The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) Grievance Panel addresses alleged breaches by RSPO members of the RSPO rules, including the Code of Conduct, and recommends the course of actions for resolution.
The RSPO Grievance Panel has reviewed allegations of non-compliance with RSPO’s regulations against PT Sinar Mas Agro Resources and Technology Tbk (“SMART”). SMART, a subsidiary of Golden Agri-Resources Ltd (“GAR”), is a member of the RSPO.
A report  on a third-party “Independent Verification Exercise” (“IVEX”), commissioned by SMART, was recently published by the two companies, together with their response  to that audit report. The Panel has reviewed both the IVEX report and responses to the report.
In a letter today, the Panel has written to SMART and GAR. The Panel has asked both companies to respond to its recommendations and to clarify their intention to comply fully with RSPO regulations in the future.
The Panel will issue its conclusions after having received and discussed these responses.
The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil takes all infringements of its Code of Conduct and Principles and Criteria very seriously. The organization has a full Grievance Procedure in place. Members who have been found to not be in compliance and who continue to be in non-compliance with the RSPO regulations could ultimately face sanctions, including the suspension and, eventually, the termination of their membership of the RSPO.
GRIEVANCE PANEL RECOMMENDATIONS
The RSPO Grievance Panel appreciates the fact that SMART has commissioned a third party to independently verify allegations that were made against them by Greenpeace.
The Panel has reviewed facts in the case against the RSPO Code of Conduct for members and the RSPO Principles and Criteria.
In its letter to SMART and GAR, the Panel finds that there has been serious non-compliance with the RSPO Code of Conduct, specifically a failure by SMART to work towards implementation and certification of the RSPO Principles and Criteria (ref. Code of Conduct 3.1). In particular, there has been infringement of RSPO Principles 2 and 7 (ref. Criteria 2.1 on legal compliance; 7.1 on Social and Environmental Impact Assessment; 7.3 on High Conservation Values; 7.4 on peat conservation; 7.5 on community engagement about land and other social impacts).
The Panel finds that settlement of this case of non-compliance would require at a minimum:
- A sufficiently challenging and time-bound plan for the certification of all SMART production units;
- Assurance that all of SMART’s production units are currently applying the RSPO’s New Plantings Procedure;
- Agreement to develop an acceptable package of measures related to the land cleared without HCV assessment;
- Evidence that the Standard Operating Procedures (specifically those on compliance with SEIA requirements, HCV assessments, peat conservation, community engagement about social impacts) have been adapted to address all failings identified in the IVEX report. Those failings have caused legal non-compliance and non-adherence to the RSPO Principles and Criteria.
The Panel fully confirms the position taken in the IVEX report that GAR should not publicly suggest that it is in the process of obtaining RSPO certification of all its operating units, nor should the company publicly claim that it plans to become an RSPO member. GAR is not a member of the RSPO, nor has the RSPO yet received a membership application from the company. The Panel encourages GAR to submit a full and complete application for membership and it has specified to the company which documentation RSPO would need in order to review the application, including a sufficiently challenging time-bound plan for certification.
RSPO Grievance Procedure
RSPO follows a structured and fair process to address grievances that are brought against any members. Please click the link to view the document