Satellite Data Shows Korindo Violates Deforestation Moratorium

Sydney Jones

Press Secretary

[email protected]

Carole Mitchell

Sr. Director Communications

[email protected]

This post was updated on February 16, 2017 at 4:30pm to include Korindo’s response.

Through ongoing satellite monitoring, Mighty has discovered that agribusiness Korindo has violated its moratorium on new land development announced for all of its palm oil operations. Korindo announced its moratorium on December 1, 2016 but satellite images, pictured below, taken on December 13, 2016, January 12, 2017, and February 10, 2017 show that Korindo clearly violated its commitments. Weeks after its moratorium, Korindo’s PT Papua Agro Lestari concession in the Indonesian island of Papua carved out plantation “blocks” on approximately 1,400 hectares of forest, an activity also known as “stacking”, which is the final step of land development prior to forest clearing. You can see the same lines of the plantation blocks in the brown area which has already been cleared.

In response to this evidence, Korindo wrote us that they had lifted the moratorium after conducting conservation assessments even though those assessments had not gone through quality review. Because of serious concerns about the credibility of their chosen assessor, the need for these assessments to undergo quality review before development was a primary topic of conversation in a meeting between Mighty and Papuan civil society groups and Korindo in Jakarta in January.

“When we met with Korindo in Jakarta three weeks ago they assured us that they were adhering to their moratorium and committed to the High Carbon Stock Approach, which doesn’t allow for deforestation. Yet, at the same time, Korindo’s bulldozers were getting ready to clear a huge area of forest,” said Deborah Lapidus, Mighty Campaign Director. “We are very disappointed at Korindo’s duplicity, and urge them to immediately halt all further development. Because of its lies Korindo is losing what little credibility it had, and serious scrutiny is needed: their sustainability assessments must be approved by the industry’s quality review panels before Korindo commences any further development.”

Korindo’s PT PAL concession. The new lines that appear on the two images on right are plantation blocks that Korindo has carved in the forest in the last two months, the final step prior to forest clearing. The plantation blocks on the image from Jan 13th cover 1,400 hectares, and by February 10th, 2,400 hectares.

Mighty will share this news with Korindo’s current and former customers and urge them to maintain suspensions of purchases from Korindo.  Pulp and paper giant APRIL, which represents a substantial volume of Korindo’s wood products business, recently told Mighty it has decided not to renew its contract with Korindo because of its non-compliance with APRIL’s No Deforestation and No Exploitation policy. As we announced previously, Korindo has already lost palm oil business from Wilmar, Musim Mas, ADM, IOI and dozens of major brand companies said they would ensure Korindo was excluded from their supply chains.

Korindo’s PT Papua Agro Lestari plantation © Mighty, 4 June 2016; Latitude 6°45’41.80″S, Longitude 140°48’18.78″E.

Korindo also sells wind towers to major wind energy companies such as Siemens, Gamesa, Nordex, and Iberdrola. In October, Mighty sent letters to these companies asking that they end their business with Korindo due to Korindo’s environmental destruction and major contribution to climate change, which is counter to the mission of clean energy deployment. A positive response from these customers seems to have helped convince Korindo to announce its forest clearing moratorium, but unfortunately, the progress was short-lived.

“Korindo’s wind energy customers made their desire for Korindo to become environmentally responsible loud and clear, but Korindo did not deliver.  Now it’s high time for these companies to end their contracts in order to preserve the integrity of their mission to mitigate climate change and their commitments to maintain responsible supply chains,” said Lapidus.

POSCO Daewoo getting ready to clear 4,000 hectares of forest

At the same time as Korindo was busy preparing for its next round of destruction despite all its promises, its neighbor in Papua, the Korean multi-industy company POSCO Daewoo, was doing just the same at its PT Bio Inti Agrindo (PT BIA) concession. Satellite imagery shows that in the last month POSCO Daewoo has drawn plantation blocks over nearly 4,000 hectares of forest in the eastern part of its concession, which will imminently be cleared unless Posco Daewoo’s buyers, investors, and bankers intervene right away. This is the area in brown in the satellite image below.

The brown is a forested area of 4,000 hectares that POSCO Daewoo is getting ready to clear, as indicated by the plantation blocks they have carved into the forest.

In total, POSCO Daewoo has cleared 7,500 hectares of forest at PT BIA between September 2015 and December 2016, 4,300 of which was just in the last half of 2016. (See satellite images below.) POSCO Daewoo’s ongoing destruction of Indonesia’s last intact forests has been exposed in several recent reports and investigations including those conducted by Greenpeace and Mighty, and has resulted in it losing investment from the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, the Norwegian Pension Fund. Yet, it continues business-as-usual deforestation.

POSCO Daewoo’s PT BIA: The area outlined in red was forested land cleared between Sept. 2015 (pictured on left) and Dec. 2016 (pictured on right), totaling 7,500 hectares.

“Korean companies think they can get away with deforestation in remote areas of Indonesia without being held accountable, but we want to let them know that the world is watching and Korean citizens are demanding action,” said Choony Kim, International Cooperation Coordinator with the Korea Federation for Environmental Movements. “These companies are bringing shame on themselves and they risk tarnishing the reputation of Korean industry.”

POSCO Daewoo’s PT BIA concession © Mighty; 5 June 2016.
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