Anita Neville succeeds Agus Purnomo as chief sustainability officer of Golden Agri-Resources

The former WWF and Rainforest Alliance executive moves into the role after almost six years with the palm oil company.

Anita Neville_GAR
Anita Neville worked for non-profit certifier Rainforest Alliance for more than 10 years before moving to Golden Agri-Resources in 2016. Image: UNDP

Anita Neville has been promoted to chief sustainability and communications officer at Golden Agri-Resources, one of the world’s biggest palm oil companies.

She moves into the role after two years as senior vice president of group corporate communication, and will now be responsible for sustainability and communications strategy for the US$4.4 billion Singapore-listed business, which controls plantations of more than 500,000 hectares in Indonesia.

She succeeds Agus Purnomo, who has been with the company for six and a half years, and moves into an advisory and mentor role.

GAR chairman and chief executive Franky Widjaja, who also runs the agribusiness division of Sinar Mas, GAR’s owner, said in a statement that he wanted his business to “have a clear sense of purpose, to make [a] positive contribution to the world while delivering value.”

“Building on the progress made over recent years, and given the company’s global growth, we are renewing our sustainability focus and effort to encompass our entire value chain, with a whole of business strategy,” he said.

GAR was among the companies at the COP26 climate talks to commit to end deforestation, as the European Union is moving to place restrictions on deforestation-linked commodities such as palm oil.

A sustainability frontrunner for the palm oil sector, GAR made a zero deforestation pledge in 2011, and has committed to full traceability in its supply chain. But the company was recently been linked to deforestation in protected nature reserves in Indonesia through its suppliers.

Neville, whose background is in communications, said that she looked forward to working more closely with the sustainability team, “and to look at how GAR’s sustainability journey can expand to incorporate our whole business.”

Before joining GAR, Neville spent more than a decade with Rainforest Alliance, a certification scheme, and she has also worked for conservation group World Wide Fund for Nature in the United Kingdom. 

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