Towards a Sustainable Palm Oil District: Seruyan’s Pathway towards Jurisdictional Certification

On 17 November 2015, Earth Innovation Institute (EII) hosted a side event to the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil’s (RSPO) 13th Annual Roundtable Meeting to announce a landmark initiative of Seruyan District. The initiative aims to ensure that all palm oil produced and processed in Seruyan District will be certified as sustainable, also known as jurisdictional certification. Prior to the event, Seruyan District had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Central Kalimantan Plantation Office, major palm companies operating in Seruyan District, and Earth Innovation Institute or Institut Penelitian Inovasi Bumi. These institutions are committed to supporting Seruyan District in its journey towards achieving sustainability in the entire district, including by: 1) assisting smallholders in their transition towards sustainable practice; and 2) removing the risks faced by companies and smallholders in moving towards sustainability, including deforestation and social conflict.

The event was attended by representatives of organizations involved in the global palm oil supply chain such as palm oil producers, buyers, processors, banks, non-government organizations, donors and smallholders. Ian Suwarganda, Senior Manager of Sustainability and Stakeholder Engagement of Golden Agri Resources, as one of the signatory to the MoU, mentioned: “We now have an opportunity to showcase a model of public-private partnership in achieving sustainability at a larger scale such as at a district level. Hopefully this model could be replicated to other provinces and districts in Indonesia.” In his closing remarks, Mr. Suwarganda said, “GAR shares this vision with the governments of the Seruyan District and the Central Kalimantan province.”

Simon Siburat, General Manager Group Sustainability of Wilmar, also one of the signatory of the MoU, mentioned in his speech that: “Jurisdictional Certification is the way forward because in sustainability, legal compliance is the foundation.” Later he added, “If we can get all certified volume to shift from mass balance to that of Segregation and IP, we have a better chance to find the market for these products, especially the Palm Kernel.”