Musim Mas Goes Green With New Palm Oil Pledge

MARCH 29, 2015

An aerial picture made available on May 10, 2013 shows palm oil plantations in Indragiri Hulu, Riau, Indonesia. (EPA Photo/Bagus Indahono)

Jakarta. Musim Mas, one of Indonesia’s biggest traders in palm oil, has announced that it has joined the Indonesian Palm Oil Pledge, environmental group Greenpeace said in its press release.

The IPOP signatories are a number of progressive Indonesian palm oil companies that have announced they will follow steps to stop deforestation in their own concessions and supply chains.

Together with the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce (Kadin), they are urging the government to introduce strong measures to ensure forest and peatland protection.

“Greenpeace welcomes Musim Mas’s decision to join IPOP, and hopes that the IPOP signatory companies will combine to voice a strong call for conservation to the Indonesian government,” Greenpeace said in the statement.

Earlier this week a government official claimed that “our primary customers are not concerned about deforestation.”

“The fact is that now, the five biggest traders have policies to only source palm oil that is free from links to deforestation and peatland destruction,” the group added. “This shows that there is an economic opportunity for Indonesia to lead in fulfilling global market demands for responsible palm oil.”

While the private sector is moving forward with forest and peatland protection, the forest moratorium is due to expire in two months, and it’s still unclear what steps President Joko Widodo plans to take to strengthen the currently inadequate regulatory regime, said Annisa Rahmawati, Greenpeace Indonesia forest campaigner.

“It is critical that the president not only extends the current forest moratorium that has been in place since 2011, but strengthens it by opening a public space for participation, publishing the “one map” and adding protection for all natural forests and peatlands, in both new and existing concessions,” she said.

The Indonesian government, she urged, also needs to appreciate the increasing trend to zero deforestation on both supply and demand sides by enshrining positive moves by the private sector into strong national policies and regulations.

“Only by reforming regulations and undertaking the promised concession review can [Joko] ensure the long-term protection of forests and peatlands,” Annisa said.

The next step for IPOP signatories like Musim Mas is to take necessary measures to put their ambitious commitments into practice, Greenpeace said. These companies need to ensure there is no link to forest clearance and peatlands in their supply chains and work closely with suppliers to comply with their commitments.

Musim Mas is also in the process of applying for membership to the Palm Oil Innovation Group, which means it will commit to independent, third-party verification of its compliance with the charter.

In addition, Greenpeace said Musim Mas is to be commended for becoming a member of the High Carbon Stock Approach Steering Group. HCS puts “No Deforestation” into practice, ensuring a practical, transparent, and scientifically credible approach that is widely accepted to implement commitments to halt deforestation in the tropics, while ensuring that the rights, livelihoods and aspirations of local peoples are respected.