AFTER THE WIDESPREAD FIRES LAST YEAR: SENTENCE AGAINST PALM OIL COMPANY
We received great news: Following the Kallista Alam precedent last year, a sentence was passed against another large palm oil company on Sumatra. The lobbying activities of various NGOs, among them PanEco, led to this encouraging court decision.
The palm oil company SPS2 was held responsible and convicted by a local court. SPS2 is a subsidiary of the palm oil giant Astra Agro Lestari, one of the three largest palm oil companies in Indonesia. In particular, SPS2 was convicted for the slash and burn practices in the Tripa region that were conducted outside of the company’s concessions. The information supplied by PanEco and other involved organizations led to the court decision. On the basis of the detailed evidence provided, it was possible to prove where and when exactly the illegal fire clearances took place.
The company was sentenced to pay a fine of three billion, around 250’000 USD. In addition, two of its responsible employees were sentenced to a prison term of three years each. Compared to the 28m USD fine which was imposed upon the palm oil company Kallista Alam last year, the amount in the SPS2 case is not very high. Still, the case sends a signal to other companies engaging in illegal activities. SPS2 intends to submit an appeal against the sentence to the provincial court. However, should this court also rule against the company, it could be faced with an increased fine.
PanEco and our partners engage in intensive lobbying activities against the devastating slash and burn practices of palm oil companies that destroy large areas of the Indonesian rainforest each year. In particular, our activities are directed against clearances in the Tripa swamp forests.