2016-03-17

IPOP originator vows full support for pledge



NUSA DUA, BALI
(foresthints.news) - When asked about Golden Agri-Resources support for Indonesian Palm Oil Pledge (IPOP), Chairman and CEO Franky O. Widjaja was quick to say that both he and his company would continue to support the pledge at every level of its implementation.

Franky asserted that as one of the initiators of IPOP, it was only natural for GAR to consistently give its backing to the pledge in every way.

Oh yes, we are one of the originators so we will certainly support it (IPOP) all the way, Franky told foresthints.news on Wednesday (Mar 16), after the opening of the ICOPE event in Bali.

The owner of GAR, the world's second-largest plantation company, also emphasized the efforts the company is making to properly assist smallholders in becoming sustainable.

Basically the only thing we need to adjust is how to really help smallholders be sustainable, and I think this is the thing we need to focus on more, Franky said.

One of the elements of IPOP is its requirement that all signatories to the pledge suspend their trading relationships with those suppliers found to still be engaged in deforestation and peatland conversion.

After the signing of IPOP - on the sidelines of the UN Climate Summit in New York at the end of September 2014 - GAR did in fact lose a number of its suppliers due to this stipulation, as reported by The Jakarta Post (Oct 6, 2015).

Moreover, GAR also acknowledged that these suspensions had a serious impact on the company's production. Nonetheless, GAR seemed to view this as a consequence of having signed up to IPOP.

GAR is not alone in being affected by the pledge - there have been a large number of complaints concerning IPOPs implementation at the supply chain level of the palm oil sector, many of them made by IPOP signatories themselves to the relevant Indonesian ministries.

In response, Indonesia's Minister of the Environment and Forestry announced that she would be scrutinizing the content of IPOP in detail, primarily through bilateral cooperation with the US government.

With respect to the minister's move, Franky said, I think all the detailed cooperation with the US government and EU is something that needs to be elaborated on further.

He went on to say that the most important thing was for all the big corporations concerned to be able to practice sustainability themselves.

Franky concluded the interview with foresthints.news by declaring, The overriding issue is how we can together, not only the IPOP members but also all other NGOs and scientific researchers, help find the most sustainable ways (of operating).