Palm Oil

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."

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Further information, please contact:

Alex Armstrong
Mighty Earth
[email protected]

Ayunda Putri
Image Dynamics
[email protected]