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PT SMART Tbk, a subsidiary of Golden Agri-Resources (GAR), and the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD), have signed a MOU to boost sustainability in the agri-business sector through a new regional platform that will deliver training and enhance sustainability standards in major commodity chains including palm oil

palm 1464654 640The initiative aims to improve the sustainability of palm oil supply chains. (Pixabay: Tristantan/Pixabay)

The Sustainable Agricultural Landscapes in Southeast Asia platform (SALSA) is a public-private partnership integrating multi-stakeholder teams into research, training and development projects to support the growth of sustainable supply chains and protect the biodiversity of Southeast Asia. The platform aims to strengthen sustainability standards, share knowledge and innovation, and increase the availability of plantation managers trained in sustainable practices and certification standards. Other signatories to the MOU are PT Riset Perkebunan Nusantara, the Asian and Pacific Coconut Community and PT SOCFINDO.

The agreement builds on the significant progress GAR has made in developing a sustainable, traceable supply chain. Currently, 60 per cent of its palm oil supply is RSPO-certified, and the company is on track to deliver 100 per cent traceable and RSPO-certified palm oil by 2020. The company effectively delinked palm oil production from deforestation with the launch of its Forest Conservation Policy in 2011.

CIRAD’s managing director-general,Michel Eddi said, “Agri-business is a critical and growing part of the region’s economy, and CIRAD is fully committed to working with our partners in the SALSA initiative to improve the sustainability of their supply chains. We believe the answers to ending deforestation and achieving certified, sustainable production lie in capacity-building, and will continue to channel our resources and research and development efforts to these industries to attain this.”

President director of PT SMART, Daud Dharsono, said "As the world’s second largest vertically-integrated palm oil producer, we hope new learnings through the SALSA platform positively impact the industry as a whole in its journey towards sustainably produced palm oil.”

France President, Francois Hollande, and the minister of marine affairs and fisheries, Susi Pudjiastuti were present when the MOU was signed between GAR and French shipowner Louis Dreyfus Armateurs Group to develop business opportunities in maritime logistics for the next five years, with planned acquisitions and investments amounting to around US$100mn