Monitoring of ISPO implementation and verification of the criteria for assessment of the ISPO-certified companies in Riau, West Kalimantan, and Papua

EoF Investigative Report / 31 December 2022

All through the years 2021 and 2022, the Eyes on the Forest coalition has organized field verification activities on the implementation of sustainability standards under ISPO (Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil) certification by the plantation companies which have obtained the ISPO Certificates in Riau, West Kalimantan, and Papua provinces. At least 36 locations of oil palm plantations have been observed for their compliance with the ISPO principles, 27 of which were located in Riau, 5 in West Kalimantan, and 4 others in Papua.

The observation was performed by referring to the standards and indicators prescribed in such sustainable oil palm certification. In general, four aspects were highlighted as the targets of observation against ISPO-Certified companies, namely: Compliance with Spatial Planning, Non-Cultivation inside Forest Estates, Non-Cultivation on Peatlands, and Restoration of Riparian Zones. EoF found that the majority of the holders of ISPO certificates got low grades in terms of their compliance with the aspects of compliance to spatial planning and restoration of riparian zones.

Having some of the plants in their plantations already reached the age of more than twenty years, it is compulsory for the plantation companies to follow up on the Government regulations regarding the rehabilitation of their plants, particularly those planted along riparian zones and on peatlands. Leaving riparian zones and peatlands free from oil palm trees cannot be delayed any longer if the ISPO certificate holders want to prove to the public that they are indeed worthy of holding the sustainability certification.

The Eyes on the Forest coalition, therefore, demands the Stakeholders of the ISPO system to consistently enforce the sustainable principles of the palm oil industry and to improve the quality of the system in such a way that it shall support and uphold the efforts to protect living environments and ecosystems.