The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil ordered Singapore-based First Resources palm oil company to stop clearing forests in East Kalimantan until conflicts with the local Dayak community are resolved, an environmental agency said on Friday.
First Resources, an RSPO member, began clearing forests in East Kalimantan without obtaining the necessary consent of the local Dayak Benuaq community, the London-based Environmental Investigation Agency alleged in a complaint filed against the company.
The RSPO backed the complaint, stating that the nonprofit heard evidence that First Resources’ violations were not a “one-off” instance and may be “systemic in nature” due to similar complaints lodged in West Kalimantan.
First Resources was ordered to stop all disputed operations in the Kutai district until the company can work with EIA to reach an “amicable solution.” The nonprofit cannot legally force the company to stop operations, but it can suspend First Resources’ RSPO membership.
EIA heralded the decision, but promised continued pressure on First Resources.
“The fight is by no means over and EIA, the community and other NGOs will be watching First Resources’ every move,” EIA Forests Campaigner Tom Johnson said. “The company must stop behaving like a gang of thugs.”