Palm Oil Business in Green Activism, Fair or Unproper?

Palm Oil Business in Green Activism, Fair or Unproper?

InfoSAWIT, JAKARTA –The increasing awareness of environment globally has brought the new trend in Indonesia to environmental activism between the government and the stakeholders.

It is the country where the environment activists play their role and have significantly influenced that the non government organizations (NGOs) advocate the natural conservation and monitor the environment in every line of development.

Now the environment activists, the government and the busness have trend, that is, to be admitted by the international as the environment winners.

When the good business is done, the sceptical always sid, the environment action done by the government would not be proper for the government should be as the facilitator and the regulator for the industries.

Besides, the business involvement in enviroment activism is taken as the greenwash and forbids the good business principles. The business is often marked as the introduction of conditions and term for one side which might be taken as the self protectism.

Palm oil industries get the environment activism competition between the government and the business itself. The making of Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO), palm oil moratorium, and mining development are the evidences from the governmental activism to keep the trust from the international society.

But the business is not enthusiastic to support the nature for there is no incentive and the less of market acceptance. Some companies even progressively turn to environmment activism and faciliated by Indonesian Chambers in the forum, called, Indonesian Palm Oil Pledge (IPOP)in 2014.

IPOP reflected the environmental activism of the stakeholders. Some groups of 6 wealthy palm oil groups promised to monitor the environment in palm oil industries.

The reason and goal of the environment activism done by the government are strait to face the critics from the environment note of the country, while the motive and the goal of the business activism are controversial

There might be three motives and will to involve in environmental activism business. The first is purely business to get the green mandate to palm oil product to get the market within premium price.

The second is to prevent the bad image and to win the palm oil monitoring activity. The third is the assumption of greenwashing, that is, intentionally vanish and make peace with the past and the future commitment.

Greenwashing issue that betray the good principles rises when the internal system and the procedures of activism forum, that is, IPOP, fail to handle 4 major aspects, they are, properness, transparency, fair business and the motive from the members that commit.

The forum was arranged to be role model for the companies that are aware of environment. So it needs to make proper criteria for the companies that want to join as the members, such as, free of conflict, commit and clean from the past, and commit to the future.

Transparency – the forum should develop the mechanism that makes the people able to get the full access to the information about the commitment of the companies as the members. This would be easy for the company to reveal the past, the operational, the plan that the public could monitor.

The government has shown hatred to such initiative – it tends to break the fair business for it is potential to put the smallholders, and the partners of the company aside in the chain of stock. The other concern is the commitment of signing would be effectively stop new palm oil enlargement for the limits made by the government are contradict to the policy published by the government itself.

One challenge from the government and the business involvement in environmental activism is the need of platform that the companies and the stakeholders admit, especially, the markets, NGO, and the chain of stock. (Written by: Director of Sustainability in one multinational palm oil company, Edi Suhardi)

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