Greenpeace links Sime unit to Riau fires, slams palm oil group 

(The Malay Mail) – Environmental activist movement Greenpeace has released data purportedly showing the presence of hotspots within the land of a Sime Darby subsidiary in Indonesia that was previously given the all-clear by a palm-oil industry group.

At the height of the haze crisis last month, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) told five member firms to provide satellite maps to be used to judge their role in the haze crisis choking the region.

Malaysia’s Tabung Haji Plantations, Kuala Lumpur Kepong and Sime Darby along with Indonesia’s PT Sinar Mas were later given a clean bill of health. Jatim Jaya Perkasa was initially cleared but this was later retracted after it  was found that the data it provided was unusable.

But with Indonesia announcing on Friday plans to charge a KL Kepong subsidiary for illegal burning and Greenpeace now providing maps allegedly showing burning in the Sime Darby unit’s compound, the RSPO’s actions in “clearing” its member firms accused of contributing to the deadly haze choking region has come under fire.

“[The RSPO] has failed to tackle its members’ role in creating the conditions that led to such a disaster, nor has it held companies accountable for the impact of their operations,” Bustar Maitar, head of Greenpeace’s Indonesia forest campaign, was quoted as saying by The Guardian in the UK.

According to the report, Greenpeace said its data indicated the presence of almost 100 hotspots on Jatim Jaya Perkasa property, and over 20 in the estate operated by Sime unit Bumireksa Nusasejati.

Sime previously said its data only showed three such spots in its subsidiary’s compound, adding that these were inside the concession areas but located outside the company’s operating area as the areas were local communities, who occupied and planted both cash crops such as corn, sugarcane and pineapple as well as perennial crops such as coconut and areca nuts.

The activist group took further aim at the RSPO for only hauling up firms when these were publicly implicated, instead of auditing all its members located within the affected region.

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