Global Director, Latin American Forest Campaign

Global Director, Latin American Forest Campaign

Mighty Earth, an environmental advocacy organization, is accepting applications for a Washington, D.C. based Global Campaign Director for our campaign to protect the Amazon rainforest and other critical ecosystems in Latin America. If you are passionate about fighting climate change and protecting forests which are critical to the Indigenous communities that depend on them, read on. 

We’re looking for a talented leader, campaigner and team builder with the experience and strategic skills in advocacy, organizing and communications to run our global campaign to protect Latin America’s forests, savannahs, and Indigenous rights. You and your team will run a campaign with a major focus on convincing supermarkets, fast food chains, and agribusiness giants like Cargill and JBS to eliminate deforestation and the destruction of critical habitats and communities and move to sustainable practices across their global supply chains. You will also help drive major initiatives to build support for complementary government action wherever possible.

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 the palm oil, chocolate, and rubber industries, and driven adoption of multi-billion-dollar shifts to clean energy. Our Chairman, former Congressman Henry Waxman, is responsible for some of the most important environmental legislation of the last 50 years, notably the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments and the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Background on the position: 

In 2016, we launched a major project to protect Latin America’s forests, savannahs and Indigenous rights, with a focus on breaking the link between industrial agriculture and deforestation, integrated with a broader agenda of creating a truly sustainable agricultural system. Through creative, hard-hitting campaigns and savvy negotiating, Mighty Earth has helped lay the groundwork for action. However, as the Amazon fires and the continued threat from hostile governments shows, much more action is needed – and we are planning to ramp up. 

Your responsibilities will include:

  • Running a large-scale international campaign to transform the meat industry to end deforestation, adopt regenerative agricultural practices, and support increased use of plant-based protein, while also working for complementary government policies.  
  • Developing and implementing effective plans and strategies to achieve campaign goals.
  • Integrating the campaign’s communications, online, field and grassroots work.
  • Supervising and training Latin American, European and U.S. staff and consultants working on the campaign.
  • Engaging with CEOs, senior executives, and high-level government officials to advance complementary government policy and action.
  • Working closely with grassroots civil society and Indigenous communities in focus countries.
  • Generating media attention by report releases, events, press conferences in key media markets, through a strategic media plan and building relationships with reporters.
  • Advising international governments, philanthropies and other donors.


Who you are:

  • You have years of experience, with a background in successful issue advocacy campaigning or grassroots organizing. You have experience recruiting, training, and managing staff, ideally working in remote settings. 
  • You are passionate about protecting the environment and advancing a more just society.  
  • You have experience developing and implementing campaign strategy and detailed plans, communicating with corporate executives and/or elected officials, and figuring out how to move decision makers. 
  • You are comfortable operating in highly dynamic environments where changes in politics, economics, and other external events regularly create opportunities and challenges on a regular basis
  • You are comfortable working with various internal and external stakeholders and can network and build coalitions across diverse constituencies.
  • You are a good writer and can take complex information to distill into understandable products such as press releases, reports, and letters.
  • 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. 

Preferred qualifications:

  • Additional language skills, including Portuguese, Spanish, German, Dutch, other European languages, or Chinese 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 people with background in non-profit organizations, election campaigns, government, 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 based in Washington, DC. The position involves significant international travel. You will report to our Deputy Director and work closely with our senior staff members. Candidates are required to adhere to all U.S. government disclosure requirements.

To apply: Please submit your application as soon as possible. Please click on the apply button below and 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. The position will remain posted until it is filled.

Compensation and benefits: Compensation is competitive and commensurate with experience and we can discuss your salary expectations early in the interview process. We have a generous benefits package including group health insurance, dental benefits, unlimited vacation time, paid holidays, and a 401(k) plan.

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.

A Bridge Too Far? Social and Environmental Concerns in Bridgestone's Liberian Rubber Plantation and A Plan for Remediation

February 2020

New investigation documenting serious labor and environmental concerns at the single largest rubber plantation on the planet – the Firestone Rubber Plantation in Harbel, Liberia. Download

Report: Bridgestone Connected to Ongoing Labor and Environmental Concerns on its Liberia Rubber Plantation

New investigation documents serious ongoing issues at the planet’s largest rubber plantation

Mighty Earth today published the findings of a new investigation documenting serious labor and environmental concerns at the single largest rubber plantation on the planet - the Firestone Rubber Plantation in Harbel, Liberia. The report, A Bridge Too Far? Social and Environmental Concerns in Bridgestone's Liberian Rubber Plantation and a Plan for Remediation,” found several on-going problems, including:

Environmental Concerns

  • Local people complain of contamination of their rivers, creeks and wells due to insufficiently treated effluent discharged from Firestone’s nearby rubber factory;
  • Locals allege that there is serious air pollution and strong ammonia smells during the day;
  • Local fishermen at Owensgrove near the Firestone Liberia factory say there are no fish in the river during the dry season because of Firestone’s wastewater contamination and that their livelihoods are badly affected.

Labor Rights Issues

  • Five key labor union leaders and workers at the Firestone Liberia plantation in Harbel were allegedly unfairly dismissed by Firestone without recourse;
  • A key union leader and a worker were reportedly ordered to leave their company-owned houses after being dismissed and given just 7-days’ notice to vacate, or face eviction;
  • Dozens of Firestone plantation retirees said their Firestone pensions had been stopped abruptly and transferred to the dysfunctional Liberian state pension scheme.

Mighty Earth’s full report highlights Firestone Liberia’s legacy of environmental impacts and controversial labor practices, while providing detailed recommendations for the parent company, Bridgestone, to remedy past problems at the plantation.

“Bridgestone needs to agree to an independent investigation and make amends for their unfair dismissal of the two key union leaders,” said Judy Gearhart, Executive Director of the International Labor Rights Forum. “The company urgently needs to redouble its commitment to the rights of the rubber plantation workers and affected local communities.”

Firestone Liberia is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Japan-based Bridgestone Corporation, the world’s largest tire and rubber company. Mighty Earth is calling on Bridgestone to ensure that Firestone Liberia fully upholds the rights of workers and neighboring communities and protects and restores the local environment.

“Bridgestone must urgently clean up all the insufficiently treated effluent that has been discharging into local water sources near its Firestone rubber plantation in Liberia,” said Alex Wijeratna, Senior Advisor at Mighty Earth. “In order to make progress towards this and other labor, environmental, and social priorities, Bridgestone should publish a clear implementation plan for their Global Sustainable Procurement Policy. As the world’s largest tire company, they have a real opportunity to be a leader in the industry.”

To support the investigation, Mighty Earth worked with rubber plantation workers and the legal advocacy group Green Advocates in Liberia to document testimonials from local community members in March 2019. This collaboration shed light on current problems as well as the social and economic impact of Firestone’s 94-year presence in Liberia.

“The history of Firestone Liberia is fraught with controversy,” said Goldman Award winner Alfred Brownell. “Unfortunately, the company has never fully reckoned with, compensated for, or apologized to local people for its historical violations of labor and community rights. Documenting these transgressions is the first step toward reconciliation, but the next step is up to Bridgestone. Bridgestone must commit to the establishment of a truth and reconciliation commission.”

In a meeting with Mighty Earth in October 2019, Firestone acknowledged that the level of pollutants in local creeks near their rubber plantation in Harbel were still at an unacceptable level. The company informed Mighty Earth that they are installing a new state-of-the-art water treatment system to tackle the pollution.

Firestone has denied all of the labor rights concerns cited in Mighty Earth’s report.

*Photo: Firestone Rubber Factory in Harbel, Liberia

French lenders bankroll firms linked to deforestation: analysis

France 24 | February 10, 2020 

French banks have provided almost two billion euros of financial backing to agribusiness groups implicated in deforestation despite a law preventing firms from funding environmental damage, according to new analysis seen by AFP.

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How Ditching the Iowa Caucus Could Remake the Biofuels Debate

The New Republic | February 10, 2020

If politicians no longer coveted that early "Iowa bump," would they still feel compelled to support ethanol subsidies?

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In 2020, Retailers Must Stop Stocking Environmental Destruction

When customers go grocery shopping, they expect to find quality products that will feed their families and are produced in legal and responsible ways. Yet many supermarkets are buying products from some of the most environmentally destructive suppliers on the planet. Leading retailers are stocking meat from JBS, Tyson, and Cargill, all of which have long track records of environmental destruction and human rights abuses- from destruction of tropical forests and indigenous communities across Latin America to water pollution and soil erosion causing a massive Dead Zone in the Gulf. Supermarkets largely dictate the kinds of food that people have access to, and their buying decisions can therefore mean the difference between healthy ecosystems and ecological destruction. 

Supermarket retailers have spent decades building trust in the communities they serve. But their willingness to turn a blind eye to pollution and deforestation now threatens the customer trust that is core to success. In fact, 81 percent of respondents in a recent poll said that knowing about a company’s environmentally irresponsible business practices would make them less likely to purchase their products.

With the global environment in a state of deep crisis, Mighty Earth is calling for supermarkets to implement robust policies around deforestation, native ecosystem clearing, regenerative farming and water pollution, and to drop contracts with the worst offenders like Cargill. Mighty Earth’s 2020 campaign to hold these retailers accountable is off to an exciting start. 

National Retail Federation

On January 11, the National Retail Federation held the opening ball to its annual “Big Show.” With 38,000 retail professionals in attendance, this trade show is quite literally the largest retail conference on the planet. Mighty Earth volunteers in New York City took the opportunity to call on Stop & Shop and parent company Ahold Delhaize to cut contracts with Cargill, taking center stage at the opening banquet and engaging conference participants in a variety of creative ways.

A video of their speech can be found here:

Costco Shareholder Meeting

Costco is so big that the sourcing decisions made there can literally move entire markets and shape whole industries. Costco brands itself as an eco-conscious company suitable for families who value protecting the planet- yet all the while selling products that do just the opposite. According to Bloomberg research, Costco’s top suppliers include JBS, Cargill, and Tyson- while tissue paper sold through the Charmin, Bounty, and Kirkland brand is made from 100% virgin fiber sourced from Canada’s Boreal forests. 

Together with NRDC, SumOfUs, and Stand.Earth, we attended Costco’s shareholder meeting to call on Costco to adopt strong sustainability policies that ban destruction of native forests and require sustainable agricultural practices throughout its supply chain.

At the shareholder meeting, we turned up with over a dozen volunteers who rallied on the sidewalk, distributed literature, and highlighted Costco’s record to hundreds of shareholders as they drove in. Some of the volunteers even got creative and put up a light projection on the outside of the shareholder meeting. More than 100,000 people have signed petitions over the past year calling on Costco to protect forests, which we delivered to Costco’s CEO.

Stop & Shop

Stop & Shop, a popular East Coast supermarket chain owned by parent company Ahold Delhaize, has also been feeling the heat for its business partnerships with Cargill that are funding widespread destruction of tropical forests and pollution of American waterways. While claiming to be committed to sustainability, Stop & Shop recently signed a contract with Cargill to open a meat processing facility that will supply poultry to Stop & Shop stores.

Mighty Earth partnered with Green Corps to lead a hard-hitting campaign in Stop & Shop home state of Massachusetts. Field organizers have hit the ground running- educating shoppers, gathering petitions, and hosting community events to call on Stop & Shop to cut ties with Cargill and to adopt strict sustainability policies banning destruction of native forests and requiring more sustainable farming practices for all their meat suppliers. 

Activists Stage Protest at Tyson Shareholder Meeting over Sustainability Concerns

Northwest Arkansas citizens rally for Tyson to “Keep Your Promise” and abide by 2018 sustainability commitments

Springdale, AR -- ​On Thursday morning, over 30 community members and environmentalists rallied outside Tyson’s annual shareholder meeting, voicing concerns that the company has not shown any progress on its promise to reform farming practices that are causing widespread water pollution and climate change. Chanting “what do we want, a livable earth; when do we want it, now,” protestors highlighted the urgency of the planetary crisis underway and called for sweeping changes.

Two years ago, Tyson announced that it would adopt sustainable farming practices on 2 million acres used for animal feed by 2020. This commitment followed months of protests across the country from farmers, shareholders, community leaders, employees, and environmentalists calling on Tyson to take responsibility for cleaning up water pollution caused by its supply chain. With the deadline approaching and no public reports of progress, Mighty Earth volunteers rallied outside the Tyson shareholder meeting, telling executives to “Keep your promise” and implement farming practices that protect soil health, prevent water pollution, and mitigate climate change.

“It is time to look deeply into the personhood of your corporation, to your ethical and moral obligations to the world around you,” ​Reverend Jim Parrish ​said at the rally. “Tyson: there is no more time. The world is on fire, and your actions either fuel our collective death, or begin the healing.”

Meat production is the single largest source of water pollution in the U.S., with runoff from fields that produce animal feeds being the primary source. Mighty Earth is calling on Tyson to only source animal feed from farms that protect soil health, minimize fertilizer usage, mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, and prevent excess runoff from dirtying the waterways, and also to significantly ramp up investments in planet-based proteins.

“It is clear we are in a planetary emergency and need rapid leadership from business to drive solutions. Tyson made a promise last year to fix polluting farming practices that are contaminating our waters and fueling climate change, and we are watching to make sure they deliver,” ​Mighty Earth campaign director Lucia von Reusner​ said.

One month ago, Mighty Earth and launched a ​petition​ calling on Tyson to change -- and more than 60,000 people have already signed on. Activists delivered these signatures to Tyson leadership at the shareholder meeting.

Protesters demonstrate during Tyson’s Shareholders Meeting

4029 News | February 6, 2020

The group ‘Mighty Earth’ held a protest outside the meeting in Springdale.

Dam that threatens orangutan habitat is ‘wholly unnecessary’: Report

Mongabay | January 30, 2020

Proponents of a hydropower plant to be built in the only known habitat of a critically endangered orangutan species say it’s important for meeting the future energy needs of northern Sumatra.

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Ivory Coast: an interactive map follows the deforestation of the cocoa sector

RFI | January 29, 2020 

It is a giant step in the fight against deforestation and for the transparency and traceability of the cocoa sector. The American environmental NGO Mighty Earth has just put on line a very precise map allowing to follow the retreat of the forest, and in particular of the classified forests, and the progress of the cocoa.

Natural rubber platform ‘must address shortcomings’ in 2020

European Rubber Journal | January 23, 2020 

The Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber (GPSNR) needs to address a series of shortcomings if it is to start delivering a truly sustainable value-chain for natural rubber, believes Mighty Earth.

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Trader Tracking - Palm Oil

Trader Tracker - Palm Oil

Each month, we rank the palm oil traders based on how they are responding to the cases of deforestation and peat development in our reports.

Analisis Baru: Pembangkit Listrik Tenaga Air Batang Toru ‘Tidak Dibutuhkan’

Memberikan Suplai Tenaga Berlebih dan mengancam kepunahan kera besar pertama yang tercatat sejarah

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JAKARTA, 22 JANUARI 2020Laporan yang akan dirilis oleh konsultansi internasional terkemuka menyatakan bahwa proyek pembangkit listrik tenaga air Batang Toru senilai 1.6 juta dollar Amerika yang direncanakan untuk dibangun di Tapanuli Selatan, Sumatra Utara, bukan hanya tidak diperlukan untuk memenuhi kebutuhan listrik Indonesia atau Sumatra Utara di masa depan, tetapi juga mengancam ekosistem lokal serta orangutan Tapanuli yang terancam kritis. Laporan tersebut menemukan bahwa para pendukung dam telah merepresentasikan secara keliru, melebih-lebihkan, dan membuat-buat alasan untuk pembangunan dam.

Laporan yang berjudul “Analysis of Electricity Demand in North Sumatra Province and the Planned Batang Toru Hydroelectric Power Plant’s Impacts,” (Analisis Kebutuhan Listrik di Provinsi Sumatra Utara dan Dampak Rencana Pembangkit Listrik Tenaga Air Batang Toru) oleh penulis Dr. David Brown menemukan bahwa:

  1. Sumatra Utara hampir sepenuhnya terelektrifikasi, dan pemadaman bergilir sudah tidak terlalu banyak terjadi. Provinsi ini bahkan memiliki surplus energi. Dengan tambahan pembangkit listrik peak power bertenaga gas di 2017 dan perbaikan lain dalam infrastruktur jaringan, pembangunan Batang Toru tidak akan meningkatkan akses atau rata-rata suplai energi di provinsi ini.
  2. Batang Toru tidak akan menggantikan “pembangkit listrik bertenaga diesel yang disewa dari luar negeri,” karena nyatanya, tidak ada pembangkit listrik seperti yang disebutkan di Sumatra Utara. Yang ada adalah pembangkit listrik terapung tenaga gas sewaan. Bagaimanapun, implikasi perubahan iklim dan neraca pembayaran dari menggunakan bahan bakar gas berbeda dengan diesel.
  3. Terdapat klaim yang menyatakan bahwa dengan mengoperasikan Batang Toru akan menghasilkan reduksi sangat kecil .0016 hingga .0022 gigaton emisi CO2 per tahun. Angka yang sangat kecil ini bahkan merupakan overestimasi. Reduksi yang mungkin terjadi oleh Batang Toru kemungkinan besar berada di antara angka .0007 hingga .001 gigaton CO2 per tahun. Terlepas dari itu, reduksi emisi potensial merepresentasikan hanya sepersepuluh dari emisi tahunan Indonesia, dengan biaya lingkungan yang sangat besar.
  4. Terlepas dari upaya para pemilik dan pendukung Batang Toru untuk memperlihatkan citra Batang Toru sebagai penghasil peak power, hanya setengah dari output-nya yang merupakan peak power. Sisanya adalah baseload power.
  5. Kebutuhan terhadap kapasitas peak power Batang Toru yang diusulkan sudah semakin bekurang, karena adanya pembangkit listrik terapung tenaga gas 240 MW, dan kemungkinan pembangunan pembangkit listrik peak power tenaga gas 800 MW yang akan mulai beroperasi pada 2022 (diperkirakan 200 MW), 2024 (diperkirakan 300 MW) dan 2028 (diperkirakan 300 MW). Seperti Batang Toru, pembangkit listrik tenaga gas ini menghasilkan peak power pada malam hari dan bisa juga pada siang hari jika dibutuhkan.
  6. Kontribusi Batang Toru yang diajukan pada baseload power provinsi sendiri sudah tidak diperlukan karena operasi pembangkit listrik geothermal 330 MW Sarulla pada 2017 dan 2018, dan mungkin akan makin tidak diperlukan lagi setelah “ekspansi” 300 MW Sarulla yang dimulai pada 2022, serta “kemungkinan besar” pembangunan pembangkit geothermal 240 MW di Sorik Marapi. Opsi lain yang baik untuk produksi peak power saat siang hari adalah tenaga matahari, yang perlu diberikan perhatian lebih lanjut oleh Direktorat Jenderal Ketenagalistrikan dan PLN.
  7. Batang Toru tidak akan menghentikan operasi pembangkit listrik tenaga diesel, dan juga tidak akan meringankan dampak neraca pembayaran negatif negara yang disebabkan oleh impor diesel. Tetapi, modal tinggi yang diperlukan untuk membangun Batang Toru akan berdampak pada keluarnya sejumlah besar dollar dari Indonesia ke rekening bank kontraktor Tiongkok yang akan membangun pembangkit listrik tersebut selain juga perusahaan induk Tiongkok yang memiliki mayoritas pembangkit listrik, seluruhnya merugikan neraca pembayaran Indonesia.
  8. Sinohydro, kontraktor yang akan membangun Batang Toru memiliki rekam jejak global terkait penipuan, praktik non-standar, dan korupsi di tiga benua, seluruhnya memperlihatkan bahwa Batang Toru memiliki resiko konstruksi dan operasi yang signifikan.
  9. Proyeksi Direktorat Jenderal Ketenagalistrikan yang terlalu besar tentang kebutuhan energi mungkin telah berkontribusi terhadap konstruksi pembangkit listrik di Sumatra Utara yang terlampau banyak. Hal ini mungkin memiliki sisi positif, seperti banyaknya pengganti yang tersedia untuk peak power (Poin 5 di atas) dan baseload power (Poin 6 di atas) yang seharusnya dihasilkan oleh Batang Toru, namun tanpa mengancam kekayaan nasional Indonesia yang terkenal, orangutan Tapanuli yang terancam punah.

Advokat perlindungan orangutan Tapanuli telah membaca penemuan-penemuan laporan ini dan menyerukan penghentian bagi proyek ini.

Laporan baru ini dibuat oleh Dr. David W. Brown, seorang principal di Brown Brothers Energy and Environment (B2E2). Dr. Brown, yang memiliki pengalaman selama 20 tahun dalam konsultansi bagi klien di sektor publik dan privat mengenai pengelolaan dan tantangan lingkungan sektor sumber daya alam Indonesia, akan hadir di Jakarta pada tanggal 22 Januari untuk mempresentasikan laporan tersebut dan mendiskusikan temuan-temuannyaa dengan pers lokal dan internasional. Ia juga akan ditemani oleh Mimi Surbakti dari Srikandi Lestari Sumatra Utara yang berfokus pada promosi pengembangan energi bersih, Tri Mumpuni, seorang ahli microhydro, dan Iqbal Damanik dari Auriga.

Latar Belakang

Dam hidroelektrik 1.6 miliar dollar Amerika Serikat North Sumatra Hydro Energy (NSHE) yang direncanakan pertama kali diumukan pada tahun 2012 dan dijadwalkan untuk rampung pada 2022.

Bagaimanapun, banyak pemberi pinjaman dana tradisional yang menolak untuk mendanai proyek ini dikarenakan oleh ancaman yang disproporsional bagi orangutan dan minimnya manfaat proyek. Bank pembangunan multilateral seperti World Bank Group telah menarik diri dari proyek, seperti bank-bank investasi swasta lain seperti Goldman Sachs. Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank juga dilaporkan telah menolak pendanaan proyek. Walaupun kontraktor milik Negara Tiongkok Sinohydro akan menangani konstruksi proyek, Bank of China baru-baru ini menyatakan bahwa mereka pun telah mengundurkan diri dari pendanaan proyek dam hidroelektrik ini.

Proyek ini akan meliputi pembangunan gardu listrik, gardu induk, terowongan headrace dan tailrace, reservoir, pelimpah serta infrastruktur pendukungnya, instalasi turbin, generator dan transformer, dan peletakan jalur transmisi.

Dampak Lingkungan

Sejak pengumuman pertamanya pada tahun 2012, proyek ini telah menjadi target kritik, terutama dari advokat lingkungan yang menyatakan bahwa dam ini akan mengancam ekosistem hutan di areanya selain juga kehidupan dan penghidupan penduduk lokal di area hilir sungai yang bergantung pada ekosistem sungai dalam cara mereka bertahan hidup, seperti contohnya perikanan, agrikultur, transportasi, dan kebutuhan air. Misi pencarian fakta pada tahun ini menemukan kekhawatiran yang signifikan dari warga lokal mengenai proyek ini. Banyak dari mereka yang telah bergabung dengan oposisi dari advokat-advokat lingkungan internasional untuk menuntut penghentian proyek.

Oposisi ini semakin intens setelah ditemukan bahwa area hutan Batang Toru, situs pembangunan proyek ini, juga merupakan habitat dari spesies orangutan yang baru ditemukan (Pongo tapanuliensis), yang hanya hidup di hutan tersebut. Para advokat lingkungan dan ahli fauna menyatakan bahwa konstruksi dam di Sungai Batang Toru akan memisahkan habitat orangutan ini secara permanen dengan mengurangi keterhubungan antara populasi dan berkontribusi terhadap kepunahan spesies langka ini yang saat ini memiliki populasi kurang dari 800 individu – kera besar paling terancam punah di dunia.

Selain merupakan habitat satu-satunya orangutan Tapanuli, ekosistem Batang Toru juga sangat beragam secara biologis, dengan 310 spesies burung, 80 spesies reptil, 64 spesies katak dan kodok, dan lebih dari 1000 spesies pohon.1 Area ini juga merupakan habitat dari enam spesies terancam dan rentan seperti siamang (Symphalangus syndactylus) dan owa ungko (Hylobates agilis) selain orangutan Tapanuli, menjadikannya salah satu dari sedikit area di dunia di mana tiga spesies kera bisa hidup berdampingan. Ekosistem Batang Toru juga merupakan habitat dari harimau Sumatra (Panthera tigris sumatrae), beruang madu (Helarctos malayanus), tapir (Tapirus indicus) dan burung-burung seperti Kuau Raja (Argusianus argus).

Analisis Baru

Setelah kontroversi berkelanjutan ini, laporan dari Brown bertujuan untuk memperhitungkan signifikansi pembangunan proyek NSHE ini dibandingkan dengan dampak negatif yang bisa dibawanya.

“Dari perspektif teknis, proyek pembangkit listrik tenaga air Batang Toru tampak dirancang dengan baik”, ungkap laporan tersebut. “Bagaimanapun, infrastruktur proyek tersebut akan menghancurkan atau mengisolasi tiga dari lima blok habitat spesies orangutan Tapanuli yang baru ditemukan—salah satu dari tujuh spesies kera besar di bumi (atau salah satu dari delapan jika manusia disertakan)”, berikut peringatan laporan tersebut.

Laporan ini mengidentifikasi ancaman spesifik pada orangutan Tapanuli, dengan menyebut bahwa spesies langka tersebut “hidup di dataran rendah di mana infrastruktur terkait proyek Batang Toru akan dibangun, serta tiga area dataran tinggi yang berdekatan.”

Orangutan Tapanuli sangat rentan karena populasinya yang terfragmentasi, dan laporan ini menyatakan bahwa proyek Batang Toru akan memengaruhi setidaknya salah satu dari tiga kelompok tersebut. “Pendukung dan penolak Batang Toru cenderung sepakat,” ungkap laporan ini, “bahwa infrastruktur dam akan menyebabkan perpindahan atau bahkan di beberapa kasus kematian dari orangutan yang tinggal di zona ketiga, selain juga isolasi genetis permanen orangutan di zona keempat dan kelima—dengan total lebih dari 70 individu.


Analisis baru ini sangat tegas terhadap temuannya: “Mungkin terdapat alasan untuk pembangunan dam listrik tenaga air Batang Toru ketika ia pertama kali diajukan pada 2012, sebelum adanya identifikasi orangutan Tapanuli dan dengan situasi energi yang sangat berbeda. Bagaimanapun, alasan dan kepentingan ini tidak lagi relevan pada tahun 2020.”

"Hasil riset ini membuktikan bahwa PLTA Batang Toru bukanlah infrastruktur yang dibutuhkan Sumatra Utara, sehingga selanjutnya kita harus membuktikan siapa yang diuntungkan dari dipaksakannya pembangunan ini,” ungkap Iqbal Damanik dari Auriga.

”Saya senang pembangkit [listrik] yang sustainable, environmentally friendly, dan pollutant-free. Microhydro dan minihydro, run off type adalah jawabannya sebab Indonesia [memiliki] banyak sungai dan ini harus dijaga dengan catchment area yang benar agar debit airnya terus mengalir seperti yang sudah direncanakan” ungkap Tri Mumpuni.

Mimi Surbakti juga menyatakan, ”Pemenuhan energi listrik harusnya tidak mengorbankan kelestarian lingkungan yang berdampak pada pemunahan satwa langka yang dilindungi. Pemerintah harusnya mampu memberikan keadilan ekologi untuk menyelamatkan ruang hidup bagi masyarakat dari sumber- sumber kehancuran dan eksploitasi alam.”

Kesimpulan dari laporan ini menyatakan bahwa, “Pendukung Batang Toru berargumen bahwa membawa spesies Orangutan Tapanuli ke ambang kepunahan adalah konsekuensi yang layak untuk diambil untuk mendukung kebutuhan tenaga masa kini dan masa depan di Sumatra Utara. Para pendukung ini mengutarakan mengenai apa yang mereka anggap sebagai manfaat dalam bidang mitigasi perubahan iklim, peak power, dan neraca pembayaran dari Batang Toru. Seluruh argumen tersebut telah dibahas dan dibuktikan kurang kuat.”(*)

Informasi lebih lanjut silakan hubungi :

Ayunda Putri
Image Dynamics
0812 200 1411 [email protected]

New Analysis: Batang Toru Hydroelectric Plant 'Unnecessary'

Will oversupply power and threaten first great ape extinction in recorded history

Baca dalam Bahasa Indonesia

JAKARTA -- A soon-to-be-released report by a leading international consultancy warns that the proposed USD 1.6 billion Batang Toru hydroelectric project in South Tapanuli Regency, North Sumatra, is not only entirely unnecessary for meeting Indonesia or North Sumatra’s future energy needs, but is also a critical threat to the local ecosystem and the critically endangered Tapanuli orangutan. The report finds that the dam’s backers have mischaracterized, exaggerated, or just manufactured much of the rationale for the dam.

The report, entitled “Analysis of Electricity Demand in North Sumatra Province and the Planned Batang Toru Hydroelectric Power Plant’s Impacts,” and authored by Dr. David Brown finds that:

  1. North Sumatra is almost fully electrified, and rolling blackouts are largely a thing of the past. The province has a power surplus. In view of the addition of gas-fired peak power capacity added in 2017 and ongoing improvements in grid infrastructure, the building of Batang Toru would not materially improve access to nor the regularity of power supply in the province.
  2. Batang Toru will not replace “diesel power plants rented from overseas,” as there are no such plants in North Sumatra. There is a rented floating gas-fired power plant. But the climate change and balance of payments implications of burning gas are quite different from those of burning diesel.
  3. It is claimed that the commissioning of Batang Toru would result in reduction of a very modest .0016 to .0022 gigatonnes of annual CO2 emissions per year. But even these are overestimates. Reductions made possible by Batang Toru are more likely to be on the order of .0007 to .001 gigatonnes of CO2 annually. Regardless, potential emissions reductions represent on the order of just one tenth of one percent of Indonesia’s annual emissions but come with enormous environmental cost.
  4. In spite of the efforts of the owners and proponents of Batang Toru to tout the proposed dam as a provider of peak power, only half of the plant’s output would be peak power. The remainder is baseload power.
  5. The need for Batang Toru’s proposed peak power capacity is already diminishing, due to the existence of a 240 MW floating gas plant, and the likely future construction of 800 MW in new gas fired peak power which will come on line in 2022 (200 MW), 2024 (300 MW) and 2028 (300 MW). Like Batang Toru, these gas plants produce peak power during the night and could also produce power during the day, if needed.
  6. As for Batang Toru’s proposed contribution to the province’s baseload power, this is already being rendered unnecessary by the 330 MW Sarulla geothermal power plant which came on line in 2017 and 2018, and could be rendered even more superfluous by a 300 MW “expansion” in capacity at Sarulla starting in 2022, as well as a the “high possibility” of 240 MW in new geothermal power at Sorik Marapi. Another excellent option for the production of power during the day would be solar power; the report recommends that the Directorate General of Electricity and PLN should give greater consideration to solar power.
  7. Batang Toru will not put diesel power plants out of business, and thus will not alleviate the negative balance of payment impact to the nation caused by the import of diesel. However, the high capital costs of building Batang Toru will lead to the outflow of dollars from Indonesia and into the bank accounts of the Chinese contractor that will build the plant, as well as the Chinese holding company that owns the majority of the plant, all to the detriment of Indonesia’s balance of payments.
  8. Sinohydro, the contractor that is building Batang Toru has a global track record of fraud, non- standard practices, and corruption on three continents, all of which suggests that Batang Toru has significant construction and operations risks.
  9. The Directorate General of Energy’s overly robust projections of power demand have led to an overbuilding of power plants in North Sumatra. This may be a blessing in disguise, as it could mean that there are many excellent substitutes available for the peak power (Point 5 above) and baseload power (Point 6 above) that Batang Toru aims to produce without threatening one of Indonesia’s world famous natural treasure, the endangered Tapanuli orangutan.

Advocates for protecting the Tapanuli orangutan have seized on the report’s findings and called for a halt to the project.

The new report was produced by Dr. David W. Brown, a principal at Brown Brothers Energy and Environment (B2E2). Dr. Brown, who has 20 years of experience in advising public and private sector clients on the governance and environmental challenges of Indonesia's natural resource sectors, will appear in Jakarta on January 22 to present the report and discuss its findings with the local and international press. He will be joined by Mimi Surbakti from Srikandi Lestari Sumatera Utara who focuses on promoting the development of clean energy, Tri Mumpuni, a microhydro expert, as well as by Iqbal Damanik from Auriga.


The planned USD 1.6 billion North Sumatra Hydro Energy (NSHE) hydroelectric dam was first announced in 2012 and is scheduled for completion by 2022.

However, many traditional infrastructure lenders have refused to fund the project because of the disproportionate threat to orangutans and lack of benefits. Multilateral development banks like the World Bank Group have pulled out of the project, as have other private investment banks like Goldman Sachs. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank has reportedly declined to finance the project. And while state-owned Chinese contractor Sinohydro has signed on to handle the project construction, the Bank of China recently communicated that it too has pulled its planned financing for the hydroelectric dam project.

The project will include the construction of a powerhouse, a substation, headrace and tailrace tunnels, a reservoir, spillway and related infrastructure, the installation of turbines, generators and transformers, and the laying of transmission lines.

Environmental Impact

Since it was first announced in 2012, the project has been the target of criticism, especially from environmentalists, who have said the dam would pose a threat to the area’s forest ecosystem and a potential risk to the lives and livelihoods of thousands of downstream local residents who rely on the river’s ecosystem for their survival for fisheries, agriculture, transport, and daily water needs. A fact- finding mission earlier this year found considerable apprehension about the project among local residents, many of whom have joined the opposition from international environmentalists in calling for the project to be halted.

The opposition intensified when it was discovered that the Batang Toru forest area, which is the project site, was also home to a newly discovered species of orangutan (Pongo tapanuliensis), which lives exclusively in that forest. Environmentalists and wildlife experts say the construction of the dam on the Batang Toru River would permanently fracture the orangutans’ habitat, decreasing connectivity between populations and contributing to the extinction of this rare species, which currently hosts a population fewer than 800 apes – and is the world’s most endangered great ape.

In addition to providing the Tapanuli orangutan’s only home, the Batang Toru ecosystem is biologically diverse with over 310 species of bird recorded, 80 species of reptiles, 64 species of frogs and toads, and more than 1,000 tree species.1 The area is also home to six other endangered and vulnerable primate species including siamangs (Symphalangus syndactylus) and agile gibbons (Hylobates agilis) in addition to the Tapanuli orangutan, making it one of the few areas in the world where three ape species coexist. The Batang Toru ecosystem is also home to other rare and threatened animal species including the Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae), the sun bear (Helarctos malayanus), the tapir (Tapirus indicus) and birds such as the Great Argus pheasant (Argusianus argus).

New Analysis

In light of the continued controversy, the Brown report sought to weigh the actual necessity of building the NSHE project against the harm it could cause.

“From an engineering standpoint, Batang Toru appears well-designed,” the report says. “However, the project’s infrastructure will destroy or isolate three out of five habitat blocks of a newly-discovered species, the Tapanuli orangutan, one of only seven species of Great Ape on Earth (or one of eight if humans are counted),” it warns.

The report identifies specific threats to the Tapanuli orangutan, noting that the rare species specifically “lives in the lowlands where the infrastructure associated with Batang Toru is to be built, and in three areas of adjacent highlands.”

The Tapanuli is especially vulnerable due to its fragmented population, and the report finds that the project would impact at least three of the groups. “Even proponents and opponents of Batang Toru appear to agree,” the report says, “that the infrastructure of the dam will lead to the displacement, and in some cases, death of the orangutans living in the third zone, and the permanent genetic isolation of those living in the fourth and fifth zones, more than 70 individuals.”


The new analysis is clear in its findings: “There may have been a rationale for the Batang Toru hydroelectric dam when it was proposed in 2012, before the identification of the Tapanuli orangutan, and in a very different energy situation. But there’s no need for it in 2020.”

“This research shows that Batang Toru hydroelectric power plant is not a necessary infrastructure for North Sumatra. Going forward, we have to prove who gains the most benefits from this forced construction,” Iqbal Damanik from Auriga said.

“I am fond of sustainable, environmentally friendly, and pollutant-free power plants. Microhydro, minihydro, and run off type are the answers since there is a larger number of rivers in Indonesia that needs to be protected with proper catchment area in order to maintain the water debit to flow as planned,” said Tri Mumpuni.

Mimi Surbakti also stated, “The fulfillment of electrical energy demand should not sacrifice the environment, especially if it threatens the extinction of a protected species. The government should be able to give ecological justice to save the livelihoods of people from the sources of nature’s degradation and exploitation.”

The report’s conclusion says, “Proponents of Batang Toru argue that driving the Tapanuli orangutan toward extinction is a price worth paying because the project will help to meet the current and future power needs of North Sumatra province. These defenders raise what they perceive as the climate change mitigation, peak power, and balance of payments benefits of Batang Toru. All of these arguments have been examined in this paper, and all have been found wanting.”

Mighty Earth Calls on Indonesian Government to Release Imprisoned Journalist Philip Jacobson

As news broke of the arrest of Mongabay journalist Philip Jacobson, Mighty Earth CEO Glenn Hurowitz released the following statement:

“Indonesian President Jokowi came into office promising to fight corruption and uphold Indonesia’s democracy, but the arrest of prize-winning journalist Philip Jacobson undermines those commitments. Phil is a true champion of Indonesia’s natural resources and people, and instead of being detained under suspicious circumstances, he should be celebrated. We call on the Indonesian government to live up to its commitments to free press and the values of Pancasila by undoing this great injustice and offense to Indonesian openness and releasing Phil immediately.

"That Phil's arrest should come on the same day that President Bolsonaro's regime charged American journalist Glenn Greenwald with bogus crimes is no coincidence. The idea that American allies like Brazil and Indonesia would even imagine arresting American journalists for doing their jobs shows a failure of leadership on the part of the United States, which has stood for freedom of the press for generations. President Trump and Secretary of State Pompeo cannot just go soft when it comes to defending Americans in trouble overseas, and they have a sacred obligation to defend these unjustly imprisoned Americans.

“A free press is essential to creating the transparency and accountability necessary for both responsible governance and environmental stewardship, and Mighty Earth supports the right of journalists everywhere to conduct their work without fear of violence, persecution, or reprisal.”

Photo via Mongabay

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Rapport : Mensonges sous emballage

décembre 2018

Malgré les engagements pris l’an dernier par les grands chocolatiers en faveur d’un cacao sans déforestation, le dernier rapport de Mighty Earth révèle que la déforestation liée au cacao s’est poursuivie en Afrique de l’Ouest et s’est même intensifiée dans certains endroits. Lire Plus