Rainforest Action Network Calls on Lead Palm Oil, Pulp and Paper Consumers to Support Indonesian Moratorium on Forest Destruction

Days before the President of Indonesia is expected to sign a moratorium on the expansion of logging on new pulp, paper and palm oil concessions, Rainforest Action Network (RAN) has warned leading consumer companies and investors of potential shortcomings in the moratorium. A Briefing Note about the moratorium was sent to almost 100 companies including Bank of America, General Mills, Target, Staples, Gucci Group, Office Depot, Scholastic, Levi’s, Safeway, and other leading brands.
The moratorium, which was agreed as part of the Letter of Intent on Cooperation on Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation between the governments of Norway and Indonesia, is currently facing significant internal political disagreement about its scope, definitions and administration.
RAN is urging companies to support Indonesia’s efforts to reign in deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions by adopting environmental and social safeguards on their supply chains as well as by advocating for a more robust moratorium.
“The moratorium will not, on its own, eliminate the risk or controversy associated with Indonesian forest products,” said Lafcadio Cortesi of Rainforest Action Network. “If the moratorium is to stem forest destruction and global warming it will require the active participation of corporate customers in the palm oil and pulp and paper sectors.”
Indonesia is currently ranked as the third largest greenhouse gas emitter after China and the US.  Eighty percent of Indonesia’s emissions are the result of very high rates of rainforest and peatland loss, with the vast majority linked to large concessions for palm oil and pulp and paper plantations for international markets.  
“At a time when Indonesia is ranked the third largest greenhouse gas emitter after China and the U.S., we welcome Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s continuing leadership to tackle deforestation and reduce Indonesia’s greenhouse gas emissions. For the moratorium to halt deforestation and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, however, it must be strengthened by Indonesia’s President and supported by private sector companies,” Continued Cortesi.
Currently, there are two leading versions of the moratorium being considered by the president: one proposed by Indonesia’s National Task Force on REDD+ and one by the Ministry of Economic Affairs. Rainforest Action Network’s Briefing suggests that both versions would require improvements to put in place the good governance, rights and transparency mechanisms that are essential for Indonesia to meet its climate pollution reduction targets and protect its forests and peat lands.
“It’s vital that trading partners and investors in palm oil and pulp and paper advocate for a strong moratorium and they also need to adopt safeguards for their own businesses. This will help alleviate anticipated shortcomings with the moratorium and meet business interests in reducing environmental and social risk currently linked with these products,” said Cortesi.
The Briefing Note  recommends companies:

  • Adopt and implement environmental and social safeguards throughout their supply chains to ensure emissions reductions and forest and peatland conservation as well as community rights and tenure;
  • Engage peers about deforestation issues in Indonesia and encourage them to adopt similar safeguards;
  • Engage with the U.S. government to support a robust moratorium and to provide financial, technical and political support to assist Indonesia in addressing corruption, community rights and tenure and conservation in its approach to reducing forest and peatland emissions; and,
  • Engage with the Indonesian government to encourage a robust moratorium and ensure that its implementation and administration are governed by parties without conflicts of interest. 

Rainforest Action Network’s Tropical Forest Program has spent the last two years working with leading corporate consumers of pulp, paper and palm oil to tackle the greatest drivers of rainforest destruction in Indonesia.  

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