Illegal Oil Palm and Impunity Still Undermining Indonesia’s Flagship Timber Reforms

Bogor, 7 June 2017. Timber logged illegally in and around a rogue oil palm plantation is being certified legal under Indonesia’s flagship timber certification system, despite repeated NGO reports to police, forestry enforcement officials, and certification professionals, a new report reveals.

The report – Still Permitting Crime – published today by Indonesia’s Independent Forest Monitoring Network (JPIK) and the UK-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), exposes continued and renewed illegal logging in and around the palm plantation of PT Prasetya Mitra Muda (PT PMM), in Gunung Mas district, Central Kalimantan province.

Criminal deforestation by PT PMM was initially exposed by JPIK and EIA in a November 2014 report – Permitting Crime – and was repeatedly reported to Indonesian officials since then. But on-going research and field investigations in 2016 and early 2017 reveal that the crimes continued while the Indonesian Government has failed to act.

Illegal acts still being perpetrated by PT PMM include continued clear-cutting inside its operation area after required permits expired, and clear-cutting forests outside its licensed area.

During 2016, the timber from PT PMM’s illegal clear-cutting was certified as legal under Indonesia’s flagship Timber Legality Verification System (SVLK – Sistim Verifikasi Legalitas Kayu) by PT Inti Multima Sertifikasi (PT IMS), a certification body.

The same company also certified some of the 12 sawmills – many operating illegally – within PT PMM’s plantation, most of which are processing logs cut within and around PT PMM’s plantation, and taking advantage of woefully lax law enforcement in Gunung Mas district.

 “Repeated complaints submitted by JPIK and EIA to the authorities have not stopped PT PMM’s illegal activities. While the police have failed to enforce the law, more forests are being cleared illegally”, said Dhio Teguh Ferdyan, a JPIK Campaigner.

“Compounding this impunity, dodgy auditors have failed to conduct due diligence on their clients, and have certified these crimes as legal. Serious weaknesses in complaint handling within the SVLK system has also prevented accountability,” explained Dhio.

EIA Forest Campaigner Audrey Versteegen said “Impunity for illegal palm oil developments and compromised certifications are undermining key forestry reforms in Indonesia. The government needs to revoke fraudulent SVLK certificates, enforce the law, and penalise fraudulent certification bodies.”

JPIK and EIA’s report makes a range of recommendations to Indonesia’s government, including investigating logging permits for palm oil plantation in Gunung Mas District, and non-compliance with the SVLK by both timber producers and certification bodies.

 

Editor’s Note:

  • JPIK is the Independent Forest Monitoring Network of Indonesia, agreed and declared on September 23rd It now consists of 51 Non-Governmental Organization members active across Indonesia, from Aceh to Papua. The establishment of JPIK is a commitment of Indonesia’ civil society to contribute actively towards a better national forest governance.
  • The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) is an independent organization founded in 1984. It is an international campaign organization committed to carrying out investigation work and expose environmental crimes. EIA have been investigating illegal logging in Indonesia since 1999.
  • The SVLK (Sistim Verifikasi Legalitas Kayu /Timber Legality Verification System), was passed into law in 2009, and is a mandatory legality certification to be applied to all timber harvested, processed, traed and exported in Indonesia. JPIK is formally recognised as an Independent Monitor of the SVLK in Indonesia.

 

Contacts for Interviews:

JPIK: Dhio Teguh Ferdyan: +62 81374139842; dhio.jpik@gmail.com
EIA: Audrey Versteegen: +44 2073547960; audreyversteegen@eia-international.org;

 

The press release file can be downloaded in the following link Still permitting crime doc