PT Wilmar Sambas Plantation conflict, Kalimantan, Indonesia


Oil palm is today the fastest growing monoculture in the tropics. Indonesia is the world's largest producer. The country has witnessed a massive conversion of customary (adat) land to oil palm (and fast-wood) plantations. Between 1967 and 2007, oil palm monocultures have increased about 50 times and the government is planning to expand the area under plantation.

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Basic Data
NamePT Wilmar Sambas Plantation conflict, Kalimantan, Indonesia
ProvinceWest Kalimantan
SiteVillage of Senujuh, sub-district of Sejangkung, Sambas district
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)Land acquisition conflicts
Plantation conflicts (incl. Pulp
Specific CommoditiesPalm oil
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsIn 2011 and 2012, Newsweek ranked Wilmar as the world’s least sustainable company in terms of environmental performance

(last among the 500 largest publicly traded companies in the world).

Wilmar is controlled by Indonesian and Singaporean businessmen, with representation on its board by Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) one of the world’s top commodities trading companies. ADM and Wilmar have formed a strategic partnership, including tropical oils refining in Europe (sold and marketed through Olenex. C.V. based in Switzerland). Wilmar does not state in its public reports where it sells its biodiesel, but it is clear from recent anti-dumping measures taken by the EU that a substantial amount of Wilmar’s production is sold in Europe.

Research by Friends of the Earth International has highlighted the US and European financiers of Wilmar, including shareholders and banks that make loans to the company. These include: UK high-street banks Barclays and HSBC, PNB Parisbas and Credit Agricole (France), Deutsche Bank (Germany), APB and Rabobank (Netherlands) and Bank of America, J Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and others in the US, as well as Canadian, Swiss and Belgian institutions.

FoE also notes that the Norwegian Pension Fund (GPFG) withdrew its investment in Wilmar in 2012, along with 22 other palm oil companies, because it believed those companies were producing palm oil unsustainably and causing seriously adverse human rights impacts. [3][4]
Type of PopulationRural
Start Date2006
Company Names or State Enterprises PT Wilmar Sambas Plantation (PT WSP) - Wilmar Group
Wilmar International from Singapore
International and Financial InstitutionsCompliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO)
Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) from Malaysia
International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
Corporación financiera Internacional (CFI) - The IFC has provided numerous guarantees and loans to Wilmar
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersLembaga Gemawan (a local EJO), Indonesian Environmental Forum (WALHI)
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
International ejos
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Forms of MobilizationCreation of alternative reports/knowledge
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Official complaint letters and petitions
Shareholder/financial activism.
Street protest/marches
Property damage/arson
- villagers stopped thirty company workers, and confiscated an excavator and five chainsaws used by the workers to clear the community forest.
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Other Environmental impacts
OtherThe company cleared local rubber agro-forests.
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Land dispossession
Potential: Loss of livelihood
Project StatusUnknown
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCompensation
Court decision (undecided)
Application of existing regulations
Development of AlternativesIn 2007, 516 villagers signed a public statement asking for all oil palm expansion to be stopped in their villages and expressing disappointment that their village head had given consent without consulting the community.
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.Recent data about the court case needed!
Sources and Materials

[1] Marti, S., 2008. Losing ground – the human rights impacts of oil palm plantation expansion in Indonesia. Friends of the Earth, London; SawitWatch, Bogor.
[click to view]

[3] Wilmar International and its financiers
[click to view]

Palm Oil land disputes in West-Kalimantan: the Politics of scale in [2] [2] Processes of DisPute resolution An empirical research on dispute resolution strategies in Sambas district. Masters Thesis by Elisabeth Vos
[click to view]

Policy, practice, pride and prejudice Review of legal, environmental and social practices of oil palm plantation companies

of the Wilmar Group in Sambas District, West Kalimantan (Indonesia). A joint publication of: Milieudefensie (Friends of

the Earth Netherlands) Netherlands, Lembaga Gemawan Indonesia, KONTAK Rakyat Borneo Indonesia
[click to view]


[4] Why not Wilmar? Down to Earth
[click to view]

Other Documents

[click to view]

The plantation
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorJ.-F. Gerber
Last update03/05/2014