Golden Agri Resources and Sustainability

       Golden Agri Resources (GAR) has been in the forefront of this palm oil boom in Indonesia. Founded in 1996 by the influential Widjaja family (operators of the Sinar Mas business group), GAR became the holding company for the family’s agribusinesses, including its Indonesian subsidiary PT SMART.  The company has assembled an array of assets through the entire palm oil  value chain, from growing seedlings  and managing over 450,000 hectares of plantation lands to running extraction and refining mills and marketing its own brand of cooking oil. While GAR is headquartered in Singapore, the company’s palm plantations and much of its processing facilities were in Indonesia.  By 2009, the expansion of GAR and other companies had made Indonesia the world’s leading exporter of crude palm oil.

        GAR initially responded to Greenpeace’s charges by commissioning reports and issuing press releases denying the group’s allegations. However,   in   negotiations   brokered   by   The   Forest   Trust,   another environmental NGO, GAR sat down with Greenpeace and in often tense meetings hammered out an agreement that set forth guidelines for operating the company without contributing to deforestation.

        GAR was proud of its position as a sustainable palm oil company, but the company had to consider its commitments in light of the competitive and regulatory environment of the countries in which it operated. Company officials described each standard-setting organization as a forum where ideas could be shared and a consensus forged. GAR had committed to having all of its palm oil certified by the RSPO by 2015 and participating in the organization’s discussions. It was working with the Indonesian government to frame the requirements for ISPO.

          Source:  The science behind a sustainable agribusiness – Golden Agri-Resources

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