Months After Being Caught Red-Handed, Rogue Indonesian Palm Oil Producer Persists in Destruction of Leuser Forests

Global food brands watch forest fall in concessions of  PT. Nia Yulided Bersaudara, but fail to halt deforestation

Four months after RAN’s last expose of the palm oil company PT. Nia Yulided Bersaudara (PT. NYB), the rogue company has been caught once again destroying lowland rainforests in the Leuser Ecosystem. RAN has documented that PT NYB has reduced the forest cover inside its concession area by over 600 hectares since major brands like Unilever, Nestle, PepsiCo, Ferrero, Procter & Gamble and Mondelez committed to halt deforestation for palm oil. 

The ongoing destruction of forests inside this critical lowland rainforest corridor in the Leuser Ecosystem has been happening whilst these brands claim to be utilizing the best available technology to monitor and halt deforestation in their palm oil supply chains. It is clear that these monitor systems are not being effectively used to prevent deforestation in one of the most important rainforests left on the planet. 

Forest destruction inside PT. Nia Yulided Bersaudara’s palm oil concession. December 2020. 

Unilever and Nestlé have publicly denounced the company by placing it on their No-Buy list, but have failed to engage directly with the owner of the plantation––Dedy Sartika, a son in law of the former acting governor of the province of Aceh, Tarmizi Abdul Karim, and the President Director of PT. NYB. Their palm oil suppliers Musim Mas Group, Golden Agri Resources, APICAL and Wilmar have also failed to engage with the palm oil company to encourage it to halt forest destruction and adhere to requirements for responsibly produced palm oil.

The forest cleared by PT NYB is part of a critical corridor for a herd of Sumatra’s last elephants. Credit: Paul Hilton/RAN 

RAN’s field investigation in January 2021 showed that the company was destroying forests in violation of the government policy designed to halt forest clearance for palm oil development and the President of Indonesia’s commitment to enforce this moratorium in the Leuser Ecosystem. Satellite imagery since then, and as recently as July, shows that the company has continued to clear forests and the Indonesian and Aceh provincial and district governments have not taken action to review and revoke the permit of PT. NYB. The time is now for brands to work alongside local governments in Aceh and Aceh Timur to halt forest destruction by PT. Nia Yulided Bersaudara and to protect the High Conservation Value forests inside and surrounding its concession. 

Satellite imagery showing forest loss inside PT Nia Yulided Bersaudara’s concession. July 2021. Nestlé

Forest loss inside PT Nia Yulided Bersaudara’s concession. June 2021. Over 30 hectares were cleared in June 2021

New roads being pushed into rainforests inside PT Nia Yulided Bersaudara’s concession. December 2020.