April 9, 2018

Buyers pressed to suspend palm oil purchasing from GAMA

JAKARTA ( - Recent evidence showing how the AMS Ganda Group / GAMA Plantation is still clearing Papua's high carbon stock (HCS) forests, as well as undertaking massive canal development in Borneo's relatively intact forests for new palm plantation expansion, means that the group is increasingly being branded as an irresponsible palm oil supplier.

Wilmar and Unilever, along with other palm oil buyers, especially those that have committed to adopting deforestation-free supply chains, are now being pressured to immediately suspend palm oil purchases from GAMA Plantation if they truly respect responsible global palm oil supply chains.

GAMA Plantation continues to tarnish its already bad reputation as a global palm oil supplier that consistently refuses to end deforestation and peat destruction practices. As such, the controversial palm oil business group doesn’t deserve to be included in responsible global supply chains.

This was the scathing assessment delivered by Mighty Earth, a global environmental organization based in Washington DC, with regard to GAMA Plantation in an email to (Apr 7).

Mighty Earth’s Campaign Director Deborah Lapidus strongly condemned GAMA’s actions in the correspondence. “From the destruction of Borneo's peatlands to Papua's pristine rainforests, GAMA repeatedly surfaces as one of the most rogue palm oil companies that refuses to end its deforestation.”

The photos below depict examples of recently-developed canals in relatively intact peat forests in the GAMA palm oil concession located in West Kalimantan’s Kubu Raya regency. This concession is inhabited by the critically-endangered Bornean orangutan.

Lapidus’ criticism of GAMA was particularly forceful as she wrote, “GAMA Plantation has no place within responsible supply chains and should be immediately suspended by Wilmar, Unilever, and all other palm oil buyers.”

A united stance

Echoing Mighty Earth's position on this matter, AidEnvironment Asia - a consultancy and research group which focuses heavily on business transformation - reaffirmed its hope that companies which have adopted a "No Deforestation, No Peat and No Exploitation" (NDPE) policy exclude GAMA Plantation from their supply chains.

In early December 2013, Wilmar declared an NDPE policy with a transition period until December 2015. However, both during and after this transition period, Wilmar's supply chains were constantly associated with deforestation and peat destruction, in particular that stemming from the AMS Ganda Group / GAMA Plantation.

The following photos demonstrate the peat destruction wrought by GAMA Plantation. Despite this, Wilmar has failed to disengage from this palm oil group or disassociate itself from its irresponsible supply chains. In other words, Wilmar’s NDPE policy so far amounts to an empty promise.

“In line with most NDPE sourcing policies, we expect buyers to now exclude GAMA and GSU (Ganda Sawit Utama) mills from their supply chains because the non-compliance (of GAMA and GSU) is expressly defiant of these policies,” urged Eric Wakker, a top executive at AidEnvironment Asia, in a written response to a question from (Apr 7).

As previously reported by (Apr 4), the San Francisco-based environmental group Rainforest Action Network (RAN) also stated that Unilever, PepsiCo and Nestle, along with their supplier Wilmar, have failed to disengage their supply chains from bad actors that continue to destroy peatlands across Indonesia.

One of these bad actors, among the world's palm oil suppliers, to which RAN was referring is GAMA Plantation - due to its ongoing harmful practices of HCS forest clearing and peat destruction. Nonetheless, Wilmar strangely still sources palm oil from GAMA Plantation in clear contravention of its self-declared NDPE policy.

Meanwhile, Unilever, which recently announced that it will be taking radical steps to transform its business through greater transparency - including by disclosing the palm oil it sources - also seems oddly powerless to suspend its palm oil purchases from GAMA Plantation.