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Korindo clearing forests for oil palm plantations, Papua, Indonesia

The Korean palm oil and timber conglomerate Korindo Group is the biggest oil palm plantation company on Papua. In 2013, it started to clear the islands's precious forests, partly through illegal use of fire.


The Korean palm oil and timber conglomerate Korindo Group is the dominating oil palm plantation company on the Indonesian island of Papua, where its plantations cover a total of 149,000 ha. Having been active in the island’s forestry sector since 1993, Korindo established its first Papuan oil palm plantation in 1998. Today, its operations are divided between 8 subsidiaries, namely PT Papua Agro Lestari (PAL), PT Berkat Cipta Abadi 1 (BCA 1), PT Tunas Sawa Erma 1B (TSE 1B), PT Donghin Prabhawa (DP), PT Tunas Sawa Erma 1A (TSE 1A), PT Tunas Sawa Erma 2 (TSE 2), PT Berkat Cipta Abadi 2 (BCA 2), and PT Tunas Sawa Erma 2 (TSE 2). In addition to its own plantations, it assists in the management of a 36,000-ha concession owned by its partner POSCO Daweoo [1] [2].

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Korindo clearing forests for oil palm plantations, Papua, Indonesia
State or province:Papua
Location of conflict:Mappi, Boven Digoel & Merauke districts
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Plantation conflicts (incl. Pulp
Specific commodities:Timber
Palm oil
Project Details and Actors
Project details

PT Korindo's forest land release permits by subsidiary [1]:

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Project area:149,000
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:2013
Company names or state enterprises:Korindo Group from Republic of Korea
PT Tunas Sawa Erma 1A (PT TSE 1A) from Indonesia
PT Tunas Sawa Erma 1B (PT TSE 1B) from Indonesia
PT Donghin Prabhawa (PT DP ) from Indonesia
PT Berkat Cipta Abadi 1 (PT BCA 1) from Indonesia
PT Papua Agro Lestari (PT PAL ) from Indonesia
PT Berkat Cipta Abadi 2 (PT BCA 2) from Indonesia
PT Tunas Sawa Erma 2 (PT TSE 2 ) from Indonesia
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:- The Indonesian Forum for Environment (WALHI),

- Transformasi Untuk Keadilan Indonesia (TuK Indonesia),

- Rainforest Action Network (RAN),

- Profundo,

- Yayasan Pusaka,

- JPIC MSC Indonesia

- Business & Human Rights Resource Centre,

- Secretariat for Justice and Peace of Merauke’s archdiocese (SKP KAMe)

- Friends of the Earth Korea/Korea Federation for Environmental Movement,

- Earthsight

- Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA)
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Forms of mobilization:Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Objections to the EIA
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Fires, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Air pollution
Health ImpactsVisible: Other environmental related diseases
Other Health impactsFevers (P), Respiratory infections (V)
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights, Increase in violence and crime, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Application of existing regulations
Project temporarily suspended
Development of alternatives:Mighty Earth urges Korindo to take the following actions on Papua:

- Introduce a moratorium on all new clearing and burning

- Conduct HCA and HCV assessment and manage their concessions according to the results

- Return customary lands, resolving local conflicts, and restore damaged ecosystems

- Increase transparency and release the locations and exact concession boundaries, reveal names of third party suppliers

- Comply with national laws and regulations

Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Despite the mobilization, Korindo has not been held accountable for its use of fire. All subsidiaries still operate and the land clearing seems to continue, despite the fact that no additional environmental assessments have been conducted.
Sources & Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Law No. 32/2009 on Environmental Protection and Management

Papua Province Special Regulation No. 23/2008 on the Communal and Individual Rights of Customary Communities over Lands

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[4] Andrianto A, Sedik BF, Waridjo H, Komarudin H and Obidzinski K. (2014). The impacts of oil palm plantations on forests and people in Papua: A case study from Boven Digoel District. Working Paper 278. Bogor, Indonesia: CIFOR.
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[2] Mighty Earth (2016). Burning Paradise.
[click to view]

[6] Mighty Earth (2017b). Satellite Data Shows Korindo Violates Deforestation Moratorium.
[click to view]

[3] Mongabay (2017). Korean company bans forest clearing for Indonesian palm oil concessions
[click to view]

[7] News Wire (2019). Papuan Tribes Criticize US Group Mighty Earth for Fighting Development.
[click to view]

[8] Eco-Business (2017). FSC to investigate Korindo’s palm oil operations in Indonesia.
[click to view]

[9] Mongabay (2019). FSC report on palm giant Korindo lists litany of violations, even with redactions.
[click to view]

[10] FSC (2019a). Additional Social Analysis Korindo Group.
[click to view]

[11] Korindo News (2019). FSC Board of Directors concluded that the Korindo Group is not to be dissociated from FSC, and is to remain associated with FSC.
[click to view]

[12] FSC (2019b). Necessary Improvements for Korindo to maintain FSC certification.
[click to view]

Mongabay (2016). Investigasi Ungkap Korindo Babat Hutan Papua dan Malut Jadi Sawit, Beragam Masalah Ini Muncul.
[click to view]

RAN, WALHI, TuK Indonesia & Profundo (2018). Perilous. [pdf]
[click to view]

Mongabay (2016). Korean palm oil firm burned large tracts of forestland in Indonesia, NGOs allege.
[click to view]

[4] Andrianto A, Sedik BF, Waridjo H, Komarudin H and Obidzinski K. (2014). The impacts of oil palm plantations on forests and people in Papua: A case study from Boven Digoel District. Working Paper 278. Bogor, Indonesia: CIFOR.
[click to view]

[5] Mighty Earth (2017a). Korindo Announces Moratorium on Forest Clearing for Palm Oil Concessions But Critical Questions Remain.
[click to view]

[1] AidEnvironment (2016). Burning Paradise: The Oil Palm Practices of Korindo in Papua and North Maluku.
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Emmy Iwarsson (ICTA-UAB)
Last update02/03/2020
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