How we work with Golden-Agri Resources on Palm Oil
Golden Agri Resources (GAR) became a TFT member in 2011, at which point GAR launched two policies that form the core of its commitment to social and environmental responsibility: the Forest Conservation Policy (FCP) and the Social and Community Engagement Policy (SCEP). Since 2011, TFT has worked closely with GAR’s own plantations to ensure that these policies are implemented across its operations. Some examples of our collaboration include the development of processes and procedures (e.g. improvement of standard operating procedures on FPIC and conflict resolution) and capacity building (HCS, HCV, FPIC, etc.) to ensure policies are well understood and implemented throughout GAR’s operations. GAR took a pioneering role in the development and application of the HCS Approach to forest conservation, which was central to the development of the HCS Toolkit.
TFT’s partnership with GAR was further extended and strengthened in 2015 when an action plan was agreed to bring GAR’s mills, refineries and third party suppliers into compliance with GAR’s commitment to social and environmental responsibility – usually referred to as their ‘downstream operation’. Core to this commitment is creating a transparent sourcing network with full traceability of GAR’s suppliers and a transformation strategy based on constructive engagement with suppliers and targeted action to address common issues found in supply chains.
Whilst GAR continued to implement its FCP and SCEP across its own plantations, in early 2015 TFT perceived that the transformation journey had slowed, and several breaches of its policies were found. This led TFT to reconsider its collaboration with GAR’s ‘Upstream’ operation and suspended membership in May 2015. TFT and GAR then began working on an action plan to bring it back on track and also agreed an enhancement to GAR’s policy commitments, with the replacement of the FCP and SCEP with the GAR Social and Environmental Policy (GSEP).
This new policy brings together all of the elements of the FCP and SCEP and significantly extends the social aspect with strong commitments relating to fair treatment of workers – both in their own and their suppliers’ operations. With the launch of this policy and agreement reached on the action plan, GAR and TFT announced their re-engagement on 16 November 2015. Throughout the suspension period, GAR and TFT continued to work productively to deliver their ‘Downstream’ action plan and GAR’s strong commitment demonstrated during this time also contributed to the lifting of the suspension. Both streams of work are now progressing at full speed in 2016.