Indonesia is a treasure chest of biodiversity; it is home to between 10 and 15 percent of all known species of plants, mammals and birds. Orangutans, elephants, tigers, rhinoceroses, more than 1,500 species of birds and thousands of plant species are all a part of the country's natural legacy.
Every year, Indonesia is losing 620,000ha of rainforest. This loss endangers species including Sumatran tigers and orangutans, and undermining the future for millions of Indonesians who depend on the forests for their food, shelter and livelihoods.
This destruction also threatens our wider world; peatlands are perhaps the world’s most critical carbon stores, and Indonesia's peatlands are vast, storing about 35 billion tons of carbon. When these peatlands are drained, burned and replaced by plantations, carbon dioxide is released and the conditions are set for devastating forest fires.
What's Driving this Destruction?
Indonesia's irreplaceable rainforests and carbon-rich peatlands are being destroyed to make the disposable consumer products we find in our shops: paper for our glossy magazines, toilet paper, packaging and palm oil for products like toothpaste and chocolate.
From the fruit and seeds of the oil palm tree, and straight into our soap, detergents, makeup, biscuits, and biofuel – palm oil is everywhere. It is cheaper to grow than many of its alternatives, takes up less land space, and has a long shelf life, so it’s no wonder many global brands are using it on an ever-growing scale. But while palm oil has many uses and benefits, its production can also have unjustifiable costs.
Indonesia is the world's largest producer of crude palm oil and around 15 million hectares of land in Indonesia has been licensed for palm oil development, though the precise figure is difficult to determine due to lack of transparency in the sector.
The Solution: Zero Deforestation
Greenpeace is campaigning for the immediate protection of all Indonesia's forests and peatlands including meaningful international support for a new green development pathway and for zero deforestation in Indonesia and globally by 2020.
To achieve this, we investigate the global supply chains that are sacrificing Indonesia’s forests for consumer products around the world, and we expose the companies that are destroying forests. Over the past few years, our campaigns and pressure from our supporters have led Nestlé, Unilever and other corporate giants to cancel big contracts with reformed suppliers like Sinar Mas. This in turn has led to commitments to forest protection on the ground from these same companies. But more must be done.
Today, Indonesia stands at a crossroads; will it choose to allow industry to relentlessly and unnecessarily expand into natural rainforests and carbon rich peatlands, or to announce a moratorium on all existing rainforest and peatlands, with the help of the international community?