Oreo cookies and deforestation

HILLSIDE PROTEST: Greenpeace activists unfurled this sign on palm-oil processor Wilmar's concession area in Jambi Province on Indonesia's Sumatra island that was being cleared for oil-palm planting.


    Oct 23, 2013

    Oreo cookies and deforestation

    OREO cookies and Gillette shaving cream are among products driving the destruction of Indonesia's forests, Greenpeace said yesterday, accusing agricultural giant Wilmar International of supplying "dirty palm oil" to make the grocery items.

    In its report Licence to Kill, Greenpeace said that Singapore-based Wilmar, the world's biggest palm-oil processor, was sourcing its oil from illegally cleared land and destroying the habitat of critically endangered Sumatran tigers.

    "Until Wilmar commits to a no-deforestation policy, their trade of palm oil to big household brands...makes consumers unwitting accomplices in the extinction of Indonesia's 400 remaining Sumatran tigers," head of Greenpeace's Forest Campaign in Indonesia, Mr Bustar Maitar, said.

    Wilmar supplies more than a third of the world's palm oil, according to the company's website, and its oil can be found in Oreo cookies, Gillette shaving cream and Clearasil face wash, among an array of grocery items in more than 50 countries.

    Greenpeace said Wilmar was continuing to source palm fruit from plantations on illegally cleared land within Sumatra island's protected Tesso Nilo National Park, prime tiger habitat.

    The report also said that fire had hit the permit area of another of Wilmar's suppliers in June, when blazes swept through Sumatra's forests for weeks, covering Singapore and Malaysia in a blanket of hazardous haze.

    Wilmar denied suggestions its supplier had deliberately lit land-clearing fires, saying in a statement the blaze was on a plantation that was likely ignited by surrounding flames.

    "We are reviewing our business practices, including our sourcing policy, working with certain international supply-chain experts," Wilmar spokesman Lim Li Chuen said.

    The company said it had issued "a stern reminder to all staff" of its policy to source only palm fruit grown legally and that any supplier trying to sell illegally grown fruit would be "dropped altogether".

    Wilmar is the latest company to be targeted by Greenpeace, which has taken aim at several high-profile firms and campaigned for responsible consumer spending.