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Astra Agro reaffirms commitment to sustainable oil palm plantations

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The management of PT Astra Agro Lestari Tbk (Astra Agro) has reaffirmed its commitment to the sustainable management of oil palm plantations, including efforts to preserve the environment and respect human rights.

"This is conveyed in response to reports in various mass media about Nestle SA's plan to ask its suppliers not to buy palm oil from three entities related to Astra Agro," Astra Agro’s Senior Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs  Tofan Mahdi  said in a statement  here on Sunday.

According to Tofan, Nestle SA is not a direct buyer of palm oil from Astra Agro’s subsidiaries.

Tofan noted information about Nestle's plan to block supply is known from a letter from Nestle, the Swiss food company to Friends of The Earth as seen by Bloomberg.

The plan to block supplies to Nestle SA follows pressure from an international environmental NGO, Friends of The Earth (FoE), which accuses Astra Agro of destroying the environment, committing human rights violations and land grabbing, Tofan added.

He said these accusations are baseless and do not reflect the real conditions on the ground.

"The material presented by the FoE which is used as the basis for Nestle's plan, is an old issue that has been clarified in the years when it happened," Tofan said.

Astra Agro's management also emphasized they had never criminalized the community, as alleged by the FoE.

"We take our Sustainability policy very seriously," he said.

In the case of the looting of palm fruit in the company's plantations in March 2022, when palm oil prices were high, which became the basis for the FoE accusation, Astra Agro fully handed over the legal process against the perpetrators to the authorities based on the applicable laws and regulation, without any interference from AAL or its subsidiaries.

Astra Agro has implemented a sustainability policy with the principles of no deforestation, peatland conservation, and respect for human rights. Its' subsidiaries have also obtained Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO) certification based on the prevailing regulations on sustainability. (Antaranews)

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