Palm Oil Giant First Resources ‘Tied to Huge Forest Clearing’ – ICIJ


An investigation by an environmental group known as The Gecko Project and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has cast serious doubt on claims by a Singapore-listed palm oil giant called First Resources that it protects wildlife and the environment, according to a report published by the ICIJ this week, which said the company’s majority shareholders, the billionaire Fangiono family, have breached the firm’s pledge of “sustainable” production by secretly controlling companies that environmental analysts found had cleared large areas of rainforest in Indonesia.

The Gecko Project’s investigation allegedly “uncovered new evidence showing that the Fangiono family in fact quietly controls the three firms that, research reports have found, cleared more forest for palm oil than any other company in Southeast Asia”, the ICIJ said, noting that advocates had suspected for years that the three supposedly independent companies listed in Indonesia were controlled by the Fangiono family, who Forbes said were worth $2.2 billion.

The investigation also highlighted a serious failing in the Singapore Exchange’s reporting rules, which allow listed companies to publish “sustainability reports without requiring an independent audits of companies’ green claims”, the report said, adding that subsidiaries of one of the three “supplier” companies, FAP Agri, were allegedly responsible for clearing more than 145,000 acres of forest between 2008 and 2021.

Read the full report: ICIJ, Deforestation Inc.




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Jim Pollard

Jim Pollard is an Australian journalist based in Thailand since 1999. He worked for News Ltd papers in Sydney, Perth, London and Melbourne before travelling through SE Asia in the late 90s. He was a senior editor at The Nation for 17+ years.

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