Frequently Asked Questions
Q : What is GSEP?
A: The GAR Social and Environmental Policy (GSEP) is the roadmap guiding us on our sustainability journey. It was created in 2015 when we combined our Forest Conservation, Social and Community Engagement and Yield Improvement policies into a single document for a consistent and holistic approach. It applies to GAR’s entire operations, subsidiaries and suppliers in order to realise GAR’s vision of a sustainable palm oil industry.
Q : What are the benefits for suppliers if they meet the GSEP requirements?
A: Suppliers who meet GSEP requirements will become preferred partners of GAR. With a strong global market requirement for sustainable palm oil, they will also be more attractive to other buyers. Through operating sustainably, suppliers will also be able to increase efficiency, reduce costs, and lower risk.
Q : Is there any difference between GSEP and certification systems such as ISPO or RSPO?
A: Yes. The GSEP is GAR’s guidelines for its supply chain to produce palm oil sustainably, and not a worldwide policy. ISPO and RSPO are national and global industry certification standards respectively.
Q : If suppliers do not understand the aspects of sustainability, what support can GAR provide?
A: Sustainability can be broken down into many different aspects from environmental management to social and community engagement. The GSEP offers a good overview of what sustainability means for our company.
Suppliers can find out more about the various types of support services we offer, download useful resources, or contact our support team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q : What support programmes does GAR provide for suppliers to meet GSEP?
A: We provide a range of support programmes from broad education to deep engagement, depending on each supplier’s needs. GAR lends expertise and consultation based on the results of planning sessions with suppliers.
We also have a dedicated e-mail address email@example.com to interact with suppliers.
Q : Do suppliers need to meet any criteria to get support from GAR?
A: No. All suppliers are welcome as long as they are open and committed to transformation for sustainability.
Q : If a supplier is experiencing complaints and grievances from the community/NGOs, how can GAR help?
We have a grievance handling procedure that guides us and suppliers in how to manage issues raised by stakeholders. Suppliers may contact our dedicated support team through firstname.lastname@example.org for more assistance.
Q : One of the areas suppliers need to implement is traceability. What is traceability and why is it important?
A: Traceability basically tracking the finished goods we produce back to its origin. For all the palm oil we produce, we want to know where the fresh fruit bunch (FFB) is from, and whether the oil is produced in a sustainable manner, and traceability allows us to know that. Traceability is required by ISPO and RSPO.
Q : What is the difference between Traceability to Plantation (TTP) and Traceability to Mill (TTM)?
A: The difference between TTP and TTM is how far back we can trace the origin of the finished product.
Palm oil originates as FFB from plantations. They are then separated and crushed to become crude palm oil and palm kernel at mills. The products then go into a refinery to create palm oil and palm kernel oil.
Therefore, having traceability to plantation is better because that is the origin of the raw materials of palm oil products (fresh fruit bunches).
Q : What support can GAR provide suppliers for TTP?
A: GAR helps suppliers understand and implement TTP through standardised reporting formats and extensive training such that suppliers can become trainers for their own supply chains.
Q : If a supplier is already RSPO and ISPO certified, will GAR still keep visiting its mill/estate?
A: Field visit activities are a great way for GAR and its suppliers to share best practices with one another. They are not intended as an audit but are used to find opportunities for both parties to improve.
The main objective of the GAR transformation program is to engage suppliers to collaborate. As such, it is possible for GAR to visit suppliers even after certification.
Q : If a supplier has been visited by other buyers, will they still need to be visited by GAR again?
A: GAR will not repeat the same process if the supplier has already been visited by another buyer working within the same industry framework. For such instances, the supplier can share results of the other buyer’s visit with GAR instead.
Q : What if suppliers had planted in the peatlands in the years before GSEP?
GAR will not penalise suppliers for cases prior to 1 Oct 2015, which is when our GSEP was formalised. However, for such instances, suppliers must demonstrate the use of best practices for management of peatlands as we will continue to monitor operations closely.
Anything after 1 Oct 2015 could be a barrier to supplying GAR.
Q : If a supplier still has an expansion plan, what is GAR’s recommendation?
A: Suppliers are advised to undertake a comprehensive assessment of HCVs, HCS, peat, social impact, and respecting FPIC for the indigenous and local community before embarking on further expansion plans.