Breakthrough Moment to End Deforestation for Palm Oil

by Annisa Rahmawati

December 17, 2018

2018 has been a full year of campaigning to end forest destruction for dirty palm oil, and if Wilmar sticks to its promise to monitor its suppliers, forest destroyers will have nowhere to hide.

Activist Larasati Wido Matofani holds a banner reading: 'Drop Dirty Palm Oil Now" as she hangs on a rope during the action in Bitung, North Sulawesi. Thirty Greenpeace activists from Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, UK, France, and Australia occupy a palm oil refinery belonging to Wilmar International, the world’s largest palm oil trader and supplier of major brands including Colgate, Mondelez, Nestlé, and Unilever. The refinery, on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, processes palm oil from major producers that are destroying rainforests in Kalimantan and Papua, Indonesia.

© Dhemas Reviyanto / Greenpeace

It’s been a full year of campaigning to end forest destruction for dirty palm oil. After Greenpeace International exposed how Wilmar was still buying palm oil from rainforest destroyers and selling this dirty palm oil to brands all over the world, you took action.

Thanks to over 1.3 million people who called on the biggest global brands to drop rainforest destroyers – we have been able to move the world’s largest palm oil trader, Wilmar to action. Wilmar has now launched a groundbreaking plan to map and monitor its suppliers and stop buying from forest destroyers!

If Wilmar sticks to its word, forest destroyers will have nowhere to hide. This could change the entire industry as other traders will be under pressure to do the same.

In the last few months alone, street artists painted murals in 20 cities around the world to draw attention to rainforest destruction for palm oil. Activists occupied one of Wilmar’s palm oil refineries, and intercepted a tanker carrying Wilmar’s palm oil products into Europe – twice!

A team of climbers from Greenpeace Netherlands hang from the side of the 185m long Stolt Tenacity, preventing the gigantic palm oil tanker from mooring in Rotterdam harbor.

Then Greenpeace activists and supporters worldwide confronted one of Wilmar’s biggest customers: snack food giant Mondelez, the makers of Oreo cookies. Together we called on them to live up to their ´no deforestation´ claims. After exposing Mondelez’s links to dirty palm oil producers who were found destroying rainforests and orangutan habitat, hundreds of volunteers took to the streets demanding for action.  A Mondelez factory in Italy was blockaded by Greenpeace Italy, while scenes of destruction appeared at Mondelez HQs in Germany, the UK and the USA!

On November 13, 2018 Greenpeace US activists unveiled a new “Deforestation Flavor” of Oreo cookies at the global headquarters of one of the world’s largest snack food companies, Mondelēz International, the brand’s parent company.

We challenged Mondelez to cut Wilmar off for selling it dirty palm oil.  And they heard us! Mondelez along with other brands told Wilmar it had to reform. Such pressure combined with the million-plus people demanding change meant Wilmar could no longer ignore this issue.

This week: the largest palm oil trader on earth, Wilmar, announced that it will:🗺 Map ALL of their suppliers🛰 Use satellites to MONITOR them for deforestation✋🏼 Suspend ANY suppliers that destroy forestsThis is HUGE for everyone who has signed, shared and spread the word about dirty palm oil.BUT we’ll be watching – Wilmar needs to put these words into action.Share this video and let Wilmar know you’ll be watching too.✊🏽🌎

Posted by Greenpeace USA on Friday, December 14, 2018

Brands and traders who have promised to clean up their supply chains by 2020 have so far come up short. With less than 400 days to go, time is running out to meet commitments.  

Now Wilmar needs to put its promises into action and other palm oil companies need to do the same. If that happens, it would be the beginning of the end for deforestation for palm oil.

This is not over by any means. Greenpeace will be closely watching to make sure Wilmar delivers and consumer companies follow suit.

Ultimately, brands and traders have to keep to their promise and protect forests by 2020.  Today is a significant milestone but we’ll save the real celebrating until then.

Annisa Rahmawati

By Annisa Rahmawati

Senior Forest Campaigner at Greenpeace Southeast Asia, Indonesia.

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