A major Indonesian plantation company has become the country's first certified maker of sustainable palm oil. Indonesia is the world's biggest producer of palm oil, an edible oil produced from the fruit and seeds of the oil palm tree.
Musim Mas Group Plantations, is the first company in Indonesia to demonstrate that some of its plantations comply with the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) Principles and Criteria, a set of standards that helps ensure that palm oil is produced in a socially and environmentally responsible way.
The RSPO brings together oil palm growers, oil processors, food companies, retailers, NGOs and investors to help ensure that no rainforest areas are sacrificed for new oil palm plantations, that all plantations minimize their environmental impacts and that basic rights of local peoples and plantation workers are fully respected.
"Musim Mas hopes that its certification will encourage more Indonesian companies to follow suit," said Liantong Gan, head of Musim Mas' sustainability department.
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) works to ensure that oil palm expansion does not come at the expense of forests by promoting its expansion onto degraded lands. It is also helping to develop guidance for the small holders representing 40% of Indonesia's palm oil growers.
"WWF is pleased to see progress in Indonesia, but there is much work to be done before sustainable palm oil can be a mainstream reality," said Ian Kosasih, Director of the Forest Programme at WWF Indonesia.
WWF helped organize the training for 21 training representatives from small Indonesian palm oil plantations from West Sumatra, Riau, South Sumatra, Jambi, and West of Kalimantan. The training stemmed from a memorandum of understanding signed on Feb. 17 between the RSPO and the Indonesian Department of Agriculture.
The objective was to educate trainers on the threats of oil palm plantations to the region's forests and local species, to motivate smallholders to comply with the RSPO P & C, and to provide practical ways smallholders can comply with these sustainability criteria, including mitigating the wildlife human conflict that often occurs in oil palm plantations.
The workshop and Musim Mas' certification come only months after the first shipment of RSPO certified sustainable palm oil arrived in Europe from southeast Asia.
Several European companies, including Unilever (ULVR.L), Sainsbury's (SBRY.L) and Albert Heijn, have already made strong public commitments to buy certified sustainable palm oil.
Source: World Wildlife Fund