ISCC Erklärung zu den Waldbränden auf Sumatra/Indonesien im Juni 2013

Köln, 9. August 2013

In June 2013 Singapore and surrounding Malaysian areas were affected by haze resulting from forest and land fires. Most of these fires seemed to have occurred in the province of Riau on the Indonesian island Sumatra between June 12 – 20, 2013.

Indonesian law forbids that companies start land or forest fires to clear land for economic use. However, it seems that land clearing by using fire has been a common practice in Indonesia.

Currently plantations and oil mills are holding 21 ISCC certificates in the affected area of the province Riau. For ISCC it was very important to clarify whether ISCC certified units were somehow related to the fires. In order to clarify the situation ISCC approached those certification bodies which conducted the audits and issued the certificates.

In a first step ISCC generated maps in Google Earth which contained both the locations of the certified plantations as well as fire points which were documented between June 12 – 20, 2013. The locations of the plantations were based on the geo coordinates provided by the certification bodies in the framework of conducting audits. The location of the fire points were taken from NASA’s real-time Active Fire Data from the Fire Information for Resource Management Systems (FIRMS). Each fire spot provided by FIRMS represents the center of a pixel with the edge length of approximately 1km containing at least one fire or any other exothermal feature. Each fire spot also contains a value for the detection confidence to assess the quality of each fire spot. The confidence ranges between 0 % - 100% and is divided into three fire classes (low-confidence, nominal-confidence and high-confidence). In order to ensure that every alleged fire would be examined ISCC included the fire spots of all three fire classes in the map (which also contains a higher possibility of false alarms). In case of high risk plantations remote sensing analysis and the request for further on-ground checks would be considered as appropriate tools for further clarification.

In a second step ISCC provided these maps to the relevant certification bodies and asked them to provide well-founded and comprehensible statements whether ISCC certified plantations were affected by a fire and if yes to clarify how the fire did occur. This should be done by confirming the locations and outlines of the certified plantations and whether any fire spots were located on the plantations. The auditors had to provide ISCC with maps and statements from local auditors and affected companies. The maps contained the confirmed outlines of the plantations and, if applicable the fire spots. Furthermore, the certification bodies gathered statements from affected companies as well as local auditors. ISCC did not accept statements from affected companies only, these statements had also to be confirmed by local auditors.

By now ISCC has received feedback from all relevant certification bodies. In some cases it was necessary for ISCC to insist on more detailed evidence in order to get well-founded and comprehensible statements as requested.

Currently two cases are still under further investigation:

  • One case where ISCC received dissatisfying feedback and requested appropriate clarification and evidence.
  • One case where one plantation was identified to contain a fire spot. Here ISCC immediately commissioned a remote sensing analysis of not only this particular plantation but all adjacent plantations and the respective surroundings. As analysis results did not yield the required level of confidence ISCC commissioned further remote sensing analysis and an on-ground check by an auditor.

Depending on the outcome of the investigations of these two cases ISCC may consider an inspection by independent auditors.

However, the information provided by the certification bodies confirmed that almost all ISCC certified plantations were neither involved nor affected by the fire forest in June 2013.

It is ISCC’s highest interest to ensure that there has been no breach of the ISCC requirements and to take appropriate action if necessary.

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