The RSPO would like to stress the fact that all members of the RSPO are required to comply with relevant laws including those related to the supply chain and, if any suspicion occurs, to immediately conduct internal verifications in order to identify and terminate the possible financing and/or sourcing of any illegally grown oil palm.
An example of the above can be found in the actions undertaken by Asian Agri and Wilmar in addressing the issue of encroachment in the Tesso Nilo National Park, a national park in Riau Province, Sumatra, Indonesia, which has recently been described in WWF International’s report of July 2nd 2013:
This report demonstrates the involvement of Asian Agri and Wilmar in purchasing palm oil fruits that were illegally grown within the boundaries of the Tesso Nilo complex, for a period of time preceding November 2012.
The RSPO thanks WWF for bringing this critical issue to its attention and also thanks Wilmar and Asian Agri who have co-operated by responding immediately by stopping buying FFB from illegally cleared land. This matter has not been escalated to the RSPO complaint panel due to these concrete actions being undertaken together with the ongoing discussions between the companies, WWF and the relevant authorities about how to resolve the issues on Tesso Nilo. However, WWF has reiterated that this could be submitted as an official complaint if no tangible further progress is made.
This development reaffirms to RSPO members the importance, risks and consequences of not carefully screening the source of Fresh Fruit Bunches (FFB) into their supply chains. This is a risk shared between growers and all companies along the supply chain. To start to address this problem the revised RSPO Principle and Criteria 2013 include a new requirement for certified mills to “record the origins of all third-party sourced Fresh Fruit Bunches (FFB).” This new provision emphasises the importance of the development and immediate implementation of the “chain of custody” tracking system, which allows for a thorough and transparent control right from the field to the factory.
In its continuous effort towards setting the highest standards of sustainability for the production of palm oil, the RSPO is also forming a task force to urgently develop a new policy and tools to help members ensure that all of the FFB they source comes from identified, legal and responsible sources.
The RSPO once again underlines the importance of public transparency, especially on issues of land use and land ownership, in addressing many of the question related to unsustainable practices. The RSPO appreciates the challenge of collating and verifying this information for companies and the Government of Indonesia. Nevertheless, the RSPO once more extends its hand to aid in this effort, where possible and calls on other stakeholders to do the same, and to support projects such as Indonesia’s important OneMap Initiative. RSPO encourages the Government of Indonesia to monitor and take necessary measures on the illegal oil palm plantation and assure that the smallholders and other stakeholders understand legal requirements and procedures in developing oilpalm plantations.