Conservation news

Audio: Shadow companies and the Indonesian land crisis

On today’s episode, new revelations about “shadow companies” and how they factor into Mongabay’s ongoing investigation into the corruption fueling Indonesia’s deforestation and land rights crisis.

Listen here:


Our guest today is Mongabay’s Indonesia-based editor Phil Jacobson, who recently uncovered evidence that one of the biggest pulp and paper companies in the world might be using “shadow companies” to hide its connections to deforestation.

Phil appeared on the Newscast back in October 2017 to discuss “Indonesia For Sale,” an investigative series Mongabay is publishing in partnership with The Gecko Project. On that October 2017 episode of the Newscast, Phil told us about what the investigation had uncovered regarding the powerful politicians and businessmen who are pushing the land deals that have paved the way for the explosion of industrial agriculture in Indonesia in recent decades. The most recent installment in the series looked at the land deals behind the fall of the chief justice of Indonesia’s Constitutional Court, who was arrested in 2013 by Indonesian authorities for taking bribes from litigants to decide in their favor.

Phil’s latest report is something of a bombshell: He found evidence that Asia Pulp and Paper, better known as APP, one of the largest pulp and paper companies in the world, might be using “shadow companies” to hide its connections to forest destruction. These shadow companies aren’t officially connected to APP, but they list APP employees as directors or officers — sometimes without those employees even being aware that their names were used.

Phil explains how these revelations fit into the larger corruption issues tracked by “Indonesia For Sale,” how Indonesia’s forests are being impacted, and why everyone should be paying attention to these stories, whether they’re in Indonesia or not.

Here’s this episode’s top news:

Mongabay now has a free news app for Android users available in the Google Play Store. The app makes it easy to read and share Mongabay news features on Android devices, just look for “Mongabay Environmental News” inside the Google Play store.

Apple customers can also now receive Mongabay stories on iPhones and iPads, via Apple News, just search for Mongabay after launching Apple News on your Apple device.

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Peat forest cleared for palm oil in Indonesia. Photo by Rhett Butler.

Follow Mike Gaworecki on Twitter: @mikeg2001

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