IN-DEPTH: One year after Coming Storm, temporary halt in deforestation not an end to Congo basin’s threats
Thursday, April 4th, 2019
One year ago Earthsight published Coming Storm, showing that a toxic mix of dodgy firms, impunity and collusion in the plantation sector threatened to consign Congo rainforests to the same fate as Southeast Asia and the Amazon. Since then, Earthsight’s report has helped trigger some positive action by companies, though the persistence of low palm and rubber prices have been the main factor preventing an acceleration of the destruction. Our new research shows that a number of firms have halted clearing, with one company pressured to do so following divestment by the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund. On the other hand, Earthsight has found new links between a palm firm in the Central African Republic and a warlord facing trial for crimes against humanity. And the underlying secrecy and lack of government transparency remain as bad as ever.
Not a single company on track to meet 2020 zero-deforestation deadline, says Global Canopy
Wednesday, March 27th, 2019
The latest Forest 500 report makes it clear that no palm oil, soy, cattle or timber company that has committed to eliminate deforestation from their supply chains by 2020 will meet that goal. This should come as no surprise to IDM readers who have followed a spate of reports of environmental crimes and other violations committed in recent months by even some of the rank’s best scoring companies. The results come in the wake of mounting criticism by NGOs of the EU’s focus on voluntary action by the private sector as a means of addressing its role in driving tropical deforestation.
Military open fire on communities protesting oil palm development in DRC
Friday, March 22nd, 2019
Tensions between local communities in DRC and Canadian oil palm company Feronia have escalated in recent months following a complaint presented last year to the company’s international financial backers. Affected communities have denounced displacement and occupation of their ancestral lands.
Amazon deforestation continues to rise as prominent figures warn that Bolsonaro is seeking to turn indigenous people into slave labour for Big Ag
Monday, March 18th, 2019
Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon has continued to rise compared to a year ago, when forest loss had already reached decade-high levels. Since coming to power, President Jair Bolsonaro has taken controversial steps to undermine environmental and indigenous protections, an approach that has been compared to that of Brazil’s military dictatorship. Current efforts to legalise agribusiness activity on indigenous lands promise to unleash hard battles for the preservation of the Amazon.
Sugar industry body faces new complaint over Thai firm’s human rights violations in Cambodia
Tuesday, March 12th, 2019
Over 700 Cambodian families allegedly displaced in 2008 and 2009 to make way for sugar plantations have recently filed a complaint in the UK against Bonsucro, the global industry’s certification body.
Indonesian palm oil company embroiled in lawsuit for burning forest in Kalimantan
Thursday, March 7th, 2019
A palm oil company in Central Kalimantan is being sued by the Indonesian government for allegedly causing illegal forest fires. PT Arjuna Utama Sawit, a Musim Mas supplier, has also been connected to land conflicts and the illegal clearing of peatland.
A quarter of Brazil’s new congress tainted by campaign donations from illegal deforesters
Monday, March 4th, 2019
A quarter of Brazil’s new congress have reportedly received electoral campaign donations from illegal deforesters or individuals implicated in slave labour, says a new investigation by Repórter Brasil. IDM’s own research reveals the details of the forest crimes committed by some of the donors.
Tackling Bad Ag in Indonesia demands increased transparency, say NGOs, as yet another attempt to obtain information is ignored
Monday, February 25th, 2019
More than a year after a request for information was submitted, authorities in Aceh still have not released data about a plantation concession, ignoring a court decision and raising questions about its motives. The case follows similar behaviour by the Ministry of Agrarian Affairs and Spatial Planning, which continues to defy a Supreme Court order for more transparency.
SOCFIN under scrutiny over alleged abuses and malpractices in Africa despite pledges to clean up its act
Friday, February 22nd, 2019
Recent reports have shed light on land rights violations and other abuses allegedly committed by SOCFIN in Africa. Despite commitments made by the firm to change its behaviour, the reports reveal that communities affected by SOCFIN agricultural activities continue to face an uphill battle to have their land and human rights respected.
Indonesian anti-corruption body denounces deforestation license for oil palm giant found guilty of wrongdoing
Monday, February 18th, 2019
Indonesia’s anti-corruption body has asked the country’s Ministry of Environment and Forestry to review its decision to authorise the conversion of 10,000 hectares of forest in Buol district, Central Sulawesi, into oil palm plantations.
Nearly a quarter of Chaco deforestation potentially illegal, says Paraguay enforcement agency
Friday, February 15th, 2019
New data released by Paraguay’s environment enforcement agency reveals that nearly a quarter of all deforestation that took place in the Gran Chaco between August 2017 and August 2018 may have been illegal.
Family of North Sumatra Deputy Governor implicated in illegal conversion of protected forests into oil palm plantations
Wednesday, February 13th, 2019
Police has named Dodi Shah, younger brother of Deputy Governor of North Sumatra Musa Rajekshah, as a suspect in a case of illegal deforestation of protected areas for oil palm cultivation.
Oil palm expansion in Nicaragua threatening local communities and forest conservation
Monday, February 11th, 2019
In southeast Nicaragua a palm oil company has allegedly expanded its oil palm cultivations without the necessary environmental permits and driven local farmers to occupy lands at a protected area.
COMMENT: A Roadmap to Failure
Thursday, February 7th, 2019
Through its insatiable consumption of agro-commodities like soy, palm oil and beef, the EU is contributing to a global deforestation crisis. After stalling for years while it carried out study after study, 2019 is crunch time. Over the coming months, a decision will finally be made on what the EU intends to do about the problem. To have any chance of having an impact, it must include plans for legally binding regulation.
Illegal cattle ranching in protected area in Rondonia, Brazil, has wiped out nearly half its forests
Wednesday, January 23rd, 2019
Large-scale cattle ranchers are illegally rearing an estimated 100,000 heads of cattle at the Jaci-Paraná extractive reserve in the Amazonian state of Rondonia, causing the loss of nearly half the reserve’s forests. An investigation by O Eco has found that JBS has allegedly sourced livestock from illegal farms at the reserve.