Jakarta, Indonesia – Palm oil suppliers to the world’s largest brands, including Unilever, Nestlé, Colgate-Palmolive and Mondelez, have destroyed an area of rainforest almost twice the size of Singapore in less than three years, according to a new investigation by Greenpeace International.[1]

Greenpeace International assessed deforestation by 25 major palm oil producers and found that:

  • 25 palm oil groups had cleared over 130,000ha of rainforest since the end of 2015
  • 40% of deforestation (51,600ha) was in Papua, Indonesia – one of the most biodiverse regions on earth and until recently untouched by the palm oil industry
  • 12 brands were sourcing from at least 20 of the palm oil groups: Colgate-Palmolive, General Mills, Hershey, Kellogg’s, Kraft Heinz, L’Oreal, Mars, Mondelez, Nestlé, PepsiCo, Reckitt Benckiser and Unilever
  • Wilmar, the world’s largest palm oil trader, was buying from 18 of the palm oil groups

The investigation exposes the total failure of Wilmar International, the world’s largest palm oil trader, to break its links to rainforest destruction. In 2013, Greenpeace International revealed that Wilmar and its suppliers were responsible for deforestation, illegal clearance, fires on peatland and extensive clearance of tiger habitat. Later that year, Wilmar announced a groundbreaking ‘no deforestation, no peat, no exploitation’ policy. Yet Greenpeace’s analysis found that Wilmar still gets its palm oil from groups that are destroying rainforests and stealing land from local communities.

“Palm oil can be produced without destroying rainforests. But our investigation shows that the palm oil Wilmar trades is still utterly contaminated with rainforest destruction. Household brands like Unilever, Nestlé, Colgate-Palmolive and Mondelez promised their customers they’d only use clean palm oil but they haven’t kept that promise. Brands must fix this problem once and for all by cutting Wilmar off until it can prove its palm oil is clean,” said Kiki Taufik, head of Greenpeace’s global Indonesia forests campaign.

In addition to deforestation, the 25 individual cases in the report include evidence of exploitation and social conflicts, illegal deforestation, development without permits, plantation development in areas zoned for protection and forest fires linked to land clearance. It is also the most comprehensive assessment of deforestation in Papua, Indonesia.

“Papua is one of the most biodiverse places on earth, and its pristine forests had until recently been spared the destruction happening elsewhere in Indonesia. But now the palm oil industry is moving in and clearing forest at an alarming rate. If we don’t stop them then Papua’s beautiful forests will be destroyed for palm oil just like Sumatra and Kalimantan,” said Taufik.

Palm oil impacts on environment, people and climate:

ENDS

Photos and video are available here

NOTES

[1] Final Countdown: Now or never to reform the palm oil industry 

[2] Figures cover loss of natural forest. Sources:

1990–2012: MoEF (2016b) Table Annex 5.1, pp90–1 – gross deforestation 21,339,301ha

2012–2013: MoEF (2014) Lampiran 1, Tabel 1.1 – gross deforestation 953,977ha

2013–2014: MoEF (2015) Lampiran 1, Tabel 1.1 – gross deforestation 567,997ha

2014–2015: MoEF (2016a) Lampiran 1, Tabel 1.1 – gross deforestation 1,223,553ha

Contacts

Sol Gosetti, International Communications Coordinator, Indonesia Forest campaign, sol.gosetti@greenpeace.org, +44 (0) 7380845754

Greenpeace International Press Desk, +31 (0)20 718 2470 (available 24 hours), pressdesk.int@greenpeace.org