Palm oil giant to address ‘serious issues’ of alleged illegal sourcing

The world's second largest palm oil plantation company has revealed that it is engaging with individual supplier mills which have allegedly been using 'tainted and illegal' palm oil sources, in an attempt to clarify revelations uncovered in a recent report.

Golden Agri-Resources (GAR), which manages more than 480,000 hectares of plantation, has looked to clarify allegations made in the recent “No One is Safe” report from Indonesian coalition Eyes on the Forest (EoF), which investigated how illegal palm oil sourced from government-protected areas in the last remaining habitats of endangered Sumatran tigers, elephants, and orangutans has ended up in supply chains.

GAR, which was mentioned in the report alongside companies Wilmar, Royal Golden Eagle and Musim Mas, has stated that it is concerned about the allegations and is already in process of addressing the issue with specific suppliers.

A spokesperson from GAR told edie: “GAR is concerned about the serious issues raised in the report by EoF. These allegations raised in the report are contrary to GAR’s sustainability principles under the GAR Social and Environmental Policy (GSEP) which applies to our subsidiaries and our suppliers.

“Prior to the publication of the report we provided feedback and clarification to EoF on our sustainability commitments. We have been engaging with our three supplier mills cited in the report, PT Berlian Inti Mekar, PT Makmur Andalan Sawit, PT Peputra Supra Jaya to get further clarification about the matter. 

“The companies have been cooperating and we will begin conducting site visits to the mills later this month. We will update our stakeholders on the outcomes of the engagement and site visits via our Sustainability Dashboard.”

The aforementioned mills were cited in the report for purchasing palm oil from some of the 19 “tainted suppliers” found across Indonesia, with around 7% of the crude palm oil volume at the Incasi Raya Padang bulking station arriving from “unknown” sources.

EoF, which is supported by WWF Indonesia, has been monitoring illegal palm oil plantations in the Tesso Nilo National Park in Indonesia since the turn of the year. During the monitoring, EoF found that more than 83,000 hectares of the park had been converted to illegal plantations – with only 15,000 hectares of natural forest habitat remaining.

Supply and deliver

Earlier this year, GAR revealed that it completed the mapping and traceability of its supply chain through to each of its 489 mills in Indonesia. The company is now working with its third party suppliers to map the supply chain to the plantations, which will eventually create full visibility for palm oil sources.

GAR will be keen to implement its third party mapping, after a recent report found that increasing supply chain traceability was among the most significant human rights issues effecting sustainability and CSR professionals.

Last year edie visited Indonesia to see how one of the world’s largest pulp and paper producers, Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) had revolutionised its approach to deforestation in the country.

Matt Mace

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