Global Palm Oil Giant Wilmar International Misses Deadline To Cut Conflict Palm Oil

Rainforest Action Network Calls Announcements “Disappointing,” Outlines Steps Needed To Drive Real Change On The Ground  


CONTACT: Emma Rae Lierley, , 425.281.1989

San Francisco, CA – Today, Rainforest Action Network responded to announcements made by Wilmar International during the World Economic Forum in Davos by calling on the global palm oil behemoth to scale up its efforts and investments to drive real change for forests, peatlands, local communities and workers.

Wilmar released its “Policy Progress Update: 2013 – 2015” during the annual proceedings of the World Economic Forum, where key decision makers and ambassadors including Leonardo DiCaprio have called for increased efforts to halt the destruction of the world’s last intact ecosystems caused by the expansion of palm oil plantations.   

Wilmar’s Progress Update clearly shows that the palm oil giant has failed to eliminate rainforest destruction, climate pollution and egregious human rights violations from its global palm oil operations by its self-imposed deadline of December 31, 2015.   

Wilmar first stated its intention to eliminate palm oil suppliers associated with deforestation, degradation of carbon-rich peatlands and human and worker rights’ violations in December 2013. When the commitment was first made it triggered a cascade of commitments from other global brands and traders which all committed to clean up their global palm oil supply chains.

In response to today’s announcement, Rainforests Action Network’s Agribusiness Campaign Director Gemma Tillack said:

“Today’s announcement is a disappointment. It’s clear that Wilmar’s efforts to break its links to controversial practices are out of step with the expectations of consumers across the globe.

“The 2015 forest fire crisis, ongoing evidence of the destruction of forests and peatlands in the priceless Leuser Ecosystem, outstanding conflicts with communities, and the exposé by The Wall Street Journal on forced labor and human trafficking in the operations of one of Wilmar’s suppliers, all show that not enough progress has been made to halt egregious practices in its supply chain.

“The global climate and biodiversity crisis is happening now. We simply can not afford to accept the ongoing expansion of commodities that are driving the destruction of the world’s last intact rainforests. Wilmar must, as a matter of urgency, enact a moratorium on the clearance of forests and peatlands across all of its suppliers operations, including those in the Leuser Ecosystem.

“Wilmar sets the pace for the transformation of the palm oil sector. It is crucial that Wilmar scales up efforts to resolve conflicts with communities across Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Nigeria and Uganda and actively monitors its suppliers to ensure compliance in all supplying countries with the social, environmental and transparency safeguards in its policy.

“Wilmar’s progress report lacks a clear deadline for achieving 100% responsible supply chains. Until Wilmar commits to a new deadline, outlines a comprehensive implementation plan with time-bound milestones for achieving its goals of ending deforestation, degradation of carbon-rich peatlands and human and worker rights’ violations across its entire operations and those of its suppliers, and transparently reports against its progress, the status of Wilmar’s implementation will remain in question.”

Wilmar is the largest trader of palm oil into the world and controls approximately 45% of the global market. Palm oil is used in roughly half the packaged goods sold in grocery stores and products containing Wilmar-sourced palm oil can be found in most American homes. Wilmar is the one of the largest and most powerful private corporations in the world, with business lines that touch all aspects of palm oil production, trade, refining and marketing as it moves palm oil from producers to end consumers. Wilmar has a crucial role to play in building traceable and responsible palm oil sourcing from growers to markets. In the past 2 years little progress has been made to drive real change on the ground in Indonesia and Malaysia, where a majority of the palm oil Wilmar buys and sells is produced.