PALM OIL NEWS
October 31, 2017
Apical update confirms NDPE companies linked to deforestation
JAKARTA (foresthints.news) - The clearing of high carbon stock (HCS) forests, which also serve as one of the only remaining habitats of the critically-endangered Bornean orangutan, for the development of a palm oil plantation in a concession (PT PSM) formerly owned by Genting Plantations (GenP) is ongoing to an extensive degree, as demonstrated by a USGS Landsat 8 image from the fourth week of October (Oct 25).
This indicates that the business-as-usual practices still underway in the PT PSM palm oil concession located in West Kalimantan’s Ketapang regency show no sign of ending.
As previously reported by foresthints.news (Oct 3), GenP has displayed a hands-off management style in terms of its public commitment to maintain the HCS forests in the PT PSM palm oil concession - a commitment announced on Wilmar's grievance list update - by selling the concession. Now PT BHD, one of the shareholders of PT PSM (after its sale by GenP), is following in GenP's footsteps.
Apical (Asian Agri group), through its grievance progress update, posted a clarification from PT BHD that the palm oil mill no longer owns PT PSM as of the end of September this year (Sep 27), and also stated that PT BHD is not related to the Sepanjang group.
Apical sought this clarification in light of the release of a news report from foresthints.news (Oct 3) which disclosed the linkages of its supply chains to PT BHD as the parent company of PT PSM.
As it stands, foresthints.news is still in the process of verifying this grievance update from Apical with relevant sources.
The Apical grievance update confirms that, as of the end of September this year, global supply chains, including its own, were still linked to the clearing of HCS forests and the habitat of the critically-endangered Bornean orangutan.
The Sentinel-2 and Landsat 8 images below, provided by Greenomics Indonesia which has been highlighting this case from an early stage, depict the continuing clearing of the Bornean orangutan’s habitat in HCS forests in the PT PSM palm oil concession. The former GenP company acquired its palm oil development permit in May 2013.
The Apical grievance update also illustrates that the level of the company’s monitoring when it comes to cleaning up its supply chains from deforestation is very unsatisfactory.
This doesn’t only pertain to Apical; other global palm oil players, in this case Wilmar, Cargill, ADM Global and IOI (all NDPE companies), are no different it turns out, in that their supply chains also remain linked to the clearing of HCS forests and the habitat of the critically-endangered Bornean orangutan, at least as of the end of September this year.
Key lessons learned
The Apical grievance update revealing that PT BHD no longer owns PT PSM as of the end of September this year has taught us a key lesson that selling the shares of a palm oil company which is expected to begin or continue clearing HCS forests was the way-out chosen.
Pending further verification from foresthints.news, if the Apical update proves to be accurate, then PT BHD’s actions are not particularly unusual or surprising given that GenP did exactly the same thing (divested itself of PT PSM).
Wilmar has already promised to investigate this matter, as previously reported by foresthints.news (Sep 22). Taking the Apical update into consideration, it means that this promise was made by Wilmar when its own supply chains were still linked to the clearing of orangutan habitat and HCS forests.
This situation leads to the conclusion that the proper monitoring of the supply chains of Wilmar, Cargill, IOI, ADM Global and Apical still relies to a significant extent on third party observers, seeing that the internal monitoring systems of these conglomerates proved unable to anticipate this case.