Blackwashing the RSPO

Blackwashing the RSPO

A mother and baby are rescued from an RSPO certified palm oil plantation (mirror)

Dennis, 2021 (ContentCatnip/CreativeAthena/PalmOilDetectives)


Athena systematically banks on ambiguity for her black-washing. An excellent example of this is her false narrative about the link between the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and Sisirau (an oil palm plantation in North Sumatra, Indonesia). Athena claims Sisirau is “an RSPO certified palm oil plantation” (see a.o. the tweets below), yet she cherry-pickes evidence from the RSPO’s Complaints Tracker and skews that to imply a direct relation between Sisirau and the RSPO. However, there is no evidence of this estate being owned, managed or certified by the RSPO!

In stark contrast, the evidence in the RSPO’s Complaints Tracker shows a very different relation: Sisirau was (and still is?) a subsidiary of the Ibris Palm Group, which in turn was(!) a member of the RSPO. No public announcement, public summary or certificate is available online to indicate that the plantation was ever audited against the RSPO’s standard for oil palm plantations, let alone that it ever obtained a certificate!

Termination of RSPO Membership – PT Ibris Palm (mirror)

The Palm Oil Detectives also website mirrors a public summary concerning the complaint against Sisirau plantation. Ergo, Athena is well aware of the red findings from this summary (below), but chooses to ignore them to pursue her false narrative on the destruction of ”intact” rainforest:

  • The P.T. Sisirau area was fully planted before between 1992 and 1996.
  • The area is clearly being replanted and terraced and it is not a new development.
  • Clearing and replanting began in 2010 and has continued through to 2013.
  • It has been assumed that forest has been cleared and the orangutans will be starved, this might turn out to be a reactionary accusation not based on holistic information.
  • There was no HCV to start with as the area was completely cleared and planted by 1999.
  • Secondary forests areas have developed due to abandonment of fields as harvesting in non-terraced steep areas were not undertaken by the previous management.
Review and Verification of PT Sisirau, Summary, see also RSPO complaint tracker
  • Due to recent stresses in the adjacent areas, the orangutans might be recent migrants seeking refuge.
  • The orangutans could also be longer term users as the secondary forest areas which could have offered not only relative security but food too.
  • Conservation value attributes have only developed over the past few years, but this could have been ascertained if the land manager had undertaken a HCV assessment in 2010 or earlier. But the records show that the holding was sold to P.T. Ibris Palm in 2010 and the company is only now getting familiar with RSPO requirements. The fact remains that in their interpretation of the RSPO P&C, a HCV assessment was not required because of the planted status of the estate.
  • Most of the secondary forest areas has been cleared and replanted. Only a small proportion is left and currently being given conservation status by the company.
#orangutan rescue on @Rspotweets
#palmoil plantation
” (mirror)
photographic proof that this occurred on an RSPO #palmoil plantation” (mirror)

Note how Athena banks on ambiguous claims like ‘an RSPO #palmoil plantation‘ and the doubles down on her claims, from ‘RSPO member‘ to ‘RSPO certified‘ – very different claims with vastly different requirements – after being called out over her lies:

Bart and Michelle claim that Craig was lying about this, that PT Sisirau was not an RSPO member palm oil plantation. (mirror; emphasis added)

Dennis, 30 October 2021 (ContentCatnip, CreativeAthena & PalmOilDetectives)

Michelle and Bart claim Craig is lying, the plantation wasn’t certified by the RSPO. (mirror; emphasis added)

Dennis, 27 November 2021 (ContentCatnip, CreativeAthena & PalmOilDetectives)

Did I already mention that Athena’s claims are more than “a little misleading“? Can we by now agree that her claims are founded on zero intellectual honesty?

A short story … about #palmoil plantations (mirror)

Dennis, 2022 (ContentCatnip/CreativeAthena/PalmOilDetectives)


Adding unrelated images for shock value is another blackwashing technique that Athena has mastered to a T. In her “short story … about #palmoil plantations” tweet right, the top-right image of a dead fish was taken (likely in Slovenia) by Ajala and the bottom-right image of domestic(?) waste was taken in India by Yogendra Singh. Neither image nor their owners show any relation to oil palm cultivation or palm oil processing, let alone the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil!

Even worse, Athena cannot even be bothered to accredit the owners of the images and plagiarism may well be her middle name. But there is much, much more evidence of Athena’s intellectual dishonesty!

blackwashing through shocking yet unrelated images

Read more here: Savage Nobles – Palm Oil Detectives

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