Palm oil companies have long been criticised for their damaging clearance, of both forests and peatlands, which contributes significantly to global warming. It is estimated that Indonesia, where deforestation is still increasing despite Presidential promises to halt it, is the world’s third highest emitter of green house gases. This is mainly due to large scale land clearance for palm oil plantations, pulp and paper ventures and transmigration. Considering the ineffectiveness of Government efforts, getting companies to set aside forest and peatland areas within their concessions seems like a sensible way to limit the problem. But, given that most concessions are handed out by governments without first recognising and securing the lands of local communities,what are the implications of these set-asides for the rights and livelihoods of forest peoples?
A new report, launched today, shows that efforts by one of Indonesia’s largest palm oil companies, PT SMART, to set aside forests as ‘carbon stores’ in the centre of Borneo are flawed. Indigenous peoples and local fisherfolk are objecting to the way these impositions curtail their land rights and restrict their livelihoods.
Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) is coming under intensifying scrutiny over its renewed promises to bring its giant mills and supply chains into compliance with best practice norms for sustainability and its new promises that it will respect the rights of local communities and indigenous peoples. Recently, Marcus Colchester, as Co-Chair of the High Conservation Values Resource Network and Director of FPP, and Patrick Anderson, FPP's Policy Advisor in Indonesia, met with APP's Head of Sustainability, Aida Greenbury, and her team of advisers and consultants, to clarify the company's commitments.