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Insights into Collaborative Efforts with TPL and Community Engagement Initiatives

Earthworm Foundation's Response to RAN's Accusations

On 18 March 2024, Rainforest Action Network (RAN) released an article accusing Royal Golden Eagle (RGE) of having links to deforestation and human rights abuses. The accusations primarily targeted RGE's subsidiary, Toba Pulp Lestari (TPL), raising concerns about its failure to address deforestation and human rights abuses in its Indonesian supply chains. More specifically, the article mentioned the conflict between the Pargamanan-Bintang Maria (PBM) community and TPL and concerns about Earthworm Foundation's role in finding a resolution.

Earthworm Foundation's Collaboration with Toba Pulp Lestari (TPL)

Since October 2022, Earthworm Foundation has been working with TPL to assess its social engagement systems and processes, including conflict management. Another aspect of Earthworm's work focused on formulating targeted recommendations and an action plan for TPL to improve its social engagement systems and community engagement approach. This partnership aimed to address community concerns and foster sustainable practices within TPL's operations.

Earthworm's approach prioritised transparency, community consent, and effective communication channels. To provide transparency and accountability regarding the progress of collaborative initiatives with TPL, six public updates have been regularly issued, including covering our work in December 2023 and outlining planned activities for 2024. Earthworm plans to provide another comprehensive update in July 2024.

Response to RAN's Allegations

In the article, RAN states concern about the unprofessional practices employed by Earthworm during the consultation process with the communities and the PBM community's rejection of Earthworm's approach.

We welcome the challenges brought by RAN and any Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) regarding our work. Their role in reviewing our work and the impact on the ground is both valuable and useful to us. Below we update on aspects we continue to prioritise and areas where further work and improvements are needed. Addressing concerns raised by RAN, Earthworm emphasises its dedication to professional practices and continuous improvement.

Below, we update on aspects we continue to prioritise and areas where further work and improvements are needed.

1. Earthworm's Engagement Strategy with TPL Estates

In engaging with communities residing in TPL estates, Earthworm prioritised introducing our team and disseminating public statements outlining the collaboration with TPL. We operated exclusively in areas where community consent was explicitly granted and established direct communication channels with community leaders. To facilitate effective communication, information was provided in Bahasa Indonesia, and all interactions were conducted with explicit community approval, meticulously documented for transparency and accountability, with minutes jointly prepared with the community.

2. Collaborative Mapping Efforts and Progress in Simataniari

Earthworm's collaboration with the Simataniari community, including representatives from the Pargamanan-Bintang Maria (PBM) hamlet, has addressed community concerns regarding the absence of village boundaries, which are crucial for village planning and development.

Through providing technical support, outreach, and the facilitation of mapping training, fostering active participation from all community constituents, including representatives from hamlets and local CSOs and various tiers of governmental representatives, a draft indicative village boundary map delineating the preliminary boundaries of Simataniari village has been produced. However, this map must now be validated and refined through ongoing consultations with the community and relevant governmental bodies.

It should be noted that community representatives of PBM and a representative of KSPPM actively participated in this process to delineate village boundaries. The community continues to express its support of this important process as it helps them better plan for village development and growth.

Future efforts in Simataniari will evolve through consultations with neighbouring villages to delineate outer boundaries, aiming for consensus and understanding among community members. Engagement with adjacent villages seeks to resolve potential boundary disputes and diverse perspectives, fostering collaborative decision-making. 

Subsequent mapping exercises will focus on identifying, in more detail, the natural resources and links to customary land claims within the village. Through these mapping efforts, the aim is to support the community and company in establishing a robust framework for sustainable land management practices, particularly in instances where overlaps occur between customary claim areas and company concessions. 

Additionally, in-depth consultations will be organised with key stakeholders, including district and regency governments. These consultations aim to solicit input, feedback, and collaboration from relevant authorities to ensure alignment with official regulations and policies regarding land use and territorial boundaries.

We remain open to sharing information and collaborating with RAN and other key stakeholders as we continue this important work. We invite RAN or any of its representatives to understand our approach better and see the work done first-hand. Similarly, we welcome any feedback regarding our work and remain humble that there is always room for improvement. Our goal remains focused on building solutions and fostering positive changes for communities and the environment.


We welcome and value any insights or feedback from anyone on improving our processes and approach. Feel free to reach out to us at