Palm Oil Industry Continues Indonesian Deforestation Despite Moratorium

The Indonesian palm oil industry continues to clear cut forests despite a national moratorium enacted in April 2016, according to a new report released by Rainforest Action Network Monday.

The report, entitled “Protecting the Leuser Ecosystem: A Shared Responsibility,” shows that rainforests and peatlands continue to be destroyed. Forest clearance has been witnessed by satellite analysis as recently as September 2016.

“It’s hard to adequately express the importance of the Leuser Ecosystem, both to the millions of Acehnese people who depend on it for their livelihoods and clean water, but also for the entire world, as it regulates our climate and provides a home to the last wild populations of Sumatran elephants, orangutans, tigers and rhinos still coexisting in the wild,” said Chelsea Matthews, Forest Campaigner for Rainforest Action Network (RAN).

“The scale of ongoing destruction in these critical areas makes it clear that more collective action is urgently needed now, or we risk losing the Leuser Ecosystem forever. The moratorium is having a positive effect, but with forests continuing to fall, we must act more aggressively to stop the destruction.”

The report cites the ongoing relationship between irresponsible palm oil sources in the region and the “Big Three Buyers”: major palm oil companies Wilmar International, Musim Mas Group, and Golden Agri-Resources. It also makes note of brands that are at continued risk of sourcing from problematic areas, including PepsiCo, Kraft Heinz, Nissin Foods, Toyo Suisan, and Tyson Foods.

The report was released during the 14th annual Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil in Bangkok, two years after RAN first exposed threats to the Leuser Ecosystem in November 2014 and days before an expected ruling on an Indonesian civil suit for the rejection of a flawed spatial plan for Aceh.

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Image care of Paul Hilton for RAN

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