Samsung Under Fire for Partnership with Forest-Burning Korindo

 

  • Ahead of the launch of its new cell phone, Samsung was handed a petition with tens of thousands of signatures asking it to end its joint venture with Korindo, a conglomerate that has cleared thousands of hectares of rainforest in Indonesia’s Tanah Papua region.
  • Samsung has partnered with Korindo in the logistics sector. It has a direct stake in the oil palm sector via its partnership with Ganda Group, another Indonesian palm oil company.
  • After Mighty, the NGO that set up the petition, exposed Korindo’s practices in a report last year, the company said it would stop clearing forest until sustainability assessments could be undertaken.

An online petition asking Samsung to drop its partnership with a Korean-Indonesian conglomerate over concerns of rainforest destruction on the island of New Guinea has garnered over 73,000 signatures.

Samsung recently announced a joint venture with Korindo, in the logistics sector. Meanwhile Korindo’s palm oil operation has come under fire for devastating pristine rainforest in Indonesia’s easternmost Tanah Papua region, pushing endemic animals like the tree kangaroo to the brink of extinction, infringing on the rights of local communities and contributing to the Southeast Asian haze, all of which was documented in a 2016 report by Mighty Earth, an NGO.

Mighty set up the petition, and its CEO Glenn Hurowitz recently delivered it to Samsung’s office in Seoul, ahead of the company’s launch of its new Galaxy Note 8 phone.

“Korindo’s customers in many sectors have stopped doing business with it because of its deforestation, but Samsung continues to financially prop it up,” Mighty said in a statement.

While Samsung is not cooperating with Korindo’s plantations arm, it does have a direct stake in the oil palm sector via its joint venture with the Ganda Group, which is controversial for its stake in a company that bulldozed people’s homes in Sumatra in 2011 to make way for its plantation.

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