Joint complaint against Wilmar sugar cane plantation in Merauke


Jeremy Goon

Group Head of Corporate Social Responsibility

Wilmar International (Group)

56 Neil Road 088830


Wilmar International (Group)

Multivision Tower Lt.12

Kuningan Mulia Kav.9B, Guntur, Setia Budi, Kuningan

Jakarta Selatan, DKI Jakarta 12980


19th April 2013

Re: International and Indonesian civil society organisations complaint on transparency and corporate social responsibility of Wilmar International regarding treatment of civil society queries in communications with Wilmar subsidiary PT Anugrah Rejeki Nusantara (Merauke, Papua)

Dear Jeremy Goon,

On behalf of a coalition of international, and national and local Indonesian non-governmental organisations,1 we wish to express our concerns with regards to recent communications with Wilmar subsidiary PT Anugrah Rejeki Nusantara (PT ARN), Merauke, Papua, Indonesia.


As human rights organisations, Forest Peoples Programme, Pusaka and Sawit Watch welcome Wilmar’s commitment to the RSPO Principles and Criteria for Sustainable Palm Oil, which have been developed with the objective of promoting the growth and use of sustainable oil palm products through credible global standards, the engagement of a wide range of stakeholders, multi-stakeholder collaboration and consensus-based decision-making based on transparency and dialogue.

Since 2004, Forest Peoples Programme, Pusaka and particularly Sawit Watch, as member of the RSPO Executive Board from 2006 to 2012, have been monitoring the operations of Wilmar in the palm oil sector to ensure that indigenous peoples’ and local communities’ rights are being respected in line with Principles 1, 2, 5, 6 and 7 of the RSPO P&C.2

As a receiver of loans from the World Bank, we have also been monitoring how Wilmar is ensuring that it abides by the World Bank safeguards, including the safeguard policy on indigenous peoples, OP/BP 4.10, which underscores the need for Borrowers and Bank staff to identify indigenous peoples, consult with them, ensure that they participate in, and benefit from Bank-funded operations in a culturally appropriate way.3

In 2010, Wilmar announced that it was extending its operations to the sugarcane sector. This includes plans to develop a 27,457 ha plantation and processing facility in Tabonji, Tanah Miring and Anim Ha sub-districts, Merauke district, Papua province, operated by PT Anugrah Rejeki Nusantara, an indirect 95% owned subsidiary of Wilmar since May 2011.4

On 2nd November 2012, we were informed by local communities from Baad and Koa villages in Animha sub-district, Merauke, Papua, of their serious concerns over the potential impacts on their livelihoods and access to land of this projected development on their customary lands.5

On 11th February 2013, it was made public that PT ARN was carrying out consultations (‘sosialisasi’) with the affected communities towards their Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (AMDAL), and that participatory mapping of customary lands had been carried out by the company.6

Communications with PT ARN

In response to community concerns and to the notification of PT ARN’s consultation processes with these communities, on 2nd April 2013, NGOs Pusaka, SawitWatch and Forest Peoples Programme contacted Mr. Nanser Gultom, Branch Manager of PT ARN,7 introducing ourselves as human rights organisations and requesting the opportunity to meet with PT ARN representatives to learn about the processes of community consultation currently underway in the areas to be developed by PT ARN as a sugarcane plantation.

On 2nd April, Mr. Gultom responded to our query with a one-word email, ‘SPAM’. On 5th April, we contacted Mr. Gultom to request clarification on the meaning of this response, assuring him of our honest intentions in wishing to make his acquaintance and reiterating our interest in learning from the PT ARN how it is ensuring that the rights of local communities in the projected development area are being taken into consideration.

On 5th April, Mr. Gultom responded by accusing us of obtaining his email address through illegal means (“secara tidak Sah (illegal)”) under Indonesian rule of law, stating he did not know of our organisations and asking us to send our company CVs.

On 8th April, we emailed Mr. Gultom, thanking him for his email and explaining that we had obtained his email address from a government official of the District Government of Merauke at the end of 2011. Further to our self-introduction as both individuals and organisations in the first email sent to Mr. Gultom, we also provided Mr. Gultom with the websites of our respective organisations for his perusal and reiterated our wish to meet with the company. As of today 19th April 2013, Mr. Gultom has not responded to our latest email.

Inconsistencies with Wilmar’s commitments and core values

As a multi-national company of international renown, Wilmar’s core values include:

1) Integrity: we value honesty, trustworthiness and high ethical standards

2) Excellence: we strive for excellent performance in everything we do8

With regards to sustainability, Wilmar states on its website that

… we also recognise we can do much more to benefit the world with help and support from other stakeholders. This refers to engaging stakeholders through listening and addressing their concerns into our business decisions and actions as well as forming strategic collaborations with them, where relevant.9 (emphasis added)

With regards to community development, Wilmar’s approach is

to ensure we bring meaningful and lasting benefits to the communities in areas where we operate, while we maintain the continual viability of our business. We reckon one of the best means to achieving this is to build open, honest and mutually beneficial relationships that promote harmony with them.10 (emphasis added)

Furthermore, as a signatory to the United Nations Global Compact since 2008, Wilmar has committed to

making the Global Compact and its principles part of the strategy, culture and day-to-day operations of our company.11

We are deeply concerned about the treatment of our queries by Mr. Nanser Gultom as representative and Branch Manager of Wilmar subsidiary PT ARN. The accusatory and dismissive content and tone of Mr. Nanser Gultom’s responses do not reflect the integrity, excellence, and commitment to building ‘open, honest and mutually beneficial’ relationships, and ‘engaging stakeholders through listening and addressing their concerns’, which Wilmar seeks to promote in its operations.

Instead, such responses undermine the credibility and reputation of Wilmar by reflecting disregard towards civil society stakeholders, as well as unfounded accusations of illegal action. We are concerned by the evident discrepancy between the standards and commitments of Wilmar and the manner in which civil society queries are being deal with by certain staff.

We are aware that Wilmar has not to date joined sustainability standards in the sugarcane sector, such as Bonsucro. However, given that the World Bank safeguards, the principles of the United Nations Global Compact, and Wilmar’s own core values apply across the chain of its operations, we believe that a complaint is necessary given the nature of the communications above. We therefore respectfully request that this matter be raised by Wilmar with PT ARN and an explanation given to the civil society organisations in question with regards to the nature of the responses received to our query from PT ARN.

Signatories to this complaint listed below are concerned Papuan, Indonesian and international NGOs and other organisations. Also CCd are other relevant representatives of Wilmar, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the IFC Corporate Advisory Ombudsman (IFC CAO) and the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, as entities that hold a stake in Wilmar’s operations and practices. We also CC international sugarcane certification standard Bonsucro, whose members have committed to improving the social, environmental and economic sustainability of sugarcane through legal compliance, respect for human rights and continuous improvement.12

We look forward to being informed as to how Wilmar intends to provide redress in these circumstances and look forward to the opportunity to meet with PT ARN and engage in mutually respectful dialogue towards ensuring that the operations of PT ARN fully respect the livelihoods and rights of these communities.

Yours sincerely,

Marcus Colchester Franky YL Samperante Jefri Gideon Saragih

Forest Peoples Programme Pusaka Sawit Watch


1. Abetnego Panca Putra Tarigan, Walhi Indonesia

2. Abner Mansai, Walhi Papua, Indonesia

3. Alvon Kurnia Palma, Yayasan Lembaga Bantuan Hukum Indonesia (YLBHI), Indonesia

4. Andiko, HuMa, Jakarta, Indonesia

5. Anton P Wijaja, Walhi Kalimantan Barat, Indonesia

6. Anne van Schaik, Friends of the Earth Europe (FoE Europe), Belgium

7. Arie Rompas, Walhi Kalimantan Tengah, Indonesia

8. Azmi Sijaruddin, Yayasan Merah Putih (YMP), Central Sulawesi, Indonesia

9. Danang, Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW), Jakarta, Indonesia EMAIL

10. Dwitho Frasedianty, Walhi Kalimantan Selatan, Indonesia

11. Edy Michelis Rosasriyanto, Sekretariat Keadilan Perdamaian dan Keutuhan Ciptaan (SKPKC), Fransiskan Papua, Indonesia EMAIL

12. Evelien van den Broek, International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Netherlands 13. Ferry Irawan, Perkumpulan Hijau, Jambi, Indonesia

14. Hariansyah Usman, Walhi Riau, Indonesia

15. Harry Oktavian, Scale Up, Riau, Sumatra, Indonesia

16. Indriaswati Saptaningrum, Lembaga Studi dan Advokasi Masyarakat (ELSAM), Jakarta, Indonesia

17. Isal Wardhana, Walhi Kalimantan Timur, Indonesia

18. Iwan Nurdin, Konsorsium Pembaharuan Agraria (KPA), Jakarta, Indonesia

19. Khalid Saifullah, Walhi Sumbar, Indonesia

20. Lely Khairnur, Lembaga Gemawan, West Kalimantan, Indonesia

21. Leo Imbiri, Yayasan Anak Dusun Papua (YADUPA), Papua, Indonesia

22. Leo van der Vlist, Netherlands Centre for Indigenous Peoples (NCIV), Netherlands

23. Lindsey Allen, Rainforest Action Network (RAN), United States of America

24. Musri Nauli SH, Walhi Jambi, Indonesia

25. Nordin, Save Our Borneo (SOB), Central Kalimantan, Indonesia

26. Norman Jiwan, Transformasi Untuk Keadilan INDONESIA (TuK INDONESIA), Jakarta, Indonesia

27. Paul Barber, TAPOL, United Kingdom

28. Pietsaw, JASOIL Tanah Papua, Papua, Indonesia

29. Rafendi Djamin, Human Rights Working Group Indonesia (HRWG-Indonesia), Jakarta, Indonesia

30. Rivani Noor, Community Alliance for Pulp and Paper Advocacy (CAPPA), Jambi, Sumatra, Indonesia

31. Rosa Moiwend, War Resisters International (WRI), United Kingdom

32. Rukaiyah Rofiq, Yayasan Setara Jambi, Sumatra, Indonesia

33. Septer Manufandu, Jejaring Advokasi Rakyat (JERAT), Papua, Indonesia

34. Sinung Karto, Kontras, Jakarta, Indonesia

35. Victor Mambor, Aliansi Jurnalis Independen (AJI), Jayapura, Papua, Indonesia

36. Victor Mambor, PT. Jujur Bicara (JUBI), Jayapura, Papua, Indonesia

37. Wahyu Wagiman SH, Public Interest Lawyers Network (PILNET), Jakarta, Indonesia


Mr Goh Ing Sing, Head of Plantations Division, Wilmar

Simon Siburat, Group Sustainability Controller, Wilmar

Mr Hendri Saksti, Head of Operations, Indonesia, Wilmar

Mr Jean-Luc Robert Bohbot, Managing Director, Wilmar Sugar Pte Ltd

Mr Ian Glasson, Chief Executive Officer, Sucrogen Limited

Meg Taylor, Vice-President and CAO, International Finance Corporation Corporate Advisory Ombudsman

Julia Gallu, Specialist Ombudsman, International Finance Corporation Corporate Advisory Ombudsman

Darrell Weber, Secretary General, Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil

Salahudin Yaacob, Technical Director, Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil

Nick Goodall, Chief Executive, Bon Sucro


1 Pusaka is an Indonesian non-profit organisation focused on advocacy, research, documentation and promotion of the rights indigenous peoples, as well as capacity building, education and empowerment related to the rights of indigenous peoples, land rights, and economic, social and cultural welfare ( Sawit Watch is Indonesian non-profit organisation that researches and monitors the negative impacts of large-scale oil palm plantations on farmers, laborers, indigenous peoples and local communities (

Forest Peoples Programme is an international UK-based human rights organisation that supports the rights of peoples who live in and around forests and depend on them for their livelihoods (

The full list of signatories to this complaint is included at the end of this letter.

2 Principle 1: Commitment to transparency Principle 2: Compliance with applicable laws and regulations

Principle 5: Environmental responsibility and conservation of natural resources and biodiversity

Principle 6: Responsible consideration of employees and of individuals and communities affected by growers and mills

Principle 7: Responsible development of new plantings

Principle 8: Commitment to continuous improvement in key areas of activity

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7 For the complete email communications, please see Annex I.




11 _Letter_8031.pdf?1262613594

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