Field investigation provides shocking satellite imagery of increased deforestation, despite the company having been exposed in a report just three months prior
San Francisco, CA – A new “Leuser Watch” report released by Rainforest Action Network (RAN) exposes shocking results from the latest field investigation into the activities of a rogue palm oil company––a known supplier of Conflict Palm Oil to major brands all over the world––which has now been exposed a second time for clearing rainforest in the globally important Leuser Ecosystem.
The palm oil company, PT. Agra Bumi Niaga (PT. ABN), was exposed for clearing forests in a previous Leuser Watch report by RAN in February 2017, and just three months later, new satellite imagery shows that deforestation in the critical Leuser Ecosystem only continued. PT. ABN has cleared forests for a palm oil plantation in vital habitat for some of the last herds of Sumatran elephants, and continues to clear land despite a Indonesian-wide moratorium on forest clearance for new palm oil development, including in existing concessions. Satellite images show that PT. ABN has reduced the area covered by forests from 420 hectares in June 2016 to a mere 88 hectares in April 2017.
The field investigation documents how PT. ABN supplied palm oil from this concession to a mill called PT. Ensem Sawita. Supplier mill lists and maps published by six of the world’s largest palm oil traders—Wilmar, Musim Mas, Golden Agri-Resources (GAR), Cargill, IOI and ADM—show that PT. Ensem Sawita has a track record of supplying palm oil to refineries, including in the US, Canada, and Europe, which in turn supply all of the world’s largest traders and global brands.
As reported in The Guardian, a representative for PT. Ensem Sawita confirmed the findings of the report and expressed regret for this failure, claiming confusion after a name change for a logging firm. However, this name change had been reported previously. “If we can track these companies with our limited resources, surely global corporations worth billions can track these companies as well,” said Gemma Tillack, Agribusiness Campaign Director for RAN. “It’s a question of priorities. What’s more important to them, profits or the planet?”
Shockingly, this latest Leuser Watch report shows that the biggest global brands, such as PepsiCo, McDonald’s, Nestle, Unilever, Kellogg’s, Mars and Procter & Gamble and many more, are connected to this single deforestation event through their sourcing of palm oil from the world’s largest palm oil traders. The traders profiled in the report are believed to have a combined palm oil market share of well over 60%.
“These traders, and many of these brands, have made public promises that the palm oil they buy and sell does not contribute to deforestation, clearance on peatlands, or exploitation,” said Tillack. “The fact that it repeatedly takes the work of NGOs like RAN to expose these types of issues in their supply chains is simply unacceptable, and shows that the companies are not enforcing a moratorium of forest destruction themselves. The fate of the Leuser Ecosystem literally hangs in the balance, while these companies pump a steady stream of Conflict Palm Oil into the global marketplace.
“Consumers are losing patience, and the integrity of these brands’ reputations is at risk. If more immediate action is not taken to enforce “No Deforestation” policies, these brands will be remembered as the corporate giants responsible for the destruction of the Leuser Ecosystem, the last place on earth where Sumatran elephants, orangutans, rhinos and tigers roamed side by side.