I made this widget at MyFlashFetish.com.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Tough week for Sinar Mas

Food giant NestlĂ© found itself on the defensive, with the release of a report from Greenpeace criticizing the company for buying palm oil from Sinar Mas.  This comes three months after the largest buyer of palm oil, Unilever, announced that it would no longer be purchasing palm oil from Sinar Mas, followed a month later by a similar announcement from Kraft Foods.  NestlĂ©’s immediate response that Sinar Mas palm oil was only used in products sold on the domestic market, a practice that they would discontinue, showed how controversial Sinar Mas has become internationally.  Western consumers are becoming increasingly concerned about palm oil plantations that have been clearing forests across the archipelago, destroying local habitats, particularly in Sumatera, Borneo and Papua where most of the remaining rainforests are located in Indonesia. 

A much less reported victory for local resistance against oil palm happened on March 18 in West Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo).  Two local indigenous leaders, Japin and Vitalis Andi, were released from custody after spending more than three weeks in a Ketapang jail for opposing a Sinar Mas oil palm plantation which is destroying indigenous lands.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Indonesia's Protected Forests Now Open to Development

Indonesia continues to have one of the highest rates of 
deforestation in the world. (Reuters Photo/Yusuf Ahmad)
Indonesia continues to have one of the highest rates of deforestation in the world. (Reuters Photo/Yusuf Ahmad)

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has signed a decree to allow mining, power plants and other projects deemed strategically important to take place in protected forests.

The decree, which took effect on Feb. 1, is certain to anger environmental groups given that the country already has one of the fastest rates of deforestation in the world.

“The use of forest areas for development activities can be done for unavoidable strategic purposes,” said the decree, which said key development projects included power plants, renewable energy, toll roads and train lines.

The decree said open-pit and underground mining could take place in production forests, which is a forest area considered neglected or abandoned after trees have been cut.