Despite laudable goals, CFI must improve

Since November 2017, the chocolate industry has embraced the goal of ending deforestation in cocoa. Coordinated largely through the Cocoa and Forests Initiative (CFI), there has been an unmistakable trend towards ending deforestation, joint industry action, traceability, transparency, agroforestry, as well as other sustainable agricultural practices.

Unfortunately, despite these laudable efforts, deforestation linked to cocoa production in the top two cocoa-producing nations of Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire has increased — not decreased — during this same two-year time period.

As we mark two years of the CFI, Mighty Earth has thus published a new white paper: “Cocoa and African Deforestation: Assessing the Cocoa and Forests Initiative in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire.” This analyzes the CFI’s shortcomings and provides suggestions for improvement. While not a comprehensive evaluation, the paper aims to focus the attention of the signatories of the Joint Framework for Action on the need for clear impact, and key steps for achieving success in eradicating forest destruction. The white paper is also available in French.

In the months and years ahead, we believe that the world must bring increased focus to sustainable supply chains across the agricultural sector. We hope that cocoa will lead the way forward in commodity agriculture by ending deforestation in practice rather than on paper, and by embracing agroforestry to regreen devastated landscapes, as the world combats our wider climate and biodiversity crises.

Petition: Tell Sumitomo Corporation to Be a Climate Leader

Sumitomo Corporation, one of the largest companies in Japan, is making climate change worse by building new polluting coal-fired power plants in Vietnam, Indonesia and Bangladesh, with at least 5 GW of new coal power planned or under construction globally. Sumitomo also owns and invests in coal mines, through which it supplies Japan with more than 6 million tons of thermal and metallurgical coal each year.

Additionally, Sumitomo Corporation is Japan’s leading importer of wood pellets and wood chips, which are burned for electricity. Japan’s soaring consumption of wood biomass is worsening climate change by increasing the intensity of logging in natural forests, accelerating the conversion of natural forests to tree plantations, and contributing to new deforestation. Sumitomo Corporation also imports biomass from various suppliers in Vietnam, even though Vietnam has a poor track record of importing and processing illegally logged wood from Africa and Southeast Asia and also presenting fraudulent certifications for wood biomass.

Sign the petition today and tell Sumitomo to end forest destruction and make the transition to clean renewable energy sources.


Cargill's Uninspiring Climate Commitment

In response to Cargill's latest announcement regarding the company's contribution to climate change and its plans for emissions reductions, Mighty Earth CEO Glenn Hurowitz released the following statement:

"Cargill has once again demonstrated its penchant for generating nice headlines with positive sounding but substance-less commitments.

"Cargill is finally recognizing that a trader’s impact is in what they trade – and Cargill is trading in unsustainable and environmentally destructive goods. But announcing ill-defined and unenforceable less-than-half measures is meaningless.

"Cargill's track record does not inspire confidence that today's announcement will lead to tangible results. As with its commitment earlier this year to spend $30 million on a to-be-determined strategy to fight deforestation, the company's spokespeople have admitted that they do not know how to implement this commitment.

"And like Cargill's pledge to eliminate deforestation from key supply chains by 2020, successful implementation is a less likely outcome than another pained acknowledgement that they will fail to meet the goal.

"Cargill keeps saying they want to do something. They've articulated the 'want' but not the 'something.'"

World's major chocolate companies make landmark call for EU to regulate cocoa sector

As a member of The VOICE Network, Mighty Earth is thrilled to join VOICE, Rainforest Alliance, Fairtrade, and the world’s largest chocolate companies in calling on the European Union to strengthen their requirements for environmental protections and human rights safeguards in the cocoa trade. Our joint statement is below:

We, a group of companies (Barry Callebaut AG, Mars Wrigley and Mondelēz International), The VOICE Network*, Rainforest Alliance and Fairtrade, call on the European Union, by far the largest importer and consumer of cocoa in the world, to strengthen human rights and environmental due diligence requirements of companies in global cocoa supply chains, aligned with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs).

We strongly believe that we all need to take action together to effectively address some of the systemic human rights and environmental challenges in the cocoa supply chain. National governments must enforce and strengthen their own labour, child protection and environmental laws, and companies have a responsibility to conduct due diligence to identify risk, jointly evaluate remediation and take action which is proportionate to their exposure to the human rights and environmental risk.

Therefore, we think an EU-wide approach to due diligence will benefit all actors in the supply chain in terms of a clear and consistent set of rules and common intent.

The EU should:

  • Aim to negotiate bilateral agreements with cocoa origin governments to create the frameworks necessary to achieve this aim and provide financial and technical support to those governments to do so.
  • Establish a regulatory and policy framework within the EU to ensure that companies conduct human rights and environmental due diligence in their supply chains.  This will help encourage sustainable cocoa production, support consumer trust and help sustain market demand for cocoa from West Africa over the long term.

Find our Joint Position Statement outlining the details of our call to action here. We are looking forward to working with relevant authorities, the rest of the industry and various stakeholders to discuss what is proposed. We invite others to endorse our Joint Position Statement.

* The VOICE Network is an association of NGOs and trade unions, functioning as a watchdog and catalyst for a reformed cocoa sector. Its members are ABVV/FGTB-HorvalBe Slavery Free (formerly Stop The Traffik)EFFAT (observer), FERNMondiaal FNVGreen AmericaInkota NetzwerkInternational Labor Rights ForumMighty EarthOxfam NovibOxfam WereldwinkelsPublic Eye (observer), Solidaridad, and Südwind Institut.

Mighty Earth, ArcelorMittal, Lendlease, Daimler, HSBC & Others Launch ResponsibleSteel™, The World's First Sustainability Standard For The Steel Industry

WOLLONGONG, NEW SOUTH WALES – Today, Mighty Earth joined leading steel companies, including ArcelorMittal and Blue Scope, leading construction and development company Lendlease, major automakers Daimler and BMW, and many other civil society partners to announce the launch of the ResponsibleSteel Standard, the world’s first international, multi-stakeholder standard for responsible production for steel making and processing sites. The announcement was made during the ResponsibleSteel’s Forum II in Wollongong, Australia.

The new standard seeks to holistically address many challenges in the steel manufacturing process, including how to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions from steel production, implementing sustainable mining practices, and protecting labour rights, water quality, biodiversity, and human rights. The ResponsibleSteel Standard helps the steel industry address these challenges by setting a universal baseline, establishing the fundamental elements and the required levels of implementation for sourcing and production of steel to be labelled responsible. Taken together, the new standard supports ResponsibleSteel’s vision: to maximize steel's contribution to a sustainable society.

“In our work at Mighty Earth, we have seen entire industries transform when market leaders work together to advance ambitious voluntary commitments for climate, environment, and human rights,” said Mighty Earth Campaign Director Margaret Hansbrough. “Today, we are seeing leaders step forward in the steel industry, an industry responsible for approximately 7 to 9 percent of global emissions. When companies and civil society step up together, big things can happen. This rigorous yet accessible standard is the result of a deeply collaborative stakeholder process which we will continue to leverage to bring forth even bolder goals to ensure a 1.5-degree threshold is possible. This urgent work has only just begun.”

In the fall of 2018, Mighty Earth released two seismic reports, Cold Steel, Hot Climate and Construction Destruction, which helped to activate the global steel and construction industries to make commitments to clean energy and carbon neutrality. Through engagement with the steel industry and its biggest customers, Mighty Earth is starting to see real climate action taking shape. The launch of ResponsibleSteel marks a new milestone in this engagement.

Also announced at the forum were new members of ResponsibleSteel, including Lendlease, one of the top building and development companies in the world, which was named in the Construction Destruction report. Additional new members include Anglo American, Carport, Clean Air Task Force, Harsco and new Associate Members ACRS (Australasian Certification Authority for Reinforcing and Structural Steels certification), GUTcert GmbH, HERA (Heavy Engineering Research Association), RTQMS (Real Time Quality Management Services), Sustainable Steel Council, and United Certification Systems.

"This is a huge milestone for both ResponsibleSteel and for its members and supporters," said Matthew Wenban-Smith, Executive Director of ResponsibleSteel. "The ResponsibleSteel Standard has been developed through a rigorous process of public consultation, membership approval and board ratification, and we are pleased it is now available to support the responsible sourcing and production of steel. Civil society groups like Mighty Earth have been critical to making this standard the best it can be for people and the planet" (emphasis added).

The Standard consists of twelve principles: Corporate Leadership; Social Environmental and Governance Management Systems; Occupational Health and Safety; Labour Rights; Human Rights; Stakeholder Engagement and Communication; Local Communities; Climate Change and Greenhouse Gas Emissions; Noise, Emissions, Effluent and Waste; Water Stewardship; Biodiversity; and Decommissioning and Closure.

As a multi-stakeholder organization, ResponsibleSteel sought to engage the voices of its members and a broad range of interested parties in the standard development process. The Standard was approved by a ballot of the ResponsibleSteel membership and formally ratified by the ResponsibleSteel Board of Directors in November 2019.

ResponsibleSteel has developed tools to help organizations implement the Standard, including Implementation Instructions and an Assurance Manual. The first auditor training workshop was held in London on 18-20 November. It is expected that the first certified steel sites audited with ResponsibleSteel Standard will be announced in the first half of 2020.

Additional Resources


Global Finance Leader HSBC Calls for Carbon-Neutral Steel

Steel is currently the largest source of industrial carbon emissions

HSBC, a global leader in banking and finance, has issued a new report calling for a “transition to responsible, zero carbon steel making.” This new report echoes Mighty Earth’s earlier reports – Cold Steel, Hot Climate and Construction Destruction – which focused on advances the steel and construction industries must undertake to solve the climate crisis and the potential for customers to create the demand for a new, more responsible steel industry. Mighty Earth Campaign Director Margaret Hansbrough, author of the two reports, released the following statement in response to HSBC’s new publication:

“This groundbreaking report from HSBC is the first time that a global financial leader has demonstrated a sophisticated enough understanding of the severity of the climate crisis in the context of the steel industry, which accounts for about 7-9 percent of emissions, and the urgent need to rapidly shift toward a carbon-neutral steel industry.

“For the last year, Mighty Earth has been sounding the alarm on steel and other heavy industrial carbon emissions and calling on the construction industry to drive demand for carbon-neutral steel. The conversation is changing, and HSBC’s instructive and incisive report has elevated this critical issue to a pivotal point. But we can’t wait another year for corporate commitments and major capital shifts – it will be too late. 

“Every banker, investment manager, financial regulator, and ratings agency in the world should be shaken up by this report. They should immediately ask the steel companies they do business with some tough questions. How will companies begin decarbonizing their assets? Will they invest in the necessary R&D to achieve the low-carbon transition milestones necessary to ensure a 1.5 degree warming scenario? What are their climate risks, and how fast are companies and the industry as a whole working to mitigate their climate impacts to manage those risks?

“The HSBC report makes two critical points. First, it underscores how critical steel will be to the growth of the clean energy and net-zero supply chains. Second, it demonstrates that there are lots of solutions and viable pathways for low and zero emissions steel right now. These are two of the many reasons Mighty Earth has been working with HSBC through ResponsibleSteel over the last year. We both know that by driving demand for responsible, zero-carbon steel and demonstrating the value for steel companies to participate, we can turn the tide on the climate crisis.

“This signal from global finance also means it’s past time for ArcelorMittal, Thyssunkrupp, Tata Steel and other big global steel players to start walking the walk when it comes to their own portfolios, supply chains, and policy agendas. If bankers are asking them for this, then it’s time for these companies to lead on policy solutions too. They need to engage in a robust, vocal, and constructive way in Europe and elsewhere right now to help set the most aggressive industrial decarbonization policy possible to benefit people and the planet.”


Photo Credit: Gyver Chang via Flickr (Modified)


European Director -- Latin America Forests Campaign

European Director -- Latin America Forests Campaign

Mighty Earth, a global environmental campaign organization, is accepting applications for a European Director for our Latin American Forests Campaign. We’re looking for a talented campaigner and team builder with the experience and strategic skills in advocacy organizing and communications to run our multimillion dollar European markets-based campaign to protect Latin America’s forests, savannahs, and Indigenous rights from industrial agriculture. If you are passionate about climate change, fired up about the tragic fires in the Amazon, and want to take on big industry culprits like Ahold, JBS, and Cargill, this could be the job for you.

Who we are: Mighty Earth is a global campaign organization that works to protect tropical forests, oceans, and the climate with staff based around the world. We have played a leading role in persuading the world’s largest food and agriculture companies to adopt policies to eliminate deforestation and human rights abuse from their supply chains, and driven adoption of multi-billion dollar shifts to clean energy. Our Chairman, former United States Congressman Henry Waxman, is responsible for some of the most important environmental legislation of the last 50 years, notably the 1990 reauthorization of the Clean Air Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Background on the position: In 2016, we launched a major project to protect Latin America’s forests, savannahs andIindigenous rights, with a focus on breaking the link between industrial agriculture and deforestation. Through creative, hard-hitting campaigns and savvy negotiating, Mighty Earth has made major progress – winning strong policies from three out of five of Latin America’s largest soy companies to eliminate deforestation from their supply chains.

As the European Director — Latin America Forests Campaign, you will expand and lead the European portfolio of our global campaign to protect Latin America’s forests from deforestation for cattle and animal feed and help chart the path to decarbonize agriculture. This position and campaign has huge potential for growth.

Your responsibilities will include:

  • Driving a large scale international campaign to transform the meat industry to end deforestation, adopt regenerative agricultural practices, and shift to plant based protein. 
  • Developing and implementing effective plans and strategies to achieve campaign goals, integrating communications, online, field and grassroots into a highly strategic campaign.
  • Building support with, coordinating, and collaborating with strategic partners in key European markets
  • Engaging with CEOs and high-level government officials to support pro-environment policies.
  • Working closely with entire Mighty Latin America team to advance overall strategic objectives
  • Generating media attention through report releases, events, press conferences in key media markets, through a strategic media plan and building relationships with reporters at key outlets. 
  • Advising international governments, philanthropies and other donors

Who you are:

  • You have a minimum of 8 years of experience, with a background in successful issue advocacy campaigning or grassroots organizing. You have experience training and managing staff, ideally working in remote settings. 
  • You are passionate about environmental issues such as climate change, protecting tropical rainforests, and food issues. 
  • You have excellent verbal and written communication skills.
  • You have experience communicating with high level corporate executives and/ or elected officials.
  • You enjoy building relationships and spending time on the phone and video with many types including internal staff, CEOs, civil society organizations, the media, and more. 
  • You can network and build coalitions across diverse constituencies.
  • You have experience developing campaign strategy and figuring out how to move decision makers. You are highly creative, nimble, and savvy and can come up with unconventional approaches.
  • You can get up to speed quickly on new subjects areas.
  • You enjoy writing and can take complex information and create materials and reports.
  • You can maximize a budget for maximum programmatic output.
  • You have an international orientation. You have experience with and are committed to working with people from a variety of backgrounds, including different ethnic, racial, and religious communities. 
  • English fluency is required. Additional language skills, including French, Dutch, German, Portuguese, Spanish, Chinese, or other European languages, a plus, but not essential. 
  • Expertise in deforestation and agricultural issues is a plus, but not required.
  • Familiarity with and connections in Latin America a plus, but not required. 

More about our team: Mighty Earth is made up of people from various backgrounds, including nonprofit advocacy groups, electoral campaigns, public affairs firms, the private sector, and legislative offices, at a range of experience levels. We pride ourselves on being a welcoming place for people of color, members of the LGBTQ community, parents, empty-nesters, and more.

Details: This is a full-time position that can be based in Berlin, Amsterdam, or Paris. The position involves significant international travel. You will report to our Senior Director for Forests and work closely with our senior staff members. Candidates are required to adhere to all U.S. government disclosure requirements.

Application Deadline: Please submit your application as soon as possible. Please include a thoughtful cover letter which speaks to our mission and demonstrates your writing abilities and also let us know where you heard about the job. 

Compensation and benefits: Our compensation package is competitive and commensurate with experience and we can discuss your compensation expectations early in the interview process.

Mighty Earth is an equal opportunity employer; we strictly prohibit discrimination against any employee or applicant on the basis of race, creed, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, sexual orientation, disability, gender identity or expression and any other characteristic protected by law. Women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQ community are strongly encouraged to apply.

Groundbreaking Resolution Calling on NYC to Divest from Deforestation

Last week, City Council Members Costa Constantinides and Justin Brannan, in partnership with Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, introduced a new resolution to City Council that calls on corporate and government entities operating in the City of New York to divest from agricultural industries that benefit form deforestation and the acceleration of global warming. Mighty Earth is encouraged by the introduction of this resolution as its enforcement would have an enormously positive impact on vulnerable ecosystems across the world, especially if adopted on the national scale.

As forests burn from the Arctic to the Amazon and Southeast Asia, the public is demanding action on the global climate crisis and are pressuring governments and companies alike to protect the world’s forests. Companies like Costco, Ahold Delhaize, and Costco must stop funding the destruction of forests by purchasing meat and soy animal feed from Cargill, Bunge, and JBS.

Breakthrough Embodied Carbon Tool for Construction Only A First Step Toward Market Transformation

Statement from Mighty Earth Campaign Director Margaret Hansbrough in response to the public launch of the free Embodied Carbon in Construction Calculator (EC3) at the USGBC Greenbuild Conference in Atlanta this week:

“A huge congratulations are in order for everyone at the Carbon Leadership Forum who has worked diligently over the last year to make this tool ready for primetime and—importantly—free and accessible. It’s a testament to their commitment to the issue of embodied carbon and to how well they have channeled their collective expertise to make an impact. Skanska USA and Microsoft deserve special credit for being the pioneers in using this tool and working hard to perfect it.

“The ability for design and construction professionals to leverage Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) so they can analyze which products have the lowest embodied carbon and use them in their projects is something we called for in our Construction Destruction report, released at Greenbuild last year in Chicago. This ability is an important and necessary early step, but we also called for the construction industry to begin making companywide asks of their steel and other materials suppliers to do away with industry average EPDs and adopt product- and site-specific ones. Most importantly, we called upon Skanska, Clark Construction, AECOM, Turner Construction, Lendlease, and all the other top builders to explicitly demand public plans for decarbonization from the steel companies they buy from.

“It’s not enough to buy good products, you have to be able to buy good products from a good company. Otherwise, there will not be enough incentive for steel producers to build the critical mass they need for industry wide decarbonization, and bad actors will continue to escape accountability without fear of losing business.

“In October, the top design firms all gathered in Chicago at the behest of Architecture 2030 and set a goal of 65 percent reduction in embodied carbon from construction of buildings and infrastructure by 2030. This goal was set to align with a 1.5-degree scenario and is incredibly ambitious and necessary since construction uses most of the world’s steel, concrete, and aluminum. Those materials alone account for 22 percent of global emissions. We are going to need all kinds of technical solutions like EC3 to tackle this enormous challenge, but more than anything we are going to need driven, creative, and courageous professionals in the design and construction world to act each day with greater urgency—and demand more than they have before from themselves and each other.”

House Legislation Would Extend Corporate Giveaways for Forest-Destroying Bioenergy

This week, the House Ways and Means Committee released a discussion draft of the Growing Renewable Energy and Efficiency Now (GREEN) Act. As drafted, the legislation would continue providing tax incentives for the biomass and biodiesel industries through 2024. In response, Mighty Earth Campaign Director Rose Garr released the following statement:

“The GREEN Act is a tremendous disappointment. While many of provisions are in line with the science on climate change and biodiversity, too many are corporate handouts that will hurt the environment. The provisions in this bill that extend tax breaks for biomass and biofuels will encourage the destruction and degradation of forests and other habitats in the U.S. and around the world by incentivizing dirty energy generation. These are giveaways to the timber and agribusiness lobbies and an insult to anyone who wants to save forests, protect endangered species, conserve land, and address the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity collapse.

“You can be a climate champion, or you can be a biodiesel and biomass supporter, but you cannot be both. Solving the climate crisis requires the leadership to not only advance solutions but to also reject false ones. It appears this distinction has been lost.”

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

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