PT SMART honours commitment to Indonesian forests
An independent report by the activist group Greenomics finds that the palm oil company PT SMART (a subsidiary of Singapore based Golden Agri Resources – GAR) has been keeping to its commitment to not converting high carbon forests in Indonesia to palm oil plantations since it signed an agreement over 15 months ago. At present, Indonesia is the world’s largest palm oil producer.
The agreement to spare forests and peat lands storing over 35 tons of carbon per hectare was signed with an international NGO following a campaign that targeted PT SMART’s activities in Kalimantan which were endangering orangutan forest habitat. The campaign led to the loss of significant contracts for the company.
Basing their research on satellite imagery and permit data, Greenomics found that PT SMART had conserved over 2,000 hectares of peat swamps within their existing 60,000 hectare forest concessions.
According to Greenomics Director: “It appears that concrete efforts are being made to conserve secondary swamp forest in parts of GAR’s palm concessions ….. great achievement has been made during the first year of GAR’s forest conservation policy implementation in the three GAR’s concession operating in West Kalimantan.”
The report did, however, raise some criticisms of PT SMART’s activities which involved clearing secondary swamp forest and swamp scrubland beyond the limits of its concessions.