*Deforestation updates through December 2018 at the end of the post*
PT. Indo Sawit Perkasa (PT. ISP) has continued to clear critically important lowland rainforests in its palm oil concession. Between June 2016 and September 2018, 125 hectares of forests were destroyed within the PT. ISP concession. Approximately 100 hectares alone have been cleared since January 2018, indicating an increase in destruction over the past nine months. This destruction was done in violation of a circular letter issued by a former governor of Aceh in June 2016 that instructed all palm oil companies to cease forest clearance.
The PT. ISP concession covers over 1000 hectares of land located in the district of Subulussalam, in Aceh, and is located both inside and adjacent to the Leuser Ecosystem. Known as the Singkil-Bengkung region, this particular area of the Leuser Ecosystem provides vital habitat for critically endangered Sumatran tigers and elephants.
On October 12th, 2018, field investigators secured drone footage documenting the scale of forest destruction, logging and new road operations that are ongoing by PT. ISP. This evidence indicates that this rogue palm oil company is operating in violation of Indonesian law, specifically Indonesian Regulation No. 8/2018, enacted in September 2018, which outlaws forest clearance for palm oil.
Satellite monitoring has also revealed that fire hotspots were present inside the PT. ISP concession in August and September. Using fire to clear land is also illegal under Indonesian law.
PT. Indo Sawit Perkasa continues to be one of the worst culprits responsible for the ongoing destruction of lowland rainforests in the Leuser Ecosystem. RAN has exposed its destructive behavior previously and has called on major palm oil buyers Golden Agri-Resources (GAR), Wilmar and Musim Mas, to engage with and call on the company to stop further forest clearance as well as support efforts by government authorities to enforce a moratorium on forest clearance in the Leuser Ecosystem.
One of these buyers, GAR, has conducted a field visit to PT. ISP and found that the nearby mills lack adequate traceability and compliance systems to ensure they are not sourcing Conflict Palm Oil. This means that future consumers may be purchasing products made with palm oil produced by PT. ISP at the expense of the Leuser Ecosystem.
Update December 2018: Between September 19 and November 28, 2018, an additional 48 hectares of forests have been destroyed within the PT. ISP concession. A total of 173 hectares of forests have been cleared since the June 2016 Aceh government’s circular letter.