Greenpeace Catches Palm Oil Giant Wilmar in Forest Scandal

San Francisco, 21 October, 2013 - Household brands that source palm oil through Singapore-based palm oil trader Wilmar International, such as Mondelez (makers of Oreo cookies) and Procter & Gamble (makers of Gillette shaving products) are making consumers unwitting accomplices in the destruction of Indonesia’s forests, and pushing critically endangered species like the Sumatran tiger to the edge of extinction, revealed Greenpeace International today in new investigations.

“Many people don’t realize there’s palm oil in all kinds of everyday products – from cookies to shampoo. So how would they know that Oreo cookies or Gillette shaving gel are actually linked to rainforest destruction?” Said Dr Amy Moas, Greenpeace Senior Forest Campaigner. “We have evidence that palm oil supplier Wilmar International, which sells to these household brands, sources from companies who are complicit in the destruction oftiger habitat. This must stop before Sumatran tigers go from endangered to extinct.”

Greenpeace has evidence of trade by Wilmar with companies whose operations include illegal forest clearance and fires on peatland, like the ones that smothered Singapore in smog last summer. The report also documents harvests from illegal oil palm plantations within Tesso Nilo National Park – which is meant to be protected due to its unique plants and wildlife – that have previously been tracked to Wilmar’s own mills and continue to feed into Indonesia’s palm oil supply chain. Palm oil plantations are driving the destruction of Tesso Nilo National Park, of which only a quarter now remains, according to Greenpeace’s mapping analysis.

Greenpeace’s investigations reveal that household names including Colgate Palmolive, Mondelez International, biofuels giant Neste Oil, Procter & Gamble and several other companies are purchasing dirty palm oil that is laundered onto the global market by Wilmar.

Although Wilmar has undertaken to preserve high conservation value (HCV) forests and peatland on its own concessions, these areas supply less than 4% of the palm oil it trades and refines, with the remainder being produced by third-party suppliers. Wilmar has no proper systems in place to ensure traceability in their supply chains.

The palm oil sector is the largest driver of deforestation in Indonesia and the vast majority of the forest cleared in identified oil palm concessions in Sumatra during 2009–2011 was tiger habitat. The plantation sector is the chief threat to Sumatran tigers, with up to 1 million hectares of prime tigerhabitat already allocated to concessions.

“As the world’s biggest player in the palm oil sector, Wilmar has the power to transform the industry. Wilmar needs to commit to a no-deforestation policy, so that U.S. companies can be sure that they’re not contributing to rainforest destruction or the death of tigers in Indonesia.” Said Moas.


Note to editor:

  1. The report “Licence to Kill” can be viewed at:

Media contact / for Interviews with Dr. Amy Moas:

Kat Clark, Greenpeace Media Officer based San Francisco. Tel: +1 415 529 0941, Email:

Photos & News clipreel available at:

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