Massive deforestation for palm oil plantation in Papua. Image: Mighty Earth
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) has announced that it will investigate the Indonesian oil palm operations of Korean agribusiness conglomerate Korindo in response to a formal complaint submitted by environmental group Mighty Earth.
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), one of the world’s most influential sustainable forestry certification bodies, has announced that it will investigate the Indonesian oil palm operations of Korean agribusiness conglomerate Korindo in response to a formal complaint submitted by environmental group Mighty Earth.
The group submitted the complaint to the FSC on May 15, 2017, together with evidence that Mighty Earth said showed the Korindo Group has, since 2013, cleared more than 30,000 hectares (over 74,000 acres) of rainforest for palm oil production in the Indonesian provinces of Papua and North Maluku.
“The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) has formally accepted a Policy for Association (PfA) complaint submitted by Mighty Earth against Korindo Group (Korindo) for ‘Significant conversion of forests to plantations or non-forest use’,” the certification body confirmed in a statement released today.
“This complaint falls under the scope of FSC Policy for Association (FSC-POL-01-004) and concerns Korindo Group certificate holders PT Korintiga Hutani, PT Aspex Kumbong, PT Korindo Abadi Asike and PT Korindo Ariabima Sari.”
Like all Korindo affiliated companies, Korindo’s palm oil operations are committed to operating in a sustainable manner.
Yulian Riza, corporate communication manager, Korindo Group
In its Policy for the Association of Organizations with FSC (PfA), the certification body lists a number of “unacceptable forest-related activities” in which companies cannot directly or indirectly engage — essentially giving the FSC a means of protecting its reputation and “ability to deliver on its mission” should a company with certified operations be found to be responsible for unsustainable practices in some of its other operations.
Among the practices the policy prohibits is the “Significant conversion of forests to plantations or non-forest use,” defined as companies converting High Conservation Value Forests or converting more than 10,000 hectares (just under 25,000 acres) of the forests under their control within the past five years.
The FSC policy goes on to state that “Failure of the 10,000 ha threshold does not lead to disassociation per se, but will lead to a case by case investigation by an independent Complaints Panel. In judging the case, the Panel will take into account the local circumstances, the scale of the operation and plans for continued conversion.”
Last year, Mighty Earth commissioned research consultancy AidEnvironment to conduct a satellite analysis of eight Korindo oil palm concessions in Papua and North Maluku, which led to the finding that the company, through a variety of subsidiaries, was responsible for 30,000 hectares of deforestation, as well as nearly 900 fire hotspots.
Korindo has not earned the good reputation that comes along with holding FSC certification and has violated the trust of its wood products customers who believed that the certification brought assurances of sustainability.
Deborah Lapidus, campaign director, Mighty Earth