Vote Greenwashing, TuK INDONESIA Action at RT2023 RSPO

Jakarta, 22 November 2023. TuK INDONESIA held a protest against the RSPO on the RT2023 RSPO agenda at the Mulia Hotel, Senayan. The banners and posters that TuK INDONESIA displayed at the RT RSPO 2023 event emphasized the RSPO’s failure to provide a sustainable palm oil industry. The theme of RT2023 should be that the RSPO is “Partner for Environmental Destruction”.

According to TuK INDONESIA’s records, corporations holding RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) certification are involved in palm oil operations in forest areas without valid permits or illegally including companies that are members of large groups. The groups identified as having links to illegal palm oil plantations in forest areas are big players in the Indonesian palm oil industry where there are at least 25 large company groups that control a total of 3.9 million hectares of plantation land in Indonesia.

Director of TuK INDONESIA, Linda Rosalina stated that two decades in existence, RSPO has become a legitimizing tool for the palm oil industry which carries out environmental destruction, human rights abuse and land grabbing. The RSPO’s presence so far has been nothing more than an instrument of laundering sin.

Most recently, in November 2023, 84 thousand hectares of illegal palm oil in the forest area asked for forgiveness from the government through a scheme provided by the Job Creation Law which is nothing more than a flawed legal product. TuK INDONESIA found that the largest groups of RSPO members applied for forgiveness in their respective percentages: Musim Mas Holdings Pte. Ltd. (33.1%), PT. Sawit Sumbermas Sarana (23.2%), Goodhope Asia Holdings Ltd. (14.9%), Golden Agri-Resources Ltd (12.4%), and Kuala Lumpur Kepong Berhad (5%). Apart from that, RSPO member banks and investors are also involved in financing companies whose palm oil is in forest areas, including BNP Paribas and HSBC Holdings Plc.

Another issue, related to plasma obligations, is that RSPO member companies are still neglected to fulfill their plasma obligations. For example, the case involved residents in Biru Maju Village, East Kotawaringin Regency, Central Kalimantan who were in conflict with PT Buana Artha Sejahtera (BAS), a subsidiary of PT Sinar Mas. What’s worse, this issue escalated until it sparked a bloody conflict and caused casualties.

“These cases show that the RSPO has no commitment whatsoever to a sustainable palm oil industry and the protection of human rights. “RSPO is not credible in issuing sustainable certification and instead facilitates greenwashing,” Abdul Haris, TuK INDONESIA Campaigner.

If you look at the RSPO complaints portal web page, in total as long as the RSPO has been established, there have been 160 complaints. TuK INDONESIA itself identified that in the last five years (2018-2023), there were 74 complaints against the RSPO. Although it does not include looking at complaints that the RSPO managed to close without a dismissal decision, it was identified that from 2018 to 2023, Indonesia was the country with the most problematic documented palm oil plantations, namely 52 complaints.

Mufida, TuK INDONESIA researcher identified that labor issues were the most frequently reported issue (38.5%), followed by deforestation issues (12.8%), Free, Prior and Informed Consent/FPIC (9.4), intimidation of local communities and /or indigenous communities (9.4%), then land disputes (8.5%), which based on field observations and advocacy work that has been carried out so far, these issues are issues that are closely interconnected and intertwined. each other.

These facts are just a few of the facts that legitimize that the RSPO is irrelevant, a tool of greenwashing, and involved in environmental and human rights crimes.

This post is also available in: Indonesian