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Campaign success: Indonesian palm oil company pledges to end forest destruction

07/03/2011 11:03:16

DEVASTATION: Sinar Mas have cleared vast areas of forest in Indonesia

Greenpeace gives news a cautious welcome

March 2011: Sinar Mas, the palm oil giant that has been the focus of campaign against forest destruction, has finally called an end to the destruction of Indonesia's forests.

Greenpeace has been running a long campaign to try to stop the company, an arm of Golden Agri-Resources, ripping up vast tracts of valuable land - and they have cautiously welcomed the news.

Bustar Maitar, head of Greenpeace's campaign to protect Indonesian forests, said: ‘This could be good news for the forests, endangered species such as the orang-utan and for the Indonesian economy.

'If they make these changes, large areas of forest will be saved'

‘On paper, the new commitments from Golden Agri are a major step towards ending their involvement in deforestation. And if they do make these changes, large areas of forests will be saved. But now they've actually got to implement these plans, and we're watching closely to make sure this happens.

‘Golden Agri's announcement has given a huge boost to the Indonesian President's pledge to protect forests and tackle climate change. Now the Indonesian Government must support this initiative by stopping any more licences being granted for forest and peatland clearance, and by reviewing activities in areas where licences have already been handed out.' 

In recent years, Greenpeace revelations showing the destruction caused by Golden Agri-Resources have led to international corporations such as Unilever and Nestle cancelling their contracts with the company.  


  •  November 2007: Greenpeace releases a report exposing the role of the palm oil industry in the destruction of Indonesia's forests.
  • April 2008: Campaign against Unilever for buying palm oil from rainforest destruction starts.
  • May 2008: Unilever undertakes to clear up supply chain and support moratorium on rainforest destruction.
  • December 2009: Unilever drops €30 million contract with Sinar Mas's palm oil arm Golden Agri-Resources (GAR)
  • March 2010: Greenpeace launch campaign against Nestle for buying from GAR. Nestle, Kraft and Mars drop GAR contracts.
  • April 2010: Nestle commit to new ‘no deforestation' policy. 
  • September 2010: Burger King drops contract with GAR and the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) criticises GAR for its environmental and social practices. It will report on its progress to address the issues raised later this month.
  • February 2011: GAR commit to ‘Forest Conservation' Plan.


'Protecting indonesia's forests is good for business'

A key commitment by Golden Agri-Resources is a pledge not to clear ‘High Carbon Storage' forest.

Under the company's new plans, they have set a provisional threshold and will not be developing land which contains more than 35 tonnes of carbon per hectare.

Importantly, this provisional figure is in line with figures for low carbon development recommended to the Indonesian Government by their own advisers. 

Bustar Maitar continued: ‘Protecting Indonesia's forests is good for business, the environment and future generations of all Indonesians.

'The need for other palm oil producers to clean up their act is now pressing, for business and environmental reasons. The Government must back efforts like these by insisting on similar standards across industries operating in forest areas.'

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