Sustainable palm oil a farce; Industry body weak and ineffectual: Greenpeace

Feature story - November 20, 2008
Greenpeace today condemned the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), for failing to take action against member companies who continue to destroy Indonesia’s peatlands and forests at the conclusion of its 6th annual meeting in Bali.

Fires at RAPP concession,Giam Siak Kecil, Riau.

"The rapid loss of forests in Indonesia and the current climate crisis needs strong leadership from the global business community. However the RSPO has failed dismally to take up the challenge. "'Sustainable palm oil' continues to be a farce while RSPO stands exposed as a weak and ineffectual industry body." said Bustar Maitar, Greenpeace Southeast Asia Forest Campaigner.

As the Bali meeting began, Greenpeace called on the RSPO to support an immediate moratorium on further deforestation and peatland clearance and to revoke the membership of any companies found to be still clearing tropical forest and peatland. However, agreement on any measures to improve RSPO standards and the implementation of existing procedures has been delayed.

In the last twelve months Greenpeace has produced two reports, 'Cooking the Climate', and 'Burning up Borneo', both of which show that key RSPO members, who have yet to get their plantations certified, are actively involved in tropical forest destruction. Just last week, Greenpeace produced another report showing that United Plantations, the first RSPO certified company, has been violating existing RSPO standards.

During the recent 'Forests for Climate tour' of Greenpeace ship Esperanza, field teams uncovered fresh evidence of RSPO-member companies continuing to clear Indonesia's tropical forests and peatlands. Sinar Mas, a prominent member of the RSPO, is right now destroying tropical forests in Papua and around Danau Sentarum national park in West Kalimantan. Duta Palma, another RSPO member, is draining and converting carbon-rich peatland in Indragiri hulu, Riau.

"If the RSPO had any integrity then it would have taken urgent action. For Greenpeace it is clear that the current RSPO standards are too weak, are not implemented and are clearly failing to address this rampant deforestation." said Tim Birch, Greenpeace International Forest Campaigner.

Greenpeace is calling on the Indonesian government to implement an immediate moratorium on all forest conversion, including expansion of oil palm plantations, industrial logging, and other drivers of deforestation.

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