Moorim paper company destroys pristine forests in Papua, Indonesia

Papua man from the Gebze clan, Merauke, Indonesia The last paradise on Earth is being destroyed for pulp and paper, palm oil and gold. (© Pusaka)

Mar 17, 2022

Papua, a paradise for biodiversity, indigenous culture and carbon storage, is being devastated to produce wood chips for papermaking that are being branded as sustainable and ethically sourced products to consumers across the globe. An investigation released on March 15, 2022, details the destruction of pristine forests in the remote province of Papua, Indonesia.

Moorim Paper, a company based in South Korea, is plundering the last rainforests while continuing to claim its operations are eco-friendly. The year-long investigation by our partner Pusaka, together with Environmental Paper Network (EPN), Mighty Earth, Solutions for Our Climate (SFOC), Korean Federation for Environmental Movement (KFEM) and Advocates for Public Interest Law (APIL), reveals deforestation throughout pulp and paper supply chain.

Through its subsidiary company, PT Plasma Nutfah Marind Papua (PT PNMP), Moorim Paper has cleared more than six thousand hectares of forest between 2015 and 2021. With 64,000 hectares under their management, more forests will be at risk of being chopped down in the coming years.

The Papua rainforests are a genuine biodiversity paradise and home to thousands of unique flora and fauna species. The area in which the company operates is the habitat of tree kangaroos and cassowaries, and many species remain to be discovered and catalogued, while others are categorized as threatened on the IUCN Red List.

Until recently, the pristine forests in the remote province of Papua, Indonesia, remained relatively intact. Now, however, a wave of industrial plantations is carving up pockets of the region, wiping out entire ecosystems and grabbing indigenous peoples’ ancestral lands to produce commodities for the global market.

Paper is sold globally as an eco-friendly plastic substitute, yet it is still coming from deforestation and the abuse of indigenous peoples’ rights”, said Sergio Baffoni of Environmental Paper Network (EPN). We cannot sacrifice the last paradises of the planet for products that end up in the trash bin within a few hours after their first use”.

The forests felled by Moorim in Papua belong to traditional clans, whose lives and culture are shaped by the rainforest. The company’s bulldozers destroyed their fishing ponds, their hunting grounds, their sago hamlets and even their sacred sites – traditional clan lands in whch their social and spiritual values are rooted. Moorim has failed to respect the rights of indigenous communities and to implement Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) in connection with any activities in their lands. 

The company’s failure to respect the rights of indigenous peoples causes socio-economic, cultural and environmental losses,” said Franky Samperante, Executive Director of Pusaka. “Indigenous peoples are already facing difficulties in meeting their needs for quality food and water, livelihood and harmony, and all of these cannot be replaced with unjust compensation. The government must place sanctions on the company’s alleged violations”.

Time is running out to save our climate and the last frontier forests of Earth as well as the people whose lives depend on them. It is time to redouble our efforts to break the link between commodity production and the destruction of habitats and treasured places on our planet.

It is time for Moorim to stop hiding under eco-friendly claims. Moorim's buyers, financiers and business partners must cancel supply contracts, divest, and suspend financial and services agreements should the company fail to take the necessary steps.

The full report is available at:

https://environmentalpaper.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/20210315_Moorim_Eng.pdf

Bahasa Indonesia version | Korean version