Indonesia Showcases Its Confidence in Sustainable Palm Oil

APRIL 28,2021

As one of the efforts to showcase the achievements of Indonesian government in sustainable palm oil governance, the Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs (CMEA) held an International Webinar on Sustainable Palm Oil Development in Indonesia using Zoom and Youtube on 7 – 8 April 2021.

On the first day, the webinar was focused on disseminating information about government policies and the achievements of various line ministries in improving sustainable palm oil governance.

This was done as part of palm oil diplomacy, especially for the international community.

Resident Representative of UNDP Indonesia, Norimasa Shimomura, provided his remarks by appreciating the organization of the event. Shimomura also emphasized on how palm oil sector development has met complex challenges and must be addressed together.

The webinar felt special with welcoming remarks from the Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto. Minister Airlangga mentioned important information about the performance of palm oil commodities, which still showed positive performance even during the Covid-19 pandemic.

"This positive trend will continue in 2021 and will also have a positive impact on state revenues and in the end improve the livelihood of palm oil smallholders at the field level", he explained.

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mahendra Siregar in his remarks reiterated how palm oil actually has better sustainability performance due to its efficient land use and higher productivity than three other vegetable oil commodities like soybean (Brazil), rapeseed (EU) and sunflower.

Masni Eriza, Director of American and European Intra-Regional and Inter-Regional Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was the moderator on the first day of the webinar.

Panelists on Day 1 were: 1) Musdhalifah Machmud, Deputy for Food and Agribusiness, Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs; 2) Ruandha Agung Sugardiman, DG of Forestry Planning and Environmental Management, Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MoEF); 3) Agus Widjayanto, DG of Land Dispute and Conflict Handling, Ministry of Agrarian and Spatial Planning / National Land Agency (ATR BPN), and 4) Dyah Hartanti Purwitasari, Coordinator of Labor Relations Norms Inspection and Union Protection/Associate Expert Labor Inspector, Ministry of Manpower .

In addition, representatives of Astra Agro Lestari and KUD Tani Subur also talked about the benefits of ISPO certification for palm oil companies and smallholders.

At the end of the first day, the moderator provided quick summary as reflection on the results of the presentation and discussion. A joint study between Indonesian and European researchers looking at land use, productivity, environmental impacts, and socio-economic impacts of four types of vegetable oil, has produced comprehensive and comparable results on the sustainable performance of palm oil.

On this study, international stakeholders should better understand that based on scientifically proven information, the Indonesian palm oil contributes significantly greatly to Sustainable Development Goals 2030.

Moreover, the issuance of Presidential Instruction 6/2019 about the National Action Plan for Sustainable Palm Oil (NAP SPO) and its fruitful implementation will support palm oil contribution of to the SDGs.

The moderator concludes by stating that Indonesia has implemented the renewed ISPO certification. Hopefully, Indonesian palm oil standards can ensure the sustainable production chain and boost acceptance of ISPO certified palm oil in the international market.

Meanwhile, the second day of the webinar focused on private sector and non-governmental collaboration supporting sustainable palm oil in Indonesia through initiatives at the local level.

Musdhalifah Machmud of CMEA and Kasdi Subagyono, DG of Plantation, Ministry of Agriculture provided their remarks and presentation.

Led by Aisyah Sileuw and Charles O'Malley, the second day of the webinar presented Fenneke Brascamp, Program Manager for Siak Pelalawan Landscape Program (SPLP). SPLP is an example of a collaboration of producer and buyer.

Stephanie Lim, Sustainability Communications Lead of Musim Mas Group and Nasuha Thaha, Stakeholder Engagement Manager of Cargill Asia Pacific provided their insight as part of the collaboration.

From the webinar, the Government of Indonesia wants to show its confidence to improve sustainable palm oil governance to international community by displaying its achievement.

However, sustainable palm oil development does not stop here. It was reflected from day two that similar collaborations will be inspired to contribute to sustainable palm oil, especially between buyers and consumers of Indonesian palm oil products.