Global campaigner urges corporations to start monitoring with ministry 

(foresthints.news) - Major corporations operating in Indonesia in the palm oil and pulp & paper sectors which have declared their commitment to cleaning up their supply chains from deforestation and peat destruction must take proactive action in support of the peat monitoring and law enforcement efforts being intensively undertaken by the Indonesian Ministry of the Environment and Forestry.

The vital message was conveyed by Glenn Hurowitz, CEO of Mighty - a global campaign organization based in Washington DC - to foresthints.news (Jul 26) in an interview in Jakarta.

Glenn was one of the key players in facilitating Wilmar’s business transformation. The world’s largest palm oil trader declared its zero deforestation and no peat exploitation policy in early December 2013.

He also played an important role when Cargill, one of the world’s largest commodity traders, announced its zero deforestation and no peat exploitation policy in September 2014.

Furthermore, the CEO of Mighty also played an influential role in the declaration of the zero deforestation policy by Astra Agro Lestari, Indonesia’s second largest palm oil producer, which was launched in September 2015.

"Peat monitoring, including the continuing law enforcement actions by the ministry, needs to be appreciated. These are great efforts which most certainly send an extremely good signal to the international community about the peat protection steps being taken by the Indonesian government," said Glenn.

He went on to emphasize that the major corporations concerned have to take the initiative of establishing joint monitoring efforts with the ministry.

He also explained that, from the ministry's perspective, ongoing intensive peat monitoring and law enforcement measures are aimed at enforcing the implementation of the government's new peat regulations.

“On the other hand, for the major corporations, the goal of joint monitoring with the ministry would be to enforce their policies of cleaning up their supply chains from peat destruction, while also supporting the implementation of Indonesia's peat regulations,” Glenn pointed out.

The following photos depict new palm oil development - linked to the supply chains of palm oil companies which have made forest and peat protection commitments, or committed companies - in 2015's burned peat areas.

The photos derive from monitoring conducted by the ministry in South Sumatra's OKI regency, one of Indonesia's peat restoration priority regencies.

Still optimistic

Glenn expressed his view that despite the many efforts that still need to be carried out to accelerate the cleaning up of supply chains from deforestation and peat destruction, good progress has been made in the transformation of major corporations in Indonesia, both palm oil and pulp & paper.

He elaborated on this by giving some examples. "Supply chains are beginning to become transparent, there are grievance mechanisms, and the committed companies continue to show responsiveness when complaints arise related to their supply chains."

He also gave a strong warning, however, against the transformation process leading to more forest clearance and peat drainage.

"Obviously we don't want that type of transformation to take place. The joint monitoring I mentioned earlier, as well as the grievance mechanisms found in the monitoring systems of committed companies, are expected to accelerate the transformation process so that business-as-usual practices can be abandoned immediately," Glenn said.

The following are photographs of monitoring results from the ministry that reveal new peat destruction perpetrated by a palm oil company in Central Kalimantan's Pulang Pisau regency, another peat restoration priority regency.

The palm oil company committing this peat destruction forms part of the supply chains of certain committed major palm oil companies.

The committed companies, Glenn continued, should be willing and courageous enough to take more responsibility in making the business transformation they are undertaking more effective.

"The momentum for change is currently good in Indonesia, especially in terms of implementing practices to improve peat governance. (However) this momentum needs to be supported by committed companies, not hindered by them," he cautioned.

"I am optimistic and still believe that business transformation involving major corporations operating in Indonesia will continue happening and improving. Global markets are also still observing just how the transformation works," Glenn affirmed in concluding his interview with foresthints.news.