Swedish Petrol Company Rejects Palm Oil for Bio-fuels: Forest Defenders Complete 2 dams on destructive peat land canals

Press release - November 1, 2007
Greenpeace today welcomed the decision of the Swedish petrol giant OKQ8 to not use palm oil in their bio-diesel, expressing concern that increased demand for palm oil could lead to destruction of rain forests. The decision follows Greenpeace’s global campaign to force European companies to reject the use of palm oil as bio-fuel and protect peatlands and intact forests.

Greenpeace activists hang a 70 square metre banner at the petrol company OKQ8¹s headquarters for the second day in a row. Greenpeace are protesting that the company has not abandoned their plans to introduce a palm oil based bio diesel. OKQ8¹s introduction of the palm oil diesel would be the first of its kind in the industrialized world and a successful launch would cause a huge increase in the demand for palm oil. The police stopped the demonstration after a few hours. OKQ8 gave into Greenpeace demands and completely backed away from palm oil later that evening.

“OKQ8 has acknowledged that the increased demand of palm oil could lead to rainforest destruction, “said Frode Pleym, Forest Campaigner, Greenpeace Sweden and Volunteer at the Forest Defenders Camp in Riau, Sumatra, “ For the last two weeks I have witnessed and documented rainforest being cut down, drained and burnt for the sake of oil palm plantations. There is quite simply no such thing as sustainable palm oil and OKQ8’s statement is therefore very important.” he added

Meanwhile, Greenpeace Forest defenders and Kuala Cenaku villagers completed building a second dam on canals used in logging and draining peatland for conversion into a commercial palm oil plantation, in gross violation of Indonesian law and Presidential decree (1).

Deforestation accounts for approximately one-fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions. The deforestation rates in Indonesia are the fastest among the world’s major forest nations and according to recent estimates Indonesia is the country with the third largest greenhouse gas emissions after United States and China, mainly due to the destruction of peatland forests.

“It is time that the President of Indonesia acknowledges that peatland conversion for palm oil plantation is contributing to climate change,” said Hapsoro, Greenpeace South East Asia forest campaigner. “Greenpeace is calling upon the President to declare an unconditional moratorium on peatland forest destruction and an effective action plan to combat the annual cycle of forest fires,” he concluded

Peatlands are essential habitats for unique and endangered biodiversity and provide essential resources to local and indigenous communities throughout Indonesia. The draining of the peatland forests releases vast amounts of CO2 and the subsequent burning speeds up this carbon release.

Greenpeace is calling for a moratorium on all forest conversion and to ensure that action to reduce deforestation to be included in the next phase of the Kyoto Protocol covering the period after 2012.

Other contacts: For further information and interviews, contact: Hapsoro, Greenpeace South East Asia forests campaigner, currently at the FDC, +62 815 8571 9872 Chris Nusatya, Greenpeace South East Asia-Indonesia media officer, +62 21 310 1873 / +62 812 107 050

VVPR info: For images and video of the Greenpeace protest, contact: Arie Rostika Utami, Greenpeace SEA-Indonesia media assistant, +62 856 885 7275,

Notes: Notes: (1) The Presidential decree on Management of Protected Area - No 32/ of 25 July 1990 specifies that "upstream swamp and peatlands deeper than 3 meters should be protected”. The Indonesian Ministry of Forestry, criteria for choosing areas for Palm oil plantations, No 376/1998 of 8th April 1998 is a regulation on "Criteria of Forest Allocation for Oil Palm Plantation" and states "plantation developments on peat soils deeper than two meters are not allowed".