Analysis: Does Indonesia’s storied anti-graft agency have a blind spot for corrupt palm oil deals?

Wednesday, August 29th, 2018

There is a growing realization that the corrupt allocation of land to plantation firms is a main underlying cause of Indonesia’s deforestation and land-rights crisis. Backroom deals with politicians allow companies to clear rainforests and peat swamps that might otherwise be protected, and to seize land from indigenous and other rural communities, while also channeling dark money into elections. With the stakes so high, then, why has the KPK prosecuted so few of these cases?

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Pulp giant in centre of storm around ‘shadow companies’

Wednesday, August 29th, 2018

An investigation by Mongabay has unearthed new evidence indicating that companies the pulp and paper giant Asia Pulp and Paper has sought to distance itself from are in fact controlled by the plantation giant.

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Hundreds of hotspots detected in plantations in West Kalimantan, as Indonesian forest fires rage again

Wednesday, August 29th, 2018

The annual debate over blame for the cause of the fires has re-emerged with the smoke in recent weeks, following relatively mild years in 2016 and 2017.

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“Zero deforestation” supply chains tainted by illegal palm oil from Sumatra, as demand exceeds supply of clean produce

Wednesday, July 25th, 2018

An investigation in Sumatra has exposed, again, that major palm oil traders are sourcing palm oil produced illegally in the island’s heavily threatened and biologically valuable protected areas.

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Indonesian National Strategic Area loses thousands of hectares of forest in 2017

Monday, January 22nd, 2018

Almost 7,000 hectares of forest were destroyed in the Leuser Ecosystem, in the western Indonesian province of Aceh, in 2017.

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Illegal deforestation hit big ag firms where it hurt – in the pocket

Friday, December 22nd, 2017

A new analysis of three major agricultural firms implicated in illegal deforestation reveals how it affected profitability, led to multi-billion dollar decline in market capitalisation and huge losses for investors.

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Illegal plantations threaten Sumatran tiger with extinction

Thursday, December 7th, 2017

A study examined 15 landscapes on the island of Sumatra that provide habitat for the tiger and found that a fifth of the forest cover had been lost since 2000, largely due to palm oil plantations.

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New data indicate deforestation in Indonesia is reaching record highs

Thursday, November 30th, 2017

Forest loss in Indonesia is reaching the highest levels since detailed measurements began according to new data published this week by the World Resources Institute, amid weak law enforcement and a failure to address the root causes of the crisis. Total tree cover loss was recorded as 2.4 million hectares in 2016, up from 1.7m ha in 2015 and exceeding the previous record, set in 2012.

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Indonesian state court failing to enforce $26 million Supreme Court palm oil fine

Thursday, November 30th, 2017

A state court in Indonesia is failing to enforce a Supreme Court ruling requiring a palm oil firm to pay US$26.5 million for illegal clearing with fire in the Tripa Peat Swamp, a vital orangutan habitat in the Leuser Ecosystem.

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Worker exploitation still widespread on Indofood palm plantations

Tuesday, November 28th, 2017

A new report has exposed allegations of ongoing worker exploitation by Indonesian food giant Indofood, the country’s sole producer of PepsiCo branded snack food.

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Plantation firms defy moratorium to continue clearing Sumatran rainforest

Wednesday, September 27th, 2017

Oil palm plantation firms are continuing to clear rainforest in the Leuser ecosystem on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, in defiance of a moratorium on deforestation. Leuser lost 3,941 hectares of forest cover between January and July 2017, according to local watchdog Forest, Nature and Environment of Aceh (HAkA).

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Papua New Guinea’s government resurrects zombie ag licenses

Monday, September 11th, 2017

The government of Papua New Guinea appears to have turned the notion of post-truth politics into an art form, making so many inconsistent claims on the legal status of the plethora of fraudulently issued plantation licenses in the country that it seems prudent to ask whether it knows where the truth lies anymore.

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Firms filmed exploiting peatland forest in West Kalimantan

Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

An Indonesian company and its Chinese partner have pushed ahead with an industrial wood plantation in a forest in Borneo, flouting a moratorium on the drainage and exploitation of Indonesia’s peatlands.

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Indonesian government failing to collect more than $1 billion in deforestation fines

Friday, August 25th, 2017

The Indonesian government is failing to make firms convicted of illegal deforestation pay more than US$1 billion in fines, hampering efforts to restore the peat and forest habitats damaged by their operations.

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One million hectares of oil palm “beyond effective control by government” in Indonesian province

Monday, August 21st, 2017

Wiratno, Director General of Ecosystem and Natural Resources Conservation of the Environment and Forestry Ministry, told a seminar that the plantations were occupying the ‘forest estate’ without permission of the central government.

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