For decades, investigative research by civil society and other groups has exposed the significant and wideranging adverse impacts that palm oil companies have caused to the environment, human rights, and labour rights around the world. In July 2018 Milieudefensie published a report “Draw the Line: A black book about the shady investments of Dutch Banks in palm oil,” that summarized over 100 cases of palm oil companies’ alleged involvement in socially and environmentally damaging business activities.

Several of the cases in “Draw the Line” showcased public sector action to expose or address the adverse impacts. These efforts were undertaken not only by civil society groups, but also by government entities who investigated and sometimes penalized palm oil companies for their harmful business conduct. In late 2018, Milieudefensie commissioned research to deepen understanding of the extent to which governments are taking action to respond to allegations of palm oil companies’ involvement in harmful or illegal business activities.

To address this query, SOMO researchers undertook a research project between late December 2018 and April 2019. The research sought to identify cases when Indonesian governmental entities took steps to investigate, engage with, convict, or penalize certain palm oil companies accused of harmful or illicit business activity.

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publication cover - Governmental action against the Indonesian palm oil industry
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