April 12, 2018

GAMA operations exemplify irresponsible company

( - The operations of the AMS Ganda Group / GAMA Plantation in Indonesia, which remain linked to the deforestation of Papua’s high carbon stock (HCS) forests as well as peat destruction in Borneo to make way for new palm oil plantations, are regarded as irresponsible corporate practices.

The company has seemingly been unable to put an end to these business as-usual-practices.

In response to efforts to end this deforestation of Papua’s pristine rainforest, Rainforest Foundation Norway (RFN) has reaffirmed the need for the involvement of a responsible private sector as well as firm government legal action.

RFN asserted that the operations of companies that violate Indonesian law should be immediately stopped. The Norwegian environmental group went even further, stressing that any punishment meted out to companies proved to have flouted the law should be severe as part of a robust legal response from the government.

Anja Lillegraven, RFN’s Head of Southeast Asia and Oceania Division, conveyed these hard-hitting points in a written response to (Apr 11) in which she also made a general appeal to all companies to end deforestation.

Below are three photos depicting the type of peat violations perpetrated by GAMA’s palm oil company PT GAN, which undertook the construction of massive new canals in two of its concession blocks situated in West Kalimantan’s Kubu Raya regency. 

Law enforcement underway 

In December 2016, President Joko Widodo signed a revised government regulation serving as the basis for a ban on any new peat development. This decisive move on the part of the President was largely a reaction to 2015’s catastrophic peat fires.

Essentially, however, the GAMA palm oil company chose to ignore the government ban by going ahead with the building of new canals after it was enacted. Making matters worse, the two concession blocks in which PT GAN dug the canals form part of Indonesia’s peat restoration sites and protection zones.

An update obtained by (Apr 10) confirms that the Indonesian Ministry of the Environment and Forestry is currently taking law enforcement action on the ground in response to the GAMA company’s peat violations. 

The enormous new canal development by PT GAN, as evidenced in the photos below, indisputably amounts to peat violations, as stipulated in the revised government regulation.

Open their eyes

Given the undeniable peat violations carried out by the GAMA company PT GAN, the ongoing sourcing of palm oil from GAMA’s mills by global palm oil players, such as Wilmar, Unilever, Nestle, PepsiCo, Bunge, P&G, IOI, General Mills, Kellogg’s, Mars and others, places a huge question mark over the sincerity of the business transformation these giant companies claim to be doing.

As previously reported by (Apr 9), palm oil buyers, including those mentioned above, have been asked to remove GAMA from their supply chains as proof of their commitment to staying consistent with their own sustainability policies.

The pressure being put on these global palm oil buyers indicates that their promises of business transformation, as expressed in carefully-crafted words on their websites and in press releases, are not enough.

What is really required is for these companies to open their eyes to the continuing tragic deforestation of Papua’s HCS forests and destruction of Borneo’s peatlands, both of which are inextricably tied to GAMA’s operations, and take the bold move of cutting this controversial palm oil supplier from their existing supply chains.