London, UK – A palm oil supplier to Mars, Nestlé, PepsiCo and Unilever is destroying rainforests in Papua, Indonesia, a new investigation by Greenpeace International has revealed.[1] Satellite analysis suggests that around 4,000ha of rainforest were cleared in PT Megakarya Jaya Raya concession between May 2015 and April 2017 – an area almost half the size of Paris.

The findings come as a delegation from the Indonesian government arrives in Europe to defend the palm oil industry, in response to moves by European Parliament to discourage the use of palm oil in biofuels on environmental grounds. Luhut Panjaitan, the Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs of Indonesia is visiting several European cities, including Brussels and Berlin.[2]

“After destroying much of the rainforests of Sumatra and Kalimantan, the palm oil industry is now pushing into new frontiers like Papua. If the Indonesian government wants to defend this  industry, the best thing it can do is to force it to clean up its act, not threaten to start a trade war,” said Richard George, forests campaigner at Greenpeace UK.

Photos and video taken in March and April 2018 show massive deforestation in PT MJR, a palm oil concession controlled by the Hayel Saeed Anam Group (HSA),[3] including in an area zoned for protection by the Indonesian government in response to the devastating forest fires in 2015. Development is prohibited in these areas.[4]

Although PT MJR is not yet producing palm oil, two other HSA subsidiary companies – Arma Group and Pacific Oils & Fats – supplied palm oil to Mars, Nestlé, PepsiCo and Unilever, according to supply chain information released by the brands earlier this year.[5] Each of these consumer companies  has published a ‘no deforestation, no peat, no exploitation’ policy that should prohibit sourcing from rainforest destroyers.

“Brands have been talking about cleaning up their palm oil for over a decade. Companies like Unilever and Nestlé claim to be industry leaders. So why are they still buying from forest destroyers like the HSA group? What are their customers supposed to think? What will it take to get them to act?”, said Richard George.

This case also raises serious questions for the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). Many HSA Group palm oil companies are members of the RSPO, although PT MJR and the other HSA Group concessions in this district are not. Members of the RSPO are not allowed to have unaffiliated palm oil divisions, and the development witnessed in PT MJR would also violate several of the RSPO’s Principles and Criteria.

ENDS

Photos and video 

https://media.greenpeace.org/collection/27MZIFJXTB8NY

https://media.greenpeace.org/CS.aspx?VP3=SearchResult&VBID=27MZVNTFN7PV0

Notes

[1] Case brief: Forest clearing for oil palm plantations mapped between 2015 and 2018

[2] According to Indonesian media, Minister Luhut will be in Europe starting on 23 April and visit Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK.

Minister Luhut has expressed strong views about the palm oil industry and the role of civil society. In 2015, he stated that the ‘country should expel NGOs that disrupt the palm oil industry, which is of National Importance’.  He went on to say that ‘Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) talk about how the industry is killing off our monkeys – I say, the government will not hesitate to ban NGOs from embarking on these smear campaigns against the industry, which is harmful to the stability of the nation.

[3] The Hayel Saeed Anam Group (HSA) is a large Yemeni privately-owned conglomerate, owned and managed by the family of founder Hayel Saeed Anam. On its website, HSA states that it has ‘recently purchased 160,000 acres [sic] of Indonesian land to be used for sustainable palm oil cultivation’. HSA does not disclose the concession name(s) or location. However, company deeds show that various members of the Saeed Anam family have management control of four concessions in Indonesia’s Papua province – including PT MJR – with a total landbank of 154,527ha.

[4] In 2016 Indonesia’s Ministry of Forestry and Environment introduced new peatland regulations (Regulation PP 57/2016)  which led to rezoning peatland areas for protection or production. The maps of these areas were released in February 2017 ( SK130/2017) and show parts of PT HSA as zoned for protection.

[5] Arma Group / Arma Foods is a direct subsidiary of HSA Group. Arma is a direct palm oil supplier to Mars, PepsiCo and Unilever, according to supply chain data released by the companies in February and March 2018. Nestlé reported receiving palm oil from a mill controlled by Pacific Oils & Fats Industries, another HSA subsidiary.

Contacts:

Sol Gosetti, International Communications Coordinator, Indonesia Forest, sol.gosetti@greenpeace.org, +44 (0) 7380845754

Greenpeace International Press Desk, +31 (0) 20 718 2470 (available 24 hours), pressdesk.int@greenpeace.org