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What Causes Fires in Tropical Rainforests?

Human activity, including climate change that results in extreme drought, contributes to the increased risk, frequency, and intensity of forest and peat fires. Human activity can directly cause forest fires for a variety of reasons.

Our Approach to Fire Management and Prevention

Our efforts and approach towards preventing, monitoring, and managing fires are guided by our supply base, split across three domains: Our operations, third-party suppliers, and independent smallholders. Within these three domains, we analyze and manage fire risk, monitor fires, and conduct assessments according to the elements in Figure 1 on the left:

Efforts Across Our Supply Base to Prevent and Manage Fires

This provides a concise overview of our initiatives implemented throughout our supply chain to monitor, prevent, and manage fires when necessary.

We consistently monitor and track hotspots in our estates and nearby areas, complemented by firefighter training for swift response to fire outbreaks and satellite surveillance of concessions. Our commitment extends to community support through the Fire Free Village Program (FFVP), educating about fire risks and encouraging fire-free land-clearing methods. FFVP offers resources, agricultural tools, and incentives for communities refraining from fire use, and fostering infrastructural improvements.

Our communication channels promote awareness among employees and communities. Water ponds and fire breaks strategically placed act as preventive and countermeasures tool, and regional teams use satellite data of active fire/thermal anomalies to promptly respond to detected hotspots around our concessions.

Utilizing our Supplier Assessment Tool (SAT), we assess suppliers against our NDPE and sustainability policies, including a no-burning policy. The SAT evaluates fire risk in suppliers’ concessions, with workshops reinforcing our no-burning policy. Since our 2014 sustainability policy launch, our in-house database monitors deforestation and fire hotspots. Using our monitoring system, we prioritize high-risk areas and engage suppliers with fire hotspots through our targeted program.

In addition to communities, independent smallholders play a crucial role in forest and land fire prevention, accounting for 41% of Indonesia’s oil palm plantations. Musim Mas leads Indonesia’s largest Independent Smallholders training program, integrating “zero burning” and fire prevention into the training curriculum. Furthermore, Musim Mas actively promotes sustainable agricultural practices among smallholders, encouraging alternatives to slash-and-burn agriculture, thereby contributing to a significant reduction in forest fires.

Fire-Free Alliance

Recognizing the collective responsibility in addressing fire-related challenges, Musim Mas actively participates in the Fire-Free Alliance (FFA), a dynamic multi-stakeholder coalition dedicated to combating fires and mitigating haze issues. Emphasizing collaboration, the FFA brings together palm oil and forestry firms, government bodies, non-governmental organizations, and supply chain partners.

Through roundtable discussions and partnerships, the FFA facilitates the exchange of best practices and knowledge, ensuring a unified approach to fire prevention. As a committed member of the alliance, Musim Mas contributes to this collaborative effort, underscoring the importance of shared responsibility and coordinated action in safeguarding against forest fires and their environmental impacts.