Cargill Admits Buying Palm Oil from Illegally Cleared Orangutan Habitat | RAN
Chelsea Matthews, RAN
Last week, Cargill admitted to doing business with a very dodgy plantation company in Central Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo) that has illegally cleared thousands of hectares of orangutan habitat — and has even allegedly hired people to hunt down and kill orangutans.
Cargill admitted to Reuters that it bought at least one shipment of palm oil from PT Best in 2011, the holding group that owns the contested palm oil concession. It is likely Cargill also bought from them in the past and continues to do so today. In response to inquiries by Reuters’ journalist, Cargill said it will stop buying from the firm “if any illegality was proven.”
This is quite embarrassing for Cargill because the illegality is already publicly acknowledged by the Indonesian government after months of digesting a hard-hitting investigation by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), and there is no doubt that thousands of hectares of orangutan habitat is already destroyed. EIA’s report, “Testing the Law”, documents how the 23,000 hectare (57,500 acre) concession was cleared and developed in violation of multiple Indonesian laws.
This is by no means the first time Cargill has been linked to egregious instances of deforestation and destruction of orangutan habitat. In recent months, RAN has highlighted Cargill’s supply chain connections to the destruction of the Tripa rainforest in Sumatra — one of the world’s most ecologically important rainforests and home to the critically endangered Sumatran orangutan. We have also been working to bring the urgent message about Cargill’s involvement in orangutan extinction to the company’s home town, Wayzata, Minnesota with a billboard, a robust print and online ad campaign, and thousands of publicly placed ads across the state. So far, Cargill has remained uncharacteristically silent, further suggesting it has something to hide.
This is yet another case in point that raises major red flags around Cargill’s commitment to what it calls a “100% sustainable supply chain.” Cargill says it “wants to play a leading role in working towards sustainable palm supply and use through the RSPO, and through our own actions”, going on to claim: “As such we have established a corporate sustainability commitment for our palm oil products.” Clearly, this commitment is not going far enough.
Here’s why more transparency is so clearly needed from the company: In the past, Cargill has said it has a “no-trade list” of companies it will not do business with. In 2009, Rainforest Action Network released a case study that documented illegal rainforest clearing by palm oil company Duta Palma on the lands of the Semunying Jaya community in Borneo. Social conflict continues today between the Semunying Jaya community and Duta Palma. Despite Cargill claiming that Duta Palma was on their “no-trade list,” how can consumers be sure Cargill is not sourcing from Duta Palma when, to this day, a no-trade list has yet to be made public?
As the largest importer of palm oil into the US, Cargill is using membership with the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) as its only filter to keep controversial palm oil out of its supply chain. Without its own safeguards around deforestation, human rights and species and climate impacts, the palm oil giant cannot ensure its supply chain does not include palm oil from controversial plantation holders like the ones operating in Tripa and PT Best. Without supply chain safeguards, Cargill is taking a huge risk by claiming its supply chain is devoid of controversy when environmental groups continue to link the company’s supply chain to shameful practices.
About endoftheiconsTripa peat swamps, once hosting the largest density of orangutan population in the world are now being exterminated by palm oil company working illegally. The last bits of the peat swamp forest are being smashed and sumatran orangutan are forced towards local extinction. are we witnessing the end of the icons? what are we doing about it?
- Why Indonesia's deforestation ban isn't enough to protect its forests wp.me/p2k0o5-pm 6 hours ago
- Indonesia and environmental sustainability: Walking the talk? wp.me/p2k0o5-pk 7 hours ago
- Can REDD save the forests of Aceh? wp.me/p2k0o5-ph 7 hours ago
- Can REDD save the forests of Aceh? fb.me/GvM1Ae79 8 hours ago
- [Press Release] Aceh Forests facing numerous threats wp.me/p2k0o5-pf 9 hours ago
- Global calls to save Aceh forest wp.me/p2k0o5-pd 2 days ago
- [RELEASE] Over 1 million support worldwide to save Aceh forest. wp.me/p2k0o5-pb 3 days ago
- Dear friends, @Avaaz just launched a petition, please sing and share! avaaz.org/en/the_plan_to… 1 week ago
- Have you signed and share this petition? wp.me/p2k0o5-p5 2 weeks ago
- Sumatran orangutans' rainforest home faces new threat wp.me/p2k0o5-p3 2 weeks ago
- RT @chloemaxmin: The Case for Cool: Student Engagement to Save the Planet huff.to/16ACezy via @HuffPostGreen 2 weeks ago
- Operation Aceh – Wildlife Asia’s mission to save critical rainforest facing imminent threat of destruction wp.me/p2k0o5-p0 2 weeks ago
- Fantastic article on Aceh spatial plan in @tempodotco by @philjacobius wp.me/p2k0o5-oX 2 weeks ago
- RT @RockCenterNBC: Tonight on #RockCenter: Tribes vow to fight to the death to save the Amazon rainforest - rockcenter.co/YjtskI 2 weeks ago
- RT @_animalover: 20 #Poachers Arrested, But #Elephant #Slaughter Goes On care2.com/causes/20-poac… 2 weeks ago
- Forest for the Trees wp.me/p2k0o5-oX 2 weeks ago
- TM Zulfikar @walhiaceh: Kallista Alam shouldn't been able to contest the revocation as Governor has full authority to issue & revoke permits 2 weeks ago
- Edrian: Based investigation of the Aceh government, Kallista Alam operations had damaged the environment & led to conflicts with communities 2 weeks ago
- Moreover, Rawa Tripa was once under international spotlight concerning forest burning when clearing the land. #savetripa 2 weeks ago
- Edrian: Judges should consider environmental impact created by Kallista & impact to residents around Tripa before granting their lawsuit. 2 weeks ago
- Why Indonesia’s deforestation ban isn’t enough to protect its forests
- Indonesia and environmental sustainability: Walking the talk?
- Can REDD save the forests of Aceh?
- [Press Release] Aceh Forests facing numerous threats
- Global calls to save Aceh forest
- [RELEASE] Over 1 million support worldwide to save Aceh forest.
- Have you signed and share this petition?
- Sumatran orangutans’ rainforest home faces new threat
- Forest for the Trees
- Aceh Court Says Cancellation of Plantation Firm’s Permit in Rawa Tripa Illegal
- Indonesia’s Aceh performs worst in forestry protection: UNDP
- Operation Aceh – Wildlife Asia’s mission to save critical rainforest facing imminent threat of destruction
- Green activists see red over Sumatra rain forest plan
- Indonesia urged to extend, strengthen moratorium on deforestation
- U.S. Consumers Urged to Take Immediate Action to Save Orangutans
- 12 ministries, governmental institutions involved in illegal logging and mining: Commission
- IAR March 2013 Orangutan Rescues
- Greenpeace: East Asia Mining Behind the Reclassification of Aceh’s Protection Forest
- Check that out!
- EarthDay to #SaveAceh