Resources

New briefing: Free, Prior and Informed Consent and the RSPO; Are the companies keeping their promises? Findings and recommendations from Southeast Asia and Africa

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.

Securing High Conservation Values in Central Kalimantan: Report of the Field Investigation in Central Kalimantan of the RSPO Ad Hoc Working Group on High Conservation Values in Indonesia

This report provides an account of a short investigation carried out by the RSPO's Ad Hoc Working Group on High Conservation Values in Indonesia. It is being circulated to promote comprehension and discussion about the legal and procedural obstacles to securing such values in the oil palm sector in Indonesia with the view to promoting changes and legal reforms in order to secure these values more effectively. This version includes detailed comments on the report by Wilmar International.

Liberia: Agri-business expansion threatens forests and local communities’ livelihoods

Agri-business expansion in Africa is a major threat to the forests and livelihoods of African peoples. Where governance is weak and the rights of local communities and indigenous peoples are insecure, agricultural development is disadvantaging local people.

Awareness of the social and ecological impact of agri-business expansion in South East Asia has led to new standards for acceptable palm oil development. The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), a third-party voluntary certification process, has adopted a set of Principles and Criteria that is substantially consistent with a rights-based approach, and which seeks to divert palm oil expansion away from primary forests and areas of critical High Conservation Value (HCV) while prohibiting the takeover of customary lands without communities’ Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC). Increasingly, adherence to the RSPO standard is becoming a requirement for access to the European market and major palm oil producing conglomerates seeking to maintain market share are now members of the RSPO.

Making Palm Oil Accountable?

Globally oil palm plantations continue to expand at a rapid rate. World leader, Indonesia, has raced past Malaysia to become the number one producer. Latest data from the Indonesian watchdog NGO, SawitWatch, suggests that oil palm plantations in Indonesia now cover 11 million hectares, up from 6 million hectares only five years ago. New plantings are spreading to the smaller islands of the archipelago and to the less developed areas of eastern Indonesia. Hopes that a Presidential promise of a 2 year moratorium on forest clearance would slow the crop’s expansion – part of a deal to reduce green house gas emissions - have also evaporated as the government has excepted areas where preliminary permits have already been handed out.

Press Release: New Report Exposes Human Rights Abuses in Wilmar Group Plantation in Jambi, Indonesia. Embargoed for 00:00 GMT, November 21 2011

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE PRESS RELEASE

EMBARGOED for 8 am Malaysia 21 November 2011

A new report released today exposes how local Indonesian police (BRIMOB) in Jambi, working with plantation staff, systematically evicted people from three settlements, firing guns to scare them off and then using heavy machinery to destroy their dwellings and bulldoze concrete floors into the nearby creeks. The operations were carried out over a week in mid-August this year and have already sparked an international controversy. Andiko, Executive Director of the Indonesian community rights NGO, HuMa said: 

“Forced evictions at gun point and the destruction of the homes of men, women and children without warning or a court order constitute serious abuses of human rights and are contrary to police norms. The company must now make reparations but individual perpetrators should also be investigated and punished in accordance with the law.”

Precedent-setting land deal in palm oil expansion zone in Borneo

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. This is a breakthrough in the context of a pattern of development whereby millions of hectares of large-scale oil palm plantations have been established without consent on indigenous peoples’ land. Forest Peoples Programme spotted PT Agro Wiratama’s plans to open up this area on the RSPO website and alerted NGO partners in Borneo, who were able to work with the community and help them negotiate with the company and local government to get their lands recognised. 

Read recent FPP, Sawit Watch, Gemawan and Kontak Press Release

Press Release: Precedent-setting land deal in palm oil expansion zone in Borneo. 21 March 2011

 

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.

HCV and the RSPO: Report of an independent investigation into the effectiveness of the application of High Conservation Value zoning in palm oil development in Indonesia

This report summarises the findings of a field investigation and legal study which shows how voluntary efforts by companies to set aside areas for community livelihoods and for conservation are being frustrated by the ill-fit between the RSPO's procedures - using the 'High Conservation Values' approach - and national laws and procedures. The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) is to meet in Kuala Lumpur from 1-4 November 2009.

Free, Prior and Informed Consent and the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil - A guide for companies

A synthesis of training materials devised for communities and companies, and also local government, about how successful procedures can be carried out in line with the principle of FPIC - free, prior and informed consent - to enable indigenous peoples, local communities and other stakeholders to express their views in negotiations and for these views and wishes to be included in the RSPO's decision-making processes.

IFC to be audited for policy violations over palm oil projects; NGO complaint regarding Wilmar taken up by CAO

Update

In July 2007, Forest Peoples Programme with 18 other NGOs including local groups in Indonesia filed a complaint with the International Finance Corporation's (IFC) Compliance Advisory Ombudsman (CAO) about the IFC's funding of the palm oil producing and trading company, Wilmar. The complaint raised concerns about the impacts of Wilmar's operations on local communities, company violations of Indonesian laws and environmental policies, and IFC staff's violations of IFC policies and procedures. We also complained that the IFC, as a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), was contravening RSPO rules by asserting on the IFC website that Wilmar's operations were compliant with the RSPO's standard.