December 18, 2018

Shadow company tests new Wilmar policy measures

( - The practice of deforesting Indonesian high carbon stock (HCS) forests, which are also home to the critically-endangered Bornean orangutan, for the continuing expansion of palm oil plantations is still carrying on in the PT PSM concession.

According to an analysis by Chain Reaction Research (CRR) published in June 2018, PT PSM - which lies in West Kalimantan’s Ketapang regency - is a shadow company belonging to Bintang Harapan Desa (BHD). 

Data from AidEnvironment, which was referenced by CRR, has revealed that BHD is one of the suppliers to Wilmar, which recently announced new policy measures aimed at removing ‘dirty palm oil’ from its supply chains (Dec 10).

On the same date, Greenpeace also posted a press release regarding this new policy upgrade from Wilmar, titled “Breakthrough as world’s largest palm oil trader gives forest destroyers nowhere to hide”. 

The Planet Explorer images below, provided by Greenomics Indonesia, which has been consistent from the beginning in exposing this case, show ongoing HCS deforestation in the PT PSM concession, which according to CRR is a mere shadow company of BHD, a supplier of Wilmar.

Mondelez & Unilever linked 

In addition to Wilmar, AidEnvironment has found that AKK and Bunge also source palm oil from BHD, as disclosed in CRR’s June 2018 report. Furthermore, the palm oil mills from which Mondelez sources, as made public by the company itself, include AKK and Bunge which thus form part of its indirect palm oil supplier network.

It is not only Mondelez which is involved. The supply chain of Unilever is also linked to the HCS forest clearing being done by the BHD shadow company. 

Unilever and Mondelez are supporting signatories of a joint statement (Dec 7) released by Wilmar and AidEnvironment about the creation of a deforestation-free palm oil supply chain with the objective of stepping up efforts in supplier group mapping and engagement.

As it stands, the RSPO and TFT policy standards have been unable to put an end to the HCS forest clearing in the PT PSM concession which continues to supply their members with tainted palm oil.

Making matters worse, this company is going ahead with the removal of good forest cover even after the imposition of the recent palm oil expansion moratorium by President Joko Widodo (Sep 19).

It goes without saying that the new Wilmar policy measures should be given a chance to see to what extent they can address this case. On the other hand, no excuses should be given if the relevant evidence in this case is mishandled.