Results of FSC commissioned assessment of allegations made against Olam Palm Gabon

FSC UK / M.More
wood trunk
FSC UK / M.More
May 19, 2023

In 2020, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) commissioned SmartCert, an independent assessor, to assess allegations made by Mighty Earth against the activities of Olam Palm Gabon – a joint venture of Olam Group and the government of Gabon. This was part of the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process convened by FSC. A public summary of SmartCert’s findings has been published here.   

Both Mighty Earth and Olam Group welcome the publication of SmartCert’s report and have agreed to engage in mediation to address the Policy for Association concerns identified in SmartCert’s assessment. FSC is in the process of appointing a professional ADR organization which will mediate discussions between Olam Group and Mighty Earth to develop a set of remedial actions that Olam will implement. 

Amanda Hurowitz, Senior Director at Mighty Earth said, “The SmartCert assessment concluded that Olam Palm Gabon cleared over 24,000 hectares of forest, as well as between 900 ha and 1,823 ha of non-forest areas with High Conservation Values (categories 1-4) in its Moulia Lot 3 concessions, in non-compliance with the FSC Policy for Association. This was the basis of the complaint we raised with the FSC six years ago. We look forward to beginning mediated discussions with Olam about what remedial actions the company needs to take to address the environmental and social harms resulting from its oil palm development.”  

Quentin Meunier, Vice President, Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability, Olam Palm Gabon said, “This independent assessment reaffirms our efforts to preserve Gabon’s ecosystems and biodiversity, as well as our continued commitment to the communities. The findings show that the vast majority of the HCVs 1 - 4 areas in Mouila Lot 1, Mouila Lot 2 and Awala were not impacted but approximately 1% (413ha) of the HCVs 1 - 4 areas were converted. We actively protect more than 105,000 hectares of HCV lands in Gabon – the largest in the global palm sector – and we are focused on working together to agree additional practical and implemental actions to address areas identified for improvement in the SmartCert assessment.” 

With emphasis on the importance of FSC’s ADR process, Marc Jessel, Chief System Integrity Officer at FSC International, said, “Acting as convener of the ADR process, FSC is using a neutral, collaborative, and solution-orientated approach to resolve Policy for Association concerns. FSC believes that mediation is a practice that can get to the heart of conflicts and achieve lasting and meaningful resolution”. 

With the publication of the new procedure for processing Policy for Association cases, FSC can use ADR tools to resolve complaints, provided both parties agree to use this process, voluntarily. The mediation process results in the development of a remediation agreement that the organization involved in an unacceptable activity has to fulfil. This agreement includes the perspectives of the aggrieved parties and the organization. By working together, the remediation solutions developed through this process are acceptable to all parties.  

For questions or inquiries please contact FSC System Integrity at

For more information about the Olam case, visit the case page here.