Golden Agri-Resources (GAR) is a leading seed-to-shelf agribusiness, with operations ranging from growing oil palms with farmers to producing food, fuel and other palm-based products to meet the needs of the present and the future. As one of the largest palm oil plantation companies in the world, GAR also recognizes its unique position in providing opportunities for communities in our care to secure better livelihoods. Environmental sustainability is also essential to our business, with the commitments outlined in the GAR Social and Environmental Policy (GSEP) guiding our work towards a sustainable palm oil industry.
Our commitment on the movement
We are committed to use, support or supply 100% sustainable palm oil in Europe by 2020.
"Palm oil is uniquely placed to meet the world’s growing demand for vegetable oil based products in a manner that protects the environment and provides economic opportunity for rural communities, if done right. At GAR we believe in doing palm right, and in helping others in our supply chain to do so too.Anita Neville, Senior Vice President, Group Corporate Communications
The expression “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link” is apt for the palm oil industry and smallholders in the supply chain. Since 2012 palm expansion by companies has been declining, but new planting by smallholders has been increasing. Often they clear land unsustainably, clearing trees in protected forest areas or using fire. Many have planted without a license, so authorities have only a vague idea of the number and location of smallholders. Smallholder engagement is paramount to achieving a sustainable supply chain.
GAR’s flagship programme, the Innovative Financing replanting scheme, supports independent smallholders to achieve improved yields and higher incomes through sustainable production methods. We have helped around 1,400 smallholders in Riau and Jambi with IDR 240 billion in replanting finance to kickstart their own sustainability journey. The money is used to remove low-yielding trees, and to plant high-yield seedlings.
In addition, GAR organizes smallholders into cooperatives whose legal structure enables them to acquire land legality and to pursue sustainability certification. Smallholders undergo training in plantation operations and environmental management. For example, they learn to conserve riparian zones so that streams and rivers continue to provide water to support nature and communities downstream.
The urgency of replanting cannot be underestimated. Based on GAR’s own sample surveys, two-thirds of smallholders suffer from low productivity due to ageing trees. Through the Sustainable Palm Oil Choice platform, we hope to raise awareness of the replanting challenge, hopefully prompting palm oil buyers to shift their attention from their direct suppliers to the smallholders far upstream.
Our UN Sustainable Development Goals
My organisation is most concerned with the following 4 UN SDGs:
SDG 2 (Zero Hunger)
SDG 12 (Responsible Production and Consumption)
SDG 15 (Life on Land)
SDG 17 (Partnerships for the Goals)
While palm oil touches upon a multitude of SDGs such as SDG 1 (No Poverty) and SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), GAR has chosen to focus on the aforementioned 4 SDGs to strategically concentrate on areas where we can contribute the most.
Our struggles and future plans
Our biggest challenge, even today, is changing mindsets. It’s not enough just to tell people this is a better way. Farmers need to see it for themselves and there needs to be demand from the market that shows them their hard work will be rewarded.
GAR is committed to achieving 100% RSPo certification for all its own plantations, a commitment we work hard everyday to meet. We are also committed to helping our supply chain adopt more sustainable practices, including certification if that is right for their business. Together we believe these two activities can make a significant contribution to a sustainable palm oil industry.
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