Tag Archive | Norway

Indonesia’s Aceh revokes palm permit after legal challenge

 

September 28, 2012|Reuters

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesia’s Aceh province has revoked a controversial permit issued to a palm oil firm accused of breaching a ban on forest clearing, a spokesman said on Friday, in a rare climbdown following a legal challenge by environmental groups.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has set a goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by saving Indonesia’s dwindling tropical rainforests, the world’s third-largest, a pledge that won the promise of $1 billion from Norway should he succeed.

But the effort is being hampered by soaring global demand for palm oil, used in everything from biscuits to biofuel. Indonesia is the world’s top producer of the edible oil, whose exports earn the country $20 billion a year.

Last year, the governor of Aceh breached a two-year ban on issuing permits to log and convert forests by giving permission for PT Kallista Alam develop 1,605 hectares (4,000 acres) of swamp, which includes protected peatlands.

The Aceh governor’s move prompted legal action from environmental groups and probes by the police and government bodies, which led to the permit being revoked this week.

A spokesman for the Aceh province said the permit had been revoked on Thursday, and notification sent to Kallista Alam.

“It is important that there is rule of law in business and investing in Aceh, which provides benefits to the community,” Muhammad Zulfikar, director of the Aceh chapter of the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (WALHI), said in a statement.

Officials of PT Kallista Alam could not immediately be reached for comment.

Former Aceh governor Irwandi Yusuf issued the permit to open 1,605 hectares of land for palm oil in the Tripa peatland area in August last year.

In the last few years, Indonesia has seen rapid growth in production of palm oil, with output this year expected to be between 23 million and 25 million metric tons (27.6 million tons), with around 18 million metric tons exported.

(Reporting by Reza Munawir in Aceh; Writing by Michael Taylor; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-09-28/business/sns-rt-us-indonesia-forests-palmbre88r09t-20120927_1_palm-oil-aceh-province-reza-munawir

 

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Campaign cuts Norway’s palm oil consumption 64%

 

Mongabay.com

A campaign run by environmental activists has helped lead to a 64 percent reduction in palm oil use by eight major food companies in Norway, reports Rainforest Foundation Norway, which led the effort.

Rainforest Foundation Norway and Green Living launched the palm oil campaign last fall highlight links between palm oil consumption and deforestation in Southeast Asia. It aimed to reduce demand for palm oil in the Scandinavian country, where palm oil consumption was roughly 3 kilogram per year, mostly through processed food products.

The campaign asked major food companies to disclose their palm oil use and whether palm oil was certified under the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), an eco-certification initiative. Following the survey, the environmental groups published a ‘palm oil guide’ where consumers could look up the palm oil content in the products they buy. The effort went beyond traditional labeling which allowed palm oil to be listed generically as ‘vegetable oil’ or ‘vegetable fat’.

Chart: Palm oil consumption in Norway.

According to Rainforest Foundation Norway, the campaign had an immediate impact — Norwegian food producers started to scale back on, or even phase out, palm oil. Stabburet, which was once one of the country’s largest palm oil buyers, banished palm oil from its products completely, while Mills, the largest buyer, cut use by 95 percent. The result so far is food companies in Norway have reduced palm oil buying by 9,600 metric tons, or 64 percent of last year’s 15,000 tons worth of palm oil. Per capita palm oil consumption in Norway is set to fall to just over 1 kilo per year.

The campaign only targeted food manufacturers, not fast food chains and restaurants, cosmetics producers, or animal feed makers.

Lars Løvold, Director of Rainforest Foundation Norway, said the campaign could be a model for other countries.

“Norwegian food producers have demonstrated that it is possible to produce and sell food without palm oil, avoiding complicity in rainforest destruction,” said Løvold. “The experience from Norway should inspire consumers globally to demand food products which do not contribute to rainforest destruction.”

Palm oil is the most productive of commercial oil seeds but its expansion in recent decades has taken a heavy toll on rainforests and peatlands in Indonesia and Malaysia, which account for nearly 90 percent of global production. Green campaigners have thus targeted major palm oil buyers in an effort to shift the industry toward less damaging practices. In response, the palm oil industry, working with some environmental groups, have set up the RSPO which sets social and environmental criteria for palm oil production. The hope is that buyers are willing to pay a slight premium for RSPO-certified palm oil. Still some activists have criticized the RSPO as not being strong enough and are campaigning for stricter safeguards.

The palm oil industry asserts its crop offers more oil per unit of area than other oilseeds, reducing the need to clear forests relative to other crops. But that argument has failed to win over environmentalists who note that forest clearing for oil palm plantations has not slowed and is now expanding to other parts of the world, including West Africa, Central and South America, Papua New Guinea, and the South Pacific.

Norway is one of the world’s largest supporters of tropical forest conservation. It has committed three billion Norwegian krone ($500 million) per year to slowing deforestation, including billion dollar pledges to Indonesia and Brazil for forest protection programs. The country’s pension fund nevertheless continues to invest in companies associated with forest conversion, a sore point for activists
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Indonesia peatland back on protected list in test case | Reuters

May 21 (Reuters) – Indonesia‘s government said on Monday it would protect a strip of peatland in Aceh province at the centre of an international storm over palm oil development, in a case that had become a test of the country’s commitment to halt deforestation.

Indonesia imposed a two-year moratorium on clearing forest last May under a $1 billion climate deal with Norway aimed at reducing emissions from deforestation, but the former governor of the country’s westernmost Aceh province breached the ban by issuing a permit to a palm oil firm to develop the peatland.

This prompted legal action from environmental groups and probes by the police and several government bodies.

The resulting preliminary investigation showed that the permit was issued to palm oil firm Kallista Alam without following proper procedures, a government official said.

The forest, home to endangered orangutans, was partly cleared by burning, even before the permit was issued, said Mas Achmad Santosa, an official at the presidency.

“The case of Kallista Alam in Aceh is the typical problem we are facing … some parts have been turned to palm oil plantations, some have been burned, and it turned out the permit does not exist,” said Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, who is in charge of overseeing forestry sector reform.

He said the peatland would again be listed as a protected area.

Former Aceh governor Irwandi Yusuf issued the permit to open 1,605 hectares of land for palm oil in the Tripa peatland area in August last year.

Indonesia is the world’s largest palm oil exporter and has seen rapid growth in production of the edible oil, used to make cooking oil and biscuits, in recent years.

(Reporting by Olivia Rondonuwu; Editing by Neil Chatterjee and Jeremy Laurence)