The government will soon put the Indonesia Sustainable Palm Oil ( ISPO ) certification plan on a trial implementation in a number of oil palm plantations across the country.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture Bayu Krisnamurthi said in Jakarta last week that the trial would be held in 20 oil palm plantations this year as part of the government’s plan to require oil palm plantations to apply for ISPO certification beginning in 2012.
He said the plantation firms that would take part in the ISPO pilot projects would include companies run by PT Rea Kaltim Plan, PT Ivomas Tunggal, PT Sime Indo Agro, PT Sumber Indah Perkasa, PT Gunung Sejahtera, and by state companies such as PT Perkebunan Nusantara ( PTPN ) III, V, VI and XIII.
“We will implement the ISPO in all oil palm plantations throughout the country starting in March 2012,” Bayu said on Friday, as quoted by Kontan newspaper.
Bayu said that he expected the entirety of details regarding the processes for mandatory ISPO certification would be finished in 2014.
According to Bayu, such a certification is very important for Indonesia’s oil palm plantations because many countries will require sellers to have sustainable palm oil certifications by 2015.
The ISPO certification, he said, would be based on various measures, such as plantation licenses and plantation management, cultivation techniques, environmental management, surveillance and responsibilities to employees and the community
However, Bayu did not explain how the certification would be made internationally acceptable.
Indonesian Palm Oil Board vice chairman Derom Bangun said both local and international stakeholders should be able to monitor the implementation of the ISPO plan so that it could gain global recognition.
According to Derom, it will take time for the ISPO certifications to bring direct impacts to palm oil producers in Indonesia, the world’s largest palm oil producer. “Time will tell,” he said via text messages.
A number of Indonesia’s palm oil plantations currently hold their green certifications from the Kuala Lumpur-based Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil ( RSPO ).
The certifications are demanded by many large buyers, especially in Europe and the United States, following rising international pressure for environmental-friendly palm oil production processes.
Several multinational corporations, including Unilever and Néstle, have been pressured by environmental groups such as Greenpeace to suspend palm oil purchases from Indonesian producers due to alleged deforestation during their plantation expansion activities.
Indonesian Palm Oil Producers Association ( Gapki ) director Fadhil Hasan said Sunday that his association welcomes the introduction of the ISPO plan, saying that with the use of the Indonesian government-sponsored ISPO scheme and auditing process would be less costly for plantations firms.
“Through the certification we can prove to buyers that our palm oil is produced in sustainable ways. It also shows our commitment to sustainability,” he told The Jakarta Post in a phone interview.
He said that by obtaining such certification the oil palm plantations would be able to deny allegations of environmental degradation. ( lnd )