Pangkalan Bun, 18 May 2018 – PT Sawit Sumbermas Sarana Tbk. (SSMS) is aware of an article published on an Indonesia-based environmental news portal, foresthints.news, which alleged that PT Borneo Sawit Gemilang (BSG) has been developing new oil palm plantations since December last year on peatland identified as within the National Peat Restoration Agency’s (Badan Restorasi Gambut or BRG) peat restoration areas.
While BSG is a subsidiary of PT. Citra Borneo Indah, the parent company of SSMS, and is not an SSMS subsidiary as claimed in the article, it is our position that SSMS’s sustainability commitments reflect those of our parent company, and we see this as an opportunity to grow together sustainably.
Once made aware of the allegation by foresthints.news, SSMS mobilized an investigation team comprising Sustainability and Land Management professionals supported by R&D experts from Sulung Research Station (SRS) to verify the facts on the ground. This investigation confirmed that the alleged development took place outside BSG’s permit (izin lokasi), and that the company developed the area in question for plasma (smallholder planting) at the request of the local communities. Prior to agreeing to the request, BSG management had already requested SRS to conduct peat assessment in September 2017. The results of this assessment showed that the area in question was not peatland.
We have since established communication with BRG and are working with them to clarify both peat mapping and soil composition and quality. Our team is now in the field to re-assess and clarify whether the development has involved any encroachment on peatlands, the results of which will be further discussed with BRG. For this purpose, BSG has ceased land clearance in the area.
We will provide further updates to stakeholders when the results of both our investigations and discussions with BRG on the boundaries of the plasma area being developed are concluded.
We remain committed to running a sustainable world-class palm oil plantation and look forward to continued collaboration with our partners, NGOs, and the government to realize palm oil’s full potential by responsibly and effectively addressing the issues faced by us and the industry as a whole.
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