March 11, 2019

PHOTOS: Orangutan forests still being ruined for palm oil

JAKARTA ( - The reputation of the Indonesian palm oil sector is not only determined by companies that have abandoned deforestation and peat destruction practices while continuing to clean up to their supply chains from business-as-usual practices. 

This reputation is also not only determined by the legally-established policies implemented by President Joko Widodo's administration of no new development and deforestation of good forest cover - even though the President’s move deserves great recognition.  

In reality, the reputation of the Indonesian palm oil sector is also very dependent on some companies which continue to engage in the deforestation of good forest cover and peat destruction in order to expand their palm oil plantations. 

This reputation is also largely determined by the Indonesian Environment and Forestry Ministry, which has been unresponsive and absent in recent months in taking law enforcement action against the ongoing peat violations in some palm oil concessions.

One example of hard evidence of these ongoing peat violations, which involve the clearing and draining of good peat forest cover for palm oil plantation expansion, is that of PT PEAK, a subsidiary of Mulia Sawit Agro Lestari (MSAL), situated in Central Kalimantan's Katingan regency. 

The photos below, which were obtained by from a local stakeholder group, show the ongoing removal and drainage of peat forests in the MSAL concession which is inhabited by the critically-endangered Bornean orangutan.

Law enforcement continually absent

The ongoing peat violations committed by PT PEAK certainly do not help the reputation of Indonesian palm oil in the global market place, exacerbated by the fact that responsive law enforcement from the ministry has proven to be continually absent, as reported by (Feb 25)

Glenn Hurowitz, CEO of Mighty Earth, expressed his appreciation for President Jokowi’s no new peat development and no deforestation of good forest cover policies, as recently reported by (Mar 8), hailing them as a great gift for Indonesia’s palm oil reputation. 

However, he also stressed the need for responsive law enforcement - in this case from the ministry - to ensure that the President's policies, praised as a great gift, are effective on the ground.

While the MSAL company relentlessly clears and drains Bornean orangutan-inhabited peat forests, MSAL's palm oil is still linked to some global palm oil traders, resulting in ongoing ties to the supply chains of some major global brands.

The persistent association between global palm oil supply chains and the unending removal of the home of the Bornean orangutan in the MSAL concession unquestionably also tarnishes the reputation of the NDPE policies adopted by these global palm oil players.

The MSAL group, as previously reported by (Feb 15), has decided to go ahead with the clearing and draining of the Bornean orangutan-inhabited peat forests in the PT PEAK concession using the excuse of business reasons.



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