February 4, 2019

Palm oil supplier continues to disrespect govt sanction

( - A global palm oil supplier, the Pundi Lahan Khatulistiwa group, is continuing to disobey the sanction imposed on it by the Indonesian Environment and Forestry Ministry by persisting in the clearing and draining of Bornean orangutan-inhabited peat forests for its palm oil expansion. 

The palm oil concession concerned, the major land cover of which comprises forested peatlands, lies in West Kalimantan’s Kubu Raya regency. Last year, the Pundi group purchased this concession from the Triputra group.  

As earlier reported by in December 2018, the ministry issued a strict sanction against the Pundi palm oil company in question (PT PWA) after ground evidence showed that the company was committing peat violations. 

However, by late December last year, as also previously reported by (Jan 3), the Pundi company was still going ahead with the removal of the Bornean orangutan-inhabited peat forests in its concession while Wilmar's supply chain was still inextricably tied to Pundi's palm oil.

Despite its disengagement from the Pundi mill as a supplier starting from early December 2018, Wilmar still retains supply chains linked to Pundi’s palm oil through indirect sourcing, as was subsequently disclosed by a report (Jan 7). 

The three Planet Explorer images below, presented by the spatial team, prove that the Pundi palm oil company was still bulldozing the Bornean orangutan’s habitat in its concession until the end of January this year. 

Nestlé’s meaningless position?

Nestlé’s indirect supply chain is also tied to the Pundi company’s continued peat violations, given that its direct suppliers, ADM, Bunge and Sime Darby, still source palm oil from Pundi which then fills up the Swiss giant’s palm oil tanks.    

In response to a question put to Nestlé by in October last year (Oct 15), the company’s spokesperson asserted that it does not tolerate such practices, not only in the Pundi palm oil concession but anywhere in its supply chain.

“We are deeply concerned about the issues related to Pundi Lahan Khatulistiwa, and are actively working with our suppliers and supply chain partners to ensure that such practices are not tolerated anywhere in the supply chain,” the Nestlé spokesperson wrote. 

Below are three photos taken in late September last year by the ministry depicting the peat violations perpetrated in the PT PWA concession. These served as the basis of the imposition of the sanction against the Pundi company which nonetheless has not put an end to the peat violations.

However, there has been no new announcement from Nestlé about blacklisting its direct and indirect suppliers that remain engaged in the Bornean orangutan peat forest drainage.  

ADM and Bunge, for example, are continuing to supply palm oil to Nestlé despite their links to companies destroying Bornean orangutan-inhabited peat forests. 

Joint venture, joint statement  

In addition, ADM also operates a full-function joint venture with Wilmar which, according to its website, offers customers around the globe a comprehensive portfolio of edible oils and fats. 

Wilmar’s new policy measures have also not resulted in any reaction or action whatsoever with regard to its joint venture partner which continues to source palm oil from companies, not only the Pundi group, that show no sign of ending their razing of Bornean orangutan-inhabited peat forests.  

Furthermore, Unilever and Mondelez, which in early December last year became the supporting signatories to a joint statement between Wilmar and AidEnvironment aimed at creating a deforestation-free palm oil supply chain, still retain supply chains that are engaged with Pundi's palm oil.

This case adds to the list of undeniable evidence pointing to the fact that global palm oil supply chains continue to be associated with the ongoing destruction of the critically-endangered Bornean orangutan’s habitat.