July 30, 2018

Papua’s vanishing forests linked to TFT, RSPO members

JAKARTA ( - PT ANJT, an Indonesian-listed palm oil company, is continuing to clear intact forests lying in West Papua’s South Sorong regency to expand its palm oil plantations.

ANJT has shown itself to have no intention whatsoever to stop clearing these intact Papuan forests. Given that the areas being cleared consist of high carbon stock (HCS) forests, this raises a huge question for the RSPO to address.

In addition to the RSPO, questions also need to be directed at The Forest Trust (TFT), seeing that some of its members - Nestle, Mars and ADM Global - continue to buy palm oil from ANJT, meaning that their supply chains remain linked to the bulldozing of Papua’s intact forests.

The following Planet Explorer images provided by Greenomics Indonesia (Jul 27) confirm that PT PPM, a subsidiary of ANJT, is continuing to clear Papua’s intact forests in its concession to make way for new palm oil plantations. 

Furthermore, using ESA Sentinel-2 images, Greenomics has also shown that from May to July 2018, the ANJT palm oil company continuously flattened Papua’s intact forests for the expansion of its palm oil plantations.

This situation highlights the fact that the aforementioned TFT and RSPO members retain supply chains tainted by deforestation, in this case the destruction of Papua’s HCS forests. 

In late January this year, Indonesian Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya cautioned companies which have declared their supply chains to be free of deforestation and peat destruction that they have no choice other than to comply with their promises. 

Constant clearing despite warning

In July 2014, as reported by Mongabay, Greenomics published a report revealing how ANJT had begun clearing Papua’s intact forests from January the same year.

Subsequently, in February and May 2015, as also reported by Mongabay, Greenomics once again disclosed the extent to which Papua’s intact forests were being cleared in ANJT’s Papua concessions. At that time, GAR and Wilmar declared that they were cutting off the purchasing of palm oil from ANJT. 

The RSPO and TFT members mentioned above, in contrast, carried on buying ANJT’s palm oil. Besides these giant corporations, Unilever and PepsiCo were another RSPO members that remained an ANJT palm oil buyer.

Moreover, at the end of September 2016, Greenpeace Intenational published a report titled "A Deadly Trade-Off", which also uncovered the degree to which Papua's HCS and primary forests were being cleared by ANJT for the purpose of expanding its palm plantations. 

Over the course of 2017, a series of news reports published by also shed light on how the supply chains of some companies were still linked to ANJT’s operations, specifically the destruction of Papua’s forests.

Meanwhile, another Indonesian-listed company Astra Agro Lestari (AAL), as reported by in mid-March last year, stated that it would be phasing out palm oil purchases from ANJT. Some other RSPO and TFT members, as detailed above, have yet to do the same.



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