The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Bustar Maitar, Greenpeace forest campaigner, (in Jakata), tel: +62 813 4466 6135
Martin Baker, Greenpeace communications, (in Jakata), tel: +62 813 1582 9513
Greg McNevin, Greenpeace communications, (in Amsterdam) +31 (0) 6 2900 1152
John Novis, Greenpeace International photo editor (in Beijing), tel: +86 (0) 1301 1851 643

Under Fire Rainforest Destroyer Caught Breaking Promises

New investigation shows Indonesia’s largest palm and pulp group still destroying critical habitats

JAKARTA, Indonesia

A new Greenpeace
investigation into the operations of Sinar Mas, one the most notorious
destroyers of Indonesia's rainforests, reveals how it is continuing to
break its own environmental commitments on protecting forests and

Publishing new photographic evidence, aerial monitoring and
field analysis [1], Greenpeace International today details how the Sinar
Mas group continues to clear rainforest containing priceless
biodiversity - such as orang-utan habitat - and carbon-rich peatlands,
despite public promises it has made to clean up its act.

revelations also highlight Sinar Mas' ambitions to expand its pulp and
palm oil empire into millions more hectares across Indonesia, including
large tracts of rainforest and peatland in the province of Papua. These
ambitions are outlined in confidential Sinar Mas documents obtained by
Greenpeace. Last week, the head of Sinar Mas' palm oil division
confirmed the company's intentions to expand its empire by an additional
1 million hectares. [2]

Sinar Mas claims not to
develop on peatland and to protect forests of 'high conservation value'.
Earlier Greenpeace investigations repeatedly documented cases where
Sinar Mas operations actively cleared rainforest and peatland areas,
including tiger and orang-utan habitats. Now today's report exposes
current rainforest destruction by Sinar Mas in two of its concessions on
the island of Borneo.

In the first case, a
confidential Sinar Mas document shows that nearly one-third of the
concession area is peatland, almost all of which is deep peat that would
be illegal to develop under Indonesian law. Greenpeace photographs show
plant operators engaged in active rainforest clearance in the peatland
area. In the second case, Greenpeace photographs document recent
clearance of rainforest areas of orang-utan habitat, identified by a
United Nations Environment Programme study. [3]

both cases the photographs were taken by a Greenpeace photographer
accompanied by journalists from respected news operations Reuters, AFP
and Kompas.

Following the latest revelations
Greenpeace is calling on Sinar Mas to come clean and make public its
maps detailing all its landholdings, to enable analysis of which areas
are critically important for biodiversity and climate protection, and
what it is doing in those areas.

"We've caught
Sinar Mas red-handed destroying valuable rainforests, and breaching the
limited promises it has made to clean up its act. This is typical of a
group that has an appalling record of environmental destruction. Sinar
Mas has to be reigned in if there is to be a future for what's left of
Indonesia's rainforests. Until this group changes course, other
businesses should have nothing to do with Sinar Mas," said Bustar
Maitar, Greenpeace forest campaigner.

disclosures come on the day Sinar Mas had planned to publish an audit it
commissioned into its own activities in a small number of its palm oil
operations, in response to revelations made in earlier Greenpeace
reports. The company's audit was not designed to assess its practices
across all of its operations, but instead to examine allegations made by
Greenpeace in recent years. The evidence released by Greenpeace today
includes photographs of peat and forest clearance in a concession due to
feature in the Sinar Mas audit. PR company Bell Pottinger (which Sinar
Mas has hired to run the publicity around the audit) was this week
forced to announce it was postponing its publication.

Pottinger also represents disgraced oil trading company Trafigura,
which was convicted last week of illegally exporting toxic waste to
Africa. [4]

In recent months several leading
multinationals - including Unilever, Kraft and Nestle - have responded
to Greenpeace's evidence by ending their contracts with Sinar Mas.
However, Greenpeace is calling on others, including trading giant
Cargill, to take immediate action to remove rainforest destruction from
their supply chain.

New Greenpeace investigation, published today, can be found here:


[1] See

[2] London Sunday Times, 25 July 2010 - <>
(available with subscription only)

[3] The Sinar Mas concessions where this year Greenpeace found the
company breaking its commitments are:

  • The PT Agro Lestari Mandiri concession in Ketapang district, West Kalimantan
    The PT Bangun Nusa Mandiri concession in Ketapang district, West Kalimantan

Earlier Greenpeace reports detailing Sinar Mas practices can be found here:

According to the HCV map reproduced in a January 2010 internal Sinar
Mas report obtained by Greenpeace, the PT ALM concession area contains
an extensive peat dome covering nearly one-third of the concession
area with the vast majority of this 3 metres deep, clearance of which
would be illegal under Indonesian law. Any clearance of peatland
post-November 2009 violates GAR explicit policy and SMART commitments.

[4] The Guardian, "How UK oil company Trafigura tried to cover up
African pollution disaster", 16 September 2009,
The Guardian, "Trafigura fined EUR1m for exporting toxic waste to
Africa", 23 July 2010,

Greenpeace is a global, independent campaigning organization that uses peaceful protest and creative communication to expose global environmental problems and promote solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future.

+31 20 718 2000