October 12, 2018

Govt exposes razing of peat forests by global palm oil supplier sealed

( - Another ground-based check has been conducted by the Indonesian Ministry of the Environment and Forestry, as part of its law enforcement actions. This time, the subject of the inspection was PT PWA for carrying out new palm oil expansion in a peat ecosystem in West Kalimantan's Kubu Raya regency.

This 2011-granted palm oil concession was previously owned by the Triputra Persada Group (TAP) and recently sold to PT Pundi Lahan Khatulistiwa (PLK), a permit trading deal that has led to new peat destruction in the concession.  

"The ground-check was performed on the order of our minister because of strong indications of peat violations, among other things, involving state forest areas," the Ministry's Law Enforcement Director General Rasio "Roy" Ridho Sani said in a written response from London's Illegal Wildlife Conference 2018 (Oct 10). 

According to the IUCN, the peat ecosystem lying in the concession sold by Triputra forms a habitat of the critically-endangered Bornean orangutan and is still dominated by peat forests (see video), as reported by (Apr 3).

The photos below, taken by the ministry's law enforcement team, depict the level of new clearing of the Bornean orangutan-inhabited peat forests in the palm oil concession sold by Triputra.

"Legal actions are being explored and prepared by my team due to strong indications that violations have been committed by this palm oil company (PT PWA)," Director General Roy asserted.  

He explained that law enforcement measures had been previously taken by the ministry against PT PWA with regard to recent peat fires proven to have taken place on the site, the locations of which were subsequently sealed off, as reported by (Sep 20).

Major palm oil buyers still linked 

Both Triputra and the buyer of its concession - which continues to clear and drain the Bornean orangutan-inhabited peat forests within it - are palm oil suppliers to leading global buyers, such as NestléUnilever, MarsADMCargillPepsiCo and others.  

This situation confirms that the supply chains of major global palm oil buyers remain tainted by deforestation and peat destruction to this day. That is, their business truly still relies on suppliers which are destroying peat forests, as shown in the following photos. 

 Top ten deforesters 

Another recent example of a top global palm oil buyer with a contentious supply chain is Nestlé. This Swiss giant still sources palm oil from an Indonesian-listed company (PT ANJT) which is relentlessly clearing Papua's high carbon stock (HCS) forests, as earlier reported by (Oct 10).  

A new assessment report released by Chain Reaction Research (Oct 4) ranked PT ANJT as one of the "Top Ten Deforesters" during the period January-September 2018.  

Since President Joko Widodo placed a ban on new peat development which causes peat drainage in early December 2016, almost all violations of the ban have been perpetrated by suppliers of major global palm oil buyers.

Even after the recent enactment of the President's new moratorium on palm oil expansion (Sep 19), the clearing of good forest cover has continued to be done by companies linked to top global palm oil buyers.

It is both reasonable and relevant that in late January this year, Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya underlined that companies which have made a public commitment to cleaning up their supply chains from deforestation and peat destruction must prove this on the ground