After being named and shamed, major Indonesian companies have spent millions on firefighting and repairing their reputations

SINGAPORE (Sept 30): Herman, a small-time farmer in Pekanbaru, capital of Riau province in Indonesia, used to raze his land after harvesting the crops on his 1ha plot. He is not exactly sure why he did it, only that that was what he was taught by his father. “It makes the land look clean, all brown and black,” he says in Bahasa Indonesia.

But today, with irrigation pipes embedded throughout his 3ha plot and various crops that are harvested at different times, Herman will be royally upset if the neighbouring farmers set fire to their lands to carry out slash-and-burn agriculture, as that would risk destroying the infrastructure he has invested in.

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