Tuesday, May 9, 2017

News Article Appreared on Mongabay News

To Whom it may concern

8th May 2017.

News article appeared on Mongabay news portal on – RSPO freeses Palm Oil Company Operation in Papua

Further to the a new article appeared on Mongabay today, link: https://news.mongabay.com/2017/05/rspo-freezes-palm-oil-companys-operations-in-papua/ - Following will clarify the facts in the above article.

1. The article discus on the RSPO letter to Goodhope on "Precautionary Measures (Stop Work Order) Adopted by the RSPO Complaints Panel" which outline the decision by the Complaints Panel on the Goodhope Asia Holdings Ltd.’s submission of the New Planting Procedures (NPP) documents for the following proposed new developments of PT Nabire Baru, PT Agrajaya Baktitama, PT Sariwana Adi Perkasa, PT Batu Mas Sejahtera, PT Sawit Makmur Sejahtera, PT Sinar Sawit Andalan and PT Sumber Hasil Prima. “Stop Work Order” is the common terminology used by RSPO in these kind of situations.

(See attached file: Precautionary Measure Goodhope Asia Holdings Ltd _28April, Final.pdf)

2. RSPO's letter highlighted the need for Goodhope to adopt a precautionary approach in response to the Complaints Panel which determine that Goodhope is required to submit a full Land Use Change Analysis (LUCA) and HCV Re-assessment for PT Nabire Baru and PT Agrajaya Baktitama by registered ALS consultants. Goodhope is also required to re-submit a full Land Use Change Analysis (LUCA) and re-do its HCV Assessments on the basis of its completed LUCA. For the other five (5) subsidiaries even though no independent review has been done by RSPO, as this has been performed by the same RSPO approved assessor, we have requested to re-do as well.

3. We have reached out to RSPO to get clarity on the letter and express our concerns on the letter due to some flaws and subjectivity on the decisions made by the Complaints Panel. We have sought clarity on the detailed rationales of the issuance of this “Precautionary Approach”. Our team is scheduled to meet with concerned RSPO staff at the RSPO Secretariat on 11th May 2017 to discuss and mutually agree on the follow-up actions. There are issues and concerns on clarity on credibility judgement and retroactive implementation of new HCV Guidelines, which supposedly took effect January 2017, but it is made applicable to all past assessment which used Toolkit 2008.

4. All necessary documents, including HCV Assessment as required for New Planting Procedures (NPP) were already completed. HCV and SIA assessments were conducted by the RSPO-approved Lead HCV assessor in 2011 and became RSPO approved License Scheme (ALS) assessor since January 2015 up to present. Verification of NPP Documents were done by RSPO-registered Certifying Body (CB) who stated that the HCV areas identification was in accordance with the Indonesian HCV Toolkin 2008. We are in the opinion that all HCV assessments are satisfactorily meet the RSPO-set standard (HCV tool kit 2008). The assessor is registered in RSPO-approved Lead HCV Assessor and later become RSPO-approved Licensing Scheme (ALS) assessor.

5. The credibility of HCV assessor who conducted the studies in Goodhope's companies emerged in 2015 due to some issues in other companies. Negative perception and views on this consultant triggers the complaints by a group of NGOs leading the issuance of the precautionary measures by the RSPO.

6. There were delays due to bottleneck in review by the RSPO Secretariat which prevented finalization of Goodhope's NPP documents. The first submission of NPP documents was received by the RSPO Secretariat in December 2015 using the HCV toolkit 2008, however, the review has not been completed up to now. The newly introduced RSPO Procedure on NPP which incorporates new requirement of HCVRN Review on the HCV assessment report implemented in January 2017 to all assessments from 2017. However in our case RSPO has made this a retroactive requirement based on this letter.  

7. It is to be noted that Goodhope has stopped all major developments from October 2015 on self accord. Limited development activities that took place from that day were largely on infrastruture development to facilitate workers accommodation and roads only. Further, Goodhope has announced its latest “Sustainability Policy” on 5th May with very strong commitments, which enhances commitment on more stringent terms and conditions for new development.

8. Goodhope is going to commission new organizations to carry RSPO's procedures as requested in this letter, due to the pressure from NGOs. Decision has been made and negotiations are on going for following assesssments and certain companies re-assessments have already commenced.

HCV Reassessment and HCS Assessment with Daemeter (a full licensed HCV assessor from the Assessor Licensing Scheme (ALS) registered with HCVRN) for all companies in West Kalimantan
HCV Reassessment Ekologika (a full licensed HCV assessor from the Assessor Licensing Scheme (ALS) registered with HCVRN) and HCS Assessment by Ata Marie (HCSA) for PT Nabire Baru and PT Sariwana Adi Perkasa, Nabire, Papua

We are going to work with third independent parties to perform Land Use Change Analysis (LUCA) and complete NPP documents activities in line with RSPO timeline.

9. Further we will check with RSPO why it is keeping in their approved assessor list organizations that they feel not credible or carry out work as per RSPO standards. Further what is their decision on other organizations where this assessor has carried out assessments. This organization has carried out  large percentage of assessments that were carried out in Indonesia until today.  

Yours Sincerely

Sanjaya Upasena
Chief Operating Officer – Upstream segment