13 December 2013

Africa: Palm Oil Giant Wilmar International Promises to End Its Forest Destruction

press release

Washington, DC — Friends of the Earth will continue to hold the company to account

Wilmar International, the world's largest palm oil trader, announced last week a new “No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation Policy,” which comes as a response to years of pressure from civil society. Below is a statement from Friends of the Earth U.S. on this new policy: Many Friends of the Earth member groups have campaigned for years to end Wilmar's destructive, unsustainable and often illegal practices. We recognize that a voluntary commitment by Wilmar, no matter how broad, can only be fully effective when fully enforced, and accompanied and overseen by strong national legislation and international norms to prevent systematic exploitation of lands, lives and livelihoods, and by the full empowerment of local communities and community-based organizations to determine the best use of their lands and resources.

We are strongly cognizant that Wilmar's commitment to improvement comes in the wake of many years of land-grabbing, fueling of conflicts, destruction of endangered habitat and other abuses -- all of which has rewarded Wilmar and its associates with enormous profits and established the company as the world's largest palm oil trader.

Friends of the Earth U.S. and Friends of the Earth International will be closely monitoring the implementation of Wilmar's stated commitments to ensure that Wilmar takes immediate steps to fulfill its promise and comply with its policy. These steps include bringing an immediate end to conversion of natural forest to plantations; halting its purchasing of palm oil from Bumitama Agri Ltd.; immediate adherence to national laws in Uganda and all the countries where it operates; and the full and demonstrable application of Free Prior and Informed Consent in all of its operations, including consideration for returning lands taken to the formal ownership and control of local communities.

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