April 13, 2018

RFN presents evidence of GAMA's irresponsible operations

( - Continuing from a news report posted by (Apr 12), which elaborated on how the operations of the AMS Ganda Group / GAMA Plantation exemplify irresponsible corporate practices, a report commissioned by Rainforest Foundation Norway (RFN) and published in May last year provides evidence of such reckless practices on the part of the global palm oil supplier.

In fact, the report discloses that the GAMA palm oil company PT GAN has been engaged in destructive practices since 2014 in an older concession. More specifically, PT GAN has cleared and drained an area in Indonesian Borneo equivalent in size to more than 15,000 soccer fields, consisting of peat forests which play host to the critically-endangered Bornean orangutan.

The report's findings have been backed up by a series of recent news reports from exposing that these business-as-usual practices are being undertaken by the very same company - PT GAN - in a new concession.

This concession, which was granted in September 2014 and represents an expansion of the GAMA palm oil company, is located adjacent to the older concession lying in a vast expanse of peatland in West Kalimantan's Kubu Raya regency.

The RFN-commissioned report, complemented by the news reports from, reveals that the operational activities of GAMA's PT GAN in both the older and new concession are practically identical. Essentially, since early 2014 there has been no change in the company's approach, with it continuing to clear and drain precious peat forests.

Furthermore, this state of affairs confirms that Wilmar's deforestation-free supply chain policy, declared in early December 2013, continues to prove ineffective when it comes to the Ganda Group / GAMA's irresponsible operations, considering that these operations have been incompatible with Wilmar's policy for more than four years.

It is not only Wilmar whose supply chains are tainted by an ongoing association with the Ganda Group / GAMA. Unilever, Nestle, PepsiCo, Bunge, P&G, IOI, General Mills, Kellogg's, Mars and other palm oil buyers have also continued to buy palm oil produced by the Ganda Group / GAMA over the last four years, seemingly unwilling or unable to disengage their supply chains from the controversial supplier.

Below are two Google Earth images, prepared by the spatial team by referring to the satellite images used in the RFN-commissioned report, which clearly prove how the Ganda Group / GAMA has been clearing and draining peat forests in the older PT GAN concession since early 2014.

This evidence shows that Wilmar's policy of zero deforestation in its supply chains - while it continues to purchase palm oil from the Ganda Group / GAMA - in reality has zero substance. 

Further evidence of peat violations

When RFN issued its report in May 2017, the GAMA palm oil company PT GAN had already started building new canals in its new concession which consists of two separate blocks equivalent in size to more than 3,200 soccer fields, an area much smaller than its older concession.

The recent development of these massive new canals by PT GAN, constituting further evidence of peat violations, was documented by the team in the final week of March this year, as depicted in the following photos:

As previously reported by (Apr 12), an Indonesian Environment and Forestry Ministry team is currently taking law enforcement measures on the ground against PT GAN for the peat violations it committed during 2017 after President Joko Widodo signed a revised government regulation banning any new peat development, including peat drainage.    

The situation makes it clear that the Ganda Group / GAMA's operations are not only representing unsustainable and irrresponsible (as pointed out in the RFN-commissioned report), but also do not comply with Indonesia's new peat regulations. The company thus fails on two fronts, old and new.

Destruction of Papuan HCS forests 

The RFN-commissioned report not only presents older evidence of the unsustainable practices of the Ganda Group / GAMA impinging on Borneo's orangutan-inhabited peat forests, but the Norwegian environmental NGO also brings to light additional evidence of the clearing of Papua's primary and secondary forests situated in the Ganda Group / GAMA concessions. One of the case studies used in the RFN report is that of PT APM.

In September 2017, also reported how PT APM, a Ganda Group / GAMA palm oil company, had cleared parts of high carbon stock (HCS) forests in one of its concession blocks. This harmful practice was detected using a spatial analysis conducted by the Indonesian forestry research-based NGO Greenomics Indonesia.

In March 2018, Greenomics once again divulged how PT APM was continuing to obliterate HCS forests, as also reported by (Mar 12). This recent spatial analysis by Greenomics provides the latest evidence of the GAMA company's transgressions, adding to that previously highlighted in the RFN report of May 2017.

All in all, the old evidence of the Ganda Group / GAMA's misdeeds, as presented in the RFN-commissioned report, alongside the new evidence produced by and Greenomics, confirms that this palm oil group's operations and practices remain both unsustainable and irresponsible.

Unfortunately, however, a number of prominent multinational corporations - some of which are mentioned in this news report - continue to include the Ganda Group / GAMA in their supply chains and purchase palm oil from this contentious supplier.