IOI Pelita Background

The IOI Pelita land dispute in Sarawak is a legacy issue and involves the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) founding member IOI, which was inherited in 2006 through the purchase of Rinwood Oil Palm Plantation’ shares in its joint venture with Pelita (Sarawak State Land Custody and Development Authority).

In 2010, a complaint was submitted against IOI Pelita Plantation by Grassroots on behalf of the communities of Long Teran Kanan. In 2013, the case was handed over to the RSPO Dispute Settlement Facility for further action in moving the resolution process forward; however, no significant progress was achieved. In 2015, stakeholders attempted to resolve the case through a state-led approach using a mediated settlement but did not succeed. The lack of a robust Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) process, as well as insufficient consultations with the affected communities, derailed this initiative. It was at that time when the scope of settlement got expanded to include another five villages, in addition to the original two in the legal claim, bringing the number of communities participating in the conflict resolution to seven. In 2016, the case reverted to the Complaints Panel (CP) for resolution.

In 2017, a renewed effort was made to resolve the conflict as stakeholders and IOI started exploring a potential to jointly arrive at a sustainable and agreeable set of actions. Subsequently, IOI and Grassroots went on several joint visits to the affected communities to gather input, which would help inform the drafting of the Resolution Plan. A new resolution plan was crafted incorporating Grassroots’ recommendations to reflect the aspirations of the communities, FPIC, and RSPO standards. The CP provided IOI with detailed and comprehensive comments and these too were addressed and incorporated in the amended Resolution Plan.

The amended Resolution Plan was submitted to the RSPO CP for approval at the end of June 2018. The Plan follows a 3-stage approach:

  1. Stage 1 - Building communities’ capacity, awareness and governance;
  2. Stage 2 - Claims identification and validation, mainly through participatory mapping and;
  3. Stage 3 - Negotiations for fair and lasting resolution of the conflict.