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

Köln, 9. Oktober 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.

In the statement from August 9, 2013 ISCC reported two cases that were still under further investigation. Both cases have now been clarified:

In one case the certification body provided ISCC with requested appropriate clarification and evidence.

The other case concerned the plantation where a fire spot was located. The remote sensing analysis of the plantation and the respective surroundings commissioned by ISCC had not yield the required level of confidence. ISCC requested an on-site check by the certification. The report of this on-site check confirmed that no traces of a fire could be detected at the respective area.

In summary, on the basis of the information provided by the certification bodies as well as remote sensing analysis conducted by an independent research institution it can be confirmed that all ISCC certified plantations in this area were neither involved nor affected by the fire forest in June 2013.

It is ISCC’s highest interest to ensure that there is no breach of the ISCC requirements. Therefore, ISCC will continue to watch all ISCC certified units in affected area closely, and will take appropriate action if fire spot areas in the vicinity of plantations show evidence of cultivation activities.

Download of the ISCC statement from October 9, 2013