On March 13th 2020, GAR was alerted to a new complaint filed by the Forest People’s Programme (FPP) with the RSPO via a journalist with the Wall Street Journal. See our press release here. On April 7th 2020, GAR submitted a 153-page substantive response to the RSPO together with supporting documentary evidence. See the response in the RSPO case tracker.
The key points of GAR’s response to the FPP complaints to the RSPO are as follows:
- Allegation that GAR failed to secure necessary permits for eight (8) concessions in Central Kalimantan: the complex issue of obtaining permits in Indonesia affects all companies and is not peculiar to GAR. It is also a well-known issue to stakeholders including the RSPO. GAR has submitted evidence of the various legal changes that have occurred over the years re the allocation and designation of land for palm oil plantations. Through all the legislative changes, GAR and its subsidiaries have complied with the applicable and valid regulations at the time and have therefore been operating legally
- Allegation that GAR and its subsidiaries failed to comply with RSPO New Planting Procedures: this is factually incorrect and without basis. GAR has submitted a list of documents verified by the RSPO certification body and submitted to the RSPO in 2014. In addition, GAR highlighted that the only new planting since 2014 has been to fulfil plasma development for the community. In this, GAR has also filed all the necessary documentation for the plasma development.
- Allegation of unethical behaviour by GAR: the claims by FPP are factually incorrect. Since October 2018 when the corruption case was instigated GAR and its subsidiary PT BAP have been transparent about the case, the fact that the individuals in question acted of their own accord and in breach of the company’s Code of Conduct. This was proven in the decision of the Jakarta Corruption Court which also ruled that the incident reflected the actions of a few individuals in
breach of Government Regulations as well as GAR’s own Code of Conduct. Neither GAR not PT BAP were parties to the case. Therefore, claims that either company acted unethically are without basis.
GAR awaits the deliberation of the Complaints Panel and hopes that there will be a swift closure of this matter.
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