Tycoons in the Indonesian Palm Oil sector

The driving force behind the strong growth of the palm oil sector are the owners and
investors. They have to take responsibility for the social and environmental impacts that the sector causes. In this regard, it is important to note that the ownership of oil palm plantations is more concentrated than it would seem at first sight, because many plantation companies are owned by large business groups. Most of these business groups are controlled by tycoons. This word stems
from the Japanese word taikun, which literally means “Great Lord”. It is now commonly used to refer to wealthy business magnates who – often together with their family – control groups of companies which are active in various business sectors, such as plantations, mining, energy, real estate, finance and services.
This study explores in particular:
• Which part of the Indonesian palm oil sector is dominated by tycoon-controlled business groups;
• Who the tycoons are who control these groups; and
• Which banks are supporting these tycoons to build their palm oil groups.

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