FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, September 19th, 2014
Laurel Sutherlin, 415.246.0161 Laurel@ran.org
Palm Oil Giants Hit Pause Button On Bulldozers
Moratorium on forest clearance for palm oil plantations a ‘step in the right direction,’ RAN says companies must now stop the bulldozers for good and convince suppliers to do the same.
SAN FRANCISCO—In the face of growing criticism over their “talk and log initiative,” known as the Sustainable Palm Oil Manifesto, five of the world’s largest producers and traders of palm oil have announced a commitment to temporarily halt the clearance of critical forest areas in their own palm oil plantation concessions during a year long study.
The Sustainable Palm Oil Manifesto was launched by these 5 companies, namely Kuala Lumpur Kepong Berhad (KLK), Sime Darby Plantation, IOI Group Corporation Berhad, Musim Mas Group, Asian Agri, and Cargill International in July 2014. The initiative was criticized by environmental and social justice organizations as it did not adequately address the current deforestation and climate crisis caused by palm oil expansion and failed to require an immediate halt to the destruction of rainforests throughout the signatories’ supply chains.
“The Signatories to the Sustainable Palm Oil Manifesto have been forced to realize that half measures are not good enough. Today, these companies have taken a step in the right direction, but their commitment still falls short of their peers. Hitting the pause button on deforestation is not a lasting solution. They need to adopt policies inline with leading industry benchmarks and convince their suppliers to do the same,” said Rainforest Action Network agribusiness campaign director Gemma Tillack.
“Actions are stronger than words. Each company must now demonstrate that bulldozers have been stopped in their tracks and release maps showing the locations of their palm oil plantations and plans for future expansion,” continued Tillack.
This announcement follows the release of leading palm oil policies by Wilmar International, Golden Agri Resources (GAR), Cargill International and members of the Palm Oil Innovation Group who have all committed to eliminate deforestation, expansion onto carbon rich peatlands and human rights violations from their global supply chains.
These companies, in addition to Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) and Golden Veroleum Liberia have established a body with leading NGOs that aims to standardizes the High Carbon Stock (HCS) Approach, the methodology being used to implement zero deforestation commitments. Non-producer companies and NGOs involved include Conservation International, Daemeter, Forest Heroes, Forest Peoples’ Programme (FPP), Greenpeace, National Wildlife Federation, Proforest, Rainforest Action Network (RAN), Rainforest Alliance, The Forest Trust (TFT), Union of Concerned Scientists, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), The Nature Conservancy, and World Resources Institute.
The “Sustainable Palm Oil Manifesto” companies have also established a process for defining High Carbon Stock areas but it lacks the support or involvement of NGOs.
Rainforest Action Network runs hard-hitting campaigns to break North America’s fossil fuels addiction, protect endangered forests and Indigenous rights, and stop destructive investments around the world through education, grassroots organizing, and non-violent direct action. For more information, please visit: www.ran.org