Alex Armstrong

Guest Blog: Protesting Cargill in the Cold

Yesterday, protesters gathered outside an event where Cargill CEO David MacLennan was speaking. One of those protesters, Jonas, has contributed a guest blog post about the experience:

We rolled past four squad cars on our way into the parking lot of the Interlachen Country Club. We're not members, but David MacLennan was speaking, and we came to hold him accountable for the incalculable damage he's facilitated as CEO of Cargill. The spots of rust peeking out of our car's wheel wells made us easy to identify in contrast to the sleek manicured vehicles of Interlachen's more regular patrons. The police, anticipating our attendance, didn't have a hard time picking out protestors and relocating us to the streets further off the property.

Everyone's got a good reason to be outraged with Cargill; human rights violations, injury to the planet, unrestricted exploitation, their recent role in the destruction of the Amazon Rainforest. I was called in particular to Cargill's naked contempt for the Indigenous peoples of Brazil, whose lands, homes, and lives are being destroyed to make room for Cargill's soy and meat industry. And I was in good company this 20°F morning. The members of MN350, Extinction Rebellion, and NAL3 are no strangers to Minnesota cold. The chanting kept us warm as we stood in solidarity with the Indigenous nations fighting for their lives in Brazil. 

The scope of David MacLennan's damage might look isolated to South America, or lost in a maze of supply chains, but they have a real effect on all of us. I want Indigenous sovereignty. I want a sustainable future. The patterns of colonization and eco-genocide that Cargill is playing into must end. 


New Investment By Largest Steel Producer in U.S. Proves Clean Energy Can Power Heavy Industry

Nucor aiming to sign wind energy agreement in Missouri


An E&E News story published today revealed that Nucor Steel, the number one steel producer in the US and number 11 globally, has filed a power purchase agreement for wind energy with Evergy Missouri (formally KCPL).

In response to this news, Margaret Hansbrough, a Missouri native and Campaign Director at Mighty Earth, released the following statement:

"Last year, Mighty Earth called upon Nucor and the entire steel industry to commit to carbon neutrality and clean energy, and for Nucor specifically to begin switching to clean electricity. Despite their initial claims that renewable energy could not handle the power generation needs of their steel mills, it took Nucor only a few months after we launched our public campaign to start filing papers for this wind agreement and begin transitioning to clean energy for a new mill in Sedalia, Missouri.

"We have said that switching to clean electricity is good for business, good for the climate, and good for clean energy jobs. Now we know that to be true. This approach builds on the natural competitive advantage electricity-produced steel has in the U.S. broadly and in states with cheap renewables in particular. Nucor's new mill in Sedalia is a compelling proof of concept. Nucor cuts costs and reduces the embodied carbon in its steel; the state of Missouri leverages clean, cheap electricity to bring new jobs to the state. It’s a win-win move, and we hope the company will repeat this practice in all the states where they are expanding."


James Owen, Executive Director of Renew Missouri, Missouri’s leading renewable energy advocacy organization, also provided a reaction to this news:

"The work between Evergy and Nucor shows that clean energy is a necessary economic development tool if Missouri is serious about jobs and attracting business. The Show-Me State benefits economically through high-paying construction and technician jobs. Cheap clean energy will be critical to attracting and retaining industrial jobs like steel production. Not only that, the steel industry and companies like Nucor benefit enormously from the expansion of electricity transmission infrastructure with projects like the Grain Belt Express as well as expanded generation on wind farms built with USA produced steel. If Missouri really wanted to walk the walk on job creation, we could change our laws that made Evergy and Nucor's contract a normal part of business. This would be good for communities and utility customers all over Missouri."


About Mighty Earth

Mighty Earth is a global campaign organization that works to protect the environment. We focus on big issues: conserving threatened landscapes like tropical rainforests, protecting oceans, and solving climate change. In the fall of 2018, Mighty Earth launched a global campaign calling on Nucor and other global steel leaders to commit to clean energy and carbon neutrality. The campaign released two groundbreaking reports: Cold Steel, Hot Climate and Construction Destruction. Both reports focused on advances the steel and construction industries must undertake right away to solve the climate crisis and specifically outlined ways for Nucor to lead the market in low carbon steel making by committing to clean electricity. For full reports and statements visit:


About Renew Missouri

Renew Missouri was founded in 2006 to advance renewable energy and energy efficiency in the state of Missouri. In that time, Renew Missouri has advanced legislation, passed statewide ballot initiatives, crafted local ordinances, and represented these interests before state regulators on hundreds of cases. For more information, visit

FSC report on palm giant Korindo lists litany of violations

Mongabay | November 11, 2019 

The Forest Stewardship Council has released a batch of heavily redacted reports into its probe of violations by a palm oil company operating in Indonesia, after it was earlier slapped with a cease-and-desist letter.

Read more.

To Address Deforestation in Brazil, Mighty Earth Convenes Meeting Between Indigenous Leaders and Consumer Goods Forum

Deforestation in Brazil is a threat to ecosystems like the rainforests of the Amazon and the savannahs of the Cerrado. And the same economic forces that drive their destruction also trample on the rights and the lives of the Indigenous peoples who live there. Mighty Earth believes that we must break the link between ecological destruction and economic growth and that the voices of Indigenous peoples must be an integral part of that effort.

To that end, we were honored to convene a meeting between representatives from Brazilian Indigenous Peoples Articulation (APIB), a national coalition and the voice of the Indigenous movement in Brazil, and the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), a global network of more than 400 retailers, manufacturers, service providers, and other stakeholders across 70 countries.

“The Indigenous peoples of the Amazon, like Indigenous peoples throughout the world, have protected the lands in which they live for millennia,” said Mat Jacboson, Senior Director for Forests at Mighty Earth. “It is critical that their voices be included in discussions about sustainability, and that their rights be protected in law and policy. We are honored to have been able to assist in the initiation of a dialogue between APIB and the Consumer Goods Forum.”

Investigasi Menunjukkan Operator Minyak Kelapa Sawit Terbesar di Papua Menghancurkan Sejumlah Besar Wilayah Hutan Hujan yang Terancam, Menipu dan Menganiaya Penduduk Asli

Terlepas dari penyensoran signifikan, penemuan yang baru dipublikasikan oleh Forest Stewardship Council memperlihatkan bahwa Korindo Group merusak lebih dari 30.000 hektar hutan hujan dalam jangka waktu lima tahun terakhir, memanipulasi secara sistematis dan membayar dengan tidak layak pemilik lahan asli.

BONN, JERMAN – Pada hari ini, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), lembaga sertifikasi global untuk pengelolaan hutan yang bertanggung jawab, mempublikasikan ringkasan penemuannya dari investigasi sepanjang dua tahun yang dimulai oleh pengaduan Mighty Earth mengenai Korindo Group, konglomerat minyak kelapa sawit Korea-Indonesia yang memiliki reputasi buruk.

“Seriusnya pelanggaran yang dilakukan Korindo seperti terungkap pada laporan ini sungguh mengejutkan, bahkan setelah FSC dan Korindo menyensor lebih dari 110 halaman temuan tersebut,” ungkap Deborah Lapidus, Senior Campaigns Director Mighty Earth. “Korindo telah lama membenarkan perusakan area besar hutan hujan yang belum terjamah atas dasar ‘pembangunan’, walau kenyataannya sebaliknya. Investigasi ini memperlihatkan bagaimana Korindo berusaha keras untuk memanipulasi, mengintimidasi, dan menipu masyarakat lokal. Tidak ada pembenaran untuk FSC mendukung upaya Korindo untuk menutupi laporan lengkap, karena praktik semacam ini sudah sangat lumrah di Papua dan jarang terekspos. Remediasi bagi masyarakat setempat seharusnya telah dilakukan semenjak lama, dan publikasi utuh serta faktual dari hasil temuan FSC akan membawa hasil positif.”

Selama bertahun-tahun, bahkan saat Korindo terlibat dalam deforestasi berskala besar di Papua dan Maluku Utara, Indonesia, seperti didokumentasikan oleh Mighty Earth, perusahaan ini mendapat keuntungan dari label prestisius FSC untuk melakukan perdagangan kayu gelondongan, kayu lapis, kayu pulp, biomassa, dan kertas koran pada konsumen seperti Asia Pulp & Paper dan APRIL (Indonesia), Sumitomo Forestry, Oji Corporation, dan Marubeni (Jepang), serta News Corps Australia.

FSC mengutus Complaints Panel (panel pengaduan) untuk melakukan investigasi sebelum kemudian dilakukan dua investigasi atas tuduhan Mighty Earth kepada Korindo.

Mighty Earth telah secara konsisten meminta pada FSC untuk mempublikasikan hasil temuannya secara utuh. Laporan utama Complaints Panel, yang seutuhnya memiliki panjang 110 halaman dan dijadwalkan untuk dipublikasikan pada tanggal 5 September, dibatalkan setelah FSC menerima somasi dari Korindo. Dokumen yang dipublikasikan oleh FSC kini telah diperpendek menjadi rangkuman satu halaman semata. Ringkasan dari dua investigasi tambahan mengandung sejumlah redaksi yang oleh FSC dinyatakan dilakukan “atas ketidaksetujuan dari Korindo”.

Meskipun begitu, laporan parsial ini tetap memperlihatkan kondisi yang memprihatinkan, dengan kesimpulan bahwa Korindo bersalah dalam tidak mengindahkan standar FSC dengan melanggar hak-hak masyarakat asli, melakukan konversi lahan hutan alami secara signifikan, dan merusak sejumlah besar wilayah dengah High Conservation Value (nilai konservasi tinggi/HCV). Laporan ini memperlihatkan tentang perusakan lebih dari 30.000 hektar hutan hujan dan habitat spesies terancam punah selama lima tahun ke belakang (lebih dari 50.000 hektar secara keseluruhan), kegagalan berulang dalam memenuhi Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (kesediaan sukarela tanpa paksaan/FPIC) masyarakat asli mengenai pembangunan di lahan mereka, kerusakan permanen pada ekosistem dan batas air yang berujung pada hilangnya akses masyarakat pada kebutuhan dasar mereka termasuk tanah, pangan, air, serta penghidupan, dan pembayaran tidak layak pada masyarakat atas sumber daya alam mereka. Atas hasil dari temuan-temuan ini, Complaints Panel merekomendasikan “Pemberhentian asosiasi Korindo dengan FSC dikarenakan oleh bukti-bukti jelas dan meyakinkan mengenai pelanggaran THR [Traditional and Human Rights/Hak Asasi Manusia dan Tradisi] (di samping konversi lahan signifikan)” seperti dinyatakan pada laporan Analisis Sosial yang dirilis FSC pada hari ini (halaman 41).

Meski ada rekomendasi tersebut,, Dewan FSC memutuskan untuk mencapai persetujuan dengan Korindo dalam upaya dan peningkatan remediasi. Pada Juli 2019, Dewan FSC mengumumkan bahwa kelanjutan asosiasi Korindo dengan FSC “bergantung kepada kepatuhan Korindo terhadap ketentuan ketat penanggulangan dan perbaikan sosial dan lingkungan. Pada hari ini, FSC menjelaskan lebih lanjut mengenai ketentuan tersebut.

Upaya remediasi yang dipaparkan hari ini tidak proporsional dengan pelanggaran ekstrim yang diungkapkan di laporan investigasi,’ ungkap Lapidus. Khususnya, mereka tidak memuat penanggulangan dan peraikan untuk 50.000 hektar lahan hutan hujan yang dibuka oleh Korindo beserta kerusakan yang dihasilkannya pada sungai dan ekosistem, yang tentu melanggar standar FSC. Patut diperhatikan juga bahwa aksi pertama yang Korindo lakukan setelah mencapai persetujuan dengan FSC adalah mengintimidasi FSC untuk menyensor rincian mengenai pelanggaran-pelanggaran yang mereka perbuat serta dampaknya pada masyarakat. Sederhananya, Korindo tidak memiliki keseriusan dalam bertanggung jawab penuh atas pelanggaran yang dilakukannya terhadap standar FSC.

Pernyataan FSC menyatakan bahwa upaya remediasi spesifik akan ditentukan oleh proses “roadmap” bersama stakeholder-stakeholder yang dipimpin oleh FSC. Hingga saat ini, FSC belum merilis informasi lebih lanjut mengenai proses ini.

Pada bulan September, ketika FSC pertama kali menunda publikasi material ini, tuntutan Mighty Earth untuk akuntabilitas dan transparansi juga diserukan oleh organisasi-organisasi masyarakat di Papua:

“Korindo telah merusak tanah dan penghidupan masyarakat tanpa persetujuan, merampas sumber daya alam masyarakat lokal, melakukan kekerasan dan intimidasi pada masyarakat, serta mencemari sungai mereka—sembari mempekerjakan sejumlah besar orang dari luar Papua. Korindo juga tidak menganggap serius tanggung jawab sosial perusahaannya,” ungkap Pastor Anselmus Amo dari SKP-KAMe-Merauke, organisasi HAM berbasis Papua. “FSC harus melakukan konsultasi langsung dengan masyarakat yang terpengaruh dampak praktik mereka untuk mengerti lebih baik mengenai operasinya yang merugikan dan pandangan masyarakat lokal soal kompensasi dan remediasi yang adil. Kami siap untuk membantu resolusi dari konflik berkepanjangan ini””

“Selama dua dekade, praktik perusakan lahan masyarakat asli yang dilakukan oleh Korindo telah lolos dari pemberitaan, dengan Korindo yang memposisikan diri di media sebagai penyelamat masyarakat Papua,” ungkap Franky Samperante dari Yayasan Pusaka, organisasi yang berjuang untuk mempertahankan hak kepemilikan tanah adat di Papua. “Dunia perlu mengetahui kenyataan tentang apa yang terjadi di Papua dan Maluku Utara.”

“Korindo sebelumnya telah berupaya untuk mengemas konklusi FSC sebagai pembebasan dari tuduhan, tetapi temuan yang dirilis pada hari ini membuktikan bahwa klaim tersebut sepenuhnya tidak benar,” ujar Lapidus. “Jika Korindo memang bersungguh-sungguh ingin membersihkan reputasinya yang tercemar, ia harus berhenti menyangkal kesalahannya, memberlakukan transparansi, mengindahkan standar remediasi dan kompensasi FSC, serta menyelesaikan isu keluhan masyarakat—termasuk dengan cara mengembalikan tanah adat. Sebelum Korindo melakukan hal-hal tersebut, tidak seharusnya ada perusahaan yang melakukan bisnis dengan Korindo”.

“FSC harus berhenti berlaku sebagai pembela industri dan mempublikasikan temuannya secara utuh. Masyarakat yang terkena dampak dan konsumen Korindo layak mengetahui kebenaran. FSC harus secapatnya melakukan proses memperoleh solusi untuk memperbaiki kerusakan yang telah terjadi, dengan konsultasi penuh dari masyarakat yang terpengaruh,” ujar Lapidus.

Sejumlah kutipan yang mengungkapkan fakta dari laporan publik (penekanan ditambahkan) termasuk:

“Rekomendasi dari Complaints Panel dipaparkan secara jelas dalam ringkasan eksekutif laporan mereka (hal. 8-9): bahwa asosiasi FSC dengan Korindo harus dihentikan dikarenakan oleh bukti-bukti jelas dan meyakinkan mengenai pelanggaran THR [Traditional and Human Rights/Hak Asasi Manusia dan Tradisi] (di samping konversi lahan signifikan).”

‘Konversi dianggap signifikan dikarenakan skala sebesar lebih dari 30.000 hektar di antara faktor lainnya, disebabkan oleh kegagalan melindungi area vegetasi alami dan dampak yang dihasilkan terhadap masyarakat lokal, terutama kegagalan kompensasi pemilik lahan secara layak untuk kayu gelondongan yang diambil.”

“Satu-satunya kesimpulan yang mungkin diambil adalah bahwa telah dilakukan pelanggaran ekstensif terhadap hak-hak yang merupakan bagian dari sistem FSC, juga standar-standar sejenis…antara lain hak tanah, hak FPIC, dan hak yang berkaitan dengan kebutuhan dasar manusia.”

‘Sebagai hasil dari pelanggaran-pelanggaran ini, masyarakat yang terpengaruh telah mengalami kerugian serius. Hal ini meliputi ancaman dan dalam beberapa kasus penggunaan kekerasan, dalam suasana intimidatif berkelanjutan (melebihi situasi keamanan lokal yang berlaku); ketidakmampuan untuk memberlakukan hak mereka untuk menentang konsesi; dan kompensasi yang sangat tidak sebanding, diterima oleh sangat sedikit anggota masyarakat, dengan sedikit pengetahuan atau partisipasi sejumlah besar masyarakat. Seperti yang disimpulkan Complaints Panel FSC, analisis tambahan ini menemukan bahwa terdapat dasar yang kuat dan mencukupi untuk diasosasi seluruh perusahaan yang terlibat dengan pelanggaran-pelanggaran serius ini.’

“Aktivitas Korindo meliputi pembukaan lahan dengan luas signifikan di Hutan Hujan Dataran Rendah New Guinea Selatan yang menurut klasifikasi Global 200 merupakan lahan terancam/kritis…Selain itu, konversi yang dilakukan kemungkinan besar merusak sejumlah area yang menyediakan sumber daya alam yang penting bagi masyarakat lokal.”

“Terdapat bukti yang jelas dan meyakinkan bahwa HCV ini, dalam segala aspek, telah rusak. Usaha rehabilitasi akan mendorong pemulihan, tapi dalam konteks ekologis, lanskap ini telah berubah secara permanen karena aktivitas komersial Korindo.”

“Pembukaan area tepi pantai (aliran air, sungai, mata air, dan pinggir danau) tidak konsisten dengan hukum Indonesia.”

“Transformasi hampir keseluruhan dari semenanjung selatan Pulau Halmahera dari gabungan antara hutan basah Maluku diselingi dengan kultivasi berganti dan hutan kelapa kecil hingga produksi minyak kelapa sawit monokrop berskala besar memiliki pengaruh yang signifikan bagi lanskap. Bukti dan kronologi dari perubahan permanen pada lanskap sangat jelas dan singkat…Hilangnya HCV 1 seharusnya dianggap sebagai kerusakan karena area tersebut tidak memungkinkan untuk dikembalikan pada kondisi semula atau direhabilitasi. Konversi dari konsesi PT GMM memberikan situasi yang unik karena ia telah mengubah lanskap seluruh bagian selatan pulau yang juga mendominasi seluruh bagian utara area tepi pantai.”

Perusahaan juga direkomendasikan untuk memulai proses pemulihan formal dengan masyarakat yang bersangkutan. Laporan dari Complaints Panel telah secara rinci memverifikasi dan menjelaskan pola lebih luas dan tindakan individual pelanggaran yang terjadi, seperti yang sebelumnya telah dideskripsikan dan dikumpulkan dengan sejumlah besar bukti pendukung di dalam laporan asli dan pengaduan. Tidak ada lagi ruang untuk meragukan bahwa sejumlah pelanggaran ini memang benar terjadi.’ ‘Tidak ada alasan apapun untuk menunda lebih jauh proses pemulihan yang kini diharuskan, berdasarkan dari dialog bersama masyarakat yang terpengaruh sebagai respon dari berbagai pelanggaran yang telah berulang kali teridentifikasi, terkait akuisisi lahan, proses FPIC dan perlindungan HCV. Proses pemulihan harus dimulai bersama dengan seluruh masyarakat yang terpengaruh, seperti yang dijabarkan pada dokumen ini telah mengutarakan ketidakbahagiaan, keluhan, dan frustrasi terhadap dampak dari operasi, dan/atau tuduhan subtansial mengenai pelanggaran THR [Traditional and Human Rights/Hak Asasi Manusia dan Tradisi] mereka’.

Baca kutipan dan latar belakang lebih lanjut di sini



Multi-Stakeholder Workshop Lays Groundwork for Growth of Sustainable Rubber

In September, Mighty Earth, Rainforest Alliance, einhorn ProductsEarthnet Foundation, and the Prince of Songkla University, hosted a workshop in Thailand which brought together 100 rubber farmers, traders, processors, NGOs, government representatives, and consumer brands that use rubber—like Goodyear tires and Converse shoes—to discuss one thing: sustainable natural rubber.

The workshop, Sustainable Natural Rubber: Pathways, Policies, and Partnerships, brought together stakeholders from across the rubber supply chain, who rarely interact directly, to share knowledge and learn about sustainable rubber and potential solutions to environmental, social, and economic challenges in the industry.

Throughout the week, actors from across the supply chain engaged in conversations about best practices, laid the groundwork for new partnerships, and discussed their sustainability journeys. These sessions included presentations and brainstorms about the cost of rubber, the opportunities in multi-stakeholder initiatives, the nuts and bolts of implementing a 'No Deforestation, No Exploitation' policy, and farming techniques that are best for people and planet.

One key constituency that attended the workshop was rubber farmers, who are rarely included in rubber conferences. Farmers from Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka shared their experiences using sustainable rubber practices on their farms and expressed their concerns about pricing and earning a living. Through these interactions, processors and traders were able to connect with the farmers who grow their rubber, and rubber end users learned about agroforestry and its ability to positively impact the both the environment and the lives of rubber farmers around the world.

The term agroforestry refers to the planting of multiple complementary crops on a farm to increase biodiversity and sequestration of carbon from the atmosphere, while providing additional sources of income or subsistence to farmers. Well-managed, diversified agroforestry systems can be a real solution for producing sustainable natural rubber and serve as an alternative to harmful practices that devastate the environment. It allows farmers to be protected against market fluctuations for a single commodity, helps store more carbon and rebuild the soil, increases species habitat, and reduces the use of pesticides. To educate participants about agroforestry, the workshop visited a few rubber farms that showcased rubber planted alongside other crops including pepper, fruit trees, and wood products. During the visit, farmers discussed the advantages associated with agroforestry systems, and participants were able to see the viability and productivity of these practices.

As demand for natural rubber increases in the coming years, widespread deforestation is likely to follow, as companies and landowners clear primary forest to plant more rubber trees on large expanses of plantations. This trend has held true across many commodities, with demand for palm oil, soy, and cattle threatening primary ecosystems, tropical forests, and the land of indigenous communities around the world. Meanwhile, farmers often still do not make a living income. Future expansion must be done sustainably and ethically. If farmers, traders, producers, and rubber end users push for responsible, fair rubber production and agroforestry on land already in use for rubber, the industry can sustain rubber production without new forest clearing or human rights abuses.

The workshop provided a forum for stakeholders to engage in open and honest dialogue about the challenges and opportunities that exist when pursuing sustainable growth. At the end of the 2.5 day event, participants created calls to action for the rubber industry and brainstormed about what each person, company, and sector of the supply chain could accomplish to ensure that all rubber is sold for a fair price and farmed sustainably and ethically for people and the planet. Calls to action from across sectors included learning more about and bringing transparency to their supply chains, rethinking producer trainings, piloting agroforestry on farms, creating networks to share knowledge among farmers, and engaging with actors across the supply chain from farm to market.

Moving forward, it will be important that all companies in the rubber industry set clear goals and commitments, work diligently and proactively to improve sustainability, and continue to collaborate with one another. With greater supply chain transparency and knowledge, along with restorative and environmentally sound on-farm practices, the rubber industry can ultimately create the systems needed to move forward and meet the global demand for rubber in a sustainable and responsible way.

Investigation Finds Papua's Largest Palm Oil Operator Destroyed Vast Areas of Endangered Rainforest, Cheated and Abused Indigenous People

Investigation Finds Papua's Largest Palm Oil Operator Destroyed Vast Areas of Endangered Rainforest, Cheated and Abused Indigenous People

Despite significant censoring, newly released findings from the Forest Stewardship Council show Korindo Group destroyed over 30,000 hectares of rainforest in the past five years, systematically manipulated and underpaid indigenous landowners

BONN, GERMANY – Today, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), a global certification body for responsible forest management, released summaries of its findings from a two-year investigation prompted by a complaint filed by Mighty Earth against the Korindo Group, a notorious Korean-Indonesian logging and palm oil conglomerate.

“The severity of Korindo’s wrongdoing revealed in these reports is just devastating, even with FSC and Korindo covering up more than 110 pages of the findings,” said Deborah Lapidus, Senior Campaigns Director at Mighty Earth. “Korindo has long justified its destruction of vast areas of pristine rainforests on the basis of ‘development’ but the reality is just the opposite. These investigations exposed how Korindo went to great lengths to manipulate, intimidate, and cheat local communities. There is no justification that the FSC has gone along with Korindo in burying the full report, as these sorts of practices are all too commonplace in Papua and rarely exposed. Remediation for communities is long overdue, and a full and honest disclosure of the FSC’s findings would do a lot of good.”

For years, even as Korindo engaged in deforestation on a massive scale in Papua and North Maluku, Indonesia, as documented by Mighty Earth, the group has been benefiting from FSC’s prestigious eco-forestry label to sell timber, plywood, pulpwood, biomass, and newsprint to customers such as Asia Pulp & Paper and APRIL (Indonesia), Sumitomo Forestry, Oji Corporation, and Marubeni (Japan), and News Corps Australia.

The FSC commissioned a Complaints Panel to conduct an investigation, and subsequently conducted two additional investigations into Mighty Earth’s allegations against Korindo.

Mighty Earth has consistently called on the FSC to release its findings in full. The main Complaints Panel report, which was originally at least 110 pages in length and scheduled to be released on September 5, was pulled after FSC received a “cease and desist” letter from Korindo. The document released by FSC today has been reduced to a mere one-page summary. The summaries of the two additional investigations include a number of redactions that FSC states are “due to a disagreement with Korindo”.

But even these partial reports paint a damning picture, concluding that Korindo was guilty of flouting FSC standards by violating indigenous peoples’ rights, carrying out significant conversion of natural forests, and destroying significant areas of High Conservation Value (HCVs). The reports detail Korindo’s destruction of over 30,000 hectares of rainforest and endangered species habitat in just the past five years (more than 50,000 overall), multiple failures of Korindo to obtain the Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) of local indigenous communities to development on their lands, irreparable damage to ecosystems and watersheds that has led to communities being deprived of basic needs including land, food, water, and livelihoods, and the severe underpayment to communities of revenue from their forest resources. As a result of these findings, the Complaints Panel recommended that “Korindo should be disassociated from the FSC due to the clear and convincing evidence of violations of THR [Traditional and Human Rights] (as well as significant conversion),” as stated in the Social Analysis report released by FSC today (page 41).

Despite this recommendation, the FSC Board decided to reach an agreement with Korindo on improvement and remediation measures. In July 2019, the FSC Board announced that Korindo’s continued association with the FSC would be “dependent on Korindo’s complying with strict requirements towards social and environmental reparations and remedy.” Today, the FSC elaborated on those requirements.

“The remedial measures unveiled today are not proportionate to the extreme violations revealed in the investigative reports,” Lapidus said. “Notably, they fail to include restoration and remedy for Korindo’s clearing of over 50,000 hectares of rainforests and damage caused to the rivers and ecosystems, which violate FSC standards. It is also notable that Korindo’s first act after reaching the agreement with FSC was to bully FSC into censoring the details of its wrongdoing and its liabilities to communities. Korindo simply isn’t serious about accepting full responsibility for its violations of FSC standards.”

The FSC statement claims that the exact remedial measures will be determined in a forthcoming, FSC-led stakeholder consultation “roadmap” process. To date, no further details of this process have been released by FSC.

In September, when the FSC initially postponed the release of these materials, Mighty Earth’s call for accountability and transparency was echoed by community organizations working in Papua:

“Korindo has destroyed community lands and livelihoods without peoples’ consent, robbed communities of their natural resources, subjected people to violence and intimidation, and polluted their rivers – all while hiring mainly workers from outside Papua. Korindo is also not taking its corporate social responsibility seriously,” said Pastor Anselmus Amo from SKP-KAMe Meruake, a Papuan human rights organization. “FSC should consult directly with affected communities to better understand Korindo’s egregious actions and the communities’ views on what fair compensation and remediation measures would be. We stand ready to help resolve this long-standing conflict.”

“For two decades, Korindo has gotten away with violating indigenous peoples’ land rights without exposure, while selling itself in the media as a savior to the Papuan people,” said Franky Samperante of Yayasan Pusaka, which works to defend indigenous land rights in Papua. “Therefore, it is important that the world knows the reality of what has transpired in Papua and North Maluku.”

“Korindo has previously attempted to spin the FSC conclusions as exoneration, but the findings released today prove that claim to be utterly dishonest,” Lapidus said.  “If Korindo is serious about cleaning up its heavily damaged reputation, it must stop denying its culpability, embrace transparency, heed the FSC’s requirements for compensation and remediation, and resolve community grievances—including by returning customary lands. Until it does, no companies should be doing business with Korindo.”

“The FSC must stop acting like an industry apologist and release its findings in full. Affected communities and Korindo customers mustn’t be left in the dark. The FSC should immediately commence the process of securing remedy for the severe harms caused, in full consultation with affected communities,” said Lapidus.

Revealing excerpts from the public reports (emphasis added) include:

“The recommendations of the CP were set out clearly in the executive summary of their report (pp.8-9): that Korindo should be disassociated from the FSC due to the clear and convincing evidence of violations of THR [Traditional and Human Rights] (as well as of significant conversion).”

“The conversion was deemed to be significant among others due to its scale of more than 30,000ha in the last five years, due to the failure to protect adequate areas of natural vegetation, and due to the impact that it has had on local communities and in particular the failure to compensate landowners adequately for the timber taken.”

“The only possible conclusion that can be drawn is that extensive abuse has occurred of the rights that are part of the FSC system, as well as all similar standards…these are land rights, FPIC rights, and rights relating to the fulfillment of basic human needs.”

As a result of these violations, the affected communities have suffered considerable harms. These range from the threat and in some cases use of violence, in an ongoing atmosphere of intimidation (and above and beyond that associated with the prevailing local security setting); the inability to exercise their right to oppose the concession; and the highly disproportionate compensation payments, received by a minority of community members only, and with little knowledge or any participation on the part of many. Just as the CP [FSC Complaints Panel] concluded, this additional analysis thus also finds beyond any doubt that there are strong and sufficient grounds for the disassociation of all the companies associated with these serious violations.”

“Korindo’s activities involved the clearing of substantial areas of Southern New Guinea Lowland Rain Forest which is considered endangered/critical in the Global 200 classification…In addition, the conversion most likely destroyed some areas that provided critical resources for local communities.”

“The evidence is clear and convincing that these HCV’s were for all intents and purposes, destroyed. Rehabilitation efforts would stimulate recovery, but in an ecological context, the landscape has been irreparably altered by Korindo’s commercial activities.”

The clearing of the riparian areas (streams, rivers, springs, and adjacent to lakes) is not consistent with Indonesian law.”

“The nearly complete transformation of the southern peninsula of Halmahera Island from a mixture of Moluccan moist forest interspersed with shifting cultivation and small coconut groves to large-scale production of oil palm monocrop has had a profound impact on the landscape. The evidence and chronology of the immutable changes to the landscape is very clear and conciseThe loss of HCV 1 should be considered destruction because it is not feasible to restore/rehabilitate the area. The conversion of the PT GMM concession presents unique circumstances because it has changed the landscape of entire southern end of the island which also dominates the entire upper portion of the watershed.”

It is also recommended that the companies should also initiate a formal process of remedy with the communities concerned. The CP [Complaints Panel] report has clearly and in great detail verified and elaborated on both the broader patterns and the various individual acts of violation, as had previously also been described and compiled with much supporting evidence in the original reports and in the complaint. There is no more room for reasonable doubt that these multiple violations have occurred.’ ‘There is thus no reason for any further delay in starting the process of remedy that is now required, to be based on engagement with the affected communities in response to all the various violations that have been repeatedly identified, in relation to land acquisition, FPIC processes and HCV protection. A remedy process should be initiated with all the affected communities referred to in these documents as having expressed unhappiness, ongoing grievances and frustration with the outcomes of the operations, and/or well-substantiated allegations of violations of their THR [Traditional and Human Rights]’. 

Read more excerpts and background here


The Trouble with Chocolate

The Washington Post | October 29, 2019

A decade after Mars and other chocolate makers vowed to stop rampant deforestation, the problem has gotten worse.

Read more

Indonesian court fines palm oil firm $18.5m over forest fires in 2015

Mongabay | October 28, 2019 

An Indonesian court has fined a palm oil company $18.5 million for fires that destroyed 970 hectares (2,400 acres) of forest on its concession in Borneo in 2015.

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Palm Oil: Report 20

Rapid Response Monitoring System

Palm Oil, Report 20 | October 2019

Prepared with support from MapHubs

Additional Cases Identified Using Filtered GLAD Alerts:

Shanghai Xinjiu Chemical Co Ltd: PT Sebaung Sawit Plantation, Unknown Group: PT Citrapermata Serundung, Unknown Group: PT Lestari Subur Indonesia, Pipit Group: PT Nunukan Bara Sukses, Green Yield Pte Ltd: PT Tri Investama, PT Shield of Service TBK: PT Perwita Citra Nusantara, Mitra Jaya Group: PT Mitra Sawit Makmur, Unknown Group: Koperasi Berkat Mumpa Bersatu, Unknown Group: Permodalan ASSAR Sdn Bhd, Kwantas Corporation: Miracle Harvest Sdn Bhd.

Sources for supply chain information: 

Supply chain information included in Rapid Response reports is based on the latest public versions of mill disclosures, recent export data and grievance logs. Mighty Earth encourages companies to send updated versions of mill disclosures as soon as they become available and to share any decision to suspend relations with a given group/company listed in those mill disclosures; please send to [email protected].

View Report PDF

Soy and Cattle: Report 6

Rapid Response Monitoring System

Soy and Cattle, Report 6 | October 2019 

Based on August 2019 alerts

Prepared with

View as PDF

The New Makers of Plant-Based Meat? Big Meat Companies

The New York Times | October 14, 2019 

Tyson, Smithfield, Perdue and Hormel have all rolled out meat alternatives, filling supermarket shelves with an array of plant-based burgers, meatballs and chicken nuggets.

Read more

NYC Activists call on Cargill to Stop the Amazon Fires & Embrace Regenerative Agriculture

“Hey Cargill, you can’t hide--we charge you with ecocide.” 

Converging for an early morning action, over 40 New Yorkers chanted, sang, and held handmade signs as Cargill Senior Vice President Ruth Kimmelshue arrived at the Intercontinental Monday morning for an interview with the Wall Street Journal.

The action was sponsored by 30 organizations, including SumOfUs, Friends of the Earth, Amazon Watch, Defend Democracy in Brazil, and a variety of Sunrise Movement chapters.

The Wall Street Journal covered the demonstration in an article this week, noting:

Environmental groups also staged protests, targeting Cargill Inc. The supplier of agricultural commodities missed a deforestation target earlier this year.

“We engage with all those voices to create more sustainable supply chains,” said Ruth Kimmelshue, Cargill’s sustainability chief.

She said Cargill is also feeling pressure from consumer-food companies, which have heightened expectations around environmental practices and the impact of agriculture. “Their brands are on the lines,” she said.

Kimmelshue is right. Consumer-facing brands can continue sourcing from Cargill, or they can maintain a reputation as environmental leaders, but they can’t do both.

Mighty Earth staff and volunteers will next converge on the Consumer Goods Forum in Berlin later this month to mobilize consumer-facing companies and call on them to take swift action to eliminate deforestation-driving commodities from companies like Cargill from their supply chains.


Outside of Ruth Kimmelshue’s interview Todd Fernandez, a leader of 350NYC, rallied the crowd with an inspiring speech. “We cannot wait for Congress to act. We have to pressure these corporations” Fernandez said. “Everyone is on notice. There is no escaping the responsibility.”

The action caps off an eventful two-month period, which included a mass die-in at the Cargill Gallery of the Minneapolis Institute of Art, a vigil against deforestation at the Consumer Goods Forum, and an action at Cargill’s Women in Ag conference.

UK fast food ‘linked to Brazilian forest fires’

BBC | October 9, 2019 

Some of the UK's largest fast-food chains have been selling meat from animals fed on soya beans linked to Brazil's forest fires, campaigners say.

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Global Architecture Community Sets Ambitious New Target: Zero Emissions by 2040

In response to Architecture 2030’s ambitious new carbon positive targets that were previewed at the Carbon Positive Summit in Chicago and publicly announced this week, Mighty Earth Campaign Director Margaret Hansbrough, who attended the summit and was present for the rollout of the targets, released the following statement:

“This is a historic moment in the fight against climate change. It is inspiring to see the global architecture community coming together to embrace a vision of zero emissions by 2040. But what Architecture 2030 has laid out is more than a vision, it’s also a much-needed framework that outlines the steps we must take to decarbonize some of the hardest to abate materials on the planet: steel, concrete, and aluminum.

“Construction material companies need to be looking at the targets outlined by Architecture 2030, including the near-term embodied carbon targets of 50 percent reduction by 2025 and 65 percent reduction by 2030. These companies – like Arcelor Mittal, Nucor, US Steel, Tata Steel, POSCO, and many others– must begin calibrating their own decarbonization plans accordingly or risk being left behind.

“For the steel industry, this is a critical demand signal from key customers. About half of all steel ends up in the built environment, and customers embracing these new targets will be looking for lowest carbon steel possible. The market for decarbonization is booming, and every steel company in the world should be looking at these targets and figuring out how they will meet the coming demand.

“These new targets and the companies that are rushing to embrace them are an encouraging sign and proof that the private sector can play a significant role in addressing climate change -- even in the absence of government action.”

Home to the screaming hairy armadillo: the forest the world forgot

The Guardian | October 5, 2019 

The deforestation of the Gran Chaco is dangerously overshadowed by its neighbour, the Amazon

Stop the Attack on Public Lands - Statement of Principles

Recent efforts from the Trump administration to roll back federal public lands protections and weaken bedrock environmental laws like the Endangered Species Act, the Antiquities Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act to allow expanded industrial activity are highly controversial among the American public and pose irreparable risks to the American landscape. They also pose the risk of stranded assets to companies that seek to exploit these rollbacks.

We oppose the opening of protected or previously protected federal public lands and waters to development. We strongly urge companies involved in mining or other extractive activities, and the banks that fund them, not to conduct or finance any new or expanded commercial activity on any public lands and waters that were formerly or are currently under legal or administrative protections, or that would impact these lands and waters, and to adopt a clear policy clarifying this position.

Public lands are managed in trust by the federal government for current and future generations. Since taking office, the Trump administration has taken the unprecedented action of removing protections from more than 150 million acres of public lands, and trying to remove protections for more than 119 million acres of public waters-- areas that have been put into protection for their cultural, ecological, or recreational value. The administration has also offered up nearly 500 million acres of public land and water for oil and gas development. *

Some of the most controversial rollbacks and proposed changes by the administration to federal public lands and waters -- changes that we urge companies to ignore and oppose -- include:

  • modifying Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante National Monuments in Utah
  • opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and previously protected areas of the Arctic Ocean to oil and gas exploration
  • reducing protections put in place to safeguard sage-grouse habitat spanning 7 western states
  • abandoning the recommended mineral withdrawal for Minnesota’s Boundary Water Canoe Wilderness Area
  • proposing to lift the ban on uranium development near the Grand Canyon
  • unraveling National Roadless Rule protections in the Tongass National Forest in Alaska 

We also want to urge against developing or expanding operations surrounding protected or formerly protected lands that would significantly damage the integrity of those lands. 

Many of these projects  are mired in litigation, challenging the legality of any current or future industrial activity initiated in these regions and providing evidence of the risks associated with conducting commercial development on lands that the American public has deemed valuable for protection.  There is good reason to expect these lawsuits will succeed based on recent court defeats to major environmental decisions made by the administration because of an inadequate public process, tribal consultation and/or environmental review.

Even if properly approved, these projects also face severe public scrutiny. Protecting public lands for future generations has enjoyed broad bipartisan public support for decades. A 2016 Hart Research Associates Poll showed that 91% of voters across political parties ranked the protection and maintenance of national parks, public lands, and natural places as an important goal for the federal government. Facilities and associated infrastructure that would be developed to support resource exploration and extraction on public lands fragments habitat, displaces wildlife, increases pollution, endangers public health, damages culture resources and scars the landscape.    

For these reasons, we are gravely concerned that companies seeking to exploit the Trump administration’s recent efforts and recommendations to roll back protections on public lands and bedrock environmental laws puts them and their investors at significant risk of public backlash and stranded assets, should these actions be legally challenged or protections be restored by the courts or by future administrations. 

Consequently, we strongly urge all companies that engage in or finance extractive activities not to initiate any new or expanded industrial or commercial activity -- including participating in lease sales -- that is on either protected or formerly protected lands or waters, or that would significantly impact protected or formerly protected lands and waters, and to issue public statements clarifying their policy on this issue.

* Since Trump took office, his administration has offered 436,392,125 offshore and 19,261,339 onshore acres to the oil and gas industry.

New Coalition to Protect Public Lands from Trump Administration's Giveaways to Industry

After 150 million acres lose protections under Trump, more than a dozen groups join forces to pressure companies that conduct or fund extraction to stay out of previously protected areas

WASHINGTON, DC -- Today, in response to recent efforts by the Trump administration to roll back federal public lands protections and weaken bedrock environmental laws like the Endangered Species Act, the Antiquities Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act to allow expanded industrial activity, more than a dozen organizations have joined together to urge companies involved in mining or other extractive activities, and the banks that fund them, not to conduct or finance any new or expanded commercial activity on any public lands and waters that were formerly or are currently under legal or administrative protections, or that would impact these lands and waters, and to adopt a no-go policy clarifying this position.

The coalition’s statement of principles can be found here. Sign the petition here.

“The Trump administration has thrown open the doors to its friends and allies in the fossil fuel and mining industries,” said Amanda Hurowitz, a spokesperson for the coalition. “But today we are standing up on behalf of the large majority of people in this country who support protections for our public lands.”

Federal protections for public lands have enjoyed bipartisan support for decades, and available polling shows that attacks on public lands are highly controversial. A 2016 Hart Research Associates Poll showed that 91 percent of voters across political parties ranked the protection and maintenance of national parks, public lands, and natural places as an important goal for the federal government.

Public lands are managed in trust by the federal government for current and future generations. Since taking office, the Trump administration has taken the unprecedented action of removing protections from more than 150 million acres of public lands, and trying to remove protections for more than 119 million acres of public waters, areas that have been put into protection for their cultural, ecological, or recreational value. The administration has also offered up nearly 500 million acres of public land and water for oil and gas development.

“The last thing people want is more public lands privatized, strip-mined, or destroyed,” said Hurowitz. “These are beautiful places that we want our children and grandchildren to enjoy. Handing them over to dirty industry just as we need to be addressing the climate crisis is both irresponsible and unpopular.”

The Trump administration has already eliminated protections for public lands across the country, targeting varied ecosystems, treasured lands, and fragile habitat. These rollbacks include dramatically cutting down the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante National Monuments, opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and previously protected areas of the Arctic Ocean to oil and gas exploration, and reducing protections put in place to safeguard sage-grouse habitat spanning seven western states.

In the weeks ahead, the coalition plans to mobilize both their grassroots members and a wide array of investors to urge companies to adopt no-go policies for developing in protected or previously protected public lands and waters, or in areas that could impact protected or previously protected areas.

Members of the coalition include:

  • American Hiking Society
  • Alaska Wilderness League
  • Animal Wellness Action
  • Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters
  • Center for Biological Diversity
  • Defenders of Wildlife
  • Endangered Species Coalition
  • Friends of the Earth
  • League of Conservation Voters
  • Mighty Earth
  • National Audubon Society
  • Sierra Club
  • Sitka Conservation Society
  • The Wilderness Society
  • Utah Diné Bikéyah


Quotes from Coalition Members:

Davis Filfred (Diné), Chairman, Utah Diné Bikéyah Board:
“As Indigenous People of America, we are stewards of ancestral landscapes like Bears Ears and other cultural landscapes currently under threat from corporate hands. We ask the broader American public to stand with us to protect public lands - which starts with the recognition that Indigenous Peoples have always protected and will continue to protect their homelands.”

Athan Manuel, Director of Public Lands Protection, Sierra Club:
“People value public lands and they support companies that do too.  There’s an opportunity now for corporations and financial institutions to speak for public lands with their actions—to make clear they won’t pursue dirty fuel development in special natural places.”

Tom Landwehr, Executive Director, Save the Boundary Waters:
"No bank should want to be known as the financier of the project that destroyed the Boundary Waters Wilderness. People love the Boundary Waters, and as they increasingly vote with their pocketbooks are watching closely what companies stand for. We're excited to join this effort to help financial institutions understand the many risks associated with participating in the destruction of America's special places."

Kristen Miller, Conservation Director, Alaska Wilderness League:
“For the past year, the Trump administration has been barreling forward with an aggressive plan to lease the fragile coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. This process has ridden roughshod over science, silenced expert dissent, shut out indigenous communities, and ignored the law.  The end product will turn the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge into the latest casualty of Trump’s plan to sell out our public lands and waters to the highest bidder, giving Big Oil everything it wants in its continued quest to do Trump’s bidding.

Those oil companies now considering exploiting this national treasure should think twice. With the support of two-thirds of the American public, $2.5 trillion worth of investors, and major banks like Barclays, the House of Representatives has already taken decisive action against the rush to drill. As the impacts of our warming climate continue to become more and more real, this opposition will only grow. Companies should simply say no to the uneconomical, dubious proposal to develop the unparalleled Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.”

Kate Van Waes, Executive Director, American Hiking Society:
“The most pressing threats to public lands are the removal of protections resulting in increased energy development. In the last three years, over 150 million acres of public lands have lost protections making them vulnerable to energy extraction. Such erosions, rather than expanding access, deprive hikers, anglers, hunters, campers, and all other permitted users the opportunity to enjoy their desired form of recreation.”

Alex Taurel, Conservation Program Director, League of Conservation Voters:
“The Trump administration’s removal of protections for public lands and waters and indigenous sacred lands is shameful and unpopular. We call on companies to publicly disavow these rollbacks and pledge not to exploit these majestic places. With the United States losing a football field of natural area to development every 30 seconds and the world facing the extinction of 1 million plant and animal species, responsible companies must step up and say no to the Trump administration’s efforts to turn our wildest areas over to big polluters.”

Nicole Ghio, Senior Fossil Fuels Program Manager, Friends of the Earth:
“Any corporation or investor looking to profit from Trump’s rollbacks of land and water protections should think again. These actions by the Administration are often illegal and regularly overturned by the courts. Meanwhile, there is massive support for protecting our public lands and waters. Companies looking to make a quick buck will likely find their corporate image ruined for nothing.”

Marty Irby, Executive Director, Animal Wellness Action:
“President Trump’s Department of Interior has been a catastrophe for our iconic American wildlife since day one. Pillaging our nation’s public lands to line the pockets of oil barons, and ranchers beholden to industrial agriculture will have disastrous consequences for generations to come.”

Leda Huta, Executive Director, Endangered Species Coalition:
“Our public lands provide millions of acres of vital habitat for wildlife and imperiled species. The Administration’s industry free-for-all on our public lands jeopardizes America’s legacy of protecting fish, plants and wildlife for our children and our grandchildren.”

Nada Culver, Vice President of Public Lands, National Audubon Society:
“Birds from every state depend on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and others like the Greater Sage-Grouse in the West are already in crisis. This administration’s actions undermining public lands’ protections is contrary to what the majority of Americans want. With three billion birds already gone, corporations and banks have an opportunity to lead and protect these special places by declining to invest in commercial development of crucial public lands before it’s too late while the courts and Congress address this unprecedented assault.”

Matt Keller, Senior Campaign Director, The Wilderness Society:
"Americans expect the government to protect our public lands, not sell them off to the highest bidder. But after opening up 150 million acres of our land and water to their friends in the extractive industry, it's clear that the Trump administration and Secretary Bernhardt simply can't be trusted. We're turning our attention to companies to make it clear that just because the Trump administration has given them permission to exploit America’s public lands doesn't mean there won't be a massive public outcry if they do."

Randi Spivak, Public Lands Director, The Center for Biological Diversity:
"The Trump administration is running roughshod over our public lands, allowing the destruction of spectacular places that should be held in trust for generations to come. Corporations intending to profit from the administration’s illegal slashing of public lands protections should reconsider. Investing in the destruction of public lands, waters and wildlife habitat is both despicable and a PR disaster."

Soy and Cattle: Report 5

Rapid Response Monitoring System

Soy and Cattle, Report 5 | September 2019 

Based on June 2019 alerts

Prepared with

VIew as PDF