The Indonesian government imposed a three-year moratorium on new palm oil plantations, an official said Friday, amid charges by environmentalists that companies supplying some of the world’s biggest brands are responsible for forest destruction.
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo on Wednesday issued an executive order establishing the moratorium and calling for a review of existing plantation permits, according to Prabianto Mukti Wibowo, deputy for natural resource management at the Coordinating Ministry for the Economy.
“Governors and regents are ordered to re-evaluate permits and delay the opening of palm oil plantations to reduce conflicts,” Prabianto said.
The order is aimed at improving the sustainability of palm oil plantations and protecting the environment, he said.
Jokowi took action after Greenpeace on Wednesday said 25 palm oil groups destroyed 130,000 hectares (321,000 acres) of Indonesian rainforest since 2015, about 40 percent of which was in the eastern province of Papua. The environmental group said the area destroyed was almost twice the size of Singapore.
Twenty of the palm oil groups supply 12 global brands including Unilever, Nestle and Colgate-Palmolive, according to the report, “Final countdown: Now or never to reform the palm oil industry.”
It documented what Greenpeace said was “evidence of exploitation and social conflicts, illegal deforestation, development without permits, plantation development in areas zoned for protection and forest fires linked to land clearance.”
Full story: BenarNews
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