San Francisco. Today, Rainforest Action Network responded to the announcement made by six of the world’s largest palm oil companies to dissolve the Indonesian Palm Oil Pledge (IPOP) group, an innovative platform designed to advance the environmental and human rights reforms needed to address the international controversy surrounding the rainforest destruction and labor exploitation associated with Indonesia’s palm oil industry.
Gemma Tillack, Agribusiness Campaign Director for Rainforest Action Network issued the following statement.
“IPOP was an important mechanism for Indonesian companies to differentiate themselves from their competitors by taking real steps to halt the rampant destruction of forests and peatlands, to end the widespread abuse of workers and address the long-standing conflicts resulting from the displacement of local communities from their lands for industrial scale plantations. IPOP’s dissolution is a disappointing step backward in the urgent fight to achieve truly responsible palm oil and is a major lost opportunity for Indonesia’s palm oil industry to maintain its stake in the global market.
“IPOP’s former members, Wilmar, Golden Agri-Resources, Musim Mas, Astra Agro Lestari, Asian Agri and Cargill, must now meet their responsible palm oil promises independently and demonstrate that they intend to follow through on the commitments made to smallholders, local communities, workers and customers across the globe that are demanding fundamental changes in the way the palm oil is produced.
“Millions of smallholders may lose out if the positive initiatives spearheaded by IPOP are discontinued. Our hope is that the much needed industry transformation continues and efforts are scaled up to affect real change on the ground for small holders, communities and workers while securing Indonesia’s greatest natural treasure––its rainforests and peatlands including the globally important Leuser Ecosystem.
“The government lead Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO) system has an important role to play, but it will not deliver the extension services, market access and land security for small holders promised by the IPOP. It is critical that in addition to strengthening ISPO, the government works with civil society and the private sector to protect Indonesia’s critically important forests and peatlands while delivering new incentives, improved livelihoods and outcomes for local communities and workers and alternative low carbon development opportunities for Indonesia.”