No Deforestation

The Group is aware of the extensive nature of our network of suppliers and that there exists risk of deforestation if monitoring and control mechanisms are not in place. Deforestation contributes to loss of biodiversity through destruction of forest habitats, climate change through loss of carbon stores, and irreplaceable ecosystem, cultural and economic functions.

As an RSPO member, we are committed to:

  • Protect all species of conservation concern and biodiversity, in compliance with RSPO’s P&C 7.12, the IUCN Red List and national red list.
  • Controlling any illegal or inappropriate hunting of all species across all our operation areas, including no hunting of endangered, rare or threatened species, other than hunting by local communities for subsistence purpose that does not cause a decline of local species populations

For that purpose, we developed the Apical Sustainability Policy aimed at building a traceable and transparent palm oil supply chain founded on no deforestation of high conservation value (HCV) and high carbon stock (HCS) areas. With a cut-off date of after December 2015, we proactively engage our suppliers to ensure they adopt similar commitments on no deforestation in their businesses. During our field visits, we enquire about our suppliers’ future plans for new developments and advise them to conduct relevant assessments on HCV and HCS areas before proceeding with any land clearance.

Our Management practice is to provide training and recommendations for the mills that source from estates located near HCV and primary forests or other protected areas such as peatlands.

This is done through our Priority Supplier Engagement Programme (PSEP) visits, where our sustainability team also assists priority suppliers to identify, manage and monitor significant biological, ecological and social or cultural values through the High Carbon Stock Approach and geospatial analysis.

As part of our Suppliers Self-Assessment (SFA), we ensure our suppliers conduct independent HCV assessment, in which the independent HCV assessments will be peer reviewed by the ALS licensed assessors who are technical members of the HCV Resource Network.

Our goal is to ensure the long-term protection of forests and other important areas by building an integrated forest management plan that integrates the recommendations of HCS, HCV, Social and Environmental Impact Assessment (SEIA) and peatland assessments within larger landscape planning.

We commit to conduct SEIA or similar assessments for our operations where we operate (i.e. Indonesia, Spain and China). According to the Environment Law in Indonesia, AMDAL or UKL/UPL (equivalent to EIA) is mandatory for any business or development activity.

We also conduct spatial analysis on risk of deforestation and encroachment. Our analyses are done using these applications – Google Earth, ArcGIS software & Global Forest Watch. Satellite imagery is used so we can get detailed activity and overlays of suppliers’ location. For example, if we find any indication of deforestation activity, it will be cross checked by overlay satellite imagery.

Apical Group is in Phase 1 of implementing Sustainability Assurance & Innovation Alliance (SUSTAIN), which is an initiative that brings together multiple stakeholders to collaboratively drive innovation in addressing landscape-level sustainability issues across the palm oil supply chain.

HCS forests hold or have the potential to hold a high amount of carbon and should thus, be protected or restored. We have a dedicated Sustainability team working with our suppliers to adopt a credible HCS identification system. Our team assists priority suppliers identify, manage and monitor significant biological, ecological and social or cultural values through the High Carbon Stock Approach and geospatial analysis, through Anchor programme – Priority Supplier Engagement Programme (PSEP) visits.

The High Carbon Stock Approach is:

  • A procedure to identify areas of land suitable for plantation development and forest areas that can be protected in the long-term
  • Designed to protect and restore viable areas of natural tropical forests within landscapes undergoing forest conversion for plantations and agriculture, while ensuring the land use rights and livelihoods of local communities are respected and secured.
  • Based on field trials and expert and scientific recommendations while taking into account social considerations

We engage constructively with members of the High Carbon Stock Approach Steering Group. Our suppliers are encouraged to utilise the HCS Approach methodology to identify protected areas prior to the establishment of any new plantations, while further robust scientific studies are being conducted.

Learn more about the HCS Approach Toolkit Version 2.0

HCV forests have an especially high ecological and/or social value. HCVs are biological, ecological, social or cultural values which are outstandingly significant or critically important at the national, regional or global level. All natural habitats possess inherent conservation values, including the presence of rare or endemic species, provision of ecosystem services, sacred sites, or resources harvested by local residents.

Apical works continuously to communicate the importance of HCV areas to our stakeholders and, where necessary, provided training for suppliers that we have identified to have risk of encroaching into HCV areas. Independent HCV assessments will be peer reviewed by technical members of the HCV Resource Network.

Apical provides training to targeted suppliers on practical methods to reduce GHG emissions in their operations. We train these suppliers to identify the sources of GHG emissions, conduct GHG calculations for all operations linked to us (based on RSPO Principles & Criteria 5.6 and 7.8), monitor GHG emissions and strive for progressive reductions in areas where it is environmentally and economically feasible.

The GHG emissions of our operations are calculated based on the ISCC 205 GHG Emissions methodology. Our GHG emissions comply with ISCC requirements. We discourage our suppliers from resorting to the practice of open burning, especially in estates with high percentage of peat. Our suppliers are requested to commit firmly to the Zero-Burning Policy adopted by ASEAN countries in all operations and actively engage in initiatives of fire and haze mitigation.

We are committed to support Indonesia’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) of 29% carbon emissions reduction from the business-as-usual scenario by 2030 or 41% with international assistance, which is stipulated in Indonesia’s Climate Action Plan under the Paris Agreement. We will update our GHG target upon the launch of APICAL2030 by 2022.

We report on our GHG emissions in our annual Sustainability Report

Peat & Soil Protection

Through supplier engagement and customised workshops and programmes, we encourage and support our suppliers to adopt best management practices on peat in pre-existing plantations as defined by RSPO and peat experts, effective water management to maximise oil palm yield and minimise GHG emissions in existing peat estates.

We provide guidance on proper water table management and implementation of water management monitoring plans, ensuring that water table depth is maintained at appropriate levels. We also continuously collaborate with stakeholders and community experts to explore options for long-term restoration or alternative use, in areas where existing peat is unsuitable for replanting.

Our commitment to best management practices in both peat and soil management in our supply chain extends to all our suppliers in accordance with the RSPO Principles & Criteria. In particular, we communicate good practices on enhancing soil fertility, minimizing soil erosion and degradation for enhanced productivity with our suppliers. We also recommend avoidance of extensive planting on marginal and fragile soils if necessary.

Pesticides that are categorised as World Health Organisation Class 1A or 1B, or that are listed by the Stockholm or Rotterdam Conventions, and paraquat, are prohibited to be used by all suppliers, unless in exceptional circumstances, as validated by a due diligence process, or when authorised by government authorities for pest outbreaks. Our commitment to minimise the use of chemicals, including pesticides and chemical fertilisers applies to all suppliers.

Meanwhile, we are committed to improve our water consumption intensity at our operations. We envisage to reduce our water intensity target to 0.3 m3/MT of oil produced by 2025. We will review our water intensity target upon the launch of APICAL2030 by 2022.

We continue to practice zero wastewater discharge to ensure proper management of palm oil refinery effluent (PORE).

Socio-economic benefits

Respecting human rights

Apical fully recognises and respects the rights of indigenous and local communities to give or withhold their Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) to the utilisation of land to which they hold legal, communal or customary rights to. Through FPIC, indigenous communities can negotiate the conditions under which a new project will be designed, implemented, monitored and evaluated. We have produced an FPIC Guideline to assist our suppliers in applying the FPIC process.

We ensure that a transparent and legal land allocation process is in place to prevent any land-related conflicts. We strictly adhere to national laws and regulations in the locations in which we operate. Prior to any new development and expansion that may affect surrounding local communities and the environment, Apical engages with accredited consultants and government departments to carry out environmental impact analysis AMDAL (Analisis Mengenai Dampak Lingkungan). This is applicable in Indonesia and aims to evaluate the potential impact of any land-based development. At this stage, any adverse feedback from communities and negative feedback to the environment is evaluated and assessed.

We respect the legal and customary (or traditional) rights of local community in land tenure and ownership, where any access or use of land for development must be carried out in compliance with the Free Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) and the RSPO Principles & Criteria, UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples or ILO 169.

We are committed to ensuring no new plantings are established on local peoples’ land where it can be demonstrated that there are legal, customary, land tenure or user rights. Our refineries operate on designate industrial zones authorised by the local government. There have been no incidents related to our suppliers and in case of such incidents; Apical will work closely with suppliers to ensure corrective measures are taken immediately.

Indigenous peoples, local communities and users may have informal or customary rights in land that are not registered or recognised by the government or national laws. Demonstrable rights are distinguished from spurious claims by direct engagement with local communities, so they have adequate opportunities to justify their claims, and are best ascertained through participatory mapping with the involvement of neighbouring communities.

Our approach aims to minimise the likelihood of cases arising through proactive and direct engagement with relevant stakeholders. Should a conflict arise, we strive to work in a fair and transparent manner to resolve any verifiable complaint or conflict with all parties involved.

Apical is committed to respect and recognize the rights of indigenous and local communities to the utilization of lands to which they hold legal, communal or customary, and to ensure a transparent and legal land allocation process. This is in accordance with our commitment to UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007) (UNDRIP), ILO Convention 169 and RSPO P&C 4.4-4.8 and as part of Apical’s Sustainability Policy. This applies to all our suppliers.

  • UNDRIP (2007) – Indigenous peoples have the right to self-determination and to freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development. Right to FPIC to any project affecting their lands as expressed through their own representative institutions.
  • ILO Convention 169 (1989) Indigenous and Tribal Peoples – Respect and safeguard rights to lands and natural resources traditionally occupied and used; respect for customs of inheritance; no forced removals; compensation for loss and injury.
  • In accordance with RSPO P&C 6.1, any form of discrimination within Apical’s operations and supply chain is prohibited. We commit our suppliers to abide by the following conventions:
  • ILO, Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29) whereby no concession to companies shall involve any form of forced or compulsory labour and to provide the measures which should be taken for the avoidance of forced or compulsory labour.
  • ILO Abolition of Forced Labour Convention, 1957 (No. 105) to not make use of any form of forced or compulsory labour
  • Workers should enter into employment voluntarily and freely, without the threat of a penalty, and should have the freedom to terminate employment without penalty given reasonable notice or as per agreement. This is in accordance with ILO conventions: Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29); Protocol of 2014 to the Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (P029); Abolition of Forced Labour Convention, 1957 (No. 105); and Forced Labour Recommendation, 2014 (No. 203)
  • ILO Convention 87 (1948) Freedom of Association and Protection of Right to Organise offers the freedom to join organisations, federations and confederations of their own choosing; with freely chosen constitutions and rules; measures to protect the right to organise
  • ILO Convention 98 (1949) Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Protection against anti-union acts and measures to dominate unions; establish means for voluntary negotiation of terms and conditions of employment through collective agreements
  • ILO Convention 100 (1951) Equal Remuneration for men and women for work of equal value
  • ILO Convention 111 (1958) Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) to provide equality of opportunity and treatment in respect to employment and occupation; no discrimination on the basis of race, colour, sex, religion, political opinion, nation al extraction or social origin
  • ILO Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138)

In regards to our commitment to legal and customary land rights, we ensure our suppliers to comply with national regulations,such as Law 5-1960: Basic Agrarian Regulations (UUPA) and Peraturan Menteri Dalam Negeri No. 52 tahun 2014 tentang Pedoman Pengakuan dan Perlindungan Masyarakat Hukum Adat and follow the FPIC procedure, including land tenure study by suppliers.

We are also committed to prevent employment and occupation-related discrimination based on gender. This applies within our operation and supply chain. Our commitment is to ensure that all workers are paid at least the minimum wage and this applies to all suppliers as well.

In accordance with RSPO P&C 6.2, pay and conditions for staff and workers (including contract workers) of Apical’s operations always meet at least legal or industry minimum standards and are sufficient to provide decent living wages (DLW). This also applies to our operations and suppliers.

Apical’s employee wages are typically higher than the minimum wage set by the provincial government. Details of our employee wages in Indonesia are available in our latest Sustainability Report.  In China, the current minimum wage in Jiangsu province, Nanjing is 2020 CNY. According to local regulations, this amount excludes the minimum housing allowance paid by employers, thus the actual minimum wage 2250 CNY. The entry level wage of Excelic, which is owned by Apical, also starts at 2250 CNY and we adjust the rate according to changes in the law.

Apical recognises the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and promotes equal rights. Child labour is strictly prohibited in all our operations. We condemn any form of sexual harassment and abuse of women, and we protect their reproductive rights. We respect the right of all workers to form or become members of labour unions and we respect their right for collective bargaining. We provide a safe and healthy working environment and practice a fair treatment policy.