The Roundtable on Sustainable Oil Palm (RSPO) has asserted that there is a merit in a recent complaint filed by Sinoe County citizens against Golden Veroleum.
The RSPO is a parent body of oil palm companies across the world.
Some Sinoe County Citizens from Butaw on November 3, 2012 complained that Golden Veroleum-Liberia has not provided public notification for 30 days period consistent with the New Planting Procedures, commencing land preparation, new planting and infrastructure development prior to the expiry of the minimum 30-day period
The citizens alleged that Golden Veroleum was in violation of the RSPO New Planting Procedures and RSPO Principles and Criteria by failing to conduct a comprehensive and participatory independent social and environmental impact assessment of the area concerned, and incorporate the results into relevant action plans, including the identification of all primary forest, among others.
The citizens also complained that Golden Veroleum was clearing land without the free, prior and informed consent of the customary land owners as represented through representative organizations of their choice.
However, RSPO said its complaint panels have reviewed the evidence, the preliminary findings and has concluded that there is a merit in the complaint.
According to the RSPO, there are reasonable doubts on the issue of Free Prior Informed Consent of the communities. The body also said there is a need for validation of the Environmental Impact Scoping Study done in December 2010 and Environmental & Social Assessment Impact Assessment done in February 2011.