Palm Oil

Comment on Global Food & Biofuel Price Shocks

Indonesia sent shockwaves through the global markets for both food and fuel by banning exports of palm oil on April 28th. Those markets had already been roiled by Russia’s attack on Ukraine, a key producer of sunflower oil, as Mighty Earth Founder & CEO Glenn Hurowitz recently discussed with the BBC, and Indonesia’s move is widely viewed as a desperation move to calm political unrest fueled by rising domestic palm oil prices.

“For Indonesia, the sudden shortage – and high cost – of cooking palm oil is a classic example of a resource curse, as our economy depends too much on a single export commodity, giving far too much power to corporate palm oil exporters,” said Annisa Rahmawati, Senior Advisor at Mighty Earth. “Indonesia’s government should focus on supporting small farmers, helping the people who meet local needs rather than leaving our families vulnerable to marketand corruption crises.”

Many world governments looking to quit Russian oil & gas have looked to biofuels to increase supplies. But that’s only increased competition for food oil and pushed cooking oil prices higher

“Big shocks like this expose how our governmental policies have totally failed to build resilience into our agricultural systems, leaving them brittle and unable to respond to crisis. These failures are now cascading down our supply chains and as a direct result, we see families from Southeast Asia to the Americas to Europe suffering from cooking oil and fuel shortages and price spikes,” said Mighty Earth’s Glenn Hurowitz. “The tragedy is that the entirety of the food price spikes from Russia’s war in Ukraine could be counteracted just by cutting in half biofuel mandates. It doesn’t make sense to keep burning food for fuel during this crisis."

Mighty Earth and its partners hosted a media briefing to talk about the impact of Indonesia’s refined palm oil export ban, as well as global bioenergy mandates. 

Speakers included:

Moderated by Glenn Hurowitz, Mighty Earth Founder and CEO

Media Contact: Miles Grant, [email protected], 703-864-9599 (m)

Korean Paper Company Plunders the Last Rainforests While Continuing to Claim Operations are Eco-Friendly

Year-long Investigation Reveals Deforestation Throughout Pulp & Paper Supply Chain

A new investigation released today by Environmental Paper Network (EPN), Mighty Earth, Pusaka, Solutions for Our Climate (SFOC), Korean Federation for Environmental Movement (KFEM), and Advocates for Public Interest Law (APIL) details the devastation of pristine forests in the remote province of Papua land, Indonesia. 

Moorim Paper, a South Korean company, through its subsidiary company, PT Plasma Nutfah Marind Papua (PT PNMP) has cleared more than six thousand hectares of forests between 2015 and 2021. With 64,000 hectares of the area they manage, more forests will be at risk to be chopped down in the coming years.

This paradise for biodiversity, Indigenous culture, and carbon capture is being devastated to produce wood chips for papermaking that are being branded as sustainably and ethically sourced products to consumers across the globe.

Astra Clearing Forest NOW in Rarest Orangutan Habitat

Astra Clearing Forest NOW in Rare Orangutan Habitat

New Satellite Imagery Shows October 2021 Forest Destruction

BATANG TORU, NORTH SUMATRA, 9 NOVEMBER 2021 – New satellite imagery caught Indonesian mining, financial services, auto and agribusiness giant Astra International destroying the home forests of the rarest great ape in the world – as recently as last week. The investigation shows operations at Astra’s Martabe gold mine eating away at the habitat of the critically endangered Tapanuli Orangutan between October 9 and 29, 2021.[1]

“Since February, Astra has been in talks over a plan to gauge the impact of the neighboring Martabe mine on Tapanuli Orangutan habitat,” said Annisa Rahmawati, Environmental Advocate at Mighty Earth. “But while talks have dragged on for months, this new evidence shows deforestation continuing all along.”

The Tapanuli orangutan (Pongo tapanuliensis) was identified in just 2017, the first time since the 1920s that a new species of great ape had been found. Indonesia is the only country outside of the Democratic Republic of the Congo that can boast of being home to three species of Great Ape. Fewer than 800 Tapanuli orangutans exist in the world, less than any other great ape species.

“The Batang Toru ecosystem landscape is our last frontier forest in North Sumatra. The government should evaluate all permits on this landscape and take a firm action against companies that threaten the sustainability of this critical landscape,” said Roy Lumbangaol, a campaign manager at WALHI North Sumatra.

Astra International is also a major player in the palm oil sector, with a special policy on deforestation. Its managed palm plantation operations and trading operations (under the company name Astra Agro Lestari) operate under a No Deforestation policy.

“Astra has not extended its palm oil sustainability policy to operations like the Martabe mine,” said Annisa . “That’s even though many of their consumer-product customers like Hershey’s and Unilever have cross-commodity-deforestation commitments on record. In essence, this recklessness around Martabe puts their entire agribusiness operation at risk.”

Scientists estimate that the Tapanuli orangutan population has almost halved since 1985, and it will continue to decline unless comprehensive protection measures are implemented. Conservation biologists have projected that if the adult population decreases by more than 1% of

 each year, the genetic diversity of the primate will decline to the point that it will go extinct That’s why scientists with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature have called for a moratorium [2] on the development of projects impacting the Tapanuli orangutan’s habitat.

The Batang Toru Ecosystem is also home to the critically endangered Sumatran tiger, pangolin and helmeted hornbill. Sun bears, tapir, serow and a host of other rare endangered species, including more than 300 bird species, also rely on this habitat.

2 endangered-tapanuli-orangutan

# # # For further information,please contact:

Indonesian Campaign Advocacy, Mighty Earth

Annisa Rahmawati

08111097527 [email protected]

PR Consultant, Image Dynamics

Ayunda Putri

08122001411 [email protected]

Astra Tertangkap Lakukan Deforestasi di Habitat Orangutan Terlangka

Siaran Pers Untuk Disiarkan Segera

Astra Tertangkap Lakukan Deforestasi di Habitat Orangutan Terlangka

Citra Satelit Mengungkap Kerusakan Hutan terbaru pada Bulan Oktober 2021

BATANG TORU, SUMATERA UTARA, 9 NOVEMBER 2021 – Citra satelit terbaru berhasil menangkap perusakan hutan pekanlalu oleh Astra International yang saham induknya dimiliki oleh Jardine Matheson1, adalah sebuah perusahaan yang bergerakdi bidang pertambangan, jasa keuangan, otomotif dan agribisnis raksasa pada wilayah habitat spesies kera besar terlangka didunia. Hasil investigasi juga menunjukkan kegiatan operasional Astra di tambang emas Martabe dalam rentang waktu 9sampai 29 Oktober 2021 telah merusak habitat orangutan Tapanuli yang terancam punah.2

“Sejak bulan Februari, Astra berencana untuk menakar dampak tambang Martabe terhadap habitat orangutan Tapanuli,” kata Annisa Rahmawati, Advokat Kampanye Indonesia Mighty Earth. “Namun, bukti baru ini telah menunjukkan bahwa perusakanhutan terus berjalan ketika pembicaraan mengenai rencana masih berlangsung.”

Orangutan Tapanuli (Pongo tapanuliensis) yang diumumkan sebagai spesies baru pada tahun 2017, adalah kera berukuranbesar baru pertama yang ditemukan oleh ilmuwan sejak tahun 1920-an. Dengan temuan ini, Indonesia menjadi satu-satunyanegara selain Republik Demokratik Kongo yang memiliki tiga spesies kera besar. Saat ini, hanya tersisa kurang dari 800orangutan Tapanuli di seluruh dunia, lebih sedikit dari spesies kera besar lainnya.

“Ekosistem Batang Toru di utara Sumatera merupakan satu-satunya habitat orangutan Tapanuli dan sepanjang sejarahmanusia, belum ada satu pun spesies kera besar yang punah. Satwa ini adalah salah satu kerabat terdekat umat manusia,dan saat ini kita tidak memiliki banyak waktu untuk menyelamatkan mereka.” kata Annisa.

Astra International adalah salah satu pemain utama di sektor kelapa sawit dan mempunyai kebijakan khusus mengenaideforestasi. Beroperasi di bawah nama Astra Agro Lestari, baik pengelolaan perkebunan kelapa sawit maupun kegiatanperdagangan perusahaan ini merujuk pada komitmen Nol deforestasi.

“Astra belum mengadopsi komitmen Nol Deforestasi tersebut untuk sejumlah kegiatan operasional mereka yang lain, seperti di tambang Martabe,” lanjut Annisa . “Padahal banyak pelanggan produk mereka seperti Hershey dan Unilever telahmenerapkan komitmen No deforestasi lintas komoditas. Intinya, kelalaian di tambang Martabe ini dapat membahayakanseluruh operasi agribisnis mereka dan memperparah krisis iklim di bumi.”

“Lanskap ekosistem Batangtoru adalah hutan alam terakhir di Sumatera Utara. Pemerintah harus mengevaluasi kembaliseluruh ijin-ijin yang berada di lanskap ekosistem Batangtoru ini dan berani menindak tegas perusahaan yang mengancam keberlangsungan kehidupan di lanskap ekosistem ini”

kata Roy Lumbangaol, Manajer Advokasi dan Kampanye WALHI Sumatera Utara.

Para ilmuwan memperkirakan bahwa populasi orangutan Tapanuli telah berkurang hingga hampir separuhnya sejak tahun1985 dan akan terus menurun jika tidak ada tindak perlindungan yang komprehensif. Para ahli biologi konservasi jugamemproyeksikan bahwa jika populasi orangutan dewasa berkurang lebih dari 1% setiap tahunnya, keragaman genetik primataakan menurun hingga akhirnya punah. Itu sebabnya para ilmuwan dari International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) menyerukan diberlakukannya moratorium3 pengembangan proyek yang berdampak langsung pada habitat orangutanTapanuli.

Tidak hanya bagi Orangutan Tapanuli, lanskap ekosistem Batang Toru juga merupakan tempat tinggal bagi sejumlah hewanpaling terancam punah di dunia, seperti harimau Sumatra, trenggiling, dan rangkong. Kehidupan satwa seperti beruangmadu, tapir, serow serta beragam spesies langka lainnya, termasuk lebih dari 300 spesies burung, terlebih lagi bagi masyarakat adat dan masyarakat sekitar yang sangat bergantung kehidupannya pada keberadaan hutan dan keanekaragaman hayati di lanskap ekosistem Batangtoru.



3 red-tapanuli-orangutan

# # #

Untuk informasi lebih lanjut, hubungi: Advokat Kampanye IndonesiaMighty Earth Annisa Rahmawati

08111097527 [email protected]

Manajer Advokasi dan Kampanye WALHI Sumatera Utara

Roy Lumbangaol

+62 822-7656-8624 [email protected]

PR Consultant Image Dynamics Ayunda Putri

08122001411 [email protected]

Notorious palm oil and timber company Korindo expelled by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)

Baca dalam Bahasa Indonesia

Jakarta, Indonesia — The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), a leading global forestry certification organization, announced that it has decided to terminate the certification of Korindo Group, a notorious Korean-Indonesian logging and palm oil conglomerate operating in Papua and North Maluku, Indonesia.

The decision follows a 2017 Mighty Earth complaint, and efforts by multiple organizations across Indonesia, Korea, and the world to expose the company’s wrongdoing.

“The FSC’s expulsion of Korindo provides more evidence that despite all its grandiose claims that it is embracing sustainability, the company still cannot rouse itself to meet basic standards for environmentally responsible business in the 21st Century,” said Mighty Earth advocate Annisa Rahmawati. “The FSC's decision should serve as a warning to any company that thinks they can use greenwashing and legal intimidation to destroy forests and trample on Indigenous communities’ rights with impunity.”

The FSC Complaints Panel found Korindo had destroyed more than 30,000 hectares of rainforest (equivalent to 42,000 football fields) in the previous five years and committed violations of Indigenous peoples’ traditional and human rights, in contravention of FSC standards.  Papua is the largest intact rainforest in Indonesia, and one of the most important landscapes for the climate in the world.

Nevertheless, the FSC had retained a ‘conditional association’ of Korindo, requiring Korindo to enact improvement and remediation measures.  The FSC’s Secretary General  announced today it was terminating the association based on Korindo’s failure to agree to procedures to independently verify its compliance. In a statement about the decision, Korindo said it would try to regain certification.

“Although the FSC found that Korindo had violated its policy through vast deforestation and abuse of Indigenous people’s rights, Korindo has continued to spread false information about the severity of its actions and has used its continued association with FSC to greenwash its bad practices,” Rahmawati said. “With today’s announcement, Korindo can’t hide behind the FSC anymore."

In addition to failing to meet its obligations to FSC, Korindo has sought to silence its critics by filing a SLAPP lawsuit in Germany against civil society organizations who have worked to expose its wrongdoing and call for remedy.   As a result, a jury of distinguished European parliamentarians and expert NGOs – empanelled by the Coalition Against SLAPPs in Europe (CASE) – awarded the Korindo Group the dubious title of International Bully of the Year.

“Korindo is clearly not acting in good faith.  If Korindo is serious about improving its environmental and human rights performance to address its violations of FSC’s standards, it needs to restore the forest habitat it destroyed, pay restitution to affected Papuan Indigenous communities and stop its legal harassment of civil society groups who have tried to stand up to its abuses,” said Hye Lyn Kim, a Campaigner with the Korea Federation for Environmental Movements.

High quality photos and video of Mighty Earth’s investigation into Korindo communities are available for download here.

Notorious Palm Oil Giant Korindo Wins International Bully of The Year Award

Brussels, Belgium – A jury of distinguished European parliamentarians and expert NGOs – empaneled by the Coalition Against SLAPPs in Europe (CASE) – have awarded the Korindo Group the dubious title of International Bully of the Year. The notorious Korean-Indonesian palm oil, logging and wind tower conglomerate has been using legal tactics to intimidate and silence its critics for exposing it’s appalling track record on large-scale rainforest destruction and violation of the rights of Indigenous peoples in Papua and North Maluku, Indonesia. Rather than acknowledge and remedy these egregious practices, Korindo has responded with a range of legal threats to journalists, an international forestry certification body (the Forest Stewardship Council), and NGOs in Indonesia and around the world.

Since early 2020, one of Mighty Earth’s NGO partners, Center for International Policy, and its German NGO ally, Rainforest Rescue (Retten den Regenwald), have had to contend with an onerous and ill-conceived defamation suit (a so-called Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation, or “SLAPP”) filed against them by a Korindo supplier in Germany.

Deborah Lapidus, Vice President at Mighty Earth issued the following statement:

“The world is now recognizing what we have exposed for years—Korindo’s pattern of bullying its way into getting what it wants, from its unsavory acquisition of Indigenous lands to its burying investigative reports of its wrongdoing under the rug—and now through legal action aimed at silencing its critics.  Mighty Earth hopes that this award is a further reminder to Korindo that its strategy of clearing rainforests and running roughshod over Indigenous communities, then threatening those who expose these harms, is not only bad for people and bad for the climate – it is bad for business, as it further drags its reputation into the mud.

Korindo should drop its immoral lawsuit and focus its efforts and resources on preventing deforestation, compensating for rainforests and ecosystems it has destroyed, and providing restitution to the Indigenous people and communities that it has harmed.

Mighty Earth stands in solidarity with CASE in calling for the European Union to adopt legislation to protect NGOs and people across the EU against SLAPPs so that it’s not so easy for deep-pocketed companies like Korindo to bully NGOs, journalists, and activists into silence.”

Korindo Threatens Legal Action to Bury the Truth

Palm oil and timber conglomerate sends Forest Stewardship Council a “cease and desist” letter the day it was scheduled to release findings from two-year investigation into the company’s wrongdoing

JAKARTA – Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), a global certification body for responsible forest management, was scheduled to release summaries of its investigatory findings from a two-year investigation into the Korindo Group, a notorious Korean-Indonesian logging and palm oil conglomerate, on September 5, 2019. However, Mighty Earth was notified by FSC that it has indefinitely delayed the publication of its findings after receiving dubious legal threats from Korindo, including the apparent delivery of a "cease and desist" letter.

"Korindo is using the threat of legal action to bury the FSC's findings and suppress evidence of its wrongdoing," said Mighty Earth Senior Campaign Director Deborah Lapidus. "These are not the actions of an innocent party. Korindo's willing embrace of bullying tactics is proof they have something to hide."

The investigation, prompted by a complaint filed by Mighty Earth, concluded that Korindo had flouted the FSC's 'Policy for Association' by violating indigenous peoples' rights, carrying out significant conversion of natural forests, and destroying significant areas of High Conservation Value (HCVs).

Yet, for years Korindo has been using the FSC's prestigious eco-forestry label to greenwash its destructive practices. Korindo sells its timber, plywood, pulpwood, biomass, and newsprint to customers such as Asia Pulp & Paper (Indonesia), APRIL (Indonesia), Sumitomo Forestry (Japan), Oji Corporation (Japan), Marubeni (Japan), and News Corps Australia.

As a result of Korindo's violations of FSC standards, the FSC imposed a series of measures on the company to improve its practices and address its liabilities for the severe damages it caused. These conclusions were announced in July 2019. According to the FSC statement, Korindo will be required to continue its suspension of any forest conversion and deforestation, achieve FSC certification in all its forestry operations and to comply with the principle of FPIC [Free Prior and Informed Consent]. Korindo is also required to assess past negative impact and secure remedy for it. Furthermore, the FSC says it will disassociate Korindo if it fails to adhere to these requirements.

"Instead of acknowledging its wrongdoing and taking responsibility for its actions, Korindo chose to spin the conclusions of the FSC investigation and proclaim its innocence in the press. If Korindo wants the truth to be known about what the FSC found, it should call on FSC to release the full findings of its investigations – as we have done – so that the public can see the truth for themselves," said Lapidus. "But instead, Korindo is trying to intimidate FSC into silence, as it has attempted to do with Mighty Earth and many of our NGO partners."

"There is no justification for FSC's complicity in covering up Korindo's wrongdoing. It needs to stop doing the dirty work of deforesters and start acting like a sustainability organization," Lapidus added.

“We urge the FSC to stand strong and proceed with releasing the full findings of the investigations, as they are required to do by their own procedures. Do not give in to Korindo's gangster-style threats,” said Mighty Earth Campaign Director and FSC expert Phil Aikman. "Korindo's customers deserve to know the truth about the origins of their purportedly sustainable products. The indigenous people who have suffered at the hands of this nefarious conglomerate deserve to see Korindo held accountable and to be fairly compensated. And the public has the right to know just how much precious rainforest was destroyed."

"We call on the FSC to suspend Korindo, as the company is acting in obvious bad faith and is clearly not ready to accept its liabilities,” Aikman concluded.

Mighty Earth’s call for accountability and transparency was echoed by community organizations working in Papua.

Franky Samperante of Yayasan Pusaka, which works to defend indigenous land rights in Papua said, "We got the complaints from the victims that are impacted by logging and palm oil company, subsidiary company of Korindo Group. Land, forest and sago hamlet which are their food resources and livelihood are being destroyed. The river as the clean water supply has been contaminated by plant waste and pesticides. Their rights and power over their own land moved unwittingly. Indigenous people and workers are subjected to violence and intimidation threats."

"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."

Samperante added, "For over 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. Korindo should be seriously committed to respect and recover our rights and protect local environment."

Further information, please contact:

Alex Armstrong
Mighty Earth
[email protected]

Ayunda Putri
Image Dynamics
[email protected]