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Wilmar’s no deforestation palm oil policy ‘dwarfs any previous commitment’

By Caroline Scott-Thomas+

09-Dec-2013

Wilmar's commitment could transform the palm oil industry, say NGOs
Wilmar's commitment could transform the palm oil industry, say NGOs

Environmental groups have welcomed a no deforestation policy from the world’s largest palm oil trader Wilmar International.

Wilmar, which accounts for more than a third of global palm oil trade, joins major palm oil users in the food and consumer goods industries in its commitment to eliminate deforestation from its supply chain. Just last month, Unilever and Ferrero said they would strengthen their positions on deforestation linked to palm oil.

However, The Forest Trust (TFT) said Wilmar’s scale means its commitment dwarfs any other made in the sector.  The company said it would apply the policy across its own operations, as well as those of its subsidiaries and suppliers. It includes measures to ban deforestation, and to protect workers’ rights, high carbon stock land including peatland, and high conservation value forests.

The Forest Trust’s executive director Scott Poynton said in a statement: “Few companies dominate their sectors the way Wilmar dominates palm oil, controlling 45 percent of global trade. Today’s announcement by itself transforms the industry.

“It dwarfs in ambition any previous joint commitment in the sector and raises the bar for responsible global agricultural production. We commend Wilmar for their strong new policy, and now is the time for transparent and verifiable implementation.”

Head of the Indonesia forest campaign at Greenpeace International, Bustar Maitar, also said the policy had the potential to transform the palm oil industry.

He said: “Wilmar’s policy shows that the sector has a massive problem, and while this policy is great news for forests and tigers, its success will be judged by Wilmar’s actions to implement and enforce it.”

“…Greenpeace will be closely monitoring how Wilmar will put these words into action, and will welcome Wilmar’s immediate end to all trade with companies involved in deforestation.”

Wilmar’s policy is available to download here .

According to The Forest Trust, deforestation in Indonesia makes it the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases, behind China and the United States.

Wilmar is Asia’s largest agribusiness company and also produces other commodities, including soybeans and sugar.

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