Ten oil palm concessions in Indonesia have already cleared 8,100 hectares of forest and peat in 2022 so far
Indonesia remains the deforestation hotspot in the region according to an analysis conducted by AidEnvironment of the oil palm concession companies in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Papua New Guinea with the most deforestation in the first six months of 2022. The top ten concessions collectively contributed to 8,100 hectares of deforestation and these ten concessions are all located in Indonesia. Two out of the concession companies are located in Papua, three are in Sumatra, and the rest are in Kalimantan.
1. PT Pipit Citra Perdana
The most deforestation within oil palm concessions between January to June 2022 was detected on the oil palm concession belonging to PT Pipit Citra Perdana in Tana Tidung, North Kalimantan. A total of 1,600 ha of deforestation was found within the concession. PT Pipit Citra Perdana is a part of Pipit Group, a company owned by Kristianto Kandi Saputro and family. There is little information on Kristianto Kandi Saputro, except for some apparent links to a coal mining company, PT Pipit Mutiara Jaya. A website that appears to be inactive also shows that Pipit Group has several business lines, including engineering, logistics, mining, and palm oil companies. Pipit Group is known to own another oil palm plantation company called PT Nunukan Bara Sukses. There are no known links between Pipit Group and any supply chains, either those covered by No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation (NDPE) policies or those supplying the leakage markets.
Figure 1 Deforestation by PT Pipit Citra Perdana Between January to June 2022
2. PT Usaha Sawit Unggul
The second highest amount of deforestation detected was undertaken by PT Usaha Sawit Unggul in Mandailing Natal, North Sumatra. The first half of 2022 saw PT Usaha Sawit Unggul’s operations clear as much as 1,500 ha of forest. PT Usaha Sawit Unggul used to be part of Asian Agri Group, which is part of Royal Golden Eagle (RGE). PT Usaha Sawit Unggul is now operating under Jalan Abesin Limited, a group company registered in the British Virgin Islands. Jalan Abesin Ltd. does not appear to publish any public information, hence there is no information available regarding the supply chain of the group of companies.
Figure 2 Deforestation by PT Usaha Sawit Unggul Between January to June 2022
3. PT Permata Sawit Mandiri
The third largest deforesting concession is PT Permata Sawit Mandiri. The concession has appeared previously in Aidenvironment’s deforestation analysis and has long been on the radar of NGOs, having once been operated by the Malaysian palm oil company Genting. In the first two quarters of 2022, PT Permata Sawit Mandiri cleared approximately 1,300 ha of forest. The concession is in Ketapang district, West Kalimantan and is now owned by an individual named Ikhsanudin. Public information about the owner of the company is limited and efforts by civil society organisations to engage with the company have been unsuccessful.
Analysis by Aidenvironment of the concessions in Indonesia with the most remaining forested orangutan habitat shows PT Permata Sawit Mandiri has 5,000 ha of habitat remaining, the tenth largest amount of habitat on any oil palm plantation in Indonesia. According to the 2017 orangutan population and habitat viability assessment, the concession has a population of 25-30 individual orangutans. In 2017, a press release from Indonesia’s Ministry of Environment and Forestry mentioned a collaboration between the government and PT Permata Sawit Mandiri to manage High Conservation Value areas, but there is no public information regarding the continuation and results of the protection effort. PT Permata Sawit Mandiri used to enter NDPE supply chains through the mill of the company Goodhope, but as of the end of January 2022, Goodhope no longer purchases fresh fruit bunches from the company.
Figure 3 Deforestation by PT Permata Sawit Mandiri Between January to June 2022
4. PT Wana Jaya Abadi
PT Wana Jaya Abadi is an oil palm concession belonging to Bengalon Jaya Lestari, located in Nunukan, North Kalimantan. In the first half of 2022, PT Wana Jaya Abadi cleared almost 700 ha of peat forest. Information obtained from Indonesian notary acts show that Bengalon Jaya Lestari belongs to three individuals: Cindra Darmanto, Iskandar Riyanto, and Candra Gunawan. From the audit documents, it is known that PT Wana Jaya Abadi has a total landbank of 3,206 ha. Bengalon Jaya Lestari is not believed to operate a palm oil mill and PT Wana Jaya Abadi’s supply chain links are unknown.
5. PT Inti Kebun Sawit
In fifth place is PT Inti Kebun Sawit in Sorong, Papua. In the first half of 2022, the company was found to have cleared 660 ha of forest. PT Inti Kebun Sawit used to be part of Kayu Lapis Indonesia. In 2020, the concession, together with two other oil palm plantations owned by Kayu Lapis Indonesia in Papua (PT Inti Kebun Sejahtera and PT Inti Kebun Lestari), were sold to Ciliandry Anky Abadi (CAA). Ciliandry Anky Abadi is a group company owned by Ciliandry and Wiras Fangiono, who are part of the wider Fangiono family behind Singapore-based palm oil company First Resources. First Resources is currently the subject of a Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) complaint due to issues around ownership between Ciliandry Anky Abadi and First Resources and the affiliated FAP Agri. First Resources has consistently denied the companies are linked, despite increasing evidence that they should be considered one company.
Apart from deforestation, PT Inti Kebun Sawit is also involved in a social conflict case with the indigenous communities in the vicinity of the concession. The concession is alleged to be within customary forests and was possibly obtained by the company without consent.
6. PT Sawit Sukses Sejati
PT Sawit Sukses Sejati is located in Mandailing Natal, North Sumatra. The company cleared around 660 ha of forest between January and June 2022. Previously, the concession was operated under the name “PT Anugerah Langkat Makmur”, which was owned by a Sumatran businessman, the late Haji Anif. PT Sawit Sukses Sejati acquired the concession from Anugerah Langkat Makmur in 2021.
The concession is now operating as PT Sawit Sukses Sejati, under Jalan Abesin Ltd. The group company does not appear to publish any public information. Thus, there is no information available regarding the supply chain of the group company. This is not the first time the company has been accused of deforestation. Before changing the ownership and the name of the company, PT Anugerah Langkat Makmur was accused of violating government regulations by converting protected forest into an oil palm plantation in 2019.
7. PT Sawit Rokan Semesta
PT Sawit Rokan Semesta cleared 600 ha of forest during the first half of 2022. The concession is located in Rokan Hulu, Riau in Sumatra. PT Sawit Rokan Semesta is owned by the Widjaja family from North Sumatra. This Widjaja family is associated to Sewangi Group, a palm oil company based in Medan, North Sumatra. Sewangi Group appears in the NDPE supply chains via AAK, ADM, Avon, BASF, Bunge, Cargill, Danone, Friesland Campina, Fuji Oil, Golden Agri Resources (GAR), Grupo Bimbo, Innospec, Itochu, Johnson&Johnson, KAO, KLK, Kellogg’s, Mondelēz, Nestlé, Olam, Olenex, Oleon, Pepsico, P&G, Unilever, Vandemoortele, and Wilmar.
8. PT Kartika Nugraha Sakti
Next on the list is PT Kartika Nugraha Sakti, which is also part of Bengalon Jaya Lestari. The concession has cleared 570 ha of land during the monitoring period, all in the peat forest. AidEnvironment’s database does not record the presence of palm oil mills under the group company. Information obtained from Indonesian notary acts show that the group company belongs to three individuals: Cindra Darmanto, Iskandar Riyanto, and Candra Gunawan. From the audit documents, it is known that PT Kartika Nugraha Sakti has a total landbank of 7,777 ha. The links of PT Kartika Nugraha Sakti to NDPE supply chains are not known.
9. PT Tridaya Hutan Lestari
PT Tridaya Hutan Lestari operates the concession in Berau, East Kalimantan. The concession cleared a total of 250 ha of forest clearing between January to June 2022. The concession area belonging to PT Tridaya Hutan Lestari used to be PT Anugrah Surya Mandiri, which operates under a Malaysian palm oil company Kuala Lumpur Kepong (KLK). In early 2020, KLK announced that it has put PT Anugrah Surya Mandiri under “voluntary liquidation” and “PT ASM is currently dormant….”. A verification document of PT Tridaya Hutan Lestari mentioned that as of May 2019 the area belonging to PT Anugrah Surya Mandiri has been acquired by PT Tridaya Hutan Lestari. The company is operated by Ciliandry Anky Abadi, the owner of PT Inti Kebun Sawit. Ciliandry Anky Abadi enters NDPE supply chains through Grupo Bimbo and Mondelēz.
10. PT Permata Nusa Mandiri
Closing the top 10 list is PT Permata Nusa Mandiri, an oil palm plantation operated by the Indonesian businessman Anthoni Salim. PT Permata Nusa Mandiri operates in Jayapura, Papua. Anthoni Salim is behind Salim Group, a company group that operates multiple business lines such as oil palm plantations (under Salim Ivomas Pratama and IndoAgri), media, grocery stores and others. PT Permata Nusa Mandiri cleared 170 ha of forest in the first six months of 2022.
AidEnvironment through the Chain Reaction Research consortium has been conducting and publishing research on the top deforesters among palm oil companies since 2018. This research aims to support the implementation of No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation (NDPE) commitments that have been widely adopted in the palm oil industry.