GAR delivers deforestation-free supply chains to Papua

(foresthints.news) - Golden Agri Resources (GAR), the world's second largest listed palm planter, has proved that deforestation-free supply chains are indeed attainable through what it termed ‘deep engagement’ with one of its suppliers.

In this case, this pertains to the palm oil giant’s efforts to clean up its supply chains from the clearing of high carbon stock (HCS) forests in Indonesia's West Papua province.

In June 2015, the Jakarta-based forestry research NGO Greenomics Indonesia published a report showing how the supply chains of Cargill, GAR and Wilmar were linked to a supplier whose subsidiary was clearing Papua's HCS forests, as reported by mongabay.com three years ago.

The particular supplier in question is the Indonesian-listed palm oil company Eagle High Plantations Tbk, whose subsidiary PT VMA began clearing Papua's HCS forests in the early months of 2015 to develop palm oil plantations.

In its report, Greenomics employed USGS Landsat 8 images to demonstrate that Papua’s HCS forests were being cleared in a palm oil plantation owned by Eagle High, as seen in the images below.

GAR - in a statement cited by mongabay.com - explained that all of its suppliers must comply with the no-deforestation commitment outlined in its Forest Conservation Policy (FCP). The Singapore-based palm oil giant made it clear that Eagle High, including its subsidiary PT VMA, is certainly no exception.

GAR kept to this demand by engaging with Eagle High, thereby achieving deforestation-free practices involving the HCS forests in PT VMA’s palm oil concession.

Proof of no further deforestation 

To show that no evidence of any further HCS forest clearance in PT VMA’s West Papua concession has been discovered, Greenomics recently presented various time-series ESA Sentinel-2 images (Mar 5). 

These images reveal that the HCS forests concerned have been deforestation-free ever since Eagle High launched its new sustainability policy in 2016, at least until February 2018, as depicted in the images below:

Nonetheless, Greenomics cautions that intensive, independent third-party monitoring of a number of companies that have adopted deforestation-free supply chains should still be prioritized so that an impact is truly felt on the ground, not just on paper. 

It should be acknowledged, according to Greenomics, that the deforestation-free situation at PT VMA is largely thanks to the real contribution of such independent third-party monitoring.

In fact, this kind of surveillance has proved to be a critical component in supporting the efforts of companies that have declared their commitment to deforestation-free supply chains, such as GAR.

This is further backed up by several prior news reports by foresthints.news showing that the cleaning up of supply chains derives, to a significant extent, from the influence of independent third-party monitoring groups, as well as official inspections conducted by the government.

Adding to series of best practices

The GAR-Eagle High deep engagement model which has given rise to deforestation-free practices at PT VMA adds to a series of best practices previously implemented as part of efforts to clean up palm oil supply chains. 

As earlier reported by foresthints.news (Mar 6), Wilmar-Kencana Agri Group have also enacted deforestation-free practices in their two palm oil plantations in Gorontalo province.

Indonesia’s Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya confirmed at the end of January this year that companies which have committed to implement deforestation-free supply chains would have no choice but to display their commitment on the ground.