April 29, 2019

Palm oil company still protecting world’s orangutan capital

JAKARTA ( - A ground-check conducted by has shown that a Saratoga-controlled palm oil company, PT SPS-2, is still in legal compliance by continuing to protect forested peatlands in its concession in the Tripa peatland landscape, one of the key parts of the Leuser Ecosystem.

According to the Rainforest Action Network (RAN), the Tripa peat forest landscape - home to the densest population of Sumatran orangutans - is the orangutan capital of the world

As reported by in August last year, Indonesian Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya imposed a strict sanction on PT SPS-2 for the violations it was committing.

The sanction, among other things, required the Saratoga palm oil company to fulfill its legal obligation to protect forested peatlands in its concession covering an area equal to five thousand football fields

More than 8 months after the palm oil company was hit by this sanction, the following photos taken by the team (Apr 23) demonstrate that the forested peatlands in the palm oil concession have indeed been protected.

Good legal compliance 

The real situation on the ground, as seen in the photos above, is one of good legal compliance on the part of the palm oil company, for which it deserves appreciation. 

Thanks to Minister Nurbaya, as well as the palm oil company, the remaining orangutans in the world's orangutan capital have not been removed to make way for palm oil plantations.

It is our sincere hope that these Sumatran orangutan-inhabited peat forests, some of which are depicted in the preceding photos, will be forever protected by the palm oil company and not lose their habitat to new palm oil plantations for any reason.

Key message to EU  

If major parts of the peat forests in the Saratoga palm oil company's concession are replaced by new palm oil plantations, then the orangutan capital of the world will become just a story.

Regardless of any arguments from the EU regarding its recently adopted Delegated Act on phasing out palm oil for biofuels, the EU really needs to be aware that there is no other orangutan capital of the world, including in the EU member states.

To this end, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo protested the EU delegated act in a joint letter with Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, stating, among other things, that relations with the EU as a whole will be reviewed if the delegated act is truly implemented.