• Dave Harmon, PW editor

Indonesia | Oversight lets firm that burned orangutan habitat sell palm oil on international markets

JAKARTA — Palm oil from a company that burned a pristine orangutan habitat in Sumatra has entered the global market due to an oversight, possibly ending up in products made by multinationals such as Nestlé and Mars, according to a new report.

That was the finding from an investigation by the U.S.-based campaign group Rainforest Action Network (RAN) into the activities of Indonesian oil palm grower PT Kallista Alam (KA). In 2012, fires from the company’s concession razed 1,000 hectares (2,500 acres) of pristine lowland rainforest in the Tripa peat swamp, part of the Leuser Ecosystem in northern Sumatra, a region considered one of the last wild bastions of the critically endangered Sumatran orangutan. In 2015, a local court ruled KA liable for the fires; the Supreme Court upheld the ruling and ordered the company to pay a then-unprecedented 366 billion rupiah (about $26.5 million at the time) in fines and damages.

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