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Activists criticize environmental rating

A government environmental report praising some of the country’s biggest polluters will lead to further deterioration of the environmental situation, according to green groups.

Furthermore, they said they suspected the Proper (environmental performance rating of companies) rating system was designed to help the polluters improve their image and silence critics.

“Many of the companies in the report are not eligible for green credits,” Indonesian Environmental Forum (Walhi) executive director Berry Furqan told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.

“The assessment shows the government lacks the will to take serious action to improve the environment and force companies to uphold better management of the environment.”

The Proper system gives companies a rating of gold (the highest), green, blue, minus blue, red, minus red and black (the lowest), depending on their performance against government environmental management standards. The assessment is not mandatory.

Walhi particularly questioned the minus ratings, which it claimed were created so polluters could avoid receiving the worst rating.

“If the government wants to enforce the law, there is no need to use minus blue or minus red. It is not fair,” Berry said.

Walhi plans to file an official protest with the environment ministry over the report. The ministry announced the Proper rating of 516 companies last week based on the companies’ air and water pollution control, environmental impact analysis (Amdal) and implementation of corporate social responsibility.

Green ratings were awarded to 46 companies that surpassed the environmental standards set by the government. They included PT Holcim Indonesia, PT Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper Mill, PT Toba Pulp Lestari, Tbk, PT Newmont Nusa Tenggara, PT Chandra Asri, PT Unilever Indonesia, PT Semen Gresik and PT Indah Kiat Pulp and Paper.

The blue rating went to 180 companies that complied with the government’s environmental standards, including PT Lapindo Brantas in Sidoarjo, ConocoPhillips Indonesia Ltd, PT Medco EP, PT Pertamina and PT Lippo Cikarang.

The blue minus rating was given to 161 companies including PT Dow Chemical Indonesia, PT Freeport Indonesia, PT Aneka Tambang, PT International Nickel Indonesia and PT Indo Lampung Perkasa.

Network for Mining Advocacy (Jatam) coordinator Siti Maimunah said the Proper rating was of greater benefit to companies than to the environment or to communities living near the companies’ operational areas.

“The Proper program has prompted the companies to manipulate data,” she said.

The government assessed companies only by their managerial performance and the documents they submitted, she added.

A member of the Proper team, Gempur Adnan, denied allegations the minus ratings were made to accommodate the interests of big companies. “To meet the minus blue rating is not that easy for companies. They must work hard to improve their environmental management,” he said.

He also denied there were any backroom deals with companies, saying the process was completely transparent and came under the review of an independent team consisting of activists and media.

Adianto P. Simamora, The Jakarta Post

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