The amount of rainforest destruction in the Leuser Ecosystem has risen sharply in the critically important northeast lowlands of the Leuser over the first months of 2019. Satellite imagery and field investigations by Rainforest Action Network reveal that eight of the nine palm oil companies with concessions located in the lowland rainforests in the Leuser’s district of Aceh Timur have been actively clearing forests. A total of 606 acres was cleared during January to April 2019.
The lowlands of the Leuser Ecosystem are globally important forests and are disproportionately valuable for wildlife. They are uniquely rich in biodiversity and make up the core remaining habitat for critically endangered key species which are at serious risk of extinction, including Sumatran orangutans, elephants and tigers.
Satellite data from January to April 2019 shows that eight palm oil companies have violated the government of Indonesia’s moratorium on forest clearance for palm oil and the “No Deforestation” policies of snack food companies. Significant loss has occurred within the plantations of six companies: PT Nia Yulided (192 acres cleared), PT Putra Kurnia (74 acres cleared), PT Tualang Raya (108 acres cleared), PT Indo Alam (44 acres cleared), PT Tegas Nusantara (25 acres cleared) and the Indonesian government’s own palm oil company PT Perkebunan Nusantara (PTPN) I Blang Tualang (24 acres cleared).
The Indonesian government’s own palm oil company PTPN I Blang Tualang is producing oil palm fruit that is currently supplying palm oil to its mills which supply the global market including PepsiCo, Unilever, Nestle, Mondelez, Mars, Hershey’s, General Mills and Kellogg’s –– all of which have policies that should prohibit these companies from sourcing palm oil grown from deforestation. The other palm oil companies are clearing forests for new oil palm plantations –– ensuring the future supply of palm oil grown at the expense of critical forests.
RAN first exposed these companies for clearing these critical lowland rainforests in November 2015, and to date these brands have failed to monitor and intervene to stop forests from falling. The fact that these palm oil companies are not aware of, or not complying with, the “No Deforestation” policies of major brands demonstrates the brands’ failure to adequately implement their commitments where they matter most –– on the frontlines of palm oil expansion in critical forest landscapes, including the Leuser Ecosystem.
You can help stop the destruction by signing this petition that calls on Hershey’s, Mars, Mondelēz and Nestlé to use the billions of profits made off candy and chocolate to establish a proactive, transparent monitoring system. This system must show consumers where the palm oil that candymakers use is grown, and the actions that each company is taking to track where forests fall and how the company is intervening to keep forests standing.