Palm Oil Giant Sinar Mas Continues to Break Environmental Commitments

Greenpeace releases new evidence of rainforest destruction before Sinar Mas annual shareholder meeting

Media release - April 27, 2010
As shareholders arrived at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Sinar Mas palm oil subsidiary Golden Agri Resources (GAR), Greenpeace released new evidence showing the company is breaking its promise to stop destroying Indonesia's rainforests. Rapid deforestation for palm oil plantation expansion in Indonesia is pushing species like endangered orangutans to the brink of extinction. The destruction of rainforests has also made Indonesia the world’s largest greenhouse gas polluter after China and the United States. (1)

"Our evidence shows Sinar Mas continues to mislead shareholders and customers about its environmental practices.  Sinar Mas wants us to believe empty promises while it continues trashing rainforests and orangutan habitat.  We will continue to press Sinar Mas' customers to stop all business with the company until it cleans up its act," said Rolf Skar, Greenpeace senior forest campaigner. (2)

A policy statement released by Sinar Mas in early February and the GAR 2009 Annual Report presented today at its AGM claims commitments to the principles of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and a halt to clearing in High Conservation Value (HCV) areas, primary forests and peatlands.

"Two weeks ago we revealed how Sinar Mas subsidiary PT ALM is currently destroying deep peatland and high conservation value forest in West Kalimantan. This is just the tip of the iceberg.  Within the last few days, we caught Sinar Mas subsidiary PT BAT clearing rainforest bordering critical orangutan habitat again. This evidence shows that Sinar Mas' environmental commitments have been hollow" said Skar. (3)

Greenpeace is targeting food and drink giant Nestle for using palm oil from Sinar Mas in a wide range of products from candies to soups (4).  The multinational terminated its direct palm oil contract with the company last month, but continues to buy palm oil and paper products indirectly from Sinar Mas through suppliers like Cargill.  Nestle has said it expects Cargill to stop supplying Sinar Mas palm oil unless the company adequately addresses to Greenpeace evidence of deforestation and illegal activity by the end of April. (5)

"Sinar Mas has just days left to clean up its act or risk losing huge contracts with Cargill," said Skar. "Greenpeace is not against palm oil plantations.  Our campaign is to stop companies such as Sinar Mas from destroying the world's remaining rainforests. Companies and governments must collaborate to protect carbon-rich peatland and rainforests."

VVPR info: Contact information Rolf Skar, senior campaigner: 415.533.2888 Daniel Kessler, press officer, 510.501.1779 In Singapore: Bustar Maitar, Greenpeace Southeast Asia Forest Team Leader, tel: +62 8134 4666 135

Notes: Notes: (1) FAO 2005. Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA) 2005. http://www.fao.org/forestry/site/fra2005/en/; on palm oil: www.unep.org/grasp/docs/2007Jan-LastStand-of-Orangutan-report.pdf and on climate: WRI 2008. Climate Analysis Indicators Tool (CAIT) Version 6.0 (Washington, DC: World Resources Institute) http://cait.wri.org (2) http://www.greenpeace.org/seasia/id/press/reports/new-evidence-sm-agm-Singapore (3) See satellite images and photographs in 'New Evidence Sinar Mas -- Rainforest and peatland destruction' Greenpeace, April 2010, at: http://www.greenpeace.org/international/press/reports/newevidence and the statement in GoldenAgri Resources, Enhancing Values, Enriching Lives, 2009 Annual report, page 39. (4) Caught Red-Handed: How Nestle's Use of Palm Oil is Having a Devastating Impact on Rainforest, the Climate and Orangutans at http://www.greenpeace.org/international/press/reports/caught-red-handed-how-Nestle For detailed background on Sinar Mas's history of destruction see 'Illegal Forest Clearance and RSPO Greenwash: Case study of Sinar Mas' at http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/media/reports/illegal-forest-clearance-and-rspo-greenwash-case-studies-sinar-mas For more information on the Greenpeace Nestle campaign see: www.greenpeace.org/kitkat (5) Nestle's statement to the Guardian on Nestle website: http://www.nestle.com/MediaCenter/InTheNews/NestleInTheNewsToc.htm and on Guardian website: http://www.guardian.co.uk/sustainable-business/nestle-cargill-palmoil

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