August 1, 2018

One-year long destruction of orangutan habitat highlighted

( - Satellite data confirms that over the course of a year, from July last year to July this year, bulldozing of the Bornean orangutan’s habitat in a concession took place continuously to make way for new palm oil plantations, and there is still absolutely no sign of this practice ending. 

The destruction of the habitat of this critically-endangered species began after Malaysian company Genting Plantations (GenP) broke its promise, having made a commitment to maintaining most of the high carbon stock (HCS) forests in the palm oil concession concerned (PT PSM).

Instead the 2013-granted concession, which lies in West Kalimantan's Ketapang regency, was sold by GenP to PT BHD, a global palm oil supplier. 

GenP's promise was posted on the Wilmar grievance update following the publication of a report by Greenomics Indonesia at the end of September 2014, as reported by Mongabay, revealing that Wilmar's supply chains remained linked to deforestation even after the company declared a zero deforestation policy in early December 2013.

The year-long destruction of the Bornean orangutan's habitat in the palm oil concession previously owned by GenP was recently demonstrated by Greenomics (Jul 30) using the following Planet Explorer images.

RSPO, TFT members still linked

At the same time, a number of RSPO / TFT members, in this case Nestle, Cargill, Mars, ADM Global, Wilmar and Asian Agri / Apical, are also showing no signs of stopping filling their palm oil tanks from PT BHD, the supplier seriously implicated in the eradication of the Bornean orangutan's home.

Furthermore, some other RSPO members which are not part of TFT, such as Unilever and PepsiCo, are also doing the same thing by failing to disengage their supply chains from the concession associated with this year-long obliteration of the Bornean orangutan's habitat.

The following photos provided by AidEnvironment Asia, previously published by (Jan 11), depict the ongoing destruction of Bornean orangutan-inhabited forests by the supplier from which the aforementioned RSPO and TFT members continue to source palm oil. This evidence remains hugely relevant.

This case also strongly indicates that there is no difference between RSPO and TFT members in that they both still continue to engage with perpetrators of deforestation.

It seems that the supply chains of RSPO and TFT members alike cannot escape involvement in the destruction of the Bornean orangutan's habitat.

Meanwhile, the Pongo Alliance, which was officially launched in June 2017, has also proven itself to be powerless in this issue. In fact, one of its own members, PT ANJT, is still busy clearing Papua's intact forests for new palm oil plantation expansion.

The year-long and continuing removal of the Bornean orangutan's precious habitat to clear the way for new palm oil plantations certainly provides a key, albeit sad, lesson learned.

This situation also reaffirms that RSPO and TFT members must take responsibility for the fact that their supply chains are still tainted by the disappearance of forests inhabited by the Bornean orangutan.

A recent report published by Chain Reaction Research in June also sheds light on how the supply chains of certain RSPO and TFT members continue to be associated with deforestation and peat destruction.

The report also addresses the damaging loss of HCS forests and Bornean orangutan habitat in the previously GenP-controlled palm oil concession.