Sinar Mas vows commitment to sustainable palm oil production

27 April 2010 11:22  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--Indonesia’s Sinar Mas reiterated on Tuesday its commitment to following sustainable practices in producing palm oil, amid allegations that it continued to illegally clear rainforests to pave way for plantations.

The company, the largest palm oil producer in Indonesia, said it would not develop on land that has “high carbon stock” such as peat land and primary forests.

Environmental activist group Greenpeace, in a report published on Tuesday, slammed Sinar Mas for again failing to comply with guidelines required by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), an industry watchdog tasked to ensure its members follow a strict set of rules for sustainable production.

“There are strong suspicions that until today the company (Sinar Mas) is clearing forested areas without the required permits,” the report stated.

Greenpeace had released three reports since March concerning Sinar Mas' alleged violations of sustainable palm oil production guidelines.

Sinar Mas had engaged two certification agencies - Control Union Certification and the BSI Group, to carry out independent audits on the environmental group's allegations.

The audits by the agencies are expected to be completed by the end of June, said a Sinar Mas spokesperson.

Major European palm oil buyers Unilever and Nestle had dropped the Indonesian producer from their list of suppliers.

In late March, US-based Cargill had given Sinar Mas until the end of the month to explain itself or it would lose business from the US agribusiness major.

Indonesia has one of the fastest rates of deforestation in the world, according to Greenpeace, citing the proliferation of palm oil plantations as a major cause. The southeast-Asian country is the world’s third largest greenhouse emitter, after China and the US, it said.

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By: Nurluqman Suratman

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