Nigeria: Group Carpets Palm Oil Firm Over Damage to Environment

20 August 2019

Friends of the Earth Africa groups have described the convergence of oil palm plantation companies under the aegis of Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), holding their 3rd Africa Sustainable Palm Oil Conference in Accra, Ghana 20-22 August 2019 as promoters of green wash.

In a statement issued yesterday, Friends of the Earth Africa groups denounced the role of World Bank in promoting oil palm plantation expansion through its International Finance Corporation and other development financial institutions who give loans to Oil Palm plantation corporations to further their expansion projects.

They insist the increased scramble for land for large-scale oil palm plantation expansion in Africa has become largely inspired by the RSPO Certification scheme, the growing demand for agro-fuels and processed food and funding by World Bank and other financial institutions.RSPO is the most popularly used voluntary certification scheme for palm oil companies who claim to operate under best practices of environmental, safety and human rights standards.

However, Friends of the Earth Africa groups say that despite their claimed commitments to standards hinged on "No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation (NDPE) Commitments," cases of environmental degradation and human rights abuses remain visible in the different landscapes of special importance to biodiversity they operate within Africa.

They also blamed the activities of the oil palm plantation companies for biodiversity loss, increased poverty, human rights violations and the climate catastrophe in Africa, among others.

Rita Uwaka, Co-coordinator of Forest & Biodiversity Programme lead for Friends of the Earth Africa said: "licensing forest destruction in the name of certification is a declaration of ecocide on community territories and this totally unacceptable to us."

Uwaka said there are devastating and glaring impacts of oil palm plantation expansion projects across Africa especially in Nigeria, Cameroon, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon and Sierra Leone.

"We stand with communities in these countries and beyond that resist the expansion of industrial plantations on their lands, and demand sincerity from RSPO in their bid and claim to halt the deforestation footprint of certified oil palm plantation companies".

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