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Samsung: Drop Deforestation

Samsung: Drop Deforestation
  
  

 


Why this is important

Samsung’s phones are not the only thing in their business catching on fire. A Samsung subsidiary, Samsung SDS, announced last week that it will be forming a joint venture with a Korean‐‐Indonesian agribusiness company called Korindo, which was recently exposed for burning and clearing tens of thousands of hectares of pristine rainforest on the Indonesian provinces of Papua and North Maluku for palm oil and timber production. Korindo is clearing an area of vast ancient rainforests that are habitat for endangered species like the tree kangaroo and birds‐of‐paradise, home to hundreds of indigenous communities, and their protection is key to solving climate change. Korindo is putting this rainforest paradise—one of the last of its kind in Indonesia‐‐in jeopardy.

Samsung can’t handle another PR nightmare right now, as it’s working to build back its reputation following the recall of 2.5 million phones and as its Vice Chairman stands trial for massive corruption scandals in South Korea. The last thing Samsung needs is to be caught up in a scandal over forest destruction and species extinction. If enough Samsung customers speak out, we can convince them to drop the partnership with Korindo. Korindo has already been steadily losing major global palm oil and timber customers over the controversy which has forced it to put a temporary halt on forest clearance, but it can start the bulldozers again any day now, leaving the 750 square kilometers of forests remaining on its plantations at great risk. But if Korindo faces the loss of a major strategic business partner with a global brand like Samsung, it will send a clear message that deforestation is bad for business, and Korindo will be forced to call off the bulldozers once and for all.

For years, Korindo has been able to get away with clearing vast areas of forest because it is an unknown company that is not directly exposed to consumers. But the partnership with Samsung brings new opportunities for millions of Samsung consumers to demand an end to these abuses. From smartphones to appliances to TVs, Samsung products are used every day around the globe. Consumers have a right to know that their purchases are not financing Samsung’s destruction of tropical forests and human rights abuses.

But we have to act fast. The dry season is starting up in Indonesia right now, which is when rogue palm oil companies like Korindo set fires to the forest. The 750 square kilometers of forest remaining in Korindo’s plantations are at great risk. We must convince Samsung to take immediate action.

Samsung is no stranger to these types of allegations itself ‐‐ a recent field investigation by a group of Korean lawyers uncovered extensive human rights violations and environmental destruction on its palm oil plantations in Sumatra, Indonesia. The investigation found Samsung to be taking land from the indigenous communities who have lived there for centuries, diverting the river to irrigate the palm trees while leaving the surrounding communities with a severe water shortage, utilizing child labor, and even bribing neighbors to spy on one another to suppress community opposition.

For More Information:

Samsung Partnership with Korindo Ignites Another Fire Scandal:
https://goo.gl/1XdQ3x

Mighty's investigative report on Korindo:
www.MightyEarth.org/BurningParadise

Aidenvironment’s sustainability assessment of Korindo's palm oil operations:
https://goo.gl/jw2QcR

Korean lawyers’ field investigation report on human rights abuses on Samsung's palm oil plantations:
https://goo.gl/h1UZDq

Photo Credit: Smoke rising from burning wood rows on a palm oil plantation owned by Korindo, Samsung’s joint venture partner ©Ardiles Rante/Greenpeace; 26 March 2013

Posted June 27, 2017
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