The Greenpeace campaign to protect the Paradise Forests continues to heat up.  Notorious forest destroyer Sinar Mas experienced a humiliating blow last week when its contracted audit company had to publish a public “clarification” of their findings…because Sinar Mas was twisting their conclusions in an attempt to greenwash their image.

From the start, Sinar Mas has tried to make their audit into something it isn’t.  They want it to be proof that they are a sustainable company, and that Greenpeace is full of it.  But, the focus of their audit is a single, short report released by Greenpeace earlier this year that offered examples of the widespread problems with their practices…not an exhaustive list of their past, present and (planned future) transgressions.

In addition, the audit only looked with a single subsidiary of Sinar Mas’ palm oil branch, Golden Agri Resources.  So, they want us to believe that a limited analysis of handful of previous problems of a subsidiary’s subsidiary should be the litmus test for Sinar Mas sustainability...or lack thereof.  I'm not buying it!

Greenpeace has published plenty more evidence of problems with Sinar Mas business practices…we could keep auditors busy for a long time!  Just as a start, you can read more here, here, here, here, and here!

Anyway, audit firm BSI Group said in their statement that, even with regard to their limited audit:

“...there have been elements of the report that have been misreported as it has been published and presented. We therefore wish to restate the key findings of the report in the IVEX Team Report Summary below and would ask all parties concerned to do the same.”

That’s a diplomatic way of saying: “Sinar Mas, stop twisting the results of our audit!”  Ouch!

In the meantime, activist orangutans have continued their work to motivate fast food restaurants to cut business contracts with Sinar Mas.  Orangutans popped up outside a Burger King in Denver last weekend to let patrons and passersby know about BK’s link to rainforest destruction.

While the orange, furry activists were at work, word continued to spread online, with many people expressing their concerns on the Burger King Facebook page.  As the comments poured in, BK responded, saying:

“…we are thoroughly examining an independent audit related to the sustainability practices of Sinar Mas, a palm oil supplier for 176 BK® Restaurants in Asia-Pacific.  We are completing our review and will make a sourcing decision by early next week.”

Let’s hope that the BK people doing the “thorough” examination of the BSI audit do their homework enough to understand that the limited audit shouldn’t be used to judge the overall suitability of Sinar Mas as a supplier.  Let’s also hope they spend time thoroughly examining the other reports and evidence of systemic problems with the way Sinar Mas does business.

Another issue Burger King should spend time examining is whether it will close the loophole in rainforest policy.  Currently, their policy applies only to beef and not other commodities – like palm oil – that are responsible for rainforest destruction.  BK can’t have it both ways.  It will either be a company that takes rainforest protection seriously, or one that leaves loopholes in its practices big enough to drive bulldozers through.

Send Burger King a message on its Facebook page – let them know that you expect them to take action to protect rainforests.

If you’re not the Facebook type, or if you really want to help out orangutans and other endangered wildlife, send a message to BK, Pizza Hut and Dunkin’ Donuts here.

For the forests,

-Rolf