Will notorious forest destroyer Sinar Mas come clean?

Feature Story - 2010-08-09
The short answer: not likely. In fact, not only will they not be likely to come ‘clean’, but Greenpeace International has released fresh evidence that Sinar Mas’s notorious forest destroying practices continue unabated and in direct violation of the company’s own environmental commitments on protecting forests and peatlands.

It's not just palm oil which is driving deforestation - to feed its pulp and paper mills, Sinar Mas has also cleared huge swaths of rainforest and tiger habitat such as here in Riau, Sumatra

The short answer: not likely.

In fact, not only will they not be likely to come 'clean', but Greenpeace International has released fresh evidence that Sinar Mas's notorious forest destroying practices continue unabated and in direct violation of the company's own environmental commitments on protecting forests and peatlands.

To feed its pulp and paper mills, Sinar Mas has cleared huge swaths of rainforest and tiger habitat such as here in Riau, Sumatra, Indonesia

Sinar Mas is Indonesia's largest palm oil, and pulp and paper group, and subsidiary Asia Pulp and Paper also claims to be China's largest producer of pulp, paper, and tissue products. The recent KitKat campaign saw hundreds of thousands of you ask Nestlé to stop buying palm oil and pulp and paper products from Sinar Mas because of their involvement in rainforest and peatland destruction in Indonesia.

Broken Promises

New photographic evidence shows Sinar Mas clearing rainforest in peatland areas on the island of Borneo. Further photographic evidence shows Sinar Mas has cleared rainforest that has been identified as orang-utan habitat by a United Nations Environment Program study.

On July 29, Sinar Mas was meant to publish an audit it had commissioned into its own activities on only a small number of palm oil concessions - not on all of its operations. The release of this audit has now been postponed by Sinar Mas and its public relations company, Bell Pottinger, to August 10th. The name Bell Pottinger may sound familiar, as they were also hired to do public relations for Trafigura, the oil trading company who was recently convicted and fined for illegally transporting toxic waste to Côte d'Ivoire.

A growing empire of destruction

While Sinar Mas makes public promises to protect Indonesian forests and peatlands - it does just the opposite. In addition to these broken promises, the company plans to expand its empire of destruction ever further. Last week the head of Sinar Mas's palm oil division confirmed intentions to expand into an additional one million hectares, including the untouched forests of Papua.

Indonesia's rainforests and peatlands cannot afford to continue to be the victim of Sinar Mas's ever expanding ambitions - after all, this is a country with one of the highest rates of deforestation in the world.

Recently we've seen positive steps - multinational companies like Unilever, Kraft and Nestlé have responded to evidence of Sinar Mas's destructive practices by dropping contracts.

But other multinationals - like palm oil supplier Cargill - and many Chinese companies are still doing business with Sinar Mars and Asia Pulp & Paper. Our Beijing activists recently campaigned against French supermarket chain Auchan and Breeze tissue paper, owned by APP, while many other products in China source their paper from APP.

Until this company is no longer involved in destroying rainforest and peatland, those who do business with them should know that they are purchasing environmental destruction.

Read our latest report, "Empires of Destruction," with new evidence of how the Sinar Mas group continues to clear rainforests home to priceless biodiversity

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