As much of southeast Asia continues to be shrouded in smog mainly caused by the burning of agricultural plantations in the States of Sumatra and Borneo in Indonesia, environmental groups and governments are applying increasing pressure to get the situation under control.
Indonesia-based Golden Agri-Resources has responded by launching a Peat Ecosystem Rehabilitation Project, in one of the company’s concessions in West Kalimantan, in the Indonesian state of Borneo.
The aim of the project, which is being co-ordinated with the support of environmental Malaysian Environmental Consultants, is to develop fire prevention measures and to protect the longer-term future of the area, according to the company.
A solution is needed, and fast...
“Indonesia needs solutions to the pressing issues of climate change, forest loss and fire,” said Agus Purnomo, MD of Sustainability and Strategic Stakeholder Engagement at Golden Agri-Resources.
“Through our Social and Environmental Policy and our commitment to peat rehabilitation, GAR is demonstrating that economic development and environmental protection can go hand-in-hand. We will continue to call for and support change across Indonesia and the industry to achieve sustainable palm oil.”
The move forms part of the company’s social and environmental policy and forest conservation, established to raise the company’s environmental profile and lower its environmental footprint.
Pressure is mounting throughout the supply chain
Although palm oil producers have come under significant pressure to tackle the issues of deforestations and pollution from crop burning, increasing pressure is being put on companies further up the supply chain, from ingredients producers to manufacturers to prove their sustainability credentials.
With demand for palm oil ingredients running high for cosmetic and personal care, this means that what happens at the bottom of the supply chain has an effect at the top end, where millions of consumers worldwide buy lipsticks, shampoos and soaps containing such ingredients every day.
Earlier this month, one of the biggest cosmetic ingredient manufacturers, Croda, announced that it had gained Certified Sustainable Palm oil for all eleven of its manufacturing sites, enabling it to comply with demands from both cosmetic and personal care manufacturers, as well as consumers.
According to Croda, this means that over 99 per cent of its palm derivative volumes are now RSPO SCC certified for physical supply chains.
Bottom line is ensuring palm oil is eco-friendly
Other big ingredients suppliers have been making similar steps towards securing CSPO, and earlier this year BASF confirmed it is committing to sourcing only RSPO-certified sustainable raw materials with upstream traceability for palm oil and palm kernel oil fractions and edible oil esters by 2025.
Palm oil, palm kernel oil and its derivatives are used in approximately 70 per cent of personal care and cosmetics products, so ensuring this mainstay raw material is sourced in an eco-friendly way is crucial.
Environmentalists have focused their criticisms on palm plantation developments worldwide, but particularly in Indonesia, where virgin jungle continues to be cleared in an effort to keep up with palm oil demand, something that is threatening the habitats of many endangered animals, as well as causing environmental hazards.