Sime set to get RSPO clearance

Sime set to get RSPO clearance

05 July 2013

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Malaysia — SIME Darby Bhd, the world’s largest producer of certified sustainable palm oil, is expected to be exonerated from the forest fires in Sumatra that caused smoky haze shrouding the skies of Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore in recent weeks.

Sime Darby was among the five companies being investigated by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), an international organisation that monitors and promotes sustainable farming of palm oil.

The other companies are PT Jatim Jaya Perkasa, Sinar Mas, Tabung Haji Plantations and Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd.

The companies, which are RSPO members, were asked to submit digital maps of their plantations in Kalimantan and Sumatra as part of the investigation process.

It is not known how many of the five will be cleared of the blame by RSPO but a source said Sime Darby will be exonerated.

“Sime Darby had submitted the maps and RSPO is satisfied that they are not involved,” said an industry source.

RSPO is expected to issue a statement on the matter soon.

Sime Darby had all along denied that the fires were on its land and had supported investigation by RSPO to clear the air.

“Sime Darby fully supports the initiative by RSPO. I would like to reiterate Sime Darby’s commitment and full compliance of the zero burning policy, which is strictly embedded in all our oil palm plantation operations,” Sime Darby president and group chief executive Tan Sri Mohd Bakke Salleh had previously said.

RSPO members are not allowed to resort to open burning and have standard operating procedures to manage fire risks.

RSPO secretary-general Darrel Webber had condemned negligent activities that led to the forest fires in Indonesia.

“The RSPO is highly concerned about the impact on communities and children living in these countries and strongly advocates urgent measures to be taken to cease this heightening pollution,” Webber had said in a statement in the wake of the forest fires.

Sime Darby is one of the founding members of RSPO, which was formed in 2004 with the objective of promoting the growth and use of sustainable palm oil products through credible global standards and engagement with stakeholders.

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