CAA palm oil company keeps expanding with peat violations 

(foresthints.news) - PT AGL, a palm oil company operating in one of Indonesia’s peat restoration priority regencies, is continuing to clear forested peatlands in violation of the ban on new peat development imposed by Environment and Forestry Minister Dr Siti Nurbaya in early November 2015.

The whole of this palm oil concession, which is located in Central Kalimantan’s Pulang Pisau regency, forms part of the habitat of the Bornean orangutan, according to data from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

PT AGL operates under the management of the CAA group (Ciliandry Angky Abadi). The company obtained a palm oil plantation development permit in June 2014 for an area the equivalent of almost nine thousand soccer fields, a significant amount of which consists of forested peatlands.

“I have instructed my law enforcement team to carry out an on-the-ground check as well as to take any necessary legal action against the palm oil company (PT AGL),” Minister Siti Nurbaya explained to foresthints.news (July 7) at the ministry building.

The minister cautioned that PT AGL must end all of its operations linked to new peat development as there are now new peat regulations in place which outlaw such business-as-usual practices.

The following Google Earth images captured during 2015-2016 were produced by the minister to prove that PT AGL has indeed been committing peat violations despite the prohibition on new peat development which has been in force since early November 2015.

Continually expanding peat violations

In early December last year, President Joko Widodo signed a newly-revised government regulation on peat protection and management which strictly outlaws any new peat development.

Nevertheless, the CAA palm oil company has displayed indifference and disobedience to the President's signature on this new peat development ban by continuing to clear forested peatlands as well as construct new canals.

Using USGS Landsat 8 and ESA Sentinel-2 images from February to June 2017, the ministry was able to clearly show the expansive nature of the peat violations perpetrated by the CAA palm oil company.

The minister gave a stern warning to companies, especially forestry and palm oil companies, not to try commit peat violations as her ministry is consistently performing monitoring and taking appropriate law enforcement steps.

“The ministry’s monitoring indicates that a number of companies are still committing peat violations in several provinces, such as Riau and South Sumatra,” the minister pointed out.

She added that these companies should not be surprised, or make counterproductive maneuvers, when they are hit by law enforcement action

Peat violations linked to supply chains

The Environment and Forestry Minister asserted that any company violating the new peat regulations is, in effect, declaring its willingness to face legal action from the government.  

The new peat development undertaken by PT AGL, encompassing peat forests which play host to the Bornean orangutan, she continued, adds it to the ranks of companies involved in peat violations which have been subjected to law enforcement measures by the ministry.

Palm oil traders and buyers that have pledged to clean up their supply chains, disengaging themselves from deforestation and peat development practices, certainly need to take another look at these supply chains to ensure they are not linked to the violations committed by the CAA palm oil company.

For its part, the Jokowi Widodo administration has demonstrated unwavering consistency - backed up by various pieces of legal evidence - in cracking down on companies proven to be engaged in peat violations. The CAA group, one of the most important palm oil players in Indonesia, is no exception in this regard.