The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) marked National Palm Oil Day on November 18, 2021 by holding a virtual visit to sustainable oil palm plantations and an orangutan conservation program involving member companies in the hope of helping the push for a transformation of the sustainable palm oil market.
The 250 minute-visit, that saw more than 500 stakeholders, including the media, consumers and downstream players from th Asia Pacific region take part, was organized together the Interchurch Organization for Development Cooperation (ICCO), PT Bumitama Gunajaya Agro (BGA), PT Sawit Sumbermas Sarana (SSMS) Tbk, and the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF)
“This event is to demonstrate to stakeholders in the region that certified sustainable oil palm cultivation is a practical and realistic solution to the challenges and concerns the palm oil industry is facing,” RSPO Indonesia Outreach & Engagement Manager Margareth Naulie Panggabean said in a release issued after the event,
“We need to see greater commitment and uptake of sustainable palm oil from the big four: India, China, Malaysia and Indonesia, if we are to achieve our shared vision of making sustainable palm oil the norm,” she added.
Participants were taken to visit sustainable oil palm plantations of some of RSPO members to see how they were managed, how the companies and the local communities collaborate and mutually support each other without any conflict, and how companies manage conservation areas within their concessions. The visit also took them to see how an orangutan conservation area is sustainably managed by a member of the RSPO.
“Palm oil is a contentious issue globally, however what many do not realize is that countless families rely on this crop for their livelihood, thus, we believe that engaging in public-private partnerships is key to creating effective and sustainable change in the sector,” said Lenneke Braam, Asia Cluster Regional Director of ICCO.
Meanwhile, Lim Gunawan Hariyanto, CEO of PT Bumitama Gunajaya Agro and Vallauthan Subraminam, CEO of PT Sawit Sumbermas Sarana Tbk both aired their respective company’s commitment to the principles of sustainable palm oil business.
“As a company committed to sustainable oil palm development, we strive to be an industry leader in responsible, inclusive and fair palm oil production,” said Hariyanto while Subraminam aired hopes that the virtual visit ““will draw more sides to collaborate in efforts to create a more environmentally friendly oil palm and a sustainable palm oil industry that also supports orangutan conservation in Indonesia.”
BOS Foundation CEO Jamartin Sihite, talking at the same occasion, said that the orangutan rehabilitation and conservation activity his foundation manages in Central Kalimantan, involves the participation of many stakeholders, including the local provincial and district administrations, the Central Kalimantan Nature Conservancy Office, the people of Jabiren Raya district and is also supported and funded by PT SSMS Tbk and its global partners.