Top 10 Deforesters

We’ve found more than 50 companies responsible for engaging in deforestation and peatland destruction in Indonesia and Sarawak, Malaysia; the top ten companies alone are responsible for destroying a combined 74,000 acres of forests and peatlands.

Rogue actors are increasingly isolated from global supply chains; selling to “leakage” markets

Rapid response, in conjunction with global campaigns, has contributed to the suspension of the majority of the top 10 deforesters by the major palm oil buyers, leaving them isolated from global palm oil markets. Of the top 10 companies engaged in deforestation, as of February 5, 2019, only a few are still unresolved grievances linked to the supply chains of the 16 palm oil traders engaged by Rapid Response.   In response to campaigns and engagement by palm oil traders, Gama Group, ranked 5th, agreed to stop clearing and announced its own “No Deforestation, No Peat, and no Exploitation” (NDPE) policy (see the Success Stories page for more information). For Tsani Hutani Group, ranked 6th, ADM has logged a grievance but has not secured a resolution to the case, while Cargill still has not logged a grievance in its public grievance tracker.  For Indonusa, ranked 9th, ADM failed to report the grievance in its public log. In all other cases, the top 10 deforesters are now presumed to be selling to other buyers that lack meaningful sustainability policies.

Although the majority of global palm oil traders have adopted NDPE sourcing policies, about one-quarter of the industry has not, representing a “leakage market”.  This leakage market remains a major barrier to completely halting unsustainable practices in the industry. In fact, the top two deforesters detected by Rapid Response monitoring are now part of this irresponsible market.

The Top 3 Deforesters:

#1 – PT Metro Lestari Jaya (Concession: PT Sawit Mandiri Lestari)

PT Sawit Mandiri Lestari is located in the Lamandau Regency of Indonesia’s Central Kalimantan Province. Since March 2016, the company has deforested more than 7,000 hectares, over one-third of the total concession area.

While PT Sawit Mandiri Lestari was still a subsidiary of major palm oil producer Sawit Sumbermas Sarana (SSMS) in 2015, both were subject to a complaint submitted to the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) over deforestation in the concession. However, the complaint was closed after SSMS sold PT Sawit Mandiri Lestari to PT Metro Lestari Jaya in December of that year because the new owner was not a member of the RSPO. SSMS thereby sought to evade responsibility for the clearing taking place; however, reports by Chain Reaction Research highlight that there are many remaining links between SSMS and Metro Lestari Jaya.  

Sample satellite imagery. For full images, see Rapid Response Report 3

We found an area of 5,600 hectares at PT Sawit Mandiri Lestari cleared beginning in March 2016 and continuing through December 2017.

#2 – BLD Plantation Group

The KTS Group company, BLD Plantation Bhd is the sixth largest palm oil refiner in Indonesia and Malaysia without a NDPE sourcing policy. It is part of the timber giant KTS.  Mighty Earth and its partners have been exposing BLD’s peatland destruction and encroachment onto indigenous lands since 2015, and BLD was expelled from the supply chains of Bunge, Wilmar, Apical, and others.  But BLD has refused to stop its destruction. Between March to December 2018 alone, BLD destroyed nearly 4,000 hectares of peatland.

Sample satellite imagery. For full images, see Rapid Response Report 11.

A total of 1,283 hectares of peat forest were developed in Area A of the BLD Plantation concession.

#3 – Hayel Saeed Anam (HSA) Group/Pacific Inter-Link (Concessions: PT Kartika Cipta Pratama, PT Megakarya Jaya Raya)

Pacific Inter-Link is part  of the HSA Group, which claims to be one of the largest palm oil traders to the Middle East, Africa, Russia, Ukraine and Turkey. IOI, Unilever, Nestle, and Cargill have suspended trade with the company over deforestation concerns. HSA/PIL has recently adopted its own NDPE policy but has yet to come clean about its involvement in deforestation in concessions linked to the group in Papua. For more information, see Rapid Response reports 5, 9, 10, 11, and 12.

Sample satellite imagery. For full images, see Rapid Response Report 3.

PT Kartika Cipta Pratama is located in Papua province.

Key cases still linked to supply chains (as of February 5, 2019)

UPDATE as of May 21st:  Based on palm oil trader’s grievance logsmost traders have now suspended the Pundi and Malia Sawit groups due to NDPE violations highlighted in Rapid Response reports. However, ADM and Fuji Oil failed to file grievances on these cases.

Also, Incasi Raya has instituted a moratorium on further land clearing.  As a next step, Mighty Earth is calling on traders to require Incasi Raya to adopt and implement a Group-wide No Deforestation, No Peat, and No Exploitation (NDPE) policy, commit to the High Carbon Stock Approach methodology, and develop a recovery plan to remedy its past deforestation and peatland clearance.

Pundi Group

The Pundi Group is a repeat offender, having been highlighted in Rapid Response reports 10, 11, and 12, and is the case with the most forest and peatland at imminent risk.  The company cleared over 300 hectares of peat forests between mid-July 2018 to mid-January 2019 on its PT Pinang Witmas Abadi concession (10,680 hectares), located in Kubu Raya Regency, West Kalimantan.   Furthermore, the Rapid Response system has identified nearly 1,500 hectares of forest that has been prepared for clearing in the concession.

According to the NGO ForestHints, the PT Pinang Witmas Abadi concession overlaps with Bornean orangutan habitat.  In September 2018, the Indonesian Environment and Forestry Ministry ordered the the concession  to be sealed off to prevent any further peatland destruction. The company continued clearing in the concession, in apparent violation of this order by the Ministry.  Until February 2018, this concession was owned by Triputra Agro Persada, another notorious deforester.

Apical cancelled its pending new purchase of oil from Pundi as a result of the Rapid Response reports.  GAR filed a grievance on the case and requested Pundi to implement an immediate moratorium on peatland development.  

Sample satellite imagery. For full images, see Rapid Response Report 12.

In Area A and B a total of 66 hectares of peat forest were developed by Pundi Group.

Mulia Sawit Group

The Mulia Sawit Group is a repeat peatland destroyer, with cases highlighted in Rapid Response reports 9, 10, 11, and 12.  The Rapid Response system has detected over 1,000 hectares of peatland destruction from late August 2018 to early January 2019 on the group’s PT Persada Era Agro Kencana concession (12,933 hectares),  located in Katingan district, Central Kalimantan. One of the directors of Mulia Sawit is also a director of the BEST Plantation Group, a notorious peatland destroyer and one of the leading refiners in Indonesia that is trading palm oil from deforestation onto the “leakage” market.  

In response to Rapid Response related grievances, Apical (part of the RGE Group) and Bunge have suspended trade with Mulia Sawit. Apical reports that it is still engaging with the company. According to their published grievance logs, ADM and Fuji Oil have not filed a grievance on this case.  Musim Mas has confirmed that it has a long-term contract with Mulia Sawit, but has put the company on a so-called “controlled purchase”, which means that it is reducing its overall purchasing volumes from the group, while it engages with the company to try to bring it into compliance with its NDPE policies.  Musim Mas’ grievance log states that Mulia Sawit had implemented a moratorium on further land development in July 2018 and confirmed the moratorium was established in September 2018. However, the Rapid Response system identified that the company continued to develop peatlands for several months after this stated moratorium.  Given this violation, Mighty Earth is calling upon Musim Mas to immediately fully suspend all trade with the Mulia Sawit Group.

Sample satellite imagery. For full images, see Rapid Response Report 11.

Satellite imagery shows a total of 200 hectares of peat developed in the PT Persada Era Agro Kencana concession.

Incasi Raya Group

The Incasi Raya Group is the fourth largest palm oil refinery that lacks a NDPE policy in Indonesia and Malaysia, making it a major “leakage” market actor.  The group also operates the PT Sumatera Jaya Agro Lestari concession (37,090 hectares) located in the Sanggau district of West Kalimantan. Rapid Response detected 100 hectares of combined deforestation and peatland destruction on this concession between mid-August and mid-October 2018 (Rapid Response Report 10).  

Several traders are linked to Incasi Raya.  ADM, AAK, Astra Agro Lestari, Bunge, Musim Mas, and Sime Darby all report to be engaging with Incasi Raya, but have not provided any update on progress nor have they taken action to remove the company from their supply chains. Fuji, IOI, Olam and Wilmar have not filed the case in their grievance reports.

Sample satellite imagery. For full images, see Rapid Response Report 10.

Satellite shows 27 hectares of forest cleared and 12 hectares of peat developed in the PT Sumatera Jaya Agro Lestari concession.

Rimbunan Hijau Group

Rimbunan Hijau (RH Group) is controlled by the Sarawak timber tycoon, Datuk Tiong Hiew King, and his extended family.  The group is now the largest palm oil operator in Sarawak, Malaysia, with palm concessions covering an estimated 220,000 hectares.  RH also operates logging concessions and palm oil plantations in Papua New Guinea and has other logging operations around the world.  The company has been featured in many NGO reports over the years for its forest and peatland destruction and violations of indigenous rights.  Rapid Response Report 12 highlighted 85 hectares of deforestation between November 2018 to early January 2019 in one of RH’s concessions. The concession, held by Jaya Tiasa Holdings Bhd, covers an area of 110,220 hectares and is located in Belaga Regency, Sarawak.

According to recent published supply chain lists, several traders still source palm oil from the RH Group, including ADM, Bunge, Cargill, Fuji Oil, Louis Dreyfus, Olam and Wilmar.  

Sample satellite imagery. For full images, see Rapid Response Report 12.

85 hectares of forest cleared in LPF 0024 concession by Rimbunan Hijau Group.