Pangkalan Bun, 20 September 2018 – We understand that getting to the truth in the palm oil industry, where emotions run high and unsubstantiated allegations are often taken as fact, is always a difficult task. Any allegation against palm oil growers, however, must be fact-based.
In its report titled “Final Countdown”, Greenpeace cited allegations raised by other organizations relating to the development of palm oil estates by PT Sawit Mandiri Lestari (SML) and PT Borneo Sawit Gemilang (BSG), as well as the difference between the total landbank in our 2016 ACOP and that in our 2016 Annual Report.
In our correspondence with Greenpeace prior to the publication of this report, we had asked Greenpeace to provide substantiation of these allegations. Otherwise, we would be justified in retaining the right not to address the allegations without being prejudiced.
As of the publication of this statement, Greenpeace has yet to provide us with the substantiation of these allegations. Greenpeace responded to our reply saying that the report had gone to print. Greenpeace, therefore, promised to provide a link to SSMS’s response letter in the online version of the report. As of the writing of this statement, we haven’t found said link.
Where the allegations against SML and BSG are concerned, we see no concrete substantiation. Multiple assessments, including that using the guidelines from the Peat Restoration Agency (BRG) of the Indonesian Government, have shown that the areas BSG developed were not peatlands. Similarly, there is no substantiation to the allegation that we continue to control SML, and such allegations have undergone repeated due diligence by our bankers and legal counsel, as well as a leading international and independent sustainability consulting firm, Daemeter.
We welcome substantiated input from stakeholders so that we may review and take appropriate actions where necessary. We believe in sustainability and are willing to correct any mistakes, but we cannot begin any corrective action without knowing where these mistakes lie.
The difference in the calculation of total land bank in the 2016 ACOP and the 2016 Annual Report occurred as a result of the reporting time: The 2016 ACOP was submitted using mid-year data, while our 2016 Annual Report was submitted using year-end data, which already included an addition of more than 30,000 hectares of landbank as a result of acquisitions which took place in August 2016. We reported the additional landbank to RSPO earlier this year. This has been acknowledged and is now undergoing the time-bound certification process to receive full RSPO certification in 2020.
The sustainability of the operations of PT Sawit Sumbermas Sarana Tbk is a matter which we take with the utmost seriousness, in line with our Sustainability Policy which we updated in mid-2017 and which may be viewed on our website. We continue to work with Daemeter and BRG, among others, to identify any gaps in our sustainability practices and to advise and assist us in their continuous improvement.
* Our response to Greenpeace draft report can be downloaded here.
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