FSC accepts complaint from Mighty Earth against “Last of the Big Deforesters” over massive rainforest clearing in Indonesia

Sydney Jones

Press Secretary

[email protected]

Carole Mitchell

Sr. Director Communications

[email protected]

Mighty Earth gives evidence to Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) showing that the secretive Alas Kusuma group is involved in clearing carbon-rich peatlands and orangutan habitat, as well as violation of traditional human rights in West Kalimantan

Link to FSC Complaint

The international forest certification body, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), has formally accepted a complaint by Mighty Earth against the Alas Kusuma group which holds multiple ‘eco-label’ certificates. In August the environmental advocacy organization submitted a complaint into the notoriously secretive Chinese-Indonesian family-owned group’s extensive violations of the FSC ‘Policy for Association.’

The complaint exposes how the Alas Kusuma group cleared nearly 20,000 hectares of rainforest in the period 2016-2022, with the majority of that in the group’s PT Mayawana Persada concession and on carbon-rich peatlands and within critical orangutan habitat.

Since filing the complaint, updated analysis by Mighty Earth shows that from January to August 2023, Alas Kusuma cleared almost 14,000 hectares of rainforest in the Mayawana Persada concession with an alarming 4,970 ha in July alone. In October an additional 2,567 ha of rainforest were cleared. The rainforests are being cleared to make way for monoculture timber plantations. Clearing more than 10,000 hectares of forests in the past five years violates the FSC ‘Policy for Association.’

Commenting on the FSC’s acceptance of the complaint, Amanda Hurowitz, Senior Director for Southeast Asia at Mighty Earth said:

“Alas Kusuma is one of the last of the big deforesters in Borneo. While deforestation in Indonesia has declined overall, Alas Kusuma is defying that progress by clearing vast areas of carbon-rich peatland forests with impunity to convert them into monoculture timber plantations, threatening villagers’ livelihoods and destroying habitat for critically endangered Bornean orangutans.

“Indigenous communities gather daily on the deforestation line in a desperate bid to stop the bulldozers and protect the rainforests where they have lived for generations, but they can’t do this on their own.

“We’re calling on the FSC to impose a moratorium to immediately stop the destruction as Alas Kusuma has extensively violated the FSC’s ‘Policy for Association’ through massive conversion of forests to plantations, destruction of high conservation value forests and violation of traditional and human rights.”

For more information or to arrange an interview please contact:

Carole Mitchell, Senior Director of Communications (based in UK) [email protected]

Background:

  • Alas Kusuma group of companies started in 1962 as a logging company1 and is now one of the largest holders of forestry and oil palm concessions in Indonesia, holding natural forest logging concessions, timber plantation concessions and oil palm concessions.
  • According to Sumitomo Forestry (as Alas Kusuma does not provide readily accessible information on its current group structure), Alas Kusuma held 750,000 hectares of natural forest logging concessions in Indonesia as of 2009.
  • Alas Kusuma first received FSC certification in September 2007 and holds 318,900 hectares of logging concessions that are certified. This represents approximately 10% of the total FSC-certified forest area in Indonesia

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