- Land Grabbing, Forests & Finance
- Meet the Financiers and Corporate Backers of Astra Agro Lestari’s Land Grab in Sulawesi, Indonesia
Meet the Financiers and Corporate Backers of Astra Agro Lestari’s Land Grab in Sulawesi, Indonesia
On the Indonesian Island of Sulawesi, one of the world’s largest palm oil companies has illegally grabbed thousands of acres of community-owned land, devastated local waterways and destroyed rich forests. Palm oil from these plantations most likely ends up in everyday products from companies like Procter & Gamble, Pepsico, Unilever, Colgate, and Nestlé. The operations are bankrolled by the world’s largest financiers, including BlackRock, State Street, and a wide array of multinational banks.
Astra Agro Lestari (AAL) is Indonesia’s second largest palm oil company and supplies palm oil and palm kernel oil to some of the world’s largest consumer brands including Procter & Gamble, Pepsico, Unilever, Colgate, and Nestlé. Three plantations owned by Astra Agro Lestari are embroiled in land conflicts with local communities in the provinces of Central and West Sulawesi, accused of violent land grabbing abetted by Indonesian security forces, and implicated in illegal deforestation and soil, air, and water pollution, causing serious harm to communities’ livelihoods. None of the three plantation companies have received the Free, Prior and Informed Consent of local communities to operate, as required by the sustainability policies of most of the brands who purchase their palm oil. All subsidiaries are also in violation of national laws and regulations, including:
- PT Agro Nusa Abadi (PT ANA) lacks the legal permit that gives companies the right to cultivate land. The company is alleged to have forcibly taken over 5,000 hectares (more than 12,000 acres) of land, despite documented community ownership claims.
- PT Lestari Tana Teladan (PT LTT) illegitimately claims 1,505 hectares (more than 3700 acres) of community-titled land and is operating on forested land beyond its legally permitted area.
- PT Mamuang illegally occupies 255 hectares (more than 600 acres) of Indonesia’s protected Forest Zone, where it has cleared forests and planted palm oil. (For context, this is the size of London’s Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens combined.)
Some of the world’s largest consumer brands buy conflict palm oil from these illegal operations
Astra Agro Lestari’s largest shareholders are the U.S. investment companies BlackRock, Vanguard, and Capital Group.
Supply Chain Links
PT ANA, PT LTT, and PT Mamuang likely supply oil palm fruit to four palm oil mills owned by Astra Agro Lestari in Central and West Sulawesi: Nusa Abadi, Tani Teladan, Pasangkayu and Letawa. Palm oil traders including Wilmar, Sime Darby, Cargill, Archer Daniels Midland, Bunge Loders Croklaan, and Olam, source from these four mills, and at least 17 consumer brands, including Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo, Unilever, Colgate, Nestlé, General Mills, and Danone also purchase palm oil from AAL and from these mills.
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