JAKARTADAILY.ID – "Stay green, keep sparkling, my palm oil ..."
This is a snippet of the lyrics of the Sawit song, sung by a group of Keroncong Band in the "Talk To The CEO 2023" event organized by PT Astra Agro Lestari Tbk at Rest Area 456, Salatiga, Central Java on Friday, February 17, 2023.
The song was officially sung by Ari Lasso and Audi, who was named a palm oil friend at the 7th annual palm conference in Nusa Dua, Bali, in 2012. The lyrics, to a certain level, reflect the reality of palm oil.
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That reality, according to Santosa, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) from PT Astra Agro Lestari Tbk, is that Astra Agro has implemented the green principle since the beginning of the operation.
"We have implemented it in the 'Astra Agro Sustainability Aspirations' program," he said before 35 journalists from Jakarta and other cities in Java, Sumatra, and Kalimantan.
PT Astra Agro Lestari Tbk is one of the top players in the palm oil industry in Indonesia, which is the largest producer and exporter of palm oil in the world.
Indonesia has 15.08 million hectares of oil palm plantations, and last year's production reached 46.73 million tons, which included around 31 million tons of export (Gapki, 2022).
Together with other large oil palm companies and small farmers, Astra Agro is required to comply with government policies that require all producers to have Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO) certification until 2025.
Based on data from the Ministry of Agriculture, as many as 755 oil palm plantations have an ISPO certificate, which consists of 668 owned by private companies and 67 owned by SOEs of the Plantation.
The government also still maintains a moratorium policy and stops the new plantation licensing to protect the forest.
The government succeeded in reducing deforestation by suppressing forest and land fire cases throughout Indonesia. Based on international observations, Indonesia experienced a significant trend of deforestation, and in 2020 it was the peak when there was the largest decline of around 75 percent.
The country maintains a forest cover of around 51 percent of its total territory, which is far higher than the forest cover in European countries.
But even though it has been successful, Indonesia is still the target of negative campaigns from certain groups which apparently the reason they actually are not always related to sustainability.