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South East Asian Haze, Forest Fires and Me: Who are the Stakeholders?

October 31, 2014

stakeholder relationship

The chart above provides a simplified overview of the perpetual problem that is forest fires. Most of the fires in Indonesia are caused by intentional clearing of forests by large corporations. The land left behind will then be used as palm oil plantations. There are a number of other causes of the fires which are discussed in the blog’s pages. From cooking oil to biscuits, from peanut butter to soap, palm oil is a necessary ingredient for almost all organic and many non-organic household items. With the earth’s population ever increasing, there is perpetual increase in demand of palm oil every year. According to Bloomberg’s report, in 2011, global demand of palm oil rose 5% to 48.9 million metric tons from 46.6 million metric tons in 2010.

The huge demand of palm oil naturally pushes large corporations to seek ways to be able to find new lands to produce the goods. Governmental rules serve to regulate the parties involved in the industry so as to ensure a balance between economic prosperity of the people and the conservation of Indonesia’s rainforests. Sadly, so far the Indonesian government has not been able to tackle the problem satisfactorily. Some point at the lack of manpower and expertise of the Forestry Ministry as the main reason while others point at the rampant corruption among the government officials who are famous for receiving bribes in exchange for permits.

Peoples affected by the forest fires, both local and international are always swift in blaming the government, the large corporation and even the farmers. From a psychological stand view, this is normal as people are quick in using heuristics or mental shortcuts in trying to apportion blame. The media often exaggerate this process by focusing their reports solely on those who have a direct hand on the problems and neglected the fact that more often than not, those who are affected by the haze are alsoconsumers who drives the demand for palm oil.

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