FiresandFinance.org aims to highlight the role that financiers play in enabling large fires in forests, plantations and on peat grounds, in Indonesia.
It is based on the database ForestsandFinance.org, which provides information about the financial links between financiers and the companies that operate in forest risk sectors (palm oil, pulp and paper, rubber and timber) in South East Asia. This database is the result of extensive research and investigations by a coalition of campaign and research organizations, including TuK Indonesia, Profundo and Rainforest Action Network.
FiresandFinance.org uses the concession information that has been compiled by Greenpeace for Indonesia, to map the information on financial flows available from ForetsandFinance.org. Mapping this information provides a way to visualise the special spread of the financial flows.
Additionally, FiresandFinance.org overlays information about fires, provided by Global Forest Watch, to this map. This makes it possible to identify which financiers have ties to companies in whose concessions fires are occurring.
This methodology note outlines the company selection methodology, the types of finance included, the concession database selection, the fire database selection, the methodology used to extract and to overlay the data, and the calculated elements. It finalizes with a summary and a note on the methodological implications.
The financial information for FiresandFinance.org is extracted from the ForestsandFinance.org database.
The Financial data was downloaded from the Forestsandfinance.org website on xx/xx/2017, and then uploaded to the FiresandFiance.org website. Every time a new dataset becomes available on ForestsandFinance.org, the dataset on FiresandFinance will also be updated. This happens once or twice a year.
Company selection methodology
The companies that can be researched in FiresandFinance.org is limited to those available in the ForestsandFinance.org database. This database contains information about 338 of the largest companies that are active in the sectors of palm oil, pulp and paper, timber and rubber, in South East Asia.
A full methodology on the company selection from ForestsandFinance.org is available on that website: at Forest and Finance
Financiers selection methodology
The financiers that feature in firesandfinance.org are the financiers that were found for the companies that were selected by ForestsandFinance.org (see company selection methodology).
Types of Finance
The ForestsandFinance.org website provides information about a six types of finance: corporate loans, revolving credits, bond issuances, share issuances, bondholding and shareholdings.
Details on the different types of finance, how they were researched and the implications for this study can be found in the full methodology on the forestsandFinance.org website:
Currently, there is no official concession database available for Indonesia. Therefore, FiresandFinance.org uses the best available source, which is the concession database compiled by Greenpeace. This dataset is available here. /
Detailed information about this map can be found here. The Concession dataset was downloaded from Greenpeace.org on xx/xx/2017, and then uploaded to the FiresandFiance.org website This dataset will be updated once a year
The data on fires used for FiresandFinance is provided by WRI. The VIIRS (or Modis?)
Detailed information on the compilation of this data can be found on the Global Forest Watch – Fires page: http://fires.globalforestwatch.org/home/
and on the NASA page on active fires:
The data on Fires is extracted in real time from the Global Forest Watch website, by using an API. (more detail?)
Methodology to link Financial Data and Concession data
In order to link the financiers to specific concessions, the parent companies (Groups) of concession holders were linked to the Groups that received funding, from the ForetsandFinance.org database.
The financial data available for each group is not detailed to the concession level. Therefore, an estimate has to be made about the amount of funding that each concession received, from any given financier. In order to do this, the total amount of funding received, per finance type, per Group, between 2010 and 2017, was then divided by the total, worldwide, landbank of the group, in order to obtain an average dollar per hectare figure for each Group.
If Sime Darby received USD 5 million on corporate loans between 2010 and 2017, from Maybank, and Sime Darby has a landbank of 1,000,000 ha, its Average finance per hectare from Maybank, in corporate loans, is 5USD/ha. Thus, a 20,000ha concession in Kalimantan will have received an average of 5USD x 20,0000ha=100,000 USD/ha.
Methodology to link Financial and Concession data to Fire data
Real time and historical datasets on fires are projected on the concessions map in firesandfinance.org.
This allows users to identify where fires occur in concessions for which the financiers are known. It also allows them to calculate, for a given time period, how many fires occurred per invested USD.
This is calculated, by dividing the number of fires that occurred in a certain timeframe in a certain concession, by the funding received (per finance type and per investor) for that concession.
If Sime Darby received 100,000 USD in corporate loans from Maybank, for its concession in Kalimantan, and
Between January and December of 2017 there were 4 fires in that concession,
Maybank has a fires per US dollars rate of (4/100,000 =25,000) one fire per 25,000 USD invested.
Or the other way around?
Maybank has a fires per 100,000 USD rate of 4.
Summary and Methodological implications
The information provided on FiresandFinace is compiled with great care from three different sources:
ForestsandFinance – Finance
Greenpeace – Concessions
Global Forest Watch – Fires
However, due to the limitations in these sources and limitations of the website itself, the information provided is limited:
• To Indonesia (due to a lack of concession data for other SEAsian countries, it is not yet available for a broader region;
• To the Palm Oil and Pulp and Paper sector (true? Why?)
• To the 93 company groups for which financial information is available from ForestsandFinance.org
• Finance type? (true? Why?)
• To the financial information data that is publicly available. Many forms of finance, like direct loans, can not easily be traced and are therefore not available in the ForestsandFinance databse, nor the FiresandFinance database.
• To the concession data that has been gathered by Greenpeace. This might not be completely up to date, as ownership and other details may have changed.
• While the fire data is updated in real time, the concession data and the financial data is not. This is only updated once or twice a year.