FSC decides to disassociate from the Harita group

FSC/Iván Castro
FSC/Iván Castro
October 31, 2023

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) has decided to disassociate from the Harita group of companies after a panel of external experts found that PT. Roda Mas Timber Kalimantan (PT. RMTK), member of the Harita group was in breach of the FSC Policy for Association. Evidence shows that PT. RMTK violated the rights of its workers as set out in the International Labour Organization (ILO) Core Conventions.  

The FSC International Board of Directors decided to accept the expert panel´s recommendation at its 96th Board Meeting. They acknowledged that the initial scope of the case was broader than the issues covered in the formal decision. Besides workers’ rights violations, the original complaint included allegations of Indigenous Peoples’ rights violations, and destruction of high conservation values. Due to the limited scope of the evidence that the panel of experts could examine in FSC’s direct decision process, other key allegations could not be more fully considered in this decision.   

FSC had launched a Policy for Association case against the Harita group and its subsidiaries PT. Kemakmuran Berkah Timber (PT. KBT) and PT. RMTK in 2020 based on a complaint submitted by the Forest People’s Programme (FPP).  

In 2021, FSC started an alternative dispute resolution process between FPP and PT. RMTK. However, at the end of 2022, PT. RMTK self-terminated their FSC certificate after non-conformities were found by Assurance Services International (ASI) during an unannounced compliance assessment. Therefore, they were unable to continue their participation in the alternative dispute resolution process.  

FSC decided to proceed with the case through the direct decision process and a decision panel consisting of external experts was constituted. The direct decision process allows for a quicker pathway to address allegations of wrongdoing but requires the availability of substantial evidence. While an investigation process would have allowed FSC to look into all the allegations mentioned in FPP’s complaint, this route could not be pursued in this case due to the termination of PT. RMTK´s FSC certification. Therefore, the decision panel could form their recommendations based on the available ASI assessment report about PT. RMTK. They could not look into the allegations made by FPP about the other violations of the Policy for Association and the other entities of the group.  

After reviewing the case’s evidence, the decision panel recommended the FSC International Board of Directors to disassociate from the Harita group.  

In case the Harita group wishes to embark in a process to end their disassociation with FSC in the future, the FSC Remedy Framework will apply to the wider Harita group of companies.