Sustainable Palm Oil A Myth

Tropical Deforestation and Palm Oil

Deforestation is directly responsible for about 20 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. In addition to the carbon released when forests are burned, deforestation impairs the planet’s capacity to absorb harmful CO2 from our air, which compounds the greenhouse effect, global warming and climate change.

palm oil deforestation

Because of deforestation, ecosystems in some regions of the world are on the verge of collapse right now. Balancing record human populations with diminishing natural resources is getting more challenging by the day.

The palm oil industry has been one of the greatest drivers of deforestation over the past 20+ years. Most of us have products in our kitchens and bathrooms that contain palm oil. It’s found in thousands of products, including cookies, shampoo, lotions and shaving cream. Most of us have no idea that these products promote tropical deforestation and wildlife extinction.

Palm oil is a multibillion-dollar industry—and it’s still growing rapidly at the expense of our rainforests. The World Wildlife Fund says palm oil is the most widely used vegetable oil on the planet, (65 percent of all vegetable oil). While it isn’t always clearly labeled on consumer products, the environmental impact has been devastating.

palm oil deforestation

Most recently, Singapore, home to some of the largest palm companies in the world, warned citizens about the health costs of using palm oil, which is 50 percent saturated fat.

In most cases, owners of the palm oil plantation (or their sister companies in pulp and paper) are responsible for slashing and/or burning the land to clear large swaths for palm tree production. If not, they often rely on a shell game called “sustainable” palm oil to hide their connection to the deforestation.

Endangered species, including Sumatra tigers, orangutans and elephants are displaced, if not killed as part of this bungle in the jungle. Those that survive cannot ever return. It’s definitely not a sustainable practice.

These palm plantations proceed to disrupt entire ecosystems because they are based on the concept of monoculture versus biodiversity. Even a so-called “sustainable” plantation often sits on thousands of acres of former wildlife habitat within a critical watershed. The Roundtable On Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) appears to be just a shell game where offenders can purchase offsets or credits to cover their misdeeds. Companies with blood on their hands (directly or indirectly through suppliers) simply buy credits and claim to be sustainability leaders.

Sustainable palm oil needs to defend biodiversity and endangered species. Sustainable palm oil needs to be responsible in the battle against climate change. Stalling, green washing and outright lies are not leadership tactics.

At the moment, most sustainable palm oil is merely a cheap label that anyone can buy. If RSPO is bought not earned, it’s meaningless. A “sustainability leader” can kill ecosystems and endangered species and buy credits to cover its tracks. That’s fraud not sustainability.

It’s time to force biodiversity and endangered species into every conversation about palm oil (and other industries). It’s time to defend ecosystems, not just corporate reputations. If tigers, orangutans, elephants and rhinos go extinct at the hands of RSPO, we don’t have our values in order.

We have a model for a sustainable pilot plan that can expand palm oil’s footprint, while fighting poverty and climate change. It also could lower production costs. This model involves urban forestry in cities throughout the tropics. In these locations, millions of trees can make neighborhoods more livable, resilient and more productive.

Indonesia deforestation and endangered species

Entire neighborhoods serve as the caretakers and harvesters. Palm companies merely develop collection centers that pay neighbors for their harvest, while funneling the supply onward for processing. Meanwhile, these urban trees can make communities more resilient, while sheltering buildings from the weather (which can save energy and cut CO2 emissions). No deforestation or displacement involved and every city has millions of spaces for trees. These trees also can help control surface water runoff in cities and protect them from floods.

We urge palm oil producers and stakeholders to work with us on this model and others. We have stakeholders around the world ready to help. It’s time for a new paradigm and new partnerships on forest conservation.

Read more about the myths associated with sustainable palm oil. http://crossbowcommunications.com/sustainable-palm-oil-label-bought-not-earned/

public relations firm and public affairs firm Denver and Phoenix

Crossbow Communications specializes in issue management and public affairs. It’s also promoting forest conservation, reforestation, sustainable agriculture, and wildlife conservation through its subsidiary–Sacred Seedlings. Please contact Gary Chandler at gary@crossbow1.com to join our network.

Palm Oil Industry Pushing Wildlife Into Extinction

Editor’s Note: Unfortunately, most of the talk about sustainability in the palm oil industry is just smoke and mirrors. This is an immediate battle for the survival of critical species in our fragile web of life. To be more precise, this is about the survival of the Sumatran tiger and the orangutans of Sumatra and Borneo.

palm oil plantations and deforestation

Of course, palm oil’s footprint is much greater than that, but these iconic creatures are on the front lines as they are being pushed closer and closer to the brink of extinction every day. Meanwhile governments and corporations stall progress and talk about their nonsense commitments to sustainable palm oil–a label that producers buy instead of earn. Even sustainable palm oil is fueling deforestation and pushing orangutans and Sumatran tigers into extinction. They destroy one forest and plant a tree somewhere else in its honor. That isn’t sustainable. That is fraud.Unfortunately, there also is the pressure from other special interests who hope to privatize the genetics of endangered species. These interests are fanning the flames of deforestation from behind the scenes. These are all crimes against nature and it’s time to put private agendas aside. We all need more than palm oil and concrete to survive.

Nothing Sustainable About Palm Oil

By Shelley Goldberg

Most people know that palm oil is one of the most widely used vegetable oils in the world. You can even find it in popular foods like pizza, ice cream, and chocolate. But not everyone realizes that the production of palm oil is also destructive.

palm oil deforestation

Indeed, since vast quantities of land and forests must be cleared for plantation development, the growth and development of palm oil is linked to major issues. Besides deforestation, there’s climate change, habitat degradation, animal cruelty, indigenous rights abuses – you name it.

According to the World Wildlife Fund, an area that’s the equivalent size of 300 football fields of rainforest is cleared to make way for palm oil production – every hour. Making matters worse, such large-scale deforestation is pushing many species to extinction.

If the situation continues, species such as the orangutan could become extinct within the next five to 10 years. The Sumatran tiger has even less time, with about three years until extinction.

Now, if you can stomach those statistics, there is an opportunity brewing in the sector. Oil palm is one of the least expensive crops in the world. And its yields are five to 10 times greater than the output of other vegetable oils.

The crop is known for production of two types of oils from its fruit. The first is the oil derived from the fruit’s flesh, which is used for cooking oil, shortening, margarines, milk fat replacements, and cocoa butter substitutes. The other oil, derived from the kernel, is used primarily in the manufacturing of soaps, detergents, lotions, cosmetics, and toiletries.

Of course, the demand for these products isn’t going to end. Demand for palm oil is also rising in the biofuel, agrifood, and oleo chemistry industries. To satisfy this demand, global palm oil production is anticipated to be on a continuous increase going forward. Already, over 60 million metric tons of palm oil are exported daily from Southeast Asia.

Now, that’s not to say producers are ignoring the problems with palm oil production. In fact, the industry is beginning to take action. A controversial new document entitled, “The Sustainable Palm Oil Manifesto” was released just weeks ago. It was signed by major palm oil producing and trading companies such as Sime Darby Plantation (SMEBF), IOI Corporation Berhad (IOIOF), and Kuala Lumpur Kepong Berhad (KLKBF).

deforestation and endangered species

At first, the manifesto appeared to be a major win for forest conservation. Yet organizations such as the Union of Concerned Scientists point to loopholes and vague language. They claim the document allows them to make only modest changes while continuing to destroy land (and push wildlife closer to extinction).

Now, in the spring, Procter & Gamble (PG) announced new goals to help ensure zero deforestation in its palm oil supply chain. Its goal is to trace supply chains of palm oil and palm kernel oil to supplier mills by December 31, 2015, and to plantations by 2020.

While P&G claims it’s already working with larger suppliers to improve tractability, small farmers in Malaysia and Indonesia account for 35% to 45% of the company’s palm oil production. So it has a ways to go.

More recently P&G announced that is conducting an in-field study to help small farmers improve their palm oil and palm kernel oil production. P&G is partnering with the Malaysia Institute for Supply Chain Innovation (MISI) to field this study.

deforestation and endangered species

Other companies have taken similar steps in this direction. Danone (BN.PA) has committed to sourcing traceable palm oil with no links to deforestation, setting a goal to map its palm oil supply chain by the end of 2015.  Its pledge is followed by a series of similar commitments by companies such as Colgate-Palmolive Co.(CL), General Mills Inc. (GIS), and Mars.

Demand for sustainable palm oil is anticipated to grow in the near future. Especially as the industry addresses the environmental concerns and develops new plantations on existing cleared land – while also conserving natural resources and addressing the needs of the indigenous people and wildlife.

Source: http://www.wallstreetdaily.com/2014/08/04/palm-oil-industry/

public relations firm and public affairs firm Denver and Phoenix

Crossbow Communications specializes in issue management and public affairs. It’s also promoting forest conservation, reforestation, sustainable agriculture, and wildlife conservation through its subsidiary–Sacred Seedlings. Please contact Gary Chandler at gary@crossbow1.com to join our network.

Palm Oil Executive Jailed For Illegal Deforestation

Crimes Against Nature Going To Court

The director of the Indonesian palm oil company PT Kallista Alam, Subianto Rusyid, has been found guilty of illegally clearing peat forest in Aceh, Sumatra, and has been sentenced to eight months in jail. The judges also fined him 150 million rupiah (about 13,000 US$), and said he would be imprisoned for a further three months if the fine was not paid.

palm oil deforestation

This follows on from a court ruling in a civil case in January in which Kallista Alam was ordered to pay 114.3 billion rupiah (about 9.7 million US$) in compensation and 251.7 billion rupiah (close to 21 million US$) to restore the 1,000 hectares it deforested illegally.

The company was convicted of illegally burning large swathes of the Tripa peat forest, which lies within Sumatra’s Leuser Ecosystem – the only place on earth where tigers, elephants, rhinos, and orangutans can be found living together in the wild. That case was brought against Kallista Alam by the Indonesian environment ministry.

The court also ordered the confiscation of 5,769 hectares of land managed by Kallista Alam and set a five million rupiah (about 426 US$) daily fine for each day the company delays paying the compensation and restoration costs.

palm oil deforestation

The judges heard evidence about how much damage the forest burning had caused to the soil structure in Tripa: peat layers 10 to 15 centimetres deep were destroyed. Gases triggered by the burning exceeded the permitted Threshold Limit Value. Judges at the Meulaboh District Court have also sentenced Kallista Alam’s development manager, Khamidin Yoesoef, to three years in prison and a fine of three billion rupiah (about 256,000 US$) or a further five months in prison. Kallista Alam is appealing against all three verdicts.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature has identified Sumatra’s Leuser Ecosystem as one of the world’s “irreplaceable areas.”

Ian Singleton, director of the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme, said the new judgement was a victory in terms of law enforcement, coming on top of the fine imposed on Kallista Alam in January.

Orangutan habitat and palm oil plantations

The public prosecutor had asked for a ten-month jail sentence for Subianto Rusyid, who was accused of negligence for failing to control his subordinates. In May, Fadila Ibra from the Coalition to Save Rawa Tripa was quoted by the Jakarta Globe as saying this demand was too lenient given the environmental damage caused, and was less than half the sentence the law stipulates. “This will not deter those who have destroyed the environment,” Fadila was quoted as saying.

Fadila has been quoted as saying Subianto could have been punished with five years in prison and a two billion rupiah fine.

The Aceh branch of Walhi (Friends of the Earth Indonesia) filed a lawsuit demanding that the 1,605 hectares in the Nagan Raya district that were allocated to Kallista Alam in August 2011 by the then governor of Aceh province, Irwandi Yusuf, should be taken over and managed by the local government. The area has again been declared a conservation area. As part of the Leuser Ecosystem, it should already have been protected.

After a large-scale international protest, the Indonesian environment ministry decided to investigate Irwandi Yusuf’s issuance of the permit. In September 2012, the new governor, Zaini Abdullah, revoked it in accordance with a ruling by the Administrative High Court in Medan, which said it was illegal.

PT Kallista Alam appealed and, in May 2013, the Banda Aceh Administrative Court ruled in the company’s favour and overturned the revoking of the permit, saying that it was not legally binding because the court decision was being challenged in the Supreme Court. The company’s Supreme Court appeal has since been rejected in a ruling that supersedes that of the Banda Aceh court.

There are criminal and civil prosecutions underway against four other oil palm companies with concessions in Tripa: PT Surya Panen Subur II, PT Dua Perkasa Lestari, PT Gelora Sawita Makmur, and PT Cemerlang Abadi.

Indonesia deforestation and endangered species

Destruction of Orangutan Habitat

Tripa is one of only three remaining peat swamp forests in Sumatra where orangutans can be found. There were some 2,000 to 3,000 orangutans in the area in the 1990s, but only a few hundred are left today.

Up to 100 orangutans are thought to have perished in forest clearing and peat burning in Tripa, and experts say they are now close to being exterminated in the area.

Orangutans are not the only animals in jeopardy in Tripa; the area has also been home to Sumatran tigers, Malayan sun bears and other endangered and protected wildlife.

Indonesia’s peatlands cover less than 0.1 per cent of the Earth’s surface, but their destruction is causing 4 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions every year. According to Greenpeace, the annual clearing of Indonesia’s peatlands releases some 1.8 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases and some put the figure at 2 billion.

Under Indonesian law, development on peat up to three meters deep is still legal, and the palm oil industry’s certification system, the RSPO, does not ban all development on peat.

Source: http://time2transcend.wordpress.com/2014/07/16/palm-oil-company-director-sentenced-to-jail-for-illegal-forest-clearance-in-indonesia/

public relations firm and public affairs firm Denver and Phoenix

Crossbow Communications specializes in issue management and public affairs. It’s also promoting forest conservation, reforestation, sustainable agriculture, and wildlife conservation through its subsidiary–Sacred Seedlings. Please contact Gary Chandler at gary@crossbow1.com to join our network.