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Sustainable palm oil: Marketing ploy or true commitment? New research examines RSPO standards
Date:11/3/2013

times led to an improved understanding of the key issues, both for communities and companies, in achieving 'sustainable development' based on respect for fundamental human rights. Some of the procedural improvements may provide a basis for resolving land conflicts, and several companies have responded positively and adjusted their operations to better accommodate community livelihoods and demands.

But many more RSPO companies are running highly abbreviated processes to secure community consent, which are far from being 'free', 'prior' and 'informed.' In the concession of PT Permata Hijau Pasaman I, a subsidiary company of Singapore-based multinational company Wilmar International, in West Sumatra, Indonesia, the process of land acquisition was characterised by selective consultation between the company and co-opted community representatives. In the case of Tanjung Bahagia Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Genting Plantations, lands and forests have been cleared and planted despite sustained objections from the communities.

Many companies are also failing to follow the RSPO procedures by not taking the requisite steps to recognise customary rights. In West Kalimantan, Indonesia, there has been collusive manipulation of the concept of customary rights by personnel from PT Agrowiratama, a subsidiary of the Indonesian Musim Mas group, in favour of local elites over local Melayu land-user communities. In East Kalimantan, Indonesia, PT Rea Kaltim Plantations, owned by British company REA Holdings PLC, did not undertake participatory mapping or land tenure surveys before acquiring land. This has now been recognised by the company, however, and mapping has begun.

Lack of Enforcement Triggers Conflicts and Withdrawal from the RSPO

The trampling of rights often spurs uneven conflicts, where protests from local communities are met with arrests and physical assaults. SG Sustainable Oils Cameroon PLC in South West Cameroon, owned by American co
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Contact: Dan Klotz
dklotz@burnesscommunications.com
301-280-5756
Burness Communications

Gemma Humphrys
gemma@forestpeoples.org
44-1608-652893
Forest Peoples Programme
Source:Eurekalert


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