An important fact about the Sinar Mas group: it is destroying carbon-rich rainforests and peatlands in Indonesia, including endangered wildlife habitat.
If you take away one thing from this post - that’s the most important.
Today, the notorious forest destroyer tried to clear its name as it released an audit it commissioned to examine Greenpeace investigations of its oil palm plantations . Ironically, the audit confirms that Sinar Mas has been clearing forests and peatland, but rather than acknowledging this Sinar Mas is trying to hide the audit through a greenwash exercise. Here are a few examples of our claims, published in numerous reports, being confirmed by Sinar Mas’s own audit:
• Sinar Mas says ‘it is not responsible for the destruction of orang-utan habitat’. What they don’t say is that in seven out of the eleven concessions Sinar Mas’s auditors visited, clearance took place prior to independent high conservation value (HCV) assessments. This is essential for identifying areas that are important for orang-utans and such clearance before these assessments violates Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) rules.
• Sinar Mas says it ‘operates responsibly and within the law’, yet the auditors found that at eight out of the eleven concessions they visited, clearance had taken place without the necessary environmental permits. This is illegal under Indonesian law.
• Sinar Mas says that Greenpeace claims about its clearing of peatland are ‘exaggerated or wrong’. But, not only did the auditors find that Sinar Mas had cleared deep peat, they also found that peat clearance had taken place during 2010 – contravening Sinar Mas’s own ‘no peat development policy’, which was put in place in November 2009. Clearing deep peat violates Indonesian law.
As well, Sinar Mas’s auditors appear to have made some very basic errors in the way they have interpreted the claims they were paid to verify. In one example, the auditors claim that Greenpeace reports allege Sinar Mas ‘destroyed primary forests’*. Greenpeace makes no such claims in these reports.
Instead of Sinar Mas acting on the audit’s findings and halting their destructive practices, it is spinning the results in an attempt to make their brand look ‘green’. This includes the fact that even as Sinar Mas was completing this audit, it was continuing to clear mapped forests and peatland in breach of its own company policy.
The truth is that time and again the Sinar Mas group has demonstrated that it will say one thing while doing another. It will say that protecting the environment is important while it destroys orang-utan habitat and announces plans to expand its operations even further into Indonesia’s carbon-rich rainforests and peatlands.
The truth is that the Sinar Mas group is still selling rainforest destruction while portraying itself as a ‘green’ company.
Here are some images that expose the reality behind the Sinar Mas group’s myths:
What the audit released today really shows is that companies – like Cargill - need to follow in the footsteps of Kraft, Unilever and Nestle and stop buying from Sinar Mas while it continues wrecking critical forests and peatland habitats, and driving climate change. Additionally, the Indonesian Government must ensure that their promised moratorium includes a halt to all forest clearance, including within existing concessions, and ensures the immediate protection of all peatlands.
Help us continue exposing Sinar Mas’s environmentally destructive practices. Share this post and the video Sinar Mas: Myths and Realities. Let’s ensure that the image associated with the Sinar Mas group isn’t the ‘green-washed’ version it is trying to sell - but one that shows how it is devastating Indonesia’s last remaining forests and peatlands.
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*In fact, we challenge Sinar Mas’s frequent claims that their concession areas do not contain primary forests, because they try to present ‘primary’ forests as the only ones worth saving. This enables the company to draw attention away from the fact that they are destroying other important forests, which are often critical orang-utan habitat, and are vital to tackling climate change.