June 13, 2019

Ground-check reaffirms NDPE newcomer serious

JAKARTA ( - A recent ground check by the team (May 27) of a GAMA Plantation-controlled palm oil concession (PT GAN) has proven that the habitat of the critically-endangered Bornean orangutan in the concession has not been subjected to new palm oil development.

This field verification, which was undertaken to follow up on a recently published news report (May 20) which referred to time series-based satellite data, found that GAMA was not developing the concession’s Bornean orangutan-inhabited peat forests into new palm oil plantations.

GAMA adopted an NDPE policy fairly recently, in August last year. This global palm oil supplier seems serious about implementing this no deforestation, no peat development policy on the ground level.

Furthermore, GAMA also appears to be serious about complying with the sanction imposed on PT GAN - which operates in West Kalimantan’s Kubu Raya regency - by the Indonesian Environment and Forestry Ministry in June last year due to peat violations it had committed.

The ground-based evidence uncovered during the field verification, which is represented in the photos below showing good peat forest cover, confirms that GAMA is serious in a practical sense about implementing its NDPE policy, including fulfilling its legal compliance.

In fact, the ground check discovered that neither good peat forest cover nor the fragmented peat forests spread within the GAMA palm oil concession are being developed into new palm oil plantations.

The following photos provide evidence that the earlier practice of constructing canals for the purpose of new palm oil development in the concession’s fragmented peat forests has been stopped and no new palm oil plantations have been developed.

All of this points to GAMA being serious about executing its NDPE policy. This has resulted in the Bornean orangutan’s habitat - spanning an area more than twice the size of Brussels and consisting of good peat forest cover as well as fragmented forests - recovering and being protected. 

These efforts to avoid new peat development and deforestation of the Bornean orangutan’s habitat - as confirmed by the ground-based evidence - deserve appreciation.

Easy to monitor 

The GAMA case also proves that even though a palm oil company may be a newcomer in terms of adopting an NDPE policy, as long as it’s serious about adopting this policy then the clear and positive impact of the associated efforts involved are very easy to monitor, whether by satellite data or on the ground level.

This case - of a newcomer executing a recently-adopted NDPE policy while also fulfilling its legal compliance - should also serve as another lesson learned with regard to the palm oil industry using NDPE policies to clean up supply chains from deforestation and peat destruction. 

Meanwhile, Golden Agri-Resources (GAR/Sinarmas Group), the first palm oil business group to adopt an NDPE policy across the palm oil concessions it controls (since early February 2011) has demonstrated consistent efforts to protect its HCS forests, as recently reported by (May 27).