Land and food security

Already the world’s biggest producer of palm oil, Indonesia is promoting yet more palm oil plantations across almost all regions in the country. Palm oil plantations covered more than 8 million hectares in 2010.

The expansion is being driven by the Indonesian government’s push for export revenues and demand for the crop from the international food and cosmetics industries.

Down to Earth No.82, September 2009

European countries are turning to agrofuels for energy and transport as part of their strategy to move away from fossil fuels and meet greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets. The use of palm oil as an agrofuel source has drawn strong criticism due to the severe social, environmental and negative climate change impacts, which contradict industry claims that it is a 'green' fuel.

Down to Earth No.80-81, June 2009

The following CSO declaration was issued in March 2009 to urge governments to take a cautious approach to claims that charcoal - called 'biochar' by its promoters - can be a means of storing large amounts of carbon and mitigating climate change. Instead, 'biochar' could mean more land-grabbing, human rights violations and forest destruction.


EU Renewable Energy Directive implicated in Human Rights Abuse in Sumatra 

Joint press release by Biofuelwatch, Down to Earth, Rettet den Regenwald e.V. Watch Indonesia! 11th February 2009

Down to Earth No.79, November 2008


Indonesian organisations have circulated the following information about the impact of the global credit crunch and falling palm oil prices on peasant farmers in the province Jambi, Sumatra. Translation from the Indonesian by DTE.


Since palm oil became 'the golden crop' around the year 2000, the European market for this commodity has grown year on year, not only to satisfy demand from the food and cosmetics industries, but also as an alternative energy source to fossil fuels.

Down to Earth No.76-77, May 2008


Indonesian agrofuel,1 producers are putting operations on hold as high demand drives up prices.

Since the Indonesian government issued its agrofuels policy in 2006, 22 companies have been set up to produce these alternative fuels.

Down to Earth No.76-77 May 2008

Communities in West Kalimantan, supported by national and international NGOs, have taken the unprecedented step of challenging the environmentally and socially damaging impacts of the world's largest palm oil company, using the World Bank Group's official complaints procedure.