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July 29, 2019

FSC sanctions Korean-Indonesian company for clearing tropical forests

FSC sanctions Korean-Indonesian company for clearing tropical forests

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) has sanctioned Korean-Indonesian conglomerate Korindo for clearing tropical forests in Indonesia to produce palm oil. Although the Korindo Group isn’t being expelled from the certification scheme, the company must rapidly improve its forestry operations to meet FSC standards.

FSC’s investigation was prompted when the environmental nonprofit group Mighty Earth filed a complaint two years ago saying that the Korindo Group companies violated the FSC’s Policy of Association by exceeding the 10,000 hectares deforestation threshold across its oil palm operations over the previous five years.

Satellite imagery analysis that Mighty Earth commissioned for eight Korindo concessions in Papua and North Maluku, Indonesia found more than 30,000 hectares of deforestation and 900 fire hotspots since 2013.

“By carrying out large scale deforestation, destroying critical wildlife habitat and violating traditional and human rights, Korindo was flouting FSC standards and threatened to make a mockery of the FSC’s prestigious label,” said Deborah Lapidus, senior campaigns director at Mighty Earth.

Last week the Forest Stewardship Council said that the company’s activities weren’t in full compliance with FSC’s Policy for Association, and Korindo’s practice of free prior and informed consent (FPIC) didn’t align with the council’s requirements for FPIC.

Korindo agreed to collaborate with FSC to improve environmental and social performance, and to remedy their effects on the forests, according to the council. “The process resulting from this commitment will be as rigorous as any process for ending disassociation from FSC, but faster in achieving positive change,” the council concluded.

Mighty Earth criticized the council’s decision not to release investigation details. “Only a full, unbiased disclosure of Korindo’s wrongdoing can make it possible for the effectiveness of their remediation measures to be assessed,” the nonprofit argued.

FSC indicated that they plan to monitor the company’s progress closely.

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