Global environmental activist group Greenpeace suspended its campaign against leading palm oil producer IOI Group on 28 April as a result of its progress on sustainability across its supply chain.
As part of Greenpeace’s protest campaign against IOI, the activist group blockaded the company’s Rotterdam palm oil refinery in September 2016 and organised a protest at its headquarters in Kuala Lumpur.
Greenpeace said in a statement that IOI had begun proactively monitoring its palm oil suppliers since January to ensure they were not destroying rainforests or peatlands.
“IOI has come a long way in the past 12 months, and has now started taking meaningful action to eliminate forest destruction and human rights abuses from its supply chain,” said Kiki Taufik, global head of Greenpeace’s Indonesian Forests Campaign.
“Greenpeace will be watching closely to make sure IOI follows through. There is still a lot of work to be done to clean up the palm oil industry and we expect other traders to respond with action plans of their own.”
The IOI Group launched its updated Sustainable Palm Oil Policy (SPOP) in August 2016 alongside what the company called a Sustainability Implementation plan after it was suspended from the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) in April 2016 for clearing peatlands in Indonesia.
As a result of the suspension, many companies including large names such as Unilever, Mars and Nestlé cancelled their contracts with IOI.
The RSPO lifted its suspension in August 2016, and now IOI has reported that it has implemented additional commitments to its SPOP.
The company said in a statement that it had started working with international NGOs and grassroots groups to ensure that the core principles of the RSPO were upheld and that it had addressed the labour issues highlighted by Finnish corporate responsibility watchdog Finnwatch at IOI’s Peninsular Malaysia plantations.
IOI had commissioned external consultants Business for Social Responsibility to “transparently verify” its progress and to assess and recommend solutions for any labour issues.
Additionally, it had committed to implement global best practice peatland management standards, analysed the exposure of its supply base to peatland and committed to minimise and mitigate the impact of its third party suppliers on peatlands.
IOI said it had commissioned an independent verification of the implementation of its SPOP in second quarter 2018.