical habitat for Sumatran tigers, orang-utans, rhinos, sunbears and other endangered species.

“Greenpeace urges GAR to respond to these serious reports as a matter of urgency. The company must take immediate action to ensure that no palm oil connected to either social conflict or environmental damage is entering its supply chain. GAR needs to make public its action plan outlining clearly how its third party supply chain from areas such as the unique and irreplaceable Leuser Ecosystem will be kept deforestation free,” Wirendro said.

Media Contact:

Wirendro Sumargo, Forest Campaigner, Greenpeace Indonesia. mob: +62811 1111 934

Igor O'Neill, Media contact for Greenpeace Indonesia Forest Campaign. mob +62 811 1923 721