Producer pledges for palm oil sustainability: IPOP dissolves to no surprise within Indonesia and to some negative international reactions, GAR blog on mapping supply chains

Just to keep an eye on producer pledges. Just to post up a recent announcement from Musim Mas on joining  TFT traceability for now. We will consolidate with links to other older postings subsequently and of course keep an eye out for new announcements. Just as buyers are shifting on sustainability toward traceability, more suppliers joining traceability programs is to be expected given the past pledges made for c.2015 changes and the practical problems of RSPO-type certification which many say still point to limited prospect for large numbers of smallholders and small producers rapidly joining and being certified. Under such circumstances, processor/traders are expected to find traceability an attractive option. Others who are on TFT traceability programs (these are customized B2B solutions) are Wilmar, Golden-Agri/PT SMART, Cargill and Bunge.

7 July 2016: IPOP dissolves to no surprise within Indonesia and to some negative international reactions, GAR blog on mapping supply chains

IPOP disbandment due to two key drivers, says DG  2016-07-03 JAKARTA ( - The Indonesia Palm Oil Pledge (IPOP), a green pledge aimed at creating a deforestation-free palm oil industry in Indonesia, was officially disbanded by its signatories on 1 July 2016. Even though they made no contribution to the presence of new Indonesian government policies, in particular those policies associated with the palm oil expansion moratorium and no-peat development, the now ex-IPOP signatories sought to use these policies as a pretext for their disbandment of IPOP, saying that the main reason for its disbandment is that the government policies have supplanted the purpose of IPOP. IPOP was signed on 24 September 2014, on the sidelines of the UN Climate Summit in New York, by four palm oil business groups that dominate the world’s palm oil supply chain to a significant extent.... “The self-disbandment of IPOP by the ex-IPOP signatories is not really surprising news. Their desire to do this has been plain to see since early July 2015. They’ve also not been involved at all in giving rise to Indonesian government policies such as the palm oil expansion moratorium and no-peat development," Professor San Afri Awang, Director General of Forestry Planology and Environmental Governance at the Environment and Forestry Ministry, told in an interview on Saturday (Jul 2). It should also be noted, he added, that the ex-IPOP signatories had failed to prove or demonstrate any commitment and leadership in cleaning up their supply chains from deforestation while (supposedly) implementing IPOP....Prof San, as President Jokowi calls him, went on to say that the failure and inability of the ex-IPOP signatories to clean up their supply chains from deforestation was the key driver in why steps towards the self-disbandment of IPOP were taken in the first place. “The latest example of this is the failure of the ex-IPOP signatories to clean up their supply chains from deforestation in the Leuser Ecosystem. We didn’t see any monitoring system whatsoever from the ex-IPOP signatories operating on the ground level in the Leuser Ecosystem.” The Director General gave a reminder as to how, by early July 2015, the ex-IPOP signatories were already expressing reservations to the government about the difficulty of implementing IPOP, putting forward various for reasons this, and had already begun to urge the government to dissolve IPOP.....

New haze fears as palm oil firms ditch landmark Indonesia pact Tuesday July 5, 2016 - See more at:

"A Lost Opportunity for Indonesia" RAN Responds to Dissolution of the Indonesian Palm Oil Pledge. San Francisco. Today, Rainforest Action Network responded to the announcement made by six of the world’s largest palm oil companies to dissolve the Indonesian Palm Oil Pledge (IPOP) group, an innovative platform designed to advance the environmental and human rights reforms needed to address the international controversy surrounding the rainforest destruction and labor exploitation associated with Indonesia’s palm oil industry. Gemma Tillack, Agribusiness Campaign Director for Rainforest Action Network issued the following statement. “IPOP was an important mechanism for Indonesian companies to differentiate themselves from their competitors by taking real steps to halt the rampant destruction of forests and peatlands, to end the widespread abuse of workers and address the long-standing conflicts resulting from the displacement of local communities from their lands for industrial scale plantations. IPOP’s dissolution is a disappointing step backward in the urgent fight to achieve truly responsible palm oil and is a major lost opportunity for Indonesia’s palm oil industry to maintain its stake in the global market. “IPOP’s former members, Wilmar, Golden Agri-Resources, Musim Mas, Astra Agro Lestari, Asian Agri and Cargill, must now meet their responsible palm oil promises independently and demonstrate that they intend to follow through on the commitments made to smallholders, local communities, workers and customers across the globe that are demanding fundamental changes in the way the palm oil is produced....

Video Blog : Mapping our supply chain - a palm oil FFB broker's experience - Meet Pak Jondris Pakpahan, a palm oil Fresh Fruit Bunch (FFB) broker from Kandis Village, in central Sumatra. He collects and buys FFB from many different palm oil farmers which he then sells to the Ujung Tanjung mill owned by GAR in Rokan Hilir Regency.

Ministry seals off palm oil concession in Leuser Ecosystem linked to supply chain of top biofuel producers  2016-06-23 -- The sealing off of the PT ABN palm oil concession was done at three locations and witnessed in person by the General Manager of PT ABN. Meanwhile, the ministry's law enforcement team for the Sumatra region was accompanied by officials from the Environment and Forestry Ministry's Aceh office during the sealing off process. There was also a team from Greenomics Indonesia present at the locations where the sealing off took place.... Minister Siti asserted that the Indonesian government, as a buyer of biofuel purchased through a number of suppliers, would certainly have to look into any strong indications of illegal operations taking place in the supply chain of the biofuel supplied to it in the context of meeting Indonesia’s mandatory biofuel target, which has been fixed at 20 percent this year. “If any of the biofuel suppliers bound by contracts to participate in the fulfillment of Indonesi’s mandatory biofuel target are found to be linked at the supply chain level to this PT ABN case, this will of course be cause for deeper investigation. The supply chain involved in meeting Indonesia’s mandatory biofuel target may in no way be associated with any kind of illegal operation. This is a serious problem.”...

12 December 2015: Wilmar in FOE spotlight, Sime Darby and others to test High Carbon Stock study, Rainforest Alliance - Proforest - Daemeter work with Musim Mas. Sabah pledge. Worry about cost to smallholders. Traceability dashboards. RSPO targets and greenwash accusation.

Up in Smoke: Failures in Wilmar’s promise to clean up the palm oil business, 8 December 2015

Sime Darby to test oil palm production scheme Published: 11 December 2015 5:04 PM Major oil palm growers, including Sime Darby Bhd will conduct trials of a sustainable cultivation scheme under the Sustainable Palm Oil Manifesto - See more at: 

Proforest and partners to verify Musim Mas palm oil supply chain 02.10.2015 Musim Mas, one of the world’s leading integrated palm oil businesses, is collaborating with the Consortium of Resource Experts (CORE), comprising Proforest, Rainforest Alliance and Daemeter Consulting, as the company implements their sustainable palm oil sourcing policy.  Musim Mas launched its sustainability policy at the end of 2014 and signed the Indonesian Palm Oil Pledge (IPOP) earlier this year. During 2015 Musim Mas has been working on meeting their traceability commitments, which is one of the first steps towards the implementation of their sustainable palm oil policy....

Sabah To Test High Carbon Stock For Sustainable Oil Palm December 11, 2015   KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 11 (Bernama) -- The Sabah Forestry Department has committed to test the High Carbon Stock plus (HCS+) methodology for sustainable oil palm development in six months following the release of the HCS+ study's findings.  "We are very keen to pursue the offer from the Sabah Forestry Department which indicated that this would be very helpful for them.  "This shows that the state is very committed towards sustainable palm oil and a sustainable economy," said Forum for the Future founder Director Jonathan Porritt.

Sabah's CSPO Pledge Will Improve Smallholders Yields: MPONGOC   KOTA KINABALU, Dec 1 (Bernama) -- Smallholders who lack knowledge and support for good agricultural practices or skills such as negotiating rates for their harvest stand to gain from the Sabah Government's move to fully produce Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) within the next 10 years. The Malaysian Palm Oil NGO Coalition (MPONGOC) said the move will also help secure environmental benefits such as safe water supply and soil conservation, as all producers in Sabah will be both obliged and assisted to meet globally-accepted standards such as those advocated by Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).  "The commitment to help Sabah's smallholders achieve RSPO standards will future-proof their access to top-flight international markets," MPONGOC representative, Cynthia Ong, said in a statement Tuesday.

FGV concerned about cost of certification for smallholders   By Danial Idraki /   | November 18, 2015 KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 18): While Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd (FGV) ( Valuation: 2.00, Fundamental: 1.15) supports the sustainable palm oil certification initiative that is driven by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), it has concerns over who will cover the cost of certification for independent smallholders in the country... .

Malaysia, Indonesia seek 50% CSPO by 2020 by Alexander Winifred November 19, 2015 Malaysia and Indonesia will ensure half of all palm oil produced in both countries is sustainable as the region reels from haze that has cost billions to fight this year. Officials from the 13th Annual Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) said yesterday that burning for land clearing activities has been blamed for one of the worst haze occurrences in recent history in this region. The Indonesian government has estimated that the cost of stopping the fires this year would be around 475 trillion rupiah (RM150 billion)...

Sime Darby launches online dashboard to address deforestation concerns  17 November 2015

RSPO sets new targets for sustainable palm oil By Vaidehi Shah 20 November 2015 - RSPO and palm oil companies have unveiled new sustainability commitments, but said that without strong support from the government, even their best efforts won't make a dent in global sustainability goals. ...

RSPO sets target for M'sia, Indonesia to achieve 50% certified sustainable palm oil by 2020   By Danial Idraki /   | November 18, 2015 : 3:25 PM MYT   KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 18): The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), an international grouping tasked to promote the growth and use of certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO), is targeting a take-up of 50% CSPO by the industry in Malaysia and Indonesia by 2020, as part of its initiative to create gre..

Jurisdictional Certification Important To Develop Sustainable Production Of Palm Oil 19/11/2015
Who watches the watchmen? RSPO’s greenwashing and fraudulent reports exposed  By Chris Lang 17 November 2015

World’s second largest palm oil producer makes sustainability pledge By Simon Pitman+, 18-Nov-2015 Golden Agri-Resources, the world’s second biggest producer of palm oil, has agreed to re-engage with The Forest Trust in an effort to improve its sustainability profile.

Greenwashing? RSPO audits rife with ‘mistakes and fraud,’ report finds 16th November 2015 / Jonathan Vit  An NGO investigation raises serious concerns about the credibility of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil's most fundamental processes.

Malaysia baulks on oil palm maps [KUALA LUMPUR] Malaysia now remains the only country that has yet to resolve its legal position on supplying concession site boundary maps for oil palm plantations — an essential tool for identifying the causes and perpetrators of perennial forest fires and haze.  The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) announced at a press conference (18 November) during its 13th annual meeting in Kuala Lumpur that after months of discussions, it is now clear on its legal position on the supply of concession maps in Indonesia leaving only Malaysia as the only one without maps due to the contentious legal issue related to the Official Secrets Act.

Croda bags Certified Sustainable Palm Oil for its global manufacturing facilities By Simon Pitman+, 09-Nov-2015  With the growing importance on sourcing and processing sustainable palm oil, Croda has fulfilled requirements for all of its manufacturing facilities to comply with industry standards.

Low uptake of sustainable palm oil  7 November 2015... Only half of RSPO-certified palm oil finds a buyer. THERE is a sluggish uptake of sustainable palm oil, and the frequent excuse is that nobody wants to pay the premium. What is the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) response to this?... Bek-Nielsen (who is RSPO co-chair, MPOA): People generally do not like broken promises. Growers are no exception and the growers who committed themselves to the RSPO in many instances feel short-changed. The producers have taken a leap of faith undergoing an herculean task (not without costs) to live up to the standards of sustainable palm oil set in force by a number of stakeholders, amongst them NGOs and multinationals like WWF, Conservation International and Unilever to mention a few....

A new business model for palm oil? The recent haze in Southeast Asia has sparked renewed calls for alternatives to palm oil products. In this interview, Forum for the Future founder Jonathon Porritt tells Eco-Business why the industry - which also provides thousands of livelihoods worldwide - needs a new business model, not boycotts.  By Vaidehi Shah  16 October 2015


20 October 2015: Worry about IPOP, ISPO dilution

Editor's note: Discussion in palm oil circles on the Indonesia-Malaysia cooperation intention and the call to water down IPOP and ISPO to accommodate smallholders (a significant portion without legal land tenure) along with the independent mills and FFB dealers serving these smallholders.

The origins of the cooperation push is the President of Indonesia's office and specialists agree that the traditional bureaucracies of Indonesia and Malaysia are not at the forefront of this new effort. What's different is that it comes with Indonesia impetus, whereas previous bilateral efforts petered out on lack of Indonesia interest. 

Unusually, it also came along with a corporate presence - FGV and Eagle High deal. Interesting in news reports that the Coordinating Maritime Minister of Indonesia being a prominent spokesperson of the palm oil G2G deal. The harmonization of ISPO and MSPO would not be an easy feat - one being mandatory and the other voluntary. And this seems quite mixed up in the apparent pressure on the giant plantations groups at IPOP assuring on buying from the smallholders-independent mills-FFB dealers network. Also, noteworthy is that Pak Dr. Herdradjat (ex Director of Estate Crops at Ministry of Agriculture) takes over Ibu Dr. Rosediana Suharto's role at ISPO quite suddenly.

The issue of "illegal palm oil mills" in Indonesia is surfacing - notably 70 in Riau according to a news report. Question: While the big plantations slow under the sustainability spotlight, who is funding the smallholder push? Illegal mils (by definition independent mills are illegal in Indonesia) and FFB dealers (currently not regulated)? Jakarta experts say that these mills may have a license issued by provincial politicians or Bupati, but lack a national level license. It is notable in ISPO's presentation at PIPOC that it refers to this sector of independent/"illegal" mills. Those concerned about non-certification traceability have been asking what if they trace to illegal sources and what is the basis of their verification?

More here:

News links

New Palm Oil Council Abolishes 'No Deforestation' Pledge  Published 14 October 2015; The production of palm oil has long been criticized by environmentalists, mainly because mass land and forests must be cleared for its production. A new palm oil council is being established in Indonesia and Malaysia to create a joint set of standards for the industry, which will effectively abolish a previous “no deforestation” pledge made by major palm oil companies in the region, Reuters reported Wednesday.  Palm oil companies in Indonesia made the historic pledges at a climate change summit last year. After feeling international pressure to adopt better practices, some of the biggest palm oil companies in the region – including Cargill, Golden Agri-Resources and Wilmar International – signed the Indonesian Palm Oil Pledge. However, according to the Indonesian government these promises are hurting smallholders who cannot afford to adopt to the sustainable practices...

Indonesia to Stop Complying with European Union's Palm Oil Standards  12 October 2015 The Indonesian government will (temporarily) stop using sustainability standards designed by the European Union regarding crude palm oil (CPO). Indonesian Minister of Maritime Affairs Rizal Ramli said the current strict standards of the European Union hurt the domestic palm oil industry, especially smallholders. Moreover, Indonesia and Malaysia, the world's two largest CPO producers and exporters, are to set up a new intergovernmental palm oil council that will design new rules and standards regarding sustainable palm oil production....Last week it was announced that Indonesia and Malaysia agreed to set up the new palm oil council (called the Council of Palm Oil Producer Countries). This council aims to control the global palm oil supply, stabilize CPO prices and promote sustainable practices in the palm oil industry, partly by harmonizing existing standards of Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO) and Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO). Indonesia and Malaysia account for about 85 percent of the world's CPO output. Rizal is confident that demand for Indonesian CPO will not decline due to the moratorium on applying the European Union's palm oil standards. The Indonesian government will lobby the governments of China and India to use the palm oil standards that are to be developed by the Council of Palm Oil Producer Countries (CPOP)....


30 September 2015: Sime Darby's Borneo study on biodiversity in plantation setting, Brazil to collect final tranche of $1 billion payment for protecting Amazon

World's largest ecological study aims to make palm oil wildlife-friendly - A new palm oil plantation in Borneo, Malaysia, is being used by researchers to study ways of retaining endangered wildlife, including the orangutan Tuesday 29 September 2015 14.03 BST  by Tom Levitt; .... On average, just 15% of the species recorded in primary forest are found in oil palm plantations. But what if these forest fragments were expanded or redesigned to encourage more species to survive and migrate through palm oil landscapes? For the past five years, Ewers has been leading a study called the Safe project to answer this question. With a team of researchers on the island of Borneo, Malaysia – one of the most biodiverse regions in the world – he is studying the impact of different types and sizes of forest fragments on wildlife populations. With the support of a major palm oil company, Malaysia-based Sime Darby, which Ewers says has no involvement in the study, the researchers have been given exclusive access to a forest site being cleared for palm oil conversion. They are assessing the impact of different types of forest fragments, including continuous patches of forest, so-called wildlife corridors, that allow wildlife to move in and out of plantations....

Norway to complete $1 billion payment to Brazil for protecting Amazon by Green Business  |  Tue Sep 15, 2015 9:52am EDT Norway will make a final $100-million payment to Brazil this year to complete a $1-billion project that rewards a slowdown in forest loss in the Amazon basin, Norway's Environment Ministry said on Tuesday. Brazil had more than achieved a goal of reducing the rate of deforestation by 75 percent, the condition for the payments under an agreement for 2008-15 meant to protect the forest and slow climate change, it said. The remaining cash would be paid before a U.N. summit on climate change in Paris in December, the ministry said. Since 2008, Norway has paid about $900 million to Brazil's Amazon Fund.  "Brazil has established what has become a model for other national climate change funds," Norwegian Environment Minister Tine Sundtoft said in a statement......

13 September 2015: Felda denies WSJ report on workers’ abuse, hiring illegals, pick-up in Indonesia and Brazil deforestation post 2013,  RSPO reports only 10 fire hotspots occurred in RSPO-certified [land] compared to over 2,000 total fire hotspots in six months to 2 Sept

Trees covering an area twice the size of Portugal lost in 2014, study finds - Palm oil plantations are devouring forests rapidly worldwide, with west Africa becoming the new hot spot for tree loss, Wednesday 2 September 2015 04.00 BST; Data reveals that tree loss in Brazil and Indonesia is on the rise again – by 16% and 30% respectively since 2013 – despite longer term downward trends..

Data streams from dozens of sources help companies measure the risk of deforestation in their supply chains by Stacy Collett By Stacy Collett   Computerworld | Sep 2, 2015 3:30 AM PT; Today, about a dozen of the largest commodity traders and buyers in the world use the app.  The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) uses the tool for its alert and fire monitoring system to track fires and deforestation activity.  "Companies who are certified by RSPO had far fewer fire alerts" on their land, says Sanath Kumaran, head of impacts for RSPO in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. "During the last six months, only 10 fire hotspots occurred in RSPO-certified [land] compared to over 2,000 total fire hotspots in all other oil palm [land]."...

Felda denies WSJ report on workers’ abuse, hiring illegals Published: 28 August 2015 9:17 PM; Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd (FGV) has investigated allegations of human rights abuses raised by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) and clarified that it did not employ illegal immigrants. In a statement, it said a special taskforce was assembled and chaired by its group president and chief executive officer, Datuk Mohd Emir Mavani Abdullah, to investigate the allegations and reiterated that all its workers were employed in full compliance of all regulations and laws. - See more at:

21 July 2015: Sabah affirms 100% RSPO-certified by 2025 plan - Sabah Forestry Department director Sam Mannan

Note: It would be useful to know what RSPO policy adaptations relate to a state-wide adoption of RSPO standards

Sabah - 100% RSPO-certified palm oil by 2025, KUALA LUMPUR, July 20, 2015; Sabah aims to produce 100% Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certified palm oil by 2025 – which would make it the first sub-national or state entity to fully commit to producing 100% RSPO certified palm oil..... State officials look to overcome these challenges to differentiate Sabah’s palm oil from other producers, especially given the rise in the number of companies that have adopted social and environmental safeguards for palm oil sourcing. “Both global demand and downstream industries will increasingly pull the supply chain for certified sustainable palm oil and Sabah must act to be ahead of the curve,” said Sabah Forestry Department director Sam Mannan. “With time, large competitors will inevitably outpace Sabah’s total output of palm oil. But with certification, Sabah can build itself as a niche producer of a branded good certified palm oil, and compete on the basis of governance and not size.” Studies have also suggested that the value of such certification efforts would provide dividends beyond public relations value by shifting adopters toward more efficient practices and bringing supply chains in line.... Cynthia Ong, director at Forever Sabah, an initiative that aims to fundamentally shift Sabah’s economy from resource extraction to sustainable enterprises, said: “Research shows that productivity of producers, especially smallholders, can increase dramatically after certification, allowing Sabah to gain in yield while also making conservation gains.”...

14 July 2015: First Resources goes with TFT / Greenpeace HCS Approach, promises not to develop forest with more than 35 tC/ha; Sept 2014 Bumitama shift and Manifesto 5's moratorium

First Resources the latest palm oil giant to announce zero-deforestation commitment by  Philip Jacobson  July 03, 2015; Palm oil giant First Resources has committed to eliminate deforestation and rights abuses from its supply chain, making it the industry's first company operating primarily at the grower level to do so. The policy, announced on Wednesday, is the latest in a wave of sustainability commitments from corporations that produce, trade and use palm oil.  First Resources' policy was designed in conjunction with a coalition of environmental groups, including Switzerland-headquartered The Forest Trust (TFT), whose founder, Scott Poynton, argues that companies must move beyond certification schemes for timber and agricultural commodities.....Where the RSPO does not ban all deforestation, for example, First Resources has prohibited the destruction of high carbon stock (HCS) forest. (The term, defined as containing more than 35 tons of carbon per hectare, generally applies to any forest more robust than shrubland.) The RSPO forbids clearance of high conservation value (HCV) forest but makes no mention of HCS. Glenn Hurowitz, a campaigner formerly with Forest Heroes, which also worked with First Resources, said the company deserves credit for responding to concerns raised by civil society....

Major Indonesian Palm Oil Grower Announces New Direction on Conserving Forests and Peat Posted by Glenn Hurowitz 4hc on September 13, 2014 Statement from Forest Heroes Campaign Chairman Glenn Hurowitz on Major Indonesian Palm Oil Grower Announces New Direction on Conserving Forests and Peat Serious Issues Remain, but Conservation Measures Offer a Template for Resolving Other Problems "Today, the supply chain worked. Bumitama’s forest conservation steps mark a breakthrough in which a very large scale Indonesian palm oil supplier publicly announced meaningful steps for forest conservation in response to new No Deforestation policies from major agricultural traders like Wilmar and GAR. The second green revolution is happening before our eyes. Agricultural producers are realizing that they can expand without converting natural ecosystems, upending thousands of years of assumptions about civilization’s growth. “Bumitama Agri announced that it would set aside more than 13,000 hectares of forest and peatland from development, after the results of a pilot study looking at deforestation’s impact on climate change and biodiversity. And they did it because they wanted access to global markets following zero-deforestation commitments from palm oil traders Wilmar and Golden Agri-Resources.  Notably, in its press release, Bumitama also attributed the move to a “response to the changing global trend on sustainability...

The Chain: Five large palm oil producers announce HCS moratorium 19 September 2014 by jbfinkelstein; Five large palm oil producers announce HCS moratorium, but questions remain. Five major palm oil producers – Sime Darby (SIME:MK), Asian Agri, IOI Corporation (IOI:MK), Kuala Lumpur Kepong (KLK:MK), and Musim Mas, – announced today that they would institute a moratorium on clearance of high carbon stock areas while a yearlong industry–sponsored study of what constitutes a forest is underway.... The move potentially signals a move towards a unified approach towards protecting forests in the palm oil industry. This group of growers had previously resisted the “No Deforestation” approach to forest conservation undertaken by Wilmar, GAR, Cargill and others, and instead promulgated a “Sustainable Palm Oil Manifesto” that allowed continued clearing of high carbon stock forests....

27 June 2015:

PT Eagle High Plantations unit in spotlight on forest clearance, Indupalma became the second RSPO-certified company in Colombia, after Daabon, Palm giant Golden Agri renews green push, Conservation grade palm oil? Ruchi Soya inks deal with Solidaridad to scale up sustainable production in India

Palm giant Golden Agri renews green push after criticism on land use JAKARTA, June 17  |  By Michael Taylor Wed Jun 17, 2015 4:25am EDT Singapore-listed palm giant Golden Agri-Resources has renewed its commitment to sustainability to address customer concerns after an international body accused one of its Indonesian subsidiaries of breaching land acquisition rules.

Conservation grade palm oil? Scientists discover how to make sustainable palm oil profitable By Niamh Michail+, 17-Jun-2015; Scientists have found an ‘optimal point’ at which switching to sustainable palm oil production methods actually becomes profitable.

Palm oil giants to investigate company found razing Papuan rainforest; Monday 22 June 2015; Agribusiness giants Cargill and Golden Agri-Resources (GAR) are pledging to investigate a palm oil supplier after an Indonesian environmental group presented evidence of rainforest clearing in New Guinea. On Thursday, Greenomics-Indonesia released a report documenting destruction of forests in South Sorong, a regency in West Papua, Indonesian New Guinea. Greenomics found that PT Varia Mitra Andalan (VMA), a subsidiary of publicly-listed PT Eagle High Plantations Tbk, continued to clear high carbon stock forests through March 2015, potentially putting it in breach of sustainability commitments established last year by Cargill and GAR. Both companies buy significant volumes of product from Eagle High Plantations, according to public disclosures.  The findings led Greenomics to call on the companies to respect their “deforestation-free” sourcing policies. Both companies are signatories of the Indonesian Palm Oil Pledge (IPOP), a corporate commitment to eliminate deforestation from supply chains...

Good agricultural practices gain traction in Colombia 20 June 2015; In May, after in-depth work in understanding and implementing sustainable practices, and thanks to the commitment of the Farmer Support Programme (FSP), Indupalma became the second RSPO-certified company in Colombia, after Daabon. This achievement has motivated other companies from the palm oil sector to continue supporting Colombia in becoming a leader for sustainable agriculture...

Ruchi Soya inks deal with Solidaridad to scale up sustainable production in India 05 June 2015; Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte witnessed the signing of an agreement worth €4.5 million that is intended to reduce India's dependence on imports and save on foreign exchange. Ruchi Soya Industries Limited (Ruchi Soya), India’s number one edible oil and soya foods company, recently inked a deal with Solidaridad. Valued at €4.5 million, the deal was signed in the presence of the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte. Ruchi Soya will share 55% of this investment and Solidaridad the remaining 45%. The project will work on the principle of "Make in India" and "More Crop per Drop".

20 June 2015: Agro Lestari moves with IPOP

Palm oil giant announces deforestation freeze amid NGO campaign by Philip Jacobson  June 12, 2015; Palm oil giant Astra Agro Lestari has announced an immediate moratorium on land clearing, less than a month after the launch of an environmental campaign targeting one of its sister companies, the Mandarin Oriental hotel chain. The prohibition applies to Astra Agro's own plantations as well as to those of its suppliers, according to a statement posted yesterday to the company's website. Astra Agro characterized the freeze as a "major step" toward bringing its operations into line with the standards of the Indonesia Palm Oil Pledge (IPOP), a high-profile, joint sustainability commitment signed by fellow industry titans Wilmar, Cargill, Golden Agri-Resources (GAR), Asian Agri and Musim Mas as well as the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce (Kadin). Forest Heroes, the group that spearheaded the She's Not a Fan campaign against Mandarin – the title is a play off the hotel chain's celebrity-fan endorsement drive – welcomed the announcement...."It's time for GAPKI to become a force for conservation and responsible development, rather than fighting to maintain the old status quo," Forest Heroes chairman Glenn Hurowitz said....

Victory for campaigners as palm oil company vows to stop felling rainforest by  Ian Johnston Saturday 13 June 2015; Astra Agro Lestari (AAL), a subsidiary of the multinational conglomerate Jardine Matheson, announced a moratorium less than a month after The Independent on Sunday highlighted a campaign by pressure groups to make guests of the luxury Mandarin Hotel chain – another Jardine Matheson firm – aware of deforestation by AAL in Indonesia.

17 May 2015: RSPO strengthens its stance with RSPO+ Voluntary Addendum, Wilmar, Musim Mas supplier caught clearing elephant habitat for palm oil in Aceh, To make palm oil 'sustainable' local communities must be in charge Forest Peoples Programme, Multinationals cannot prevent palm oil deforestation on their own - collaboration needed

RSPO strengthens its stance on deforestation and human rights By Niamh Michail+, 07-May-2015; Stricter voluntary guidelines on deforestation, peatland development and indigenous people’s rights will strengthen the sustainable palm oil certification, says the RSPO.

European 100% sustainable palm oil target is realistic, says RSPO By Daisy Phillipson, 14-May-2015 Reaching the goal of 100% Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) in Europe by 2020 is a big challenge with significant barriers, says RSPO, but one that is ultimately achievable with company and national commitments.

Wilmar, Musim Mas supplier caught clearing elephant habitat for palm oil in Aceh by Philip Jacobson May 12, 2015; A new report provides evidence that a supplier of palm oil giants Wilmar and Musim Mas is bulldozing valuable forests in Indonesia’s Leuser Ecosystem in violation of the companies’ zero-deforestation policies.  As of April 30, when the report’s author, policy development institute Greenomics Indonesia, conducted field checks to verify satellite imagery indicating the destruction, a Mopoli Raya Group subsidiary named Aloer Timur was clearing high-carbon stock (HCS) forest across its concession in Leuser, the only place on earth where Sumatran tigers, rhinos, elephants and orangutans still coexist in the wild.  Besides Wilmar and Musim Mas’ own commitments to purge their supply chains of deforestation, Aloer Timur’s activities would also seem to contravene the Indonesia Palm Oil Pledge (IPOP), a high-profile, joint sustainability pact the two firms have entered into along with fellow industry titans Golden Agri-Resources, Asian Agri, Musim Mas and the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin).  Musim Mas is aware of the report and is talking with Mopoli Raya, which has shown a willingness to cooperate, a Musim Mas spokesman told Mongabay.  “We would like to stress that the volume procured from Mopoli Raya is very insignificant to Musim Mas, but immediate discard of them from the supply chain will not provide a solution to protect the Leuser Ecosystem,” the spokesman wrote in an email. “Our strategy is to provide our expertise in sustainable development to our third-party suppliers who lack the skills and resources to achieve sustainable supplies.”;  Link to report:

Hope for palm oil livelihood and yield improvements in West Africa 25 September 2014; Solidaridad's Sustainable West Africa Palm oil Programme (SWAPP) hosted a workshop last week to share its Best Management Practices on palm oil agronomy. The key message from the workshop was one of optimism, namely that: yields in Ghana and West Africa region can reach 15-16 tonnes per hectare on well-managed farms. In other words, BMP holds promise for enhancing both yields and livelihoods. SWAPP, in collaboration with the International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI) and other stakeholders in the oil palm sector, are piloting Best Management Practices (BMP) initiatives in Ghana. Due to the need to supplement a limited domestic supply, the BMP initiative aims to enable farmers to adopt best agronomic practices in order to boost production to meet the huge demand in a country that already currently imports 70,000 tonnes of oil palm.; On Solidaridad: 2014-2015: Solidaridad is launching the Asian Sustainable Palm Oil (ASPO), a multi-stakeholder platform to support and promote sustainable palm oil production and consumption in the main Asian markets of India, China and Indonesia We supported nearly 10,000 palm oil workers and producers and had 71,365 hectares under sustainable management in 2013.

As ADM aims to end deforestation in its supply chain, will soy become the next palm oil? Soy may be next on the no-deforestation hit list, with a significant new corporate commitment from Archer Daniels Midland. Will real change result? by Leigh Stringer A journalist specializing in corporate sustainability, environmental issues and chemical regulation Wednesday 6 May 2015 16.57 BST  In a potentially big win for Latin American rainforests, Archer Daniels Midland, the third largest global supplier of agricultural commodities, has adopted a draft policy to end deforestation across its supply chains. The company is expected to formally announce the new plan at its shareholders meeting Thursday. ADM’s commitment rivals that of palm oil giant Wilmar’s anti-deforestation promise in 2013. This time, the product in question isn’t palm oil, but soybeans. ADM is one of the world’s leading soy traders and a top soy exporter in Latin America, where expanding production is a leading driver of deforestation across the Amazon and the Gran Chaco forest. It’s a pressing problem: Forest Trends, a Washington-based international nonprofit organization, estimates that 50%-70% of soy exports – about 31m tons – have displaced forests in Brazil, Bolivia, Uruguay and Paraguay.  This isn’t ADM’s first agricultural commitment to Brazil. The company abides by both the Brazil Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources’ embargo and the 2006 Brazilian Soy Moratorium (SoyM), a voluntary commitment to avoid trading, acquiring or financing soybeans from areas of the Amazon Biome that were deforested after July 2006. But ADM’s new policy does advance from previous commitments. The centerpiece of the new move is a pilot version of the company’s Responsible Soy Standard, which it is launching with a group of Brazilian growers. Under the program, expert third party inspectors will conduct yearly assessments to determine if growers are adhering to a broad set of social, environmental, legal and agronomic standards. Among other things, th  program will grade farmers on their labor practices, water and soil usage, solid waste management, observance of land rights, legal compliance and fertilizer consumption.

To make palm oil 'sustainable' local communities must be in charge Forest Peoples Programme 14th May 2015; The palm oil industry's repeated failure to keep its promises illustrates why global initiatives to achieve 'sustainable palm oil' must place communities centre-stage, writes FPP. Standard-setters like the RSPO must demand action, enforcement and accountability - not just lofty commitments that inspire hope, but rarely deliver.

Multinationals cannot prevent palm oil deforestation on their own; Individual action, even by major players in the palm oil industry, cannot prevent large-scale destruction of Indonesia’s rainforests. Collaboration is key. Andrew Bovarnick, Samantha Newport and Tomoyuki Uno; The Green Commodities Programme at the UNDP Wednesday 13 May 2015 12.56 BST;    Shortly after taking office last year, Indonesian President Joko Widodo vowed to crack down on deforestation resulting from palm oil expansion. Last month, vice-president Jusuf Kalla called on the international community to partner with Indonesia on investing in green development at The Tropical Landscapes Summit (TLS) in Jakarta. The government has also launched a mandatory certification scheme – the Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO) standard – to legalise and organise production, particularly that of small producers, by providing a legal baseline standard that will complement the voluntary Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) standard. ISPO, like new standards, has to overcome challenges to become robust and credible, but once fully operational has the potential to raise the standards of all growers in the country and have a major positive impact on the sector.  In recent years, a series of commitments and pledges have been made by major companies to cease producing, trading or buying palm oil linked to deforestation and exploitative practices. This is in response to consumers and retailers voicing demands for ethically produced products.  Four major palm oil traders – Wilmar International, Golden Agri Resources (GAR), Asian Agri and Cargill – all adopted zero-deforestation policies last year. These companies were represented at the TLS and all emphasised the need to look beyond their supply chains and address major barriers to producing sustainable palm oil, and the need for government leadership to bring about change.
The recent RSPO announcement to request GAR to stop expansion reflects the challenge faced by leading companies to adhere to sustainable practices and non-deforestation pledges. A large portion of their supply chains consist of a complex web of smallholders, middlemen and third-party suppliers, which makes traceability extremely difficult. Many of these suppliers lack the means to increase productivity, adhere to sustainability standards and even apply for documentation to make themselves legal.  This is why companies and government need to work together to start shifting the sector towards improved legality and sustainability. This is beyond a corporate supply chain initiative and requires intervention at the landscape level. Recognising the value of smallholders - A major reason for this is that these companies realise that a key challenge to address – and for which the participation of all stakeholders is a must – is that of smallholder farmers. They typically farm 25 hectares (61.75 acres) or less but are responsible for farming at least 40% of the total land area planted with oil palm. There is a growing momentum for collaborative and sustained change that can strengthen Indonesia’s economic advantage in the palm oil sector (and, by ripple effect, in other sectors) in an environmentally sustainable way. The Ministry of Agriculture launched the Indonesian Palm Oil Platform (InPOP) last year to bring together stakeholders to tackle the problems head on, together. The Indonesian government should be applauded for opening itself up for such dialogue and cooperation.

4 April 2015: While buyers like ADM start to move on soy sustainability, interesting to note Brazil pesticides issue

ADM Commits to No-Deforestation Policy for Soybeans, Palm Oil  'By'Shruti Date Singh  12:00 AM HKT  April 1, 2015; (Bloomberg) -- Archer-Daniels-Midland Co., a global supplier of agricultural commodities, has pledged to curb deforestation that results from the farming of soybeans and palm trees.  ADM is committing to developing ways to trace crops it processes, make those supply chains transparent and protect forests globally, according to Victoria Podesta, a spokeswoman for the Chicago-based company. The policy “combines a clear commitment to no deforestation with progressive action focused on our most critical supply chains,” Podesta said Monday in an e-mailed statement.  The policy for soy production is the first for that crop.....

Special Report: Why Brazil has a big appetite for banned pesticides LIMOEIRO DO NORTE, Brazil
(Reuters) - The farmers of Brazil have become the world’s top exporters of sugar, orange juice, coffee, beef, poultry and soybeans. They’ve also earned a more dubious distinction: In 2012, Brazil passed the United States as the largest buyer of pesticides. This rapid growth has made Brazil an enticing market for pesticides banned or phased out in richer nations because of health or environmental risks. At least four major pesticide makers – U.S.-based FMC Corp., Denmark’s Cheminova A/S, Helm AG of Germany and Swiss agribusiness giant Syngenta AG – sell products here that are no longer allowed in their domestic markets, a Reuters review of registered pesticides found. Among the compounds widely sold in Brazil: paraquat, which was branded as “highly poisonous” by U.S. regulators. Both Syngenta and Helm are licensed to sell it here....

30 March 2015: Musim Mas with Indonesia Palm Oil Pledge, aims to join POIG

Musim Mas Goes Green With New Palm Oil Pledge By Jakarta Globe on 10:43 pm Mar 29, 2015
Jakarta. Musim Mas, one of Indonesia’s biggest traders in palm oil, has announced that it has joined the Indonesian Palm Oil Pledge, environmental group Greenpeace said in its press release.
The IPOP signatories are a number of progressive Indonesian palm oil companies that have announced they will follow steps to stop deforestation in their own concessions and supply chains.
Together with the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce (Kadin), they are urging the government to introduce strong measures to ensure forest and peatland protection.... “Greenpeace welcomes Musim Mas’s decision to join IPOP, and hopes that the IPOP signatory companies will combine to voice a strong call for conservation to the Indonesian government,” Greenpeace said in the statement.... The next step for IPOP signatories like Musim Mas is to take necessary measures to put their ambitious commitments into practice, Greenpeace said. These companies need to ensure there is no link to forest clearance and peatlands in their supply chains and work closely with suppliers to comply with their commitments.... Musim Mas is also in the process of applying for membership to the Palm Oil Innovation Group, which means it will commit to independent, third-party verification of its compliance with the charter.... In addition, Greenpeace said Musim Mas is to be commended for becoming a member of the High Carbon Stock Approach Steering Group. HCS puts “No Deforestation” into practice, ensuring a practical, transparent, and scientifically credible approach that is widely accepted to implement commitments to halt deforestation in the tropics, while ensuring that the rights, livelihoods and aspirations of local peoples are respected....

14 March 2015: Matt Ridley argues for fossil fuels efficiency shifts not subsidies to wealthy crony capitalists; big palm oil "develops a green conscience" - Bloomberg; in palm oil green standards as in Halal standards - there's a prevalence of multiple standards and customers paying for the higher costs (and some profits on top of this...  some buyers worry)

14 March 2015: Halal standards also shows prevalence of multiple standards and customers paying for the higher costs...  No benefit from single Halal standard, says Brazil poultry body 10-Mar-2015; No cost advantage.. He dismissed the idea that a single standard might allow poultry producers to cut costs, saying that producers simply passed on costs to their customers: "It's not a question of easy or not easy, or more costly or less costly - we just say, if you want us to do this, we will do it. If you want us to improve the Halal controls, have two supervisors instead of one, we will do it, and it will cost you."...; Note:  In palm oil sustainability or other standards as in Halal standards - there's a prevalence of multiple standards and customers paying for the higher costs (and a profit margin on top of cost too, some buyers worry...)

The Saturday Essay: Fossil Fuels Will Save the World (Really) - There are problems with oil, gas and coal, but their benefits for people—and the planet—are beyond dispute By Matt Ridley March 13, 2015 5:33 p.m. ET;.... As for renewable energy, hydroelectric is the biggest and cheapest supplier, but it has the least capacity for expansion. Technologies that tap the energy of waves and tides remain unaffordable and impractical, and most experts think that this won’t change in a hurry. Geothermal is a minor player for now. And bioenergy—that is, wood, ethanol made from corn or sugar cane, or diesel made from palm oil—is proving an ecological disaster: It encourages deforestation and food-price hikes that cause devastation among the world’s poor, and per unit of energy produced, it creates even more carbon dioxide than coal.... We should encourage the switch from coal to gas in the generation of electricity, provide incentives for energy efficiency, get nuclear power back on track and keep developing solar power and electricity storage. We should also invest in research on ways to absorb carbon dioxide from the air, by fertilizing the ocean or fixing it through carbon capture and storage. Those measures all make sense. And there is every reason to promote open-ended research to find some unexpected new energy technology.... The one thing that will not work is the one thing that the environmental movement insists upon: subsidizing wealthy crony capitalists to build low-density, low-output, capital-intensive, land-hungry renewable energy schemes, while telling the poor to give up the dream of getting richer through fossil fuels.... Mr. Ridley is the author of “The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves” and a member of the British House of Lords.

A Palm Oil King Develops a Green Conscience - Wilmar International’s chairman is cleaning up the industry that made him a billionaire  by Yuriy Humberand Ranjeetha Pakiam 2:24 AM HKT  March 13, 2015; The sprawling palm oil industry has long been a destroyer of rain forests and tormentor of endangered species across Southeast Asia, to hear environmental groups tell it. And if one executive embodied this $50 billion business, it was Kuok Khoon Hong, a 65-year-old Singaporean commodities magnate. Known as the palm oil king, Kuok is a member of one of Asia’s most powerful business clans and co-founder and chairman of Wilmar International. These days he is no longer portrayed as a villain by activists and nongovernmental organizations. He’s become central to their campaign to prod the palm oil industry to adopt eco-friendly business practices that may start to slow the environmental damage in the region. “I would consider myself an environmentalist today,” he says. “I changed a few years ago when I saw the damage climate change had on the environment in some countries.”...  Greenpeace videos alleging that palm oil buyers including Unilever and Procter & Gamble contribute to deforestation scored millions of YouTube hits. On an investor call, environmentalists heckled the chief executive officer of Kellogg about buying palm oil from Wilmar. In 2013, Singapore, where Wilmar is based and Kuok lives, was covered in ash from plantation fires tied to the industry..... Wilmar had argued that it was primarily a trading company and didn’t play a direct role in the environmental abuses—and thus couldn’t be expected to police the industry. Nevertheless, it was an attractive target for critics. One activist went on TV to blame Singapore’s ash on Wilmar. “I asked myself what we did wrong for us to be so wrongly accused,” Kuok Khoon Hong says.... Kuok tracked down Hurowitz. Within weeks the former tormentor was in Kuok’s office laying out a plan to change the palm oil industry and eradicate its links to deforestation. Face to face with Kuok, Hurowitz says he found the businessman interested in what he had to say. “He had not been focused on the environmental issues until we started talking,” Hurowitz says. “He deserves enormous credit for being open-minded.”.... The push to clean up palm oil production faces big challenges. It’s a fragmented industry, and not every company has joined the sustainability push. Nor are the initiatives Wilmar and others have signed on to legally binding. Restoring the lost rain forests and animal habitats will take decades.....

Going Green: Can Palm Oil Be Good for the Environment? 9:50 AM HKT  March 13, 2015
Palm oil has widespread uses but the industry's poor reputation is just as prevalent. For years plantation growers sacrificed forests and wildlife to make something found in almost 50 percent of shopping baskets around the world. However, in the face of a rising wave of criticism, change IS coming. Bloomberg's Haslinda Amin has been to Malaysia to see how the industry is attempting to go green. (Source: Bloomberg)

5 March 2015: Greenpeace halts APP deal on allegations of farmer murder

Greenpeace halts APP deal after brutal murder Jon Afrizal, The Jakarta Post, Jambi | Headlines | Tue, March 03 2015, 6:26 AM .box-profile; Environmental group Greenpeace has suspended cooperation with giant Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) as police are trying to prevent further violence after a farmer was allegedly beaten to death in Jambi by guards linked to the company. Bustar Maitar, the head of Greenpeace’s Indonesia forest campaign, told Agence France-Presse on Monday that the group was temporarily withdrawing support for the company’s initiatives on forest conservation.Maitar said support for APP would be suspended until the case was “settled in a transparent and fair manner”

older news on Greenpeace in Indonesia

31 January 2015: Malaysia launches own palm oil standard with RM53 million support fund

Cost, cynicism and frustration: Malaysian government launches own palm oil standard By Annie-Rose Harrison-Dunn+ , 30-Jan-2015; The Malaysian government has launched its own sustainable palm oil certification standard – but will this add to or detract from sustainability and transparency efforts in the sector? ....Unilever: "necessary but not sufficient" .... The commodities minister: "We want our industry to be certified...." and said one of the problems with RSPO was its "moving the goal posts" by continually adding new conditions.... Previously, the government had offered 50m Malaysian Ringgits (EUR 12.17 million) to help smallholders gain RSPO certification, but take up of the scheme had been poor. As a result this budget has been upped by 3m Malaysian ringgits and reallocated to a support fund encouraging producers to gain the MSPO certification....

29 January 2015: Wilmar brings change with disclosure of names of suppliers to its refineries and kernel crushing plants via TFT. Includes traceability ratios for each facility covered.

Comment: Having logged into the Dashboard yesterday, it was interesting to see names of suppliers to each key facility (refineries and palm kernel crushing plants) covered. A snapshot of map also shows the level of detailed attained - GPS location of even individual smallholder suppliers with map boundary of estates supplying to Wilmar (including its own estates and those of large suppliers) - a map example was shown and presumably available to buyers from Wilmar (but without this fine level of detail for public access). I big step up in marketing compliance scrutiny for suppliers of palm oil products with Wilmar pushing with more data. Notably, there is also a grievance process and ultimately a plantation grower has been caught up in it (on Sulawesi estate land clearance) and promising to abandon development (likely to sell off the estate?).

In the last year or so, key targets under NGO scrutiny include fast growing plantations in the sub and 100,000 plus hectare or so category. Those with large unplanted land banks may also face very tight scrutiny as (technical) NGOs are keeping a close eye via remote sensing / satellite imagery studies and many RSPO growers have submitted vector boundaries of their concession areas (and more of these are being put on line and available to public scrutiny), aiding this effort. One key website with official RSPO company data included is:

Wilmar Opens Palm Oil Supply Chain to Scrutiny By Reuters on 08:54 pm Jan 22, 2015
Singapore-based Wilmar said it would give outsiders, from customers to environmentalists worried about deforestation, access to online maps showing where it buys palm oil in Indonesia and Malaysia;  Oslo, Norway. Wilmar International Ltd., the world’s largest palm oil processor, opened its supply chains to outside scrutiny on Thursday in what environmentalists called an unprecedented step to help safeguard tropical forests. Singapore-based Wilmar said it would give outsiders, from customers to environmentalists worried about deforestation, access to online maps showing where it buys palm oil at more than 800 mills in Indonesia and Malaysia.....

Can palm oil companies deliver on deforestation promises? BY Oliver Balch Monday 26 January 2015 07.00 GMT; Wilmar, the world’s largest palm oil trader, has committed not to engage in deforestation. But with little control over smallholders, can palm oil companies shake of their environmentally destructive reputation? On the face of it, the praise appears merited. Wilmar’s new policy (which also includes a ban on developing palm on peat areas) stands to save more than 1.5 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide by 2020 – equivalent to the combined annual energy-related carbon emissions of Central and South America.... That’s all supposing the company can deliver, of course. So can it?  On its wholly owned, directly managed palm plantations, meeting its pledge should be straightforward. The real challenge arises with the franchised or independent smallholder farmers from whom Wilmar buys around one third of its raw supply....
Wilmar's supply policy 4Q2014 report here:

7 December 2014: Musim Mas moves on TFT traceability

Musim Mas ups the ante on sustainability, Press Release, 4 December 2014, Singapore – Musim Mas announces its Sustainability Policy today, which re-affirms its commitment to bring benefits to the community, respect the rights of smallholders to develop or conserve their land, while maintaining a strict guideline of No Deforestation, No Peatland development and No Exploitation. The policy ensures that development will be carried out responsibly, with a positive impact on the rights and welfare of local communities.... The policy takes effect immediately across Musim Mas global operations and extends to all third-party suppliers with whom the Group either has a purchase agreement or a trading relationship. By the end of 2016, all palm oil sourced by Musim Mas will be traceable to the Group's and third parties' plantations. In the interim period, by the end of 2015, all palm oil sourced by the Group will be traceable to the mills. Musim Mas will provide support for its smallholders and out-growers in a fair, transparent and accountable manner. The Group views the establishment of a fully traceable supply chain as an important step towards sustainable palm oil production.... The Group remains committed to the High Carbon Stock (HCS) methodology which will be developed by the Sustainable Palm Oil Manifesto Steering Committee[1]. The Steering Committee is led by leading environmentalist Sir Jonathon Porritt and eminent forest ecologist Dr John Raison. In the interim period when the methodology is being developed, Musim Mas will not develop on any potential HCS forest as defined by the HCS Approach Steering Group[2].... In cases of new acquisitions with palm oil mills, Musim Mas will strive to achieve implementation of this policy and RSPO certification within three years of acquisition..... Musim Mas adopted a multi-stakeholder approach in developing this policy by consulting various stakeholders. As an affirmation of its commitment to the implementation of this policy, the Group has also joined The Forest Trust (TFT) as one of its members.

From company website, Sustainability Journal 2014; The Sustainability Journal is our in-house newsletter which provides updates on how we implement our sustainability plan on the ground through actions and partnerships.

NGO reactions:
Musim Mas says its palm oil will be deforestation-free Rhett A. Butler, December 04, 2014;

Palm Giant Musim Mas Commits to Stop Trafficking Conflict Palm Oil by Laurel sutherlin, Posted on Dec 05 2014;