March 29, 2018

Business group sells concession containing peat forests and orangutans

( - Triputra Agro Persada, one of the leading Indonesian palm oil suppliers linked to global supply chains, has recently sold its not yet developed palm oil concession, PT PWA, a significant part of which is still made up of peat forests. According to IUCN data, almost this entire concession is inhabited by the critically-endangered Bornean orangutan.

Triputra’s sold concession, which was granted a permit in late September 2011, is located in West Kalimantan’s Kubu Raya regency and spans the equivalent of nearly 5,700 soccer fields. An analysis conducted by the spatial team revealed that all of the PT PWA palm oil concession forms part of Indonesia’s prioritized peat restoration areas.

Part of the Triputra’s sold concession directly borders PT GAN - a palm oil concession owned by the AMS Ganda Group / GAMA Plantation in which massive canal development has recently been undertaken, as earlier reported by (Mar 26).

The surprising thing is that Triputra sold the palm oil concession after President Joko Widodo signed a newly-revised government regulation in early December 2016 banning any new peat drainage.

Moreover, the sale took place after Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya legally released the Indonesian peat ecosystem map in late February last year in which major parts of the sold Triputra palm oil concession are designated as peat protection zones.

Below are some photos showing the peat forests in the sold Triputra palm oil concession, the whole of which forms part of Indonesia’s targeted peat restoration sites and is also home to the Bornean orangutan.

Threat of new peat destruction?

The sale of the not yet developed palm oil concession unquestionably raises a new threat of potential peat forest destruction by the new owner of the former Triputra palm oil concession. This concern is not unfounded, based as it is on a strong precedent.

This precedent refers to the recent sale of a not yet developed palm oil concession located in West Kalimantan’s Ketapang regency owned by Genting Plantations, most of which comprises high carbon stock (HCS) forests and Bornean orangutan habitat.

Genting’s public commitment not to open up this concession for the clearing of HCS forests turned out to be an empty promise. In reality, having been sold to the new owner, the former Genting palm concession is currently undergoing extensive clearing, as reported in a series of news reports by

It is far from impossible that such a situation will be mirrored in Triputra’s former palm oil concession once the new owner takes control of it.

As such, the orangutan inhabited peat forests situated in the sold Triputra palm oil concession, as seen in the following photos, require regular and intensive observation to prevent them from the possibility of being completely cleared and lost forever.

Triputra reacts

In response to this case, Arif P. Rachmat, CEO of Triputra Agro Persada, confirmed the sale, while emphasizing that ever since Triputra’s palm oil company PT PWA obtained a permit in late September 2011, in other words over a period of more than six years, the company has protected the concession very well.

“We have always taken proper care of the concession and this is reflected (on the ground),” Arif insisted to (Mar 28).

When went on to question whether Triputra is committed to ensuring that the new owner of the palm oil concession does not develop new palm oil plantations within it, he asserted that his company no longer has any right over the concession after the sale is completed.

Arif backed up this assertion by giving a simple explanation of a sales and purchase transaction, whereby after something is sold the right of ownership and control over what has been sold no longer lies with the selling party.

With respect to Triputra's response, the fate of the sold palm oil concession lies solely in the hands of the Indonesian government, considering that any new peat development in the concession would clearly constitute a peat violation. Law enforcement is thus key in preserving the concession's peat forests.

Triputra's credibility remains on the line in the eyes of relevant stakeholders due to the sale of its palm oil concession which forms part of Indonesia's existing targeted peat restoration and peat protection zones containing peat forests and orangutans.