Palm Oil Giant Wilmar Promises to End Forest Destruction
The world's largest trader of palm oil recently announced it will launch a No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation policy, a broad environmental and social pact that features a commitment to no deforestation and free, prior informed consent when dealing with indigenous communities.
Wilmar International, the Singapore-based agribusiness company, said it “aims to advance an environmentally and socially responsible palm oil industry” and will “only provide products that are free from links to deforestation or abuse of human rights and local communities.”
The policy includes measures to "protect high carbon stock and high conservation value landscapes, and to ensure respect for community rights and support for development,” says Wilmar, which controls more than a third of the global palm oil trade.
Wilmar also will work with suppliers to immediately move development activities away from high carbon stock, peat and high conservation value lands.
U.S. imports have increased almost fivefold over the past decade. Eighty-five percent of palm oil is grown on industrial plantations in Indonesia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea, home of some of the largest remaining rainforests in the world. Clearing tropical forests for these plantations threatens the world's last Sumatran tigers, as well as orangutans, elephants, rhinos and the tens of millions of people who depend on these rainforests to survive. Because of deforestation, Indonesia is the third-largest emitter of global warming pollution in the world, behind only China and the U.S.
By banning its suppliers from destroying forests and peatlands, Wilmar's policy could be an important step toward transforming the palm oil sector, Bustar Maitar, head of the Indonesia forest campaign at Greenpeace International, wrote on his blog.
“Wilmar has responded to years of pressure from Greenpeace, other NGOs and a growing movement of consumers around the world demanding clean palm oil and an end to forest destruction,” Maitar said. “Wilmar’s commitment to No Deforestation has the potential to transform the controversial palm oil industry.”
Other organizations have reacted more cautiously based on experience with Wilmar. The company has been accused of violating ethical standards that it has signed as a member of the Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil and as recipient of funding from the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation.
"We are strongly cognizant that Wilmar's commitment to improvement comes in the wake of many years of land-grabbing, fueling of conflicts, destruction of endangered habitat and other abuses—all of which has rewarded Wilmar and its associates with enormous profits and established the company as the world's largest palm oil trader," said a statement from Friends of the Earth. "Friends of the Earth U.S. and Friends of the Earth International will be closely monitoring the implementation of Wilmar’s stated commitments to ensure that Wilmar takes immediate steps to fulfill its promise and comply with its policy."
Wilmar's policy comes on the heels of similar recent commitments from other companies. In November, Unilever pledged that 100 percent of the palm oil used in its supply chain would by fully traceable to known sources by the end of next year. Global chocolatier Ferrero also announced it would become a TFT member and work to make sure its supply chain has no link to deforestation by the end of 2014.
In 2010, Nestlé was the first company to commit to eliminate deforestation and exploitation from its supply chain.
Watch this video from Friends of the Earth that looks at the devastation wrought by illegal land grabbing for palm oil plantations in Indonesia.
Visit EcoWatch’s FOOD page for more related news on this topic.
- Scientists Discover New Population of Endangered Blue Whales ... ›
- Endangered Blue Whales Make 'Unprecedented' Comeback to ... ›
- Endangered North Atlantic Right Whale Calves Spotted Off Coast ... ›
- Only 366 Endangered Right Whales Are Alive: New NOAA Report ... ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Yoram Vodovotz and Michael Parkinson
The majority of Americans are stressed, sleep-deprived and overweight and suffer from largely preventable lifestyle diseases such as heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes. Being overweight or obese contributes to the 50% of adults who suffer high blood pressure, 10% with diabetes and additional 35% with pre-diabetes. And the costs are unaffordable and growing. About 90% of the nearly $4 trillion Americans spend annually for health care in the U.S. is for chronic diseases and mental health conditions. But there are new lifestyle "medicines" that are free that doctors could be prescribing for all their patients.
Taking an unconventional approach to conduct the largest-ever poll on climate change, the United Nations' Development Program and the University of Oxford surveyed 1.2 million people across 50 countries from October to December of 2020 through ads distributed in mobile gaming apps.
- Guardian/Vice Poll Finds Most 2020 Voters Favor Climate Action ... ›
- Climate Change Seen as Top Threat in Global Survey - EcoWatch ›
- The U.S. Has More Climate Deniers Than Any Other Wealthy Nation ... ›
By Tara Lohan
Fall used to be the time when millions of monarch butterflies in North America would journey upwards of 2,000 miles to warmer winter habitat.
A monarch butterfly caterpillar feeds on common milkweed on Poplar Island in Maryland. Photo: Will Parson/Chesapeake Bay Program, (CC BY-NC 2.0)
A federal appeals court has struck another blow against the contested Dakota Access Pipeline.
- 15 Indigenous Women on the Frontlines of the Dakota Access ... ›
- Federal Agencies Step in After Judge Denies Tribe's Request to ... ›
- Appeals Court Halts Dakota Access Pipeline Shutdown Order ... ›