Walhi and FoE Discover Six Weaknesses in Astra Agro Independent Report

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Illustration of oil palm plantation. Photo by: Sawit Fest 2021 / Achmad Dadang Hidayah

PALMOILMAGAZINE, JAKARTA – In March 2023, Astra Agro Lestari (AAL) declared that it had engaged the consultancy group Eco Nusantara as a third party to examine allegations of environmental and human rights violations by its subsidiary. The company has successfully finalized the terms of reference for the investigation.

In October 2023, AAL’s consultants shared the verification outcomes of the investigation titled ‘Verifikasi Pengaduan Terhadap PT Mamuang, PT Lestari Tani Teladan dan PT Agro Nusa Abadi.’ This initiative was prompted by the discoveries made by Friends of the Earth – US (FoE-US) and Wahana Lingkungan Hidup (Walhi). The analysis focused on identifying weaknesses, inaccurate focus, small-scale report findings, and critical flaws within the investigation.

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As in the official statement to Palmoilmagazine.com, Wednesday (29/11/2023), the investigation report and verification were not qualified, inaccurate, and it is a big mistake to get solution on unfinished area conflicts and confirm recovery for the losses.

Also Read : FOE Rejected Investigation that Astra Agro Lestari Did

Walhi and FoE US mentioned that at least, there are six disablements which are not the same with the report: the first, the investigation managed disable term of reference and process and it was decided by one party, ignored the inputs from civil organizations though the consultant of AAL asked for input and guaranteed that the input would be taken into consideration.

The second, the investigation failed to review some critical accusations that were firstly documented in March 20222 report that was published by Walhi and FoE – US, such as, the licensing irregularities that the subsidiaries of AAL did, forest degradation until to the river, and some other criminals.

The third, it failed to examine if AAL and its subsidiaries tried to get free prior informed concern (FPIC) from the villagers that got the impacts (particularly, there is not 2023 verification report about FPIC).

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The fourth, it failed to focus to investigate AAL but managed the burden of evidence to indigenous community, culture, and smallholders (farmers); the fifth, the report was incomplete, inadequate, and in some points, it was inaccurate.

The sixth, it revealed bias to maintain status quo by not acknowledging the violation that AAL and its subsidiaries did. “It stated recommendation that the root was from development model by putting the people’s welfare on the private company operation but not acknowledging rights of option and fate determination from those that got human rights,” Walhi and FoE – US noted.

Walhi also noted, the analysis would be about to deliver inputs for the stakeholders and government’s institutions, buyers of AAL, shareholders, consumer goods companies, civil organizations, and communities that care (about the case).

“It needs to understand the specific minor in the verification report and mistake that AAL always does in responding complaints and claims from the people to get solution and valuable compensation,” Walhi noted. (T2)

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