March 22, 2019

Peat drainage ongoing amid protests against EU’s delegated act

JAKARTA ( - Amid increasingly tense protests about the European Commission's delegated act on the sustainability criteria for biofuels, it seems that three global palm oil suppliers are disregarding the situation by continuing to clear and drain peat forests which are home to Bornean orangutans. 

The three global palm oil suppliers in question - Pundi Lahan Khatulistiwa, Saraswanti and Mulia Sawit Agro Lestari (MSAL) - are committing ongoing peat violations as they proceed with the expansion of their new palm oil plantations. 

PT PWA, a palm oil company belonging to the Pundi group, continues to undermine the strict sanction imposed on it by the Indonesian Environment and Forestry Minister by persistently perpetrating peat violations to make way for its new palm oil plantations. 

The following Planet Explorer images demonstrate the ongoing peat violations in the Pundi concession in West Kalimantan's Kubu Raya regency, which is inhabited by critically-endangered Bornean orangutans.

Other palm suppliers still implicated

Meanwhile, the Saraswanti group, another global palm oil supplier, is also relentlessly clearing and draining Bornean orangutan-inhabited peat forests in the absence of any law enforcement action from the ministry to stop these ongoing peat violations.

The Planet Explorer images below confirm that PT SAE, a Saraswanti company, is still removing peat forests to be replaced with new palm oil plantations in its concession in West Kalimantan's Landak regency. 

In addition to the violations carried out by the two global palm oil suppliers described above, the MSAL group is also continuing to bulldoze Bornean orangutan-inhabited peat forests to clear the way for its new palm oil plantations. These peat violations have also escaped any law enforcement action

The following Planet Explorer images clearly depict the unabated clearing and draining of peat forests by PT PEAK, an MSAL-controlled company, using the excuse of business reasons

Not only peat forests involved

The business-as-usual practices being carried out by these three global palm oil suppliers not only contravene Indonesia's peat regulations but are also causing the devastating loss of peat forests that play host to Bornean orangutans. 

It's not just peat forests that are being sacrificed. A palm oil company (PT PSM) is also going ahead with the clearing of dry land forested areas, which also form a habitat for Bornean orangutans, to expand its new palm oil plantations, as previously reported by ( Mar 18).

All of this ongoing deforestation, involving both peat and non-peat forests, is undoubtedly counterproductive, especially in light of the fact that these practices have been banned by President Joko Widodo through regulatory reforms pertaining to peatlands along with the moratorium imposed on palm oil expansion.