Dutch pension fund divests from Korean firm Posco Daewoo over deforestation in Indonesia

APB, the Dutch pension fund for government and education employees, announced it would divest 300,000 euros from the firm owned by one of South Korea’s largest conglomerates over forest destruction for palm oil in Indonesian Papua.

Papua Indonesia oil palm plantation
Workers fertilising on an oil palm plantation in Papua, Indonesia. Image: Agus Adrianto/CIFOR, CC BY 2.0

Dutch national pension fund APB is divesting 300,000 euros ($351,000) from Korean firm Posco Daewoo over deforestation in Indonesia’s easternmost Papua province.

The announcement by ABP follows a series of media reports in the Netherlands about forest destruction by PT Bio Inti Agrindo, an oil palm plantation company owned by Posco Daewoo.

In May, consumer television program Kassa—the name means “cash register” in Dutch—aired a 16-minute segment on the pension fund’s investment in Posco Daewoo. That same month, the Dutch website Oneworld.nl published its own exposé of the land clearing in Papua.

Environmental groups have campaigned against the deforestation in Papua by Posco Daewoo, and by other companies, for years. The palm oil industry is rapidly expanding there.

If ABP wants to be seen as a responsible trustee of Dutch resources, they have to stop financing rogue actors like Posco.

Rolf Schipper, forest campaigner, Milieudefensie

In 2015, Norway’s pension fund divested from Posco Daewoo—then named Daewoo International—and from Posco, the parent company.

APB still has a 157 million euro ($183 million) investment in Posco.

“Norway got it right—Posco’s massive deforestation and land grabbing isn’t something to play games with,” Rolf Schipper, forest campaigner at Milieudefensie, a Dutch group, said in a statement. “If ABP wants to be seen as a responsible trustee of Dutch resources, they have to stop financing rogue actors like Posco, period.”

The land PT Bio Inti Agrindo has been licensed to develop by the Indonesian government overlaps with a WWF Global Ecoregion home to 344 registered bird and 69 mammal species, some of which are endangered and endemic to the area.

PT Bio Inti Agrindo has cleared more than 200 square kilometers (77 square miles) of forest in Papua since 2013, according to a report released by think tank the World Resources Institute in March.

This story was published with permission from Mongabay.com


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