Growing global demand for palm oil is fuelling the large-scale expansion of oil palm plantations across Southeast Asia and Africa. Concerns about the environmental and social impacts of the conversion of vast tracts of land to monocrop plantations led in 2004 to the establishment of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), which encourages oil palm expansion in ways that do not destroy high conservation values or cause social conflict. Numerous international agencies have also called for reforms of national frameworks to secure communities’ rights and to develop sound land governance.
This briefing, launched on the occasion of the 10th Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RT10), draws together the key findings of fourteen studies on FPIC in RSPO member/certified plantations based on the RSPO Principles & Criteria (P&C) and related Indicators and Guidance, and makes recommendations for reforms in the way palm oil companies honour the principle of FPIC and respect customary rights to land.
PONTIANAK - A new oil palm plantation being developed in Indonesian Borneo (West Kalimantan) has relinquished community lands to which it had gained a government permit. The company PT Agro Wiratama, a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and subsidiary of the giant Musim Mas group, agreed to relinquish more than 1,000 hectares of its 9,000 hectare concession back to the community, following interventions by community representatives and NGOs.
UpdateFPP and 18 other NGOs, including local organisations in Indonesia, have been involved in a long-running process to get redress for the IFC’s persistent violations of its social and environmental policies in the palm oil sector in Indonesia. For over five years IFC has been providing financial support to the company Wilmar Trading / Wilmar International, one of the world’s largest palm oil dealers, directly and through various subsidiaries. In August 2007, FPP with other concerned NGOs and local organisations in Indonesia filed a complaint with the IFC Compliance Advisory Ombudsman (CAO) about this financing, alleging serious social and environmental problems in Wilmar’s operations, as well as violations of IFC’s own standards and procedures in making these credits and loans.