Indonesian firm BW Plantation’s (BWPT) $900M share rights offering rife with concerns over labour rights, wildlife and deforestation.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Laurel Sutherlin, 415.246.0161, Laurel@ran.org
Indonesian palm oil firm BW Plantation (BWPT) approved last week a USD $900 million share rights offering in a bid to finance its merger with Green Eagle Holdings (GEH). New stock not purchased by existing shareholders will be traded on the Jakarta Stock Exchange (IDX) from Monday December 8. Already lagging behind its competitors who have committed to zero deforestation policies, BWPT has failed to declare to investors the serious environmental, social and financial risks involved with deforesting and planting over its massive new land bank.
Rainforest Action Network (RAN) has published an in-depth backgrounder/briefing document titled Conflict Palm Oil Case Study PT BW Plantation (BWPT) $900 Million Stock Offer Warning: Investors Need Greater Disclosure of Environmental, Social and Legal Risks.
The deal expands BWPT's holdings from just under 100,000 ha to over 400,000 ha, making it Indonesia’s third largest palm oil company listed on the IDX. However, 75% of the new land bank - with holdings in Papua, Sulewesi, West, East and South Kalimantan and Sumatra - is unplanted and likely includes large tracts of primary forests, Indigenous and local community lands, and areas of carbon-rich peatlands.
Tom Picken of Rainforest Action Network said, “The last thing Indonesia needs is a near-billion dollar injection of cash that will simply fuel Conflict Palm Oil production. We encourage potential investors to steer clear of this controversial deal until BWPT discloses the true extent of risks, and publicly commits to no deforestation, no exploitation, and no peatland expansion across its entire operations.
Publicly available information on GEH plantations should raise alarm bells for investors. A basic review of available satellite data and local media reports indicates aggressive clearance of High Carbon Stock (HCS) forest since 2010, orangutans needing to be rescued from a Kalimantan concession two weeks ago, at least one case of serious labour rights violations this year in Papua, as well as a number of community conflicts.
Picken added, “BWPT is already failing to comply with its obligations under the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) relating to new plantations. Adding the Green Eagle operations into the mix may seriously jeopardise BWPT’s eligibility to remain a member of RSPO at all, judging by the little information that is in the public domain highlighting numerous scandals in Green Eagle plantations.
“Aside from being a disaster in the making for the climate, local communities and the environment, this deal is a risky gamble for investors. That’s because this offering completely ignores the changing business climate. There has been a tide of deforestation-free commitments from major players in this arena recently, including BWPT’s two largest buyers of Crude Palm Oil (CPO) -- Wilmar International and Golden Agri-Resources (GAR), which make up almost half of BWPT’s sales. Unless BWPT gets into line with these improved palm oil standards, then it will lose its biggest clients while investors could see their stock plunge.”
"Greenpeace, WWF, the Forest People’s Programme and Rainforest Action Network laud commitments by some companies to protect forest areas classified as ‘High Carbon Stock’, but say challenges still remain."
We launched a campaign to turn up the heat on Pepsico and its use of Conflict Palm Oil. The goal has been to takeover its darkly ironic #LiveForNow advertising campaign that encourages consumption while ignoring human rights abuses, land grabs, and deforestation. Supporters like you have been doing just that by tweeting pictures from events and anywhere they spot the logo of Pepsico’s flagship brand Pepsi, calling out the truth.
Our “#LiveForNow Shouldn’t Mean Destroying Tomorrow” site is built for people like you to use to crank up the pressure on PepsiCo. Pictures coming in from people across the US and the globe will make it clear to PepsiCo that our movement is building and we won’t stop until it ends its use of Conflict Palm Oil.
Remember, take a selfie with a Pepsi sign and tweet it out with the hashtag #LiveForNow and we’ll feature you on the site too!
We know your pressure is working. PepsiCo is one of the 5 laggards companies we called out in April who have refused to take effective steps to eliminate Conflict Palm Oil, but other companies are moving. This week, palm oil laggard Conagra Foods announced a new commitment to eliminate Conflict Palm Oil. Together we can push PepsiCo to do the right thing and fix the weaknesses in its Palm Oil Commitment. So keep up the pressure! Start now by sharing our spoof site with your friends and family on Twitter and Facebook.
On May 20, thousands of us united in a Global Day of Action to tell PepsiCo to eliminate Conflict Palm Oil. PepsiCo responded by announcing a Forestry Stewardship Policy and Palm Oil Commitment, but neither of these new promises are strong enough to guarantee that Pepsi’s use of palm oil is not driving rainforest destruction, species extinction and human and labor rights abuses.
PepsiCo is the largest globally distributed snack food company in the world - the company uses enough palm oil every single year to fill Pepsi cans that would stretch around the Earth 4 times - but it has fallen out of step with its peers and still has no truly responsible palm oil purchasing policy.
Instead of cutting Conflict Palm Oil from its products, PepsiCo continues to push its darkly ironic #LiveForNow campaign. PepsiCo is telling people not to worry about climate change, the fate of the last wild orangutans and children that are forced to work in slave-like conditions on oil palm plantations and just #LiveForNow!
It’s our job to tell PepsiCo that #LiveForNow isn’t good enough. This summer we’re turning up the heat.
PepsiCo is pushing its #LiveForNow propaganda out through it’s “Real Big Summer” marketing campaign which includes Pepsi sponsored concerts and events across the US. We need YOU to crash Pepsi-sponsored events and deliver the message that #LiveForNow shouldn’t mean rainforest destruction, climate change and human rights abuses.
Because of you PepsiCo has made some progress. With your help we’ve convinced the snack food giant to go beyond just sourcing Roundtable on Sustainable Palm certified palm oil. However, PepsiCo’s policies lack a commitment to trace its palm oil back to the plantations where the oil palm fruit was grown and to verify that its suppliers operations are free of forced and child labor, conflicts with Indigenous Peoples and local communities, and clearance of rainforests and peatlands. It also lacks a time bound action plan, so it’s hard for its consumers to know what steps it will take to clean up its palm oil supply chain.
This isn’t good enough. PepsiCo must adopt a policy that is inline with what forests, the people that rely on them and our planet need and demand that its suppliers, like Cargill, do the same.
With your help we’ll convince the global snack food giant to take the steps that will guarantee that its products - like Quaker Oats and Frito-Lay Chips - will be free of Conflict Palm Oil for good.
Help us turn up the heat on PepsiCo this summer. Sign up to let us know you’re in.
Almost six months after the release of its Sustainable Forest Management Policy, Asia Pacific Resources International Ltd (APRIL)—the second-largest Indonesian pulp & paper company—continues business-as-usual rainforest destruction, betraying the spirit and substance of its policy.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported in May that APRIL-owned PT RAPP cleared massive swaths of carbon-rich peatlands on Pulau Padang, an island off the Sumatran coast that APRIL promised to help restore. Members of island community Desa Bagan Melibur have called on APRIL to terminate operations on their community land, and Desa Bagan Melibur’s May 17 protest is the most recent clash in a stark legacy of land disputes between APRIL and Padang’s thirteen villages since 2009.
Pulau Padang’s peatlands store millions of tons of carbon and are home to endangered species and communities that depend on these forests for their livelihoods. You could also say the island itself is endangered: decaying peat causes the low-lying island to subside, and scientists warn that if no action is taken, Padang may very well be under sea level and useless for any type of cultivation by 2050.
APRIL’s forest policy itself is rife with loopholes and allows APRIL to continue slashing natural forests in its concessions through December and source rainforest fiber until 2020. Yet the company’s refusal to uphold even its weak policy commitments brings APRIL’s intentions entirely into doubt. In addition to the Pulau Padang case, earlier this year, APRIL suppliers were caught clearing natural forests on legally protected peat land in Borneo and high conservation value forest on peat land in Riau. In the latter case, not only were internationally protected ramin trees cut down, but APRIL supplier PT Triomas allegedly attempted to hide the evidence by burying the contraband logs.
There is mounting recognition that APRIL’s policy and actions are insufficient and not credible. Last Friday, RAN and an international collation of allies co-authored a letter highlighting the severe shortcomings in APRIL’s policies, such as the lack of a moratorium on natural forest and peat land conversion, unclear commitments on resolving social conflicts, and the policy’s narrow scope, which does not extend to cover APRIL’s sister companies within owner Sukanto Tanoto’s rogue cartel of companies, such as Toba Pulp Lestari, Sateri, and Asian Agri. The letter also points to the inadequacy and questionable credibility of the Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC) APRIL set up to help develop, implement, and monitor the forest policy in a transparent and independent manner.
APRIL’s new policy and the SAC risk being nothing but a parade of environmental lip service built on teetering scaffolds of environmental destruction, social conflict, and corruption. Customers and financiers must cut ties with APRIL and other companies owned by Sukanto Tanoto and pressure APRIL to end rainforest clearing and respect community rights.
Have you seen the press around Years of Living Dangerously yet? We're amazed by what's happening over at Showtime right now and we think you will be too. Not since Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth has this much time, talent and money been put into bringing the dramatic reality of climate change into the mainstream. We're at a tipping point in our historic effort to end the devastating effects of Conflict Palm Oil on people and the planet, and this kind of primetime, star-studded exposure on the issue has the potential to become a catalyst for major change. But that can only happen if enough people share this gripping program with everyone they know.
To achieve the huge changes we seek, we need to spread the word beyond the choir who already know climate change is the defining crisis of our time, and this new series provides us with a great tool to do just that. During filming, I walked with Harrison Ford down the snack food aisle of a local grocery store explaining how Conflict Palm Oil is destroying Indonesia’s forests. It was a truly memorable moment in my work as a forest advocate.
Now, I’m thrilled to share this link with you where you can watch the premiere episode of ShowTime’s groundbreaking new series on climate change, Years of Living Dangerously, which features our conversation—for free—a week before it will air on cable TV next Sunday, April 13th. (You can also watch the full episode above.)
The forest team at Rainforest Action Network has been working closely with the show’s producers for many months and we are confident that it has the potential to be the most important, highest profile story on climate change in a generation. This hard-hitting 9-part series – vetted by a team of respected climate scientists—brings together some of the biggest names in Hollywood and investigative journalism to dramatically tell the biggest story of our time to a larger audience than ever before. Check it out yourself, then make sure every person you know who is on the fence gets a chance to see this.
The first two episodes, called "The Last Stand, Part 1 and 2," include the story of how Conflict Palm Oil is wreaking havoc on Indonesia’s lush rainforests while spewing immense amounts of carbon pollution into the atmosphere. And crucially, the story brings the issue home by showing how each of us are connected to this growing crisis and how the actions we take to change corporate behavior can make a real difference.
There could not be a more urgent time for as many people as possible to see this unflinching program and hear the compelling message it contains—help us get this message out to everyone by sharing this video with your friends and family.
First, the bad news.
This week, as millions of schoolchildren across the U.S. share Valentine’s candy and chocolate, they’ll be unwittingly—and unwillingly—contributing to child labor taking place on the other side of the world.
One of the key ingredients in Hershey’s chocolates—and many other Valentine’s candies—is responsible for widespread child labor and human rights violations, land grabs, and is also pushing orangutans to the brink of extinction. The ingredient? Conflict Palm Oil.
Palm oil is now found in roughly half the packaged goods in grocery stores, as its use in the US has grown over 500 percent in the past decade. It goes by dozens of names, including Palm Kernel Oil, Palmitate, and Glyceryl Stearate.
Currently, more than 85% of the palm oil used in America’s packaged food is grown on palm oil plantations in Indonesia and Malaysia, where child labor is common and widespread. In fact, the US Department of Labor lists palm oil as a commodity notorious for child labor and forced labor. A nine-month investigation by the Schuster Institute of Investigative Journalism published in BusinessWeek last July documented widespread cases of child labor on palm oil plantations in Indonesia’s palm oil industry. Palm oil produced in this manner has been dubbed “Conflict Palm Oil” by Rainforest Action Network.
Now for the good news.
Rainforest Action Network is leading a Valentine’s Day campaign to convince Hershey’s and other top chocolate companies to remove Conflict Palm Oil from their supply chains. Hundreds of activists in 250+ American cities are placing warning stickers on Valentine’s chocolates in grocery stores this week that say, “There’s nothing romantic about #ConflictPalmOil.”
Now for the even better news.
Besides checking your Valentine’s chocolate for palm oil before buying it, there are three easy ways you and your family can help Hershey’s kiss Conflict Palm Oil goodbye:
Post a message to Hershey’s Facebook Wall: Hershey, there is one condition for my ♥. Adopt a palm oil policy that protects rainforests and the families that rely on them. I can’t love brands that use Conflict Palm Oil. No child labor for chocolate! #HersheyHurts
Twitter storm Hershey with your version of this Tweet: Hey @HersheysKisses, I won't buy chocolates with #ConflictPalmOil. No child labor for sweets! #HersheyHurts
- You made “Conflict Palm Oil” an international issue discussed in the pages of the New York Times, Businessweek and The Guardian.
- You made it possible for more than 76,000 people to get the training and resources they need to take peaceful direct action and demand President Obama reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.
- By sending nearly 12,000 emails, you convinced the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil to sit down with community members from Papua New Guinea and mediate their dispute with KLK, a notorious forest-destroyer and labor rights abuser.
- You sent over 18,000 emails to Bank of America and Goldman Sachs calling them out for funding Coal India, a company that has been tied to numerous environmental violations. Thanks to you, BofA and Goldman Sachs were forced to go back to Coal India and wring environmental concessions from the company before proceeding.
- More than 25,000 of you called out Cargill for its ties to a palm plantation that uses forced and child labor.
- And the truth about Conflict Palm Oil is currently being broadcast from a Jumbo-Tron in Times Square and has been viewed on YouTube almost half-a-million times.
Today an orangutan called Strawberry, along with RAN's Palm Oil Action Team and local residents from Battle Creek, Michigan, paid a visit to the home of Tony the Tiger, a.k.a Kellogg's headquarters, to call on the snack food giant to cut “Conflict Palm Oil” from its products.
Strawberry’s family lives in the forests of Indonesia on the island of Sumatra, but the expansion of palm oil plantations is threatening their home. After Strawberry learned that Kellogg’s was using Conflict Palm Oil in its products, she set out to tell her story to the company directly and ask the decison makers at Kellogg's to make sure they help protect her family’s home.
Strawberry hoped she might meet Tony the Tiger—thinking he might be a cousin to the Sumatran tigers she knows from home—but instead she met with his keepers. At the Kellogg’s HQ, she and her friends from the palm oil action team gave representatives of the Kellogg Company a copy of the report that RAN released last week, titled Conflict Palm Oil: How US Snack Food Brands are Contributing to Orangutan Extinction, Climate Change and Human Rights Violations, and outlined RANs demand to cut Conflict Palm Oil.
Strawberry hopes that the folks at Kellogg’s listen to her story and take her demands to heart, but she needs your help to convince Kellogg’s to cut Conflict Palm Oil.
The time for action is now. Here are three things you can do right now to echo our demands to Kellogg's: 1. Call Kellogg’s at 1-800-962-1413. Here's a call script you can use:
2. Post this message on Kellogg's Facebook wall:
3. Tweet at Kellogg's:
Since April, RAN’s team and our supporters have been calling on Kellogg’s to adopt and implement a time-bound policy that builds on its existing commitment and ensures that the palm oil in the company's supply chain is fully traceable, legally grown, and sourced from verified responsible palm oil producers not associated with deforestation, expansion onto carbon-rich peatlands or human and labor rights violations.
In August, Kellogg’s responded to our call to action by releasing a strengthened palm oil commitment. Now Kellogg’s needs to turn that commitment into a robust global palm oil policy and remove Conflict Palm Oil from its products.
Adopting a global responsible palm oil policy is even more important now that Kellogg’s has entered into a joint venture partnership with the world’s largest palm oil trader, Wilmar International. Wilmar International currently does not have an adequate global responsible palm oil procurement policy and, like other global palm oil traders such as Cargill, they continue to buy and sell Conflict Palm Oil to companies like the Snack Food 20. It’s crucial that Kellogg’s only maintains joint venture partnerships with supply chain partners who are willing to eliminate Conflict Palm Oil from their global supply chains.
Every day our Palm Oil Action Team is taking action and we are growing a national grassroots movement of US shoppers that are joining Strawberry and demanding that the Snack Food 20 eliminate Conflict Palm Oil.
Find out about the next stop on The Power Is In Your Palm Tour or join our Palm Oil Action Team if you want to help build the movement that will remove Conflict Palm Oil from snack foods. You can also visit www.inyourpalm.org to take action and call on all of the Snack Food 20 companies to cut Conflict Palm Oil from their products.
For more info, download the full Conflict Palm Oil report.