Illegal Deforestation Monitor

UK military beef supplier linked to Brazil deforestation

28.04.2020 Beef sourced by Ministry of Defence in Bahrain comes from firm connected to cattle ranchers fined R$33.5m (£6m) for environmental breaches including illegal land clearances, fires and fraud

Read more

Timberleaks

Robinson Lumber's perilous trade with Maderera Bozovich

06.01.2020 No US firm imports more high-risk wood from Peru than Robinson Lumber and they continue to buy from a company with a long rap sheet of alleged illegalities

Read more

Investigation

Indonesia for Sale

09.10.2019 An investigative series which explores in unprecedented depth the corruption underpinning Indonesia’s land rights and deforestation crisis

Read more

New ISPO regulation underpinning Indonesian palm oil diplomacy branded as “regressive”

30.04.2020 Indonesia’s recent “reform” of its palm oil sustainability certification scheme has been criticised for threatening forests and human rights – just as major export markets seek to better protect them. In March Indonesian President Joko Widodo issued a new regulation on the Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO) certification scheme that environmental and rights campaigners say weakens forest and right protections. The move was the result of a process to reform the ISPO that began in 2016 to address challenges and demands, including a lack of accountability and transparency, as well as unclear sustainability criteria and weak enforcement. According to Siobhan Pearce, forests campaigner at the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), not only does the new regulation fail to address these issues, but it also “looks to be primarily a means to weaken the standards, threatening both forests and human rights.” The presidential regulation (Peraturan Presiden Nomor 44/2020 tentang Sistem Sertifikasi Perkebunan Sawit Berkelanjutan Indonesia) was enacted on 16 March, giving the government 30 days to issue the necessary ‘implementing regulation’ to operationalise the new rules. In a written piece on EIA’s website, Pearce argued that the “abrupt timescale” of the publication of the implementing regulation did not allow time for stakeholder input. Civil society demands for the strengthening of the ISPO – through the inclusion of human rights principles, high standards for palm oil traceability, and an independent monitoring system – “have been thrown out of the window”, according to EIA. In addition, a principle to protect primary forests and peatlands that had been part of draft ISPO revisions was also discarded. Pearce criticised the lack of transparency and openness in the process of drawing up the new regulation. According to the campaigner, a “national consultation which had been promised has never occurred.” There are concerns that the April implementing regulation will worsen deforestation linked to palm oil production in Indonesia. “The President’s new regulation doesn’t seem to achieve anything much except for binning the principle on forest protection,” Pearce wrote. Pearce sees the move as part of a broader trend of deregulation in Indonesia, which includes the weakening of timber legality rules in March and potential new legislation that would scrap the need for environmental impact assessments. The weakening of the SVLK is the latest controversy to strike the once much-vaunted timber legality scheme. Among other things, the ISPO reform aimed at improving the acceptance and competitiveness of Indonesian palm oil in international markets. However, the EIA campaigner argued that the recent developments were “enormously disappointing” and said that “this regressive move will not assure international buyers.” EIA called on the Indonesian government to review the process and include in the implementing regulation “provisions to protect natural forests, peatlands and human rights.” ISPO has been in place since 2011 and is meant to improve the environmental sustainability in the management and development of oil palm plantations in Indonesia, thus securing a strong position for the country’s palm oil in global markets. ISPO has been widely criticised for having less strict standards than its global equivalent, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). Despite this, the scheme remains the major plank of Indonesia’s global palm oil trade diplomacy efforts – at a time when the EU is committed to considering legal measures to prevent products being placed on the EU market that drive or are produced as a consequence of deforestation.

Investigations

Discover

Our Projects

Illegal Deforestation Monitor scrutinises the unlawful conversion of forests for agribusiness around the globe.

Explore

The inside scoop on suspect wood, Timberleaks shines a spotlight on dodgy timber traders and supply chains.

Explore

Timber Investigation Centre

A guidebook to help activists and communities on the forest frontlines to investigate illegal logging and trade.

Explore

Stay up to date with all Earthsight news & updates

Receive email updates for the latest news and insights from Earthsight and be among the first to read our new investigations.

We keep your data secure and don’t share anything with third parties. Read full terms.