Palm oil supplier refutes Greenpeace allegations

By Caroline Scott-Thomas

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Palm oil

Indonesian palm oil supplier PT Smart has refuted Greenpeace claims that it is destroying rainforest, publishing an independent verification report (IVEX) detailing its practices.

Palm oil is used extensively in food and toiletries, but its production has had a devastating effect on South Asian rainforests, clearing habitats for endangered species like tigers and orangutans, while also adding to carbon emissions.

PT Smart commissioned the investigation into the sustainability of its palm oil production, and it was carried out by Control Union Certifications and BSI Group.

“The report concluded that the allegations made were largely unfounded and that Smart was not responsible for deforestation of primary forests and the destruction of orangutan habitats as had been claimed,”​ the company said.

PT Smart conceded that some plantations were on peatlands and deep peat, but “not as extensively as claimed”​, accounting for less that two percent of its contracts.

However, Greenpeace said the company has misinterpreted the report, calling it a “poor attempt at brand protection that does nothing to challenge Greenpeace’s findings.”

In December, Unilever halted purchases of palm oil from PT Smart, after Greenpeace alleged that its parent group, Sinar Mas, was involved in illegal deforestation and peatland clearance in the region. Sinar Mas is a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), which was set up with the aim of ensuring the oil’s sustainable production and use.

The world’s two largest food companies, Nestlé and Kraft, also sourced palm oil from PT Smart, and both announced internal investigations following the Greenpeace report.

Following the IVEX report’s release on Tuesday, director of PT Smart Daud Dharsono said in a statement: “The IVEX Team was appointed based on their ability to provide an independent assessment of the claims through transparent and objective verifications and using scientific methodology…

“It was vital to get an independent third-party opinion to clear the allegations so that all parties can move forward in a constructive manner. We look forward to engaging with all our stakeholders including Greenpeace to work towards continued improvement in sustainable palm oil production.”

PT Smart’s IVEX report is available online here​.

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