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IOI palm oil operations destroy Ketapang Peat Landscape, Indonesia

IOI Destruction of Ketapang Peat Landscape, Indonesia. International campaing against deforestation, peatland fires and using of child labour by Greenpeace.


In 2008 [1] in South West Kalimantan 11 NGOs and local Dayak and Kibun communities mobilized in protest of the destruction of peatlands cleared for the development of oil palm plantations. The Malaysian-based IOI group, responsible for the degradation of the Ketapang peatland, is composed of four Indonesian plantation companies (PT Bumi Sawit Sejahtera, PT Berkat Nabati Sajehtera,PT Sukses Karya Sawit, PT Ketapang Sawit Lestari) and is jointly owned with Bumitama Agri Ltd. IOI is a member of the RSPO since 2004. Reports of negligent operations surfaced in 2010 with Greenpeace citing IOI's Pelita concession illegally encroaching upon territories beyond the designated boundaries of project operations [1]. The compliant, filed in part by the national and international NGOs, listed violations such as the drainage of a canal through a high conservation value (HCV) forest and the clearing of deep peatland forests.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:IOI palm oil operations destroy Ketapang Peat Landscape, Indonesia
State or province:West Kalimantan
Location of conflict:Ketapang
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Deforestation
Agro-fuels and biomass energy plants
Plantation conflicts (incl. Pulp
Specific commodities:Palm oil
Project Details and Actors
Project details

214,000 ha oil palm plantation in South West Kalimantan peatlands threatens biodiversity, contributes to CO2 emissions, and breaches community land rights of Dayak and Malay indigenous populations. Ketapang has suffered extensive impact of wildfires of 2014, largely attributed to the planting of oil palm monocultures throughout the region. IOI's HCV report shows the area in conflict was 90% swamp/peatland in 2010 which today is largely degraded.

Project area:214,000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:Local communities; global scale (vast CO2 emissions from wildfires and removal of vital carbon-capturing peatland)
Start of the conflict:01/01/2008
Company names or state enterprises:PT Bumi Sawit Sejahtera (PT BSS) from Indonesia
PT Berkat Nabati Sajehtera (PT BNS) from Indonesia
PT Sukses Karya Sawit (PT SKS) from Indonesia
PT Ketapang Sawit Lestari (PT KSL) from Indonesia
Bumitama Agri Ltd, from Indonesia
IOI Group (IOI) from Malaysia - IOI funds and oversees project implementation causing deforestation and dispossession
Relevant government actors:Indonesian President Joko Widodo calling for end of peatland development [1]
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Greenpeace
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Dayak and Malay indigenous communities
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Boycotts of companies-products
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Fires, Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Potential: Global warming
Health ImpactsVisible: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Deaths
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Land dispossession, Other socio-economic impacts
Potential: Militarization and increased police presence, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Negotiated alternative solution
Strengthening of participation
Under negotiation
Withdrawal of company/investment
Development of alternatives:Local NGO AidEnvironment and Greenpeace International recommend the clear demarcation of territories off-limits to industrial expansion.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Despite major companies withdrawing their support of IOI's shoddy operations, the plantation is still in operation. IOI's new policies seem to lack a comprehensive framework with definitive steps to mitigate their practices, indicating this case remains unresolved.
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[2] Edie News. IOI Commits to Best Practice Peatland and Deforestation Plans.
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[1] "Why IOI's Destruction in Ketapang is a Burning Issue for the RSPO and palm oil plantation sector". Greenpeace International. Amsterdam, The Netherlands. June 2016.
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

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The Guardian. Top Palm Oil Producer Sues Green Group Over Deforestation Allegations.
[click to view]

Sustainable Brands. RSPO recertifies IOI group.
[click to view]

What does Greenpeace's palm oil report mean for IOI & RSPO?. By Niamh Michail, 28-Sep-2016
[click to view]

[3] Greenpeace activists block IOI palm oil at Rotterdam port. By Niamh Michail, 27-Sep-2016
[click to view]

IOI Launches Revised Palm Oil Sustainability Policy and Sustainability Implementation Plan
[click to view]

[4] RSPO lifts IOI's suspension. By Niamh Michail+, 05-Aug-2016
[click to view]


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Meta information
Contributor:Sophia Rokhlin, ICTA-UAB
Last update18/10/2017
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