Responding to a report entitled “Papua: Investigation reveals that a South Korean company ‘deliberately’ burned land for oil palm expansion” by BBC Indonesia on 12 November 2020, the accusation that Korindo used fires to clear the forests by BBC and Greenpeace is outrageous, scandalous, and actionable.
The same accusation was made in 2017 by an American NGO, Mighty Earth, which filed a complaint to FSC (Forest Stewardship Council), a highly respected global authority in forestry. FSC formed 3 independent panels of experts including foresters and satellite imagery experts of authoritative reputation and academic training in their respective fields.
FSC released the following official statement after the investigations on the 23rd of July 2019.
“The original allegations against Korindo included an allegation that Korindo was systematically using fire for land clearing. The panel found that on the balance of probabilities this was not the case.”
The FSC findings reinforced the results of a previous investigation conducted by the Merauke Regency Forestry and Plantation Service (Document Number 522.2 / 0983 24th of August 2016) which stated that land clearing is carried out mechanically and without burning.
Directorate General of Environmental and Forestry Law Enforcement, Ministry of Environment and Forestry of Indonesia (LHK RI Number S.43 / PHLHK / PPH / GKM.2 / 2/2017 17th of February 2017) stated that Korindo Group subsidiary is engaged in in the oil palm plantation sector, does not carry out illegal deforestation, and has obtained a forest release permit from the Minister of Environment and Forestry.
We have taken the NGO, Mighty Earth, that had made the statement to German court, and the litigation is on-going.
Unlike Forensic Architecture, the FSC Investigation Panel comprising fully qualified professional foresters actually went to the site in Papua to conduct the field examination. The FSC Panel included satellite imagery professionals.
Forensic Architecture that has made the claim for BBC by looking at 10 year old pictures is a human rights research agency, works for fee, and has no expertise in forestry in any way. They are not a forestry or oil palm related agency.
It should be emphasized that in 2015, we made payments for the release of customary land rights to 10 clans covering an area of 16,000 hectares located in the PT Tunas Sawa Erma Block E area in accordance with the agreement and the amount that was mutually agreed upon, including with Petrus Kinggo who was a resource person.
Although Petrus Kinggo and all other clan members received compensation payments for land release, the fact is that we have not cleared any land in the entire area of PT Tunas Sawa Erma Block E. As such, there cannot be any development or destruction. (Map attached).
Other questionable information comes from Elisabeth Ndiwaen who does not represent the clan of PT. Dongin Prabhawa that holds customary rights as she was born and still lives in Merauke City, which is about 400 km away from the plantation.
Responding to the aspirations of the Papuan people who want change, development, and welfare, since the beginning, the company and the community have continued to establish good communication and make agreements with customary rights holders of PT. Dongin Prabhawa, such as the agreement to pay customary rights to 8 clans in 2011, followed by an agreement on a community development program. We reached an agreement to pay for village development funds of Rp 30 billion in 2012.
We want to emphasize that Korindo Group was established in Indonesia in 1969 and is an Indonesian operation, not South Korean. Our Chief Executive is an Indonesian national of Korean origin. We are no more Korean than Tesla is South African as Elon Musk was born in South Africa.
We have consistently contributed to the development and progress of the Indonesian people, especially in the Papua region. This is manifested in the various actions, activities, and facilities that the company has provided to facilitate the lives of rural communities. Until now, Korindo Group has dedicated as much as $ 14,000,000 (2014-2019 period) for social contributions in all fields in Papua.
In terms of education, Korindo Group has run various scholarship programs totaling 431 children with customary rights, assisted in the construction of 42 school units, honorarium assistance for 170 teachers, and assistance for 14 units of school buses and dormitories for rural students.
We also contributed to the infrastructure sector by building and maintaining roads and bridges (public access) along 500 km, building 18 houses of worship, providing 10 traditional markets, providing access to clean water for the community, even providing access to electricity of 8 MW for free for residents who are around the company area.
In terms of health, since the spread of the Covid-19 outbreak in Indonesia, we have donated 120,000 medical masks and multivitamins, 3,500 sets of hazmat suits (PPE), hundreds of boxes of basic necessities, and clean cookstoves to reduce carbon emission. We have built 7 clinics and 1 hospital in Papua that give free medical services to an average number of patients of 9,000 people per month.
The Asiki Clinic built and funded by the Korindo Group was named by the Indonesian Health Authorities as the Best Clinic at the Papua Province in 2017.
Please press here for the “Korindo Indigenous Report” that explains our social programmes in Papua in detail.
For further information, please contact:
Yulian Mohammad Riza
Public Relations Division of Korindo Group