April 04, 2018 

Global companies linked to new canal development 

JAKARTA ( - US-based environmental group Rainforest Action Network (RAN) has confirmed that the supply chains of various global companies have been proven to be linked to the massive canal development undertaken by a subsidiary of global palm oil supplier the AMS Ganda Group / GAMA Plantation

As previously reported by (Mar 26), GAMA Plantation's palm oil company PT GAN has been found to have fragmented relatively intact peat forests in its two concession blocks, which are inhabited by the critically-endangered Bornean orangutan, by constructing large canals.

The GAMA palm oil concession concerned extends into parts of Indonesia's targeted peat restoration sites and peat protection zones located in West Kalimantan's Kubu Raya regency.

Gemma Tillack, RAN’s Forest Policy Director, condemned several multinational companies in a written response to (Apr 4) regarding their supply chains' ties to the legally-banned new peat development carried out by GAMA Plantation’s palm oil company.

“Unilever, PepsiCo, Nestle, and their suppliers like Wilmar, have failed to respond to peat destruction like this, which currently represents a global emergency,” she disclosed.

Below are three photos demonstrating that the supply chains of some major global companies remain associated with new peat development across Indonesia, in this case in the GAMA Plantation-owned PT GAN concession.

The major global companies mentioned by Tillack have, according to her, failed to handle their contribution to the world's climate crisis because their supply chains still engage with bad actors that continue to destroy peatlands for the sake of developing new palm oil plantations throughout Indonesia.

RAN’s Forest Policy Director went on to emphasize an important fact, the truth of which is no longer up for negotiation. "Peat forests, left standing, are one of the best defences we have against catastrophic climate change. We face a real threat requiring urgent action."

PONGO Alliance responds to questions

Unlike RAN, which has adopted a strict stance in favour of the total protection of peatlands and peat forests, the PONGO Alliance sees the case of the GAMA Plantation palm oil company in the context of a looming clash between old and new policies.

“This case represents one example of a major dilemma whereby some oil palm plantation developers with licences pre-dating Indonesian government peatland policy of recent years are racing to clear, drain and plant before the contradictions between old and new policies and legal requirements are comprehensively addressed.”

This was the written view expressed by Dr John Payne, Executive Director of the Borneo Rhino Alliance (Mar 29), on behalf of the PONGO Alliance, in reply to an email from requesting the alliance’s response to the massive canal construction in the GAMA Plantation concession.

The GAMA Plantation palm oil company commenced this extensive canal development after President Joko Widodo slapped a legal ban on any new canal development, which inevitably leads to peat drainage, in early December 2016, as seen in the following photos.

Payne added that the PONGO Alliance will keep doing its best to contribute in a small way towards resolving these dilemmas, but by focusing on areas which impinge most significantly on the conservation of endangered wild species.   

With respect to this position, questioned whether it is applicable in the case of the Sungai Putri landscape, one of the few remaining Bornean orangutan-inhabited peat forest landscapes, by merely maintaining parts of the PT MPK logging concession, and some other parts of the BGA palm oil concession blocks, which dominate this landscape.

Payne replied to this question by stating, “(the) PONGO Alliance is in the early stages of defining our scope of work and as such is not able to comment in such detail."



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