June 20, 2019

GAR-Greenpeace engagement ends up in claim rebuttal

JAKARTA ( - In a surprising recent press release (Jun 11)Greenpeace alleged that Golden Agri-Resources (GAR/Sinarmas) had neglected to map and satellite monitor all of its suppliers, a statement refuted by GAR three days later.

In its own subsequent press release (Jun 14), GAR also said that Greenpeace had ignored the progress being made in the palm oil sector and presented a number of arguments to rebut the Greenpeace statement. 

Looking back, Greenpeace and GAR have been engaged with each other since early February 2011 when the palm oil company launched its Forest Conservation Policy (FCP) by which it essentially pledged to no longer expand palm oil plantations in high carbon stock (HCS) forests.

Mongabay, in October 2014, reported on the level of success achieved by GAR in protecting HCS forests across its own concessions, a real benefit of the GAR-Greenpeace engagement which has been mostly sustained until today.

In fact, Greenpeace and GAR were two of the three members of the HCS forest team which conducted a joint HCS forest study in several GAR palm oil concessions in Indonesian Borneo, resulting in the publication of a report in early June 2012. 

The findings of the HCS forest team, among other matters, were the subject of a recent ground-based verification report by (May 27). The following photos show HCS forests under protection by GAR in the PT KPC concession, one of the HCS pilot study locations.

Subsequently, in February 2014, GAR announced an expansion to its FCP by undertaking not only to get rid of its deforestation footprint in its own concessions, but also to clean up its entire supply chain from HCS deforestation.

It is thus important to point out that from February 2011 until February 2014, Greenpeace was engaged with GAR even though this palm oil giant did not yet have a deforestation-free palm oil policy  across its entire supply chains in place at the time.

During Greenpeace’s engagement with GAR, the supply chains of this company, including almost all other leading global palm oil suppliers and global brands, remained linked to deforestation even during the implementation of the Indonesia Palm Oil Pledge (IPOP) after September 2014. 

As another example, Wilmar International - the world’s largest palm oil company - was forced to upgrade its December 2013 deforestation-free palm oil policy in December last year as its supply chains were still linked to deforestation

Given Greenpeace's apparent concern about the extent of deforestation caused by global palm oil supply chains since 2010, it is somewhat confusing as to what transformation benefits were delivered by Greenpeace's engagement with GAR when the latter is now being accused of neglecting to map and satellite monitor all its suppliers.

Bearing in mind the historical GAR-Greenpeace engagement, as outlined above, Greenpeace’s new claim that GAR is failing to map and satellite monitor all of its suppliers is both surprising and confusing, especially given the palm oil business transformation promised through their engagement.