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Singapore, 15 December 2020 – Forest Peoples Programme (FPP) released a report on 8 December 2020, including a case study of a subsidiary of Musim Mas, PT Agrowiratama. The report alleges that Musim Mas disregarded community rights during the development of the concession.

Musim Mas would like to reiterate that livelihoods are at the heart of sustainable development. Respect for community rights is an essential component of improving livelihoods.

While we welcome scrutiny from civil society organizations, the report suffers from factual errors and omissions.

The study alleges that PT Agrowiratama cleared 1,400 hectares in 2010, which is incorrect. Land preparation only commenced after the RSPO New Planting Procedure (NPP) process was concluded in late 2011 and after extensive consultation with communities. However, 170 hectares were cleared during 2010 by a neighboring company, PT MISP, which encroached onto the concession area. The incident was documented in the High Conservation Values (HCV) assessment and during the NPP consultation, and clearing ceased after interventions by PT Agrowiratama.

Local communities were involved in every step of development. Consultations were carried out as early as January 2010 with local communities. Public consultations involving local communities and civil society organizations were held as part of the HCV assessment and Social Impact Assessment (SIA). Community members were made aware of the implications of transferring their land rights to PT Agrowiratama and were compensated accordingly. Documents of these consultations are available upon request.

Forest People Programme (FPP) was at the time involved in PT Agrowiratama’s engagement on Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC). One outcome of the engagement led to the excision of 1,000 hectares of community land from the original concession, a result which FPP mentioned in March 2011. We are concerned that such an important example of FPIC is absent in a report that documents how community and customary rights are allegedly disregarded.

As a member of the Palm Oil Innovation Group and the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), we are committed to going beyond the legal requirements and respecting the rights of communities and indigenous peoples. We aim to continually improve our operations and collaborate with a broad range of civil society organizations, recognizing that a facts-based dialogue will further our joint efforts to make the palm oil industry more sustainable.