RAN Responds to Palm Oil Giant KLK’s Sustainability Pledge: ‘Actions Speak Louder Than Words’


Tuesday, December 2, 2014 


Laurel Sutherlin, 415.246.0161 Laurel@ran.org

San Francisco, CA – Malaysian palm oil giant Kuala Lumpur Kepong (KLK), one of the most controversial of the major players in a controversial industry, has just released a ‘sustainability policy.’ 

Rainforest Action Network’s senior forest campaigner Robin Averbeck issued the following statement in response. 

“Actions speak louder than words. KLK is currently involved in active conflicts with multiple communities resisting palm oil plantation development on their territory, including in Collingwood Bay, Papua New Guinea, and Grand Bassa County, Liberia. In both cases, local communities are opposing palm oil expansion by KLK on their customary lands and have filed formal complaints against the company with the industry certification body, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). The resolution of these cases to the satisfaction of local communities will be seen as a critical test of KLK’s commitments.

“Labor abuses, including use of child labor and forced labor, also continue to be a concern in KLK’s operations. The company has yet to adequately respond to 2013 investigations published by Bloomberg Businessweek, exposing extreme abuses of workers, including children being defrauded, abused and held captive. Despite banning such abuses outright, KLK’s new policy does not put in place adequate safeguards to prevent child labor or modern day slavery from happening in the first place. 

“While there has been a flurry of no deforestation commitments by major players in the industry, KLK’s policy leaves its position ambiguous. Unlike Wilmar, Cargill, Golden Agri Resources (GAR) and others, KLK does not commit to applying the credible High Carbon Stock Approach, nor does it require the same commitments of its suppliers, trading partners, or Joint Venture partners. Due to the reality on the ground in its operations and remaining critical gaps in its policy, KLK remains a laggard among its industry peers.” 


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