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Kuala Lumpur, 29 September 2020: The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) Board of Governors hereby issues a public censure against Noble Plantations Pte Ltd (Noble), (membership no-1-0108-11-000-00), and terminates its membership, for withdrawing its membership while an active complaint was pending against the company.
This decision was taken by way of consensus upon considering the recommendation by the RSPO Complaints Panel, pursuant Section 7.1.18 of the RSPO Complaints and Appeals Procedures. The RSPO Board of Governors notes that, following the outcome of an investigation, resulting from a letter by Environmental Investigation Agency (“EIA”) and Greenpeace International, the RSPO Complaints Panel found a subsidiary of Noble had cleared 1,025 hectares (ha) and affected 1,361 ha of primary forest in West Papua Province. Consequently, the former member was found to be in breach of the RSPO Principles and Criteria and directed to proceed with the RSPO Remediation and Compensation Procedure.
Throughout the Complaint, Noble was transparent about the fact that it intended to exit the palm oil industry, but reiterated the company’s commitment to the complaints process and their intention to see the matter through. However, before the Remediation and Compensation Procedure could be concluded, the company contacted the RSPO Secretariat requesting self-suspension of its membership to address pressing matters related to illegal logging at its concession. Noble cited that the Stop Work Order imposed during the Complaint has caused their concessions to be deemed abandoned, bringing an unwanted repercussion of illegal logging. As self-suspension is not permitted under the RSPO Membership Rules, Noble resorted to fully withdrawing its RSPO membership. To date, the issue of the affected and cleared primary forest remains unresolved.
The Board of Governors does not approve of the conduct by Noble Group and its subsidiaries, particularly as the RSPO, through Resolution 6D is exploring ways to discourage divestments and withdrawal by members in the course of an active complaint. The Board of Governors wishes to remind all existing and potential members to respect the Complaints System and the goals of the organisation. Members are instead encouraged to work together with the RSPO Secretariat towards remedying any shortcomings, as opposed to withdrawing membership, especially in the course of an active complaint.
For further information, kindly contact:
Name: Dan Strechay
Position: Global Outreach & Engagement Director
Name: Sara Cowling
Position: Global Communications Manager - APAC