Procter & Gamble Exposed for Failure to Fulfill Commitments to Restore Critical Rainforest Destroyed by Illegal Palm Oil Development in Indonesia

After P&G suppliers verified RAN’s evidence of illegal palm development in a wildlife reserve, P&G pledged to fix it. Now the company has abandoned its promises

*Leuser Watch post published here: P&G Accused of Failing to Deliver on Public Commitment to Restore Illegal Palm Plantations in Leuser Ecosystem

San Francisco, CA – In response to a September 2022 Rainforest Action Network (RAN) investigation exposing illegal palm oil development in the Leuser Ecosystem, called the Carbon Bomb Scandals, consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble (P&G) committed to work with its suppliers to restore illegal palm oil plantations established inside a nationally protected wildlife reserve in Sumatra’s Leuser Ecosystem known as the “orangutan capital of the world.” RAN has gathered fresh evidence that this commitment is not being fulfilled, despite an increase in deforestation and burning of carbon-rich peatlands in the globally important conservation area in Indonesia. 

Despite commitments made by P&G to work with its suppliers to restore illegal palm oil plantations in the Rawa Singkil Wildlife Reserve, new evidence gathered by RAN indicates that these commitments are not being fulfilled. Instead, more than a year after being exposed, P&G suppliers issued updates saying the illegal plantations will not in fact be returned by their problematic supplier, Mr. Mahmudin. It is clear that Mr. Mahmudin has backpedaled on his commitment and that he is confident he can continue to operate his illegal plantation with impunity while continuing to supply his palm oil products into the network of mills supplying the big traders and global brands like P&G.

“The destruction and illegal development in the Leuser Ecosystem, particularly within the Rawa Singkil Wildlife Reserve, are alarming and demand immediate action,” said Daniel Carrillo, Forest Campaign Director with Rainforest Action Network. “Procter & Gamble must honor its commitment to restore the illegally planted palm oil areas and ensure that its suppliers are held accountable for their actions. The orangutan capital of the world is facing unprecedented threats, and it is crucial that companies like P&G take responsibility for their role in protecting this vital ecosystem.”

RAN’s investigations have revealed that P&G suppliers, including Wilmar, Golden Agri Resources (GAR), Musim Mas, and the Royal Golden Eagle group, have been implicated in the sourcing of illegally produced palm oil from within the protected Rawa Singkil Wildlife Reserve. While these traders now say they have excluded Mr. Mahmudin from their supply chains due to his refusal to return illegal plantations to the reserve. RAN’s investigations––and verification reports published by the traders––have shown that the mills––and associated network of palm oil brokers––supplying these traders don’t have adequate traceability or No Deforestation, No Peatland and No Exploitation compliance systems, meaning these traders can’t truly provide any assurances that this exclusion of palm oil produced by Mr. Mahmudin will be enforced. 

Procter & Gamble’s failure to suspend problematic suppliers and mills involved in sourcing illegal palm oil further exacerbates the situation. The continued sourcing from mills at risk of illegal activities poses a significant threat to the conservation efforts in the Leuser Ecosystem.

RAN is urging P&G to take immediate and concrete steps to address the illegal palm oil development in the Leuser Ecosystem. By enforcing robust No Deforestation, No Peatland, and No Exploitation policies with suppliers and investing in collaborative restoration programs, P&G can demonstrate its commitment to environmental sustainability and conservation.