Topic: Plasma

Indonesia produces millions of tonnes of palm oil each year, much of it destined for supermarket shelves in Europe and the U.S., where it goes into everything from frozen pizza to laundry detergent.

When the industry began to take off in Indonesia in the 1970s, communities were supposed to benefit by getting a share of large-scale plantations, a portion known as “plasma.” Initially the government encouraged and incentivized this through policies and subsidised financing. From 2007, it became a legal requirement for companies to share a fifth of any new plantation with communities.

Together with BBC News and Mongabay, we investigated problems within Indonesia's plasma scheme. Our first investigation found villagers are losing millions of dollars every year because plantation firms are failing to comply with the law and discontent over the plasma scheme is driving protests across the country. Our second investigation found that after giving up their land to enter plasma "partnerships" managed by companies, people were left with incomes below the international poverty line, with some struggling to pay-off multi-million dollar debts.

Main Stories

Audit finds “tiny percentage” of palm oil companies sharing plantations with communities

According to a major government audit, only a fifth of companies are complying with their legal obligations in this area

Analysis: How do oil palm companies get away with disregarding Indonesian law?

Tania Li, an anthropologist at the University of Toronto, argues that companies can act with impunity because of corporate-state collusion and a lack of organised resistance

Get the data: How we built a database of conflicts driven by Indonesia’s palm oil smallholder scheme

Local media reports provided a rich seam of evidence in a data-poor environment

Six steps to tackle exploitation in Indonesia’s palm oil smallholder scheme

Indonesian families have been left with empty promises for decades. Here’s how activists, government and the private sector can help them

Ten takeaways: The palm oil scheme leaving Indonesian villagers submerged in debt

An opaque system supposed to improve rural livelihoods has left villagers waiting for profits — and answers

Watch the BBC documentary based on our joint ‘plasma’ investigation

Meet the Sumatran indigenous tribe who gave up their land and now live in poverty

Six takeaways from our investigation into Indonesia's plasma scheme

Our investigation sheds light on a hidden crisis in the global palm oil industry

Responses from consumer goods firms to our plasma investigation

We invited consumer goods firms to comment on a summary of the findings from our plasma investigation. Here are their responses.