Laurel Sutherlin, 415.246.0161 Laurel@ran.org
New Palm Oil 'Talk and Log' Initiative a Step Backward for Responsible Supply Chains
Rainforest Action Network says new commitment by major palm oil companies may actually undermine progress towards achieving responsible palm oil
San Francisco, CA - In a further sign of a growing trend, many of the world’s largest producers and traders of palm oil released a new initiative this week called the 'Sustainable Palm Oil Manifesto.' However, Rainforest Action Network (RAN) warns that the manifesto will not adequately address the current deforestation and climate crisis caused by palm oil expansion as it fails to require an immediate halt to the destruction of rainforests and peatlands throughout the signatories’ supply chains.
The companies committing to the manifesto include Kuala Lumpur Kepong Berhad (KLK), Sime Darby Plantation, IOI Group Corporation Berhad, Musim Mas Group, Asian Agri and Cargill International. KLK was recently exposed for its controversial involvement in deforestation in Indonesia and land-grabbing and human rights violations in both Papua New Guinea and Liberia.
Rainforest Action Network’s research and policy advisor Bill Barclay issued the following statement and outlines “5 reasons the manifesto fails to deliver.”
“This ‘talk and log’ manifesto is a far weaker commitment than the robust policies recently adopted by other palm oil producers and traders, including Wilmar and Golden Agri Resources (GAR), and it falls short of the new global benchmark for responsible palm oil.
“This Manifesto will not result in the rapid supply chain changes needed to end the widespread human and labor rights violations, unchecked deforestation and climate pollution caused by Conflict Palm Oil production. In fact, if this initiative was the only action taken by the manifesto’s signatories, it could undermine the very real progress being made towards achieving truly responsible palm oil on a global scale.
“Consumer companies such as Nestle, Unilever, Kellogg, Mars and Mondelez should not be tricked into believing this is more than an exercise in greenwashing. These companies must use their buying power to tell the signatories to stop the bulldozers from clearing forests and peatlands and to earnestly resolve the widespread conflicts in their supply chains.”
5 reasons the Manifesto fails to deliver
There are five reasons why the Manifesto fails to meet the new global benchmark for responsible palm oil production, trade and consumption. The new benchmark has been set by the Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG) Charter, Wilmar International’s No Deforestation, No Peatlands, No Expansion Policy, Golden Agri Resource’s Forest Conservation Policy, and Nestle, Unilever, Kellogg, Mondelez and Mars new responsible palm oil procurement commitments. Once implemented, all of these policies and commitments have the potential to transform the palm oil sector.
- The manifesto does not require the signatory companies to immediately halt the clearance of potential High Carbon Stock Forests and peatlands of any depth and area.
- The manifesto does not accept the definition and thresholds of High Carbon Stock forests and the robust HCS Approach tool that has been developed and tested now by Golden Agri Resources, The Forest Trust and Greenpeace. Instead, the signatories are proposing to redefine High Carbon Stock forests so they can continue to clear ecologically important areas of secondary forests.
- The manifesto does not bind signatories to adhere to its principles in all the company’s operations, including subsidiaries regardless of stake.
- There is no clear commitment to apply the principles to third party suppliers who may continue to cause deforestation, expansion on peatlands and the violation of human and labor rights. This is a green light to continue to source Conflict Palm Oil from third party supplies and undermines the progress that is being made by peers to transform the palm oil sector.
- There is no detailed, time-bound implementation plan, transparent system of auditing, verification and monitoring of progress, nor open grievance mechanisms and dispute resolution processes.
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