Will notorious forest destroyer Sinar Mas come clean?

The short answer: not likely.

In fact, not only are they not likely to come ‘clean’, but we have just released fresh evidence that Sinar Mas’ notorious forest destroying practices continue unabated and in direct violation of the company’s own environmental commitments on protecting forests and peatlands.

Sinar Mas is Indonesia’s largest palm oil, and pulp and paper group. The recent KitKat campaign saw hundreds of thousands of you ask Nestlé to stop buying palm oil and pulp and paper products from Sinar Mas because of their involvement in rainforest and peatland destruction in Indonesia.

New photographic evidence shows Sinar Mas clearing rainforest in peatland areas on the island of Borneo(seen below). Further photographic evidence shows Sinar Mas has cleared rainforest that has been identified as orang-utan habitat by a United Nations Environment Program study.

Lat week, Sinar Mas was meant to publish an audit it had commissioned into its own activities on only a small number of palm oil concessions – not on all of its operations. The release of this audit has now been postponed by Sinar Mas and its public relations company, Bell Pottinger, to August 10th.

While Sinar Mas makes public promises to protect Indonesian forests and peatlands – it does just the opposite. In addition to these broken promises the company plans to expand its empire of destruction ever further. Last week the head of Sinar Mas’s palm oil division confirmed intentions to expand into an additional 1 million hectares, including the untouched forests of Papua.

Indonesia’s rainforests and peatlands cannot afford to continue to be the victim of Sinar Mas’s ever expanding ambitions – after all, this is a country with one of the highest rates of deforestation in the world.

Recently we’ve seen positive steps – multinational companies like Unilever, Kraft and Nestlé have responded to evidence of Sinar Mas’s destructive practices by dropping contracts. Until this company is no longer involved in destroying rainforest and peatland , other companies who still purchase from them – like palm oil supplier Cargill – should know that they are purchasing environmental destruction. Other companies have already learned that this is not good for business.

And if you think it all sounds very far away, think again. Sinar Mas’ affiliate, Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) has recently announced they will open a $20 million plant in Sydney’s west. Other APP products sold in Australia through the PaperlinX group include Spicers Paper, Dalton Paper and Southern Cross Converting. Any of us could be unknowingly using paper products like toilet roll or office paper directly linked to Sinar Mas’ rampant and unregulated destruction of forests and habitats.

  • jack

    hi, look its time to look closer and see the damage the mining industry is doing in australia rather than trying to stop indonesia doing what they will do anyway. they are too far gone with the over population of their island nation. but here in aust we just carve up the hillsideds and run the red soils into the coral sea and then say that the reef is dying..pooh hooe. Look at what is being done to Papua. The last large forest untouched to a centain level. Level out with the over population and soon there could be still a chance to save some parts of this globe.

  • Jose

    While practices like this are terrible, the Australian government’s poor report card on anything sustainable, environmental, or good for the future makes them of the same breed. Kimberley-Clarke were ready to invest in new machinery for sustainable paper products in Australia, but the government caused the investment to fall through, as toilet paper and tissue products from overseas are permitted to be dumped on our markets without labelling on the source of supply.

  • Glenn Barry

    The duplicity of Sinar Mas is entirely unsurprising. They will continue down this tragic path as long as they can and as long as they think that they are not sustaining significant damage themselves. To stop them in a hurry, there is a need for a creative and transparent strategy that widely displays their duplicity and, in turn, hits their profit margins.

  • Arnie

    Companies like Sinar Mas should be ashamed. Their total disregard for anything like environmental practices is an absolute disgrace. The only way to stop their destruction is to name and shame the companies who deal with them and boycott their products. Everyone needs to act together to beat this scourge before the environment is totally destroyed.

    On another note, the mining industry worldwide is ruining our planet with their unsustainable methods, destroying whatever is in the way of their greed-filled so-called progress. Our resources are finite. What happens when all the minerals are gone and all that is left is massive holes in the ground everywhere?

    Probably the biggest dilemma facing humankind is over-population. Too many people for the sustainable future.