Global Sawit Semesta (GSS)
1) Rainforest Action Network (RAN) report titled, “The Last of the Leuser Lowlands: Field Investigation Exposes Big Brands Buying Illegal Palm Oil From the Singkil-Bengkung Peatlands” (30 September 2019)
(1) The report highlights the role of major food brands, traders and global banks in driving deforestation in Leuser Ecosystem’s Singkil-Bengkung region.
The report alleged several Palm Oil mills to be sourcing illegal FFB, one of which was PT Global Sawit Samesta (GSS). PT GSS sourced illegal FFB through a broker, CV. Buana Indah who in turn bought from Smallholders illegally planting palms inside the Rawa Singkil Wildlife Reserve.
Musim Mas’ official statement to RAN’s report can be found here.
We have reached out to PT GSS the moment we received the report and we will conduct verification of the allegations made. The field verification will be conducted in October 2019.
Our Sustainability team went to PT GSS to verify the supply chain linkage between PT GSS and the broker, CV Buana Indah established in the RAN report. We will be reviewing the report of the field verification closely when it is released, and work with engaging PT GSS in the meantime.
We will be holding a supplier workshop at the end of the month, and PT GSS have agreed to attend. We will be sharing our Sustainability policy, Traceability requirements and NDPE commitments during this workshop.
PT GSS attended a supplier workshop held in Medan by Musim Mas where we explained our Sustainability policies and procedures, as well as our requirements.
Another supplier workshop will be held in Subulussalam, Aceh Province, for the mills and FFB suppliers within the Singkil district.
We conducted a field verification from 10 – 11 October 2019 via document review, site visits and one-on-one interviews with various parties. The mill has been cooperative and has dedicated resources to implement sustainability matters.
It was confirmed that PT GSS had been sourcing FFB from the agent, CV Buana Indah (CV BI).
The mill weighbridge records in 2019 revealed that PT GSS was sourcing from PT Laot Bangko and PT ASDAL. There was indication that CV BI was sourcing from farmers who have encroached into Rawa-Singkil. However, CV BI does not keep any traceability records.
PT GSS stopped sourcing from CV BI on 02 October 2019. Currently, the mill has Traceability to Plantation (20% of the FFB supply) and traceability to the agents.
PT GSS has an existing Traceability SOP which includes legality checks to the Plantation , however, implementation is lacking.
- Written supplier agreements are in place with its FFB suppliers required to provide traceability information.
- There is a public notice board at the weighbridge requiring FFB suppliers to ensure that the supply comes from a legal source but implementation/enforcement is lacking.
The mill has increased resources by recruiting a Sustainability Officer and GIS staff to start on the traceability work. This will help the implementation of the action plan. PT GSS has been ISPO-certified since 27 July 2018.
Community leaders were interviewed to help us understand the community encroachment into protected areas and the efforts taken to rehabilitate the area. Population displacement into the protected Singkil swamp area took place during the various phases of conflict in Aceh (starting in the 1970s). The temporary settlements became permanent over the years, including some perennial crops such as oil palm.
An action plan was developed and it includes the following:
- Map showing the high-risk areas, which is to be shared with all FFB suppliers
- Request all FFB suppliers to commit to sourcing only from outside of the protected areas
- Stop FFB purchase from suppliers without a signed commitment letter
- All suppliers should be able to document that FFB sourced are from legal sources (with user rights and not associated with protected areas), and are respectful of social and human rights. Verify the legality of suppliers
- Develop/update traceability SOP and share it with all suppliers
- Document the location of direct suppliers (plantations, direct/indirect agents and direct small growers/farmers) and map the Smallholders supply shed, starting with risk-based traceability
- Develop a traceability action plan
The monitoring of the delivery of the action plan will be conducted by Musim Mas.