Tragedy in Tripa: Cargill Can Make a Difference

posted by Rainforest Action Network
Fire in Tripa
Photo by Carlos Quiles

Last week hundreds of fires blazed through the Tripa peat forest of Indonesia, threatening the survival of one of the largest remaining populations of wild Sumatran orangutans in the world. These fires rapidly got out of control after they were intentionally started by profit-hungry palm oil companies in order to clear rainforest for palm oil plantation expansion.

For those of you following the case, thanks for taking action by asking President Yudhoyono of Indonesia to enforce the law and save this precious peatland. Your pressure is working. We are asking for your help again by pressuring the companies profiting from the fires in Tripa.

Trade data held by Rainforest Action Network shows that Cargill shipped at least 4,000 tons of crude palm oil produced by Astra Agro Lestari from the island of Sumatra in 2009. Astra Agro Lestari produced and exported palm oil from Tripa until 2010, when it sold its Tripa plantation to another agribusiness based in Jakarta.  It is highly likely that at least some of this 4,000 tons was from Tripa, making a direct link between the destruction Tripa and the US consumer impossible to ignore. Cargill Inc., operates its own palm oil plantations in Sumatra and Borneo and trades palm oil produced by at least fifteen Indonesian palm oil producers. Cargill’s relationships with Astra Agro Lestari, or other plantation companies with operations in Tripa, highlights the lack of safeguards on the quarter of the world’s palm oil the company trades.

Trade data also shows that Astra Agro Lestari also sells millions of dollars of palm oil a year to industry giants Wilmar and Sinar Mas, three suppliers who provide palm oil to Cargill, and  demonstrating that customers around the world have purchased Tripa’s palm oil and are helping to drive the destruction associated with it.

Demand that Cargill, Inc. — trader of 25% of the world’s palm oil supply — immediately stop trading palm oil with companies profiting from the destruction of Tripa peat forest.

Here are the facts:

  • Nearly 50% of all household goods contain palm oil
  • Cargill trades 25% of the world’s palm oil supply
  • Cargill has no safeguards to protect consumers like you from purchasing palm oil from companies that are destroying rainforests, Indigenous cultures, and Sumatran orangutan, tiger and sun bear populations

It is past time for Cargill to adopt safeguards on the palm oil it trades without outsourcing its values to RSPO membership to guarantee that it is not profiting from situations like Tripa across Indonesia and Malaysia.

Push Cargill to adopt supply chain safeguards so that it can guarantee that the palm oil it supplies does not ever cause a catastrophe like the Tripa fires.