2016 Sustainability Benchmark: Indonesian Palm Oil Growers – PT Eagle High Plantation

2016 Sustainability Benchmark: Indonesian Palm Oil Growers – PT Eagle High Plantation

As reported by Chain Reaction Research and written by Albert ten Kate (Aidenvironment), Gabriel Thoumi, CFA, FRM (Climate Advisers) and Eric Wakker (Aidenvironment), PT Eagle High Plantation (BWPT) is majority-owned by business tycoon Peter Sondakh. The palm oil company emerged late 2014, after a reverse-takeover by the company Green Eagle of the already-listed PT BW Plantation (BWPT). In late December 2016, the Malaysian government’s Federal Land Development Authority (FELDA) announced a $505.4 million investment for 37 percent stake in BWPT. FELDA is purchasing this non-controlling from the Rajawali Group. FELDA, the Malaysian government entity, also owns 33 percent of Felda Global Ventures, the privately traded agriculture company.

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Presently, BWPT’s planted area comprises 152,000 ha with 91 percent in Kalimantan, 8 percent in Papua, and 1 percent in Sumatra. During 2011 to 2013, it expanded on average 15,000 ha per year. Since 2014, its expansion slowed to 8,000 ha in 2014, 2,000 ha in 2015, and zero ha in 2016. The slowdown may have environmental (aligning with NDPE procurement policies) and financial (the company has a high debt) reasons.

Sustainability Policy and Recent Practices

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BWPT does not have a public No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation (NDPE) policy. Before the reverse takeover, the company Green Eagle stated that its policy for the future was to focus on planting on mineral soils. BWPT had not made any such statements.

  • 2015 oil palm revenue: IDR 2,700 billion
  • 2015 CPO-production: 351,000 tons
  • Sustainability policy and recent practices: high risk
  • 2016 No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation (NDPE) CPO buyers: Golden Agri-Resources, Wilmar
  • 2016 NDPE buyers percent revenue: 90%
  • Since 2015, no apparent changes in land-use policies to mitigate risks, suspended operations in contested areas
  • High-risk exposure due to lack of NDPE-policies

BWPT is a member of the RSPO. It aims to achieve 100 percent RSPO certification for its own operations by 2025. At present, it has not secured RSPO certification for any of its operations. Likewise, it has never submitted any New Planting proposals to the RSPO, despite clearing and planting oil palm in new concessions.

As shown below in Figure 1, significant concerns include:

Figure 1: Clearing of High Carbon Stock forests (red marked area) by BWPT’s PT Varia Mitra Andalan. The clearing stopped mid-2015.
  • From Q2 2013 to Q2 2015, BWPT’s concession company PT Arrtu Energi Resources (Ketapang district, West Kalimantan) planted oil palm on 3,000 ha of peatland. In November 2014, three orangutans were rescued from fires inside the concession.
  • In June 2015, the Indonesian NGO Greenomics released a report documenting destruction of forests in South Sorong district, West Papua. Greenomics found that BWPT’s subsidiary PT Varia Mitra Andalan cleared High Carbon Stock (HCS) forests through March 2015. BWPT’s buyers GAR and Cargill, who have NDPE policies, said they would investigate the matter and engage with the company. Satellite imagery shows that, after clearing 1,000 ha of forests, the clearing stopped mid-2015.

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Gabriel Thoumi, CFA, FRM works as Director Capital Markets at Climate Advisers where he manages global financial analytics focusing on mitigating systemic climate risk while advising on “greening” capital markets. He has 18 years of experience managing and deploying frameworks to improve global capital markets sustainability through risk mitigation and return enhancement. Previously, for Calvert Investment Management, he valued global equity, index, and fixed income portfolios and their component positions in the utilities, energy, materials, chemicals, and financial sectors. He worked on quantitative index construction and asset allocation strategies. He engaged Fortune 500 CEOs on approaches to mitigating climate risk using financial risk management tools. He led initiatives to improve financial accounting of exchange-listed products and incorporated natural capital into financial tools. He has also worked at Morgan Stanley's carbon offset company, Wells Fargo Capital Management, and American Express. He is an adjunct at John Hopkins University.
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