What connects palm oil and Acacia plantations? Almost everything, starting with forest crimes. And with the major offender: the Indonesian industrial conglomerate Sinar Mas, which controls both sectors, and expand its plantations expelling the indigenous communities, destroying the last habitat of the Orang-utan and the Sumatran tiger, destroying one of the last tropical paradise and threatening the global climate.
It seems an exaggeration for a single company, but the industrial giant is the main single responsible for the destruction of the rainforests of Sumatra. The paper industry, managed by Asia Pulp & Paper (APP), the leading Indonesian paper group, and the palm oil sector is managed by a number of subsidiaries, are now completing the destruction of the moist forests of Sumatra and Borneo, while already planning the expansion into New Guinea.
A report released by Greenpeace in China, Thirty years of forest destruction, shows the responsibility of the APP - Sinar Mas over the past three decades of deforestation in Indonesia.
Greenpeace in China commissioned independent testing laboratory Integrated Paper Services, Inc. (IPS) to analyse fibres on five types of paper samples. The results proved that three out of five paper samples contained evidence of mixed tropical hardwood pulp originating from natural forests. Greenpeace estimates that the production process for every tonne of pulp produced by APP (Indonesia) in 2007 emitted 5.1 tonnes of CO2 due to the logging of natural forests and an estimated 29 tonnes of CO2 due to the destruction of Indonesia's carbon-rich peatland soils. In 2007, six APP (China) companies imported 309,000 tonnes of pulp from Indonesia from which they manufactured 4.39 million tonnes of paper products.
Greenpeace's report on the cost of APP China's business operation, in terms of forest destruction and climate impact, intensifies Sinar Mas Group's reputation as a forest and climate criminal. Greenpeace released an other report, Illegal Forest Clearance and RSPO Greenwash, to show how the Sinar Mas Group are breaking the law in their palm oil operations by clearing forest without the correct permits, and illegally draining and converting deep peat. This also breaches a number of the principles of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), of which some Sinar Mas companies are members. Sinar Mas is responsible for about 10% of Indonesia's palm oil production and supplies palm oil to multinationals including Carrefour, Nestl‚, Kraft and Proctor & Gamble. Sinar Mas is already well known for its involvement in illegal forest clearance through its pulp and paper subsidiary Asia Pulp and Paper (APP). As a result of this report Unilever - the world's biggest buyer of palm oil - has suspended all purchases of palm oil from Sinar Mas.