PALM OIL NEWS
July 25, 2019
Mighty Earth: Astra sending a powerful signal
JAKARTA (foresthints.news) - With its ongoing efforts to protect the remaining Sumatran tiger and elephant habitat in its palm oil concession (PT TPP), as recently reported by foresthints.news (Jul 22), Indonesia’s second largest palm oil producer Astra Agro Lestari may well have a real positive impact.
Glenn Hurowitz, CEO of Mighty Earth, a Washington-based global campaign organization which is very active in working to eradicate deforestation from global supply chains including palm oil, made the following point in a written response to foresthints.news (Jul 22).
“Since they are Indonesia’s second largest company, these forest conservation efforts send a powerful signal about their and the country’s true commitment to conservation.”
Hurowitz also gave his opinion about the recent spatial analysis conducted by the foresthints.news team showing that more than 70% of the Sumatran tiger and elephant habitat in the concession has not been opened for new palm oil plantations.
“It is good to see this kind of analysis about what private sector conservation and the campaigns behind it have achieved. I hope maybe Astra can make a positive investment in restoring shrubland to forest too,” he wrote.
Almost 40% of the Astra palm oil concession, which occupies an area equivalent to nearly five thousand soccer fields in Aceh, retains good forest cover which has not been opened for palm oil plantations.
The Google Earth images below depict examples of areas of good forest cover, spanning an area equal to almost two thousand soccer fields in the Astra palm oil concession, which as of July 2019 have not been cleared to make way for new palm oil plantations.
As to Astra’s current policy of not converting areas of good forest cover into new palm oil plantations, Hurowitz expressed his appreciation.
“It’s good for them to get positive recognition for implementing no deforestation.”
Putting restoration on the agenda
In addition to the areas of good forest cover which have not been developed into new palm oil plantations, another more than 30% of the Astra concession mainly composed of shrubland has not been opened for palm oil development and, according to Hurowitz, needs to be restored.
The Mighty Earth CEO advised Astra to “put the restoration and leadership issue on the agenda,” adding that this important message is not aimed solely at Astra, but also at all other international palm oil companies.
“Positive peat and forest conservation and restoration is the biggest issue and we’ve struggled to find any leadership (on this) from international palm oil companies, even though this is a priority of the Indonesian government,” he emphasized.