REPORT: Palming off a National Park: Tracking Illegal Palm Oil Fruit in Riau, Sumatra

Posted on 02 July 2013    
Tesso Nilo cover report
© WWF-Indonesia
The report presents analysis by WWF-Indonesia that shows how 2 the world’s largest palm oil companies—Asian Agri and Wilmar—purchased palm oil fruit that was illegally grown within the boundaries of the Tesso Nilo Forest Complex, an area that includes Tesso Nilo National Park and surrounding forest concessions where it is illegal to plant palm oil.

Indonesia’s Tesso Nilo National Park is one of the last safe havens for critically endangered Sumatran elephants and Sumatran tigers. With more than 4,000 plant species and many new ones yet to be discovered, this area in the Riau Province boasts the highest lowland forest plant biodiversity known to science.

The good news is that through WWF’s analysis and engagement with Wilmar and Asian Agri, both companies have now taken measures to stop sourcing illegally produced fruit.

WWF’s report is just the beginning. Ultimately, all companies buying palm oil should ask their suppliers about the entire chain of custody of the palm oil they purchase and confirm its legality.

As the recent fires in Sumatra have shown, the illegal destruction of forested areas and lack of enforcement of Indonesia’s laws is a major issue. It should be noted, that some of these forest fires are within the Tesso Nilo National Park, indicating farmers are intending to expand their planted areas.

A version of this report in Indonesian can be found on the WWF-Indonesia website.

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