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Collective action needed to tackle the haze crisis

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1 October 2015, Singapore – As the traditional dry weather extends from May to August into September, culminating in another blanket of haze across the region. Indonesia’s dry season often coincides with extensive fires, causing many environmental and the resultant health problems. There is understandably significant media and public concerns on fire hotspots in Indonesia. 

Currently, actions merely deal with putting out the blazes and identifying the main actors involved in setting the fires. 

Nevertheless at the heart of the haze crisis is a complex web of socio-economic and political considerations. It is difficult to identify the offenders based on fire hotspots overlaid on concession maps. Fires can be started outside of the concessions and spread into the concessions, or that the corporation being questioned may not fully own the concession. In an environment of confusing and sometimes conflicting customary, provincial and national laws, it is difficult to ascertain land use versus land tenure. 

To drive meaningful reforms, it is imperative for different stakeholders – Indonesian, regional and international ones - to work together on multiple levels in a collective effort to transform the landscape in Indonesia. 

To this end, Musim Mas is actively working with other stakeholders to tackle issues that focus on building sustainable Palm Oil supply chains. 

As the Group is also impacted, there is an on-going programme in which we have dedicated equipment and human resources to extinguish the fire hotspots located near our concessions. Moreover, the Group has an education programme for local communities to encourage local people living in and around the plantations not to use slash-and-burn techniques. 

Lastly, Musim Mas would like to reiterate its commitment to its Sustainability Policy, which prohibits the use of fire in new plantings, replanting and other land development, restricting the use of only mechanical methods. Additionally, the Group does not develop new plantations on Peatland , regardless of depth. The Group’s Sustainability Policy covers the Group’s global operations including Indonesia, as well as the third party suppliers. The Policy sets a higher sustainability standard for the Group as compared to the existing commitments to the Principles and Criteria (P&C) of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).

ENDS

For more information, please contact: 
Carolyn Lim
Corporate Communications
+65 6576 4770