Campaigns on supply-chains:Public art campaign aims at Sumatra’s palm oil industry, Campaigning matures with Mighty Earth, MEPs call for clampdown on unsustainable palm oil and use in biofuel

NGO campaigns, advocacy, technical work for and deals with corporate supply-chains has been a key feature of the 2010s. We can see several "waves" in the palm oil industry. First wave of WWF-Roundtables (mostly with Oxfam and others who are WWF members), followed by a second wave with of escalated policy via TFT-Forest Heroes-Ran (RSPO non-member NGOs) and now there is the rise of a third wave of social issues that is anticipated - here, other NGOs should be prominent, including those working on social and labour issues including Verite and others. Class actions and other campaigns also covered.

23 May 2017: Public art campaign aims at Sumatra’s palm oil industry 

Where there’s a wall there’s a way: artists take aim at Sumatra’s palm oil industry - When smoke from Indonesia’s palm oil industry reached the studio of artist Ernest Zacharevic in Malaysia, a unique project was born. Intent on making the world reconsider the environment, Zacharevic sold one of his prints to raise funds for Splash and Burn, a public art campaign. The title is a play on the ‘slash and burn’ practices used by palm oil producers to clear land for farming by Kate Lamb  15 May 2017

Each work in the Splash and Burn series was designed to highlight unregulated farming practices in the palm oil industry. Collaborators included the Sumatran Orangutan Society, a charity based in Oxfordshire, the Orangutan Information Centre in Indonesia, and a slew of local NGOs...Zacharevic says Splash and Burn is not so much anti-palm oil as a call to reconsider our environment.


26 April 2017: Documentary "The Borneo Case" 

Bruno Manser Fonds, 26 April 2017 -  The official Trailer of the documentary "The Borneo Case" Swiss cinema release in May - buy tickets here: www.theborneocase.ch

24 April 2017: Campaigning matures with Mighty Earth - it also questions meat, soy, cacao and more

Editor's note: Supply chain campaigning seems to be maturing with some wider ranging deforestation campaigning by Mighty Earth of the USA. It's not just about palm oil (note: recent deal with Olam, with World Resources Institute participant, below). It also talks about deforestation problems with beef-soy  and cacoa. Interestingly, many NGOs working hard on palm oil have been surprisingly silent on the consumption problem. The feeling was that it was too hard to talk to consumers, and beef and soy were of limited campaign interest (consumers are hooked on beef etc.), although contributing more to global deforestation than palm.

Olam and Mighty Earth on Gabon and Southeast Asia supply chains
  • Olam and Mighty Earth agree to collaborate on Forest Conservation and Sustainable Agriculture in Highly Forested Countries Washington D.C., February 21, 2017 http://www.mightyearth.org/olam-and-mighty-earth-agree-to-collaborate/
  • Olam to pause land clearing in Gabon in truce with Mighty Earth February 22, 2017 by ANDREA SOH http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/companies-markets/olam-to-pause-land-clearing-in-gabon-in-truce-with-mighty-earth
THE ULTIMATE MYSTERY MEAT. Exposing the Secrets Behind Burger King and Global Meat Production. Report by Marisa Bellantonio, Glenn Hurowitz, Anne Leifsdatter Grønlund and Anahita Yousefi, RFN and Mighty Earth

  • 1,000,000 Square km dedicated to soy production
  • This soy production has left an enormous scar on the Earth’s surface. More than one million square kilometers of our planet - equivalent to the total combined area of France, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands - are dedicated to growing soy.
  • In South America, soy and cattle interests have converted vast areas of the Amazon rainforest, Brazil’s Cerrado, the Argentine Chaco, Bolivian lowland forests and the Atlantic Forest in Paraguay from diverse native ecosystems into soy monocultures. From 2001-2010, an average of approximately four million hectares of forests were destroyed each year, mostly for soy and cattle.
  • The kind of deforestation we found in the Cerrado and Bolivia is not inevitable. In the Brazilian Amazon, Cargill, Bunge and other companies have figured out how to protect ecosystems and still grow their businesses.
  • After pressure from consumers who wanted sustainably produced meat, the major players in the soy industry teamed up and announced that they would no longer buy any soy grown on land deforested after 2006 (later amended to 2008) in the Brazilian Amazon. The results were dramatic: in the two years prior to the announcement, 30% of new soy plantations in the Brazilian Amazon came from destruction of forests. After the agreement, that number dropped to just one percent. 
  • On October 19th, 2016, Brazil’s Environment Minister, José Sarney Filho, attended an event to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the Soy Moratorium. He cited the success in the Amazon, and called for an extension of the mechanism to the Cerrado.


For the beef-soy problem, Mighty Earth writes:

Change your habits. As an individual consumer, there are a few ways you can change your own life that can disincentivize deforestation for crops like soy.
  • Consume less meat. 75% of soy goes to feed for livestock. To help reduce deforestation for soy (and your overall carbon footprint), reduce your own demand for it. One consumer might not make that much of a difference on their own, but together we can be part of the start of a larger culture shift that decenters meat consumption.
  • Make more meals at home. One of the best ways to keep an eye on your own consumption habits is to cook more meals yourself. Not only can you better meet sustainability concerns when you buy all of your own ingredients, home cooked meals can be healthier, too. This isn’t a practical suggestion for everyone, but if you have the time and the resources, preparing more of your own meals can be a great move for our forests.
Source: http://www.mightyearth.org/we-need-your-help-to-stop-the-king-of-deforestation/

  • We Need Your Help to Stop the King of Deforestation MARCH 17, 2017 http://www.mightyearth.org/we-need-your-help-to-stop-the-king-of-deforestation/
  • The Chocolate Crisis MARCH 16, 2017   http://www.mightyearth.org/the-chocolate-crisis/ 
  • Cargill and Bunge face escalating pressure to clean up supply chain MARCH 13, 2017 http://www.mightyearth.org/cargill-and-bunge-face-escalating-pressure-to-clean-up-supply-chain/
Source: Mighty Earth website

Source: Guardian

5 Apr 2017: MEPs call for clampdown on unsustainable palm oil and use in biofuel -  approved by 640 votes to 18, with 28 abstentions

MEPs call for clampdown on imports of unsustainable palm oil and use in biofuel PLENARY SESSION  Press release - Environment − 04-04-2017 - 13:02 --  approved by 640 votes to 18, with 28 abstentions...http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/news-room/20170329IPR69057/meps-call-for-clampdown-on-imports-of-unsustainable-palm-oil-and-use-in-biofuel

MEPs vote to ban the use of palm oil in biofuels -- MEPs say a ban, which needs approval from the European commission, is needed to avoid renewable targets contributing to deforestation, Arthur Neslen in Brussels 4 April 2017 18.04 BST -- While the report is not binding, EU lawmakers are now drawing up amendments to EU legislation which would be legally enforceable if approved by the European commission and council. “Today’s vote is just the beginning,” said Kateřina Konečná, the report’s rapporteur. “The European parliament has showed that it will no longer be silent on this issue, and we have asked the commission to act.”....Emmanuel Desplechin, the secretary-general of the European renewable ethanol association, said: “We call on the European parliament to translate its position into binding requirements and limit the contribution of transport fuels from palm oil and its derivatives to the share of renewables in transport in the renewable energy directive until peatland drainage is halted.”... Europe’s lobby of biofuels producers is one of the most powerful in Brussels, spending €14m a year and employing 400 lobbyists in total – more than the commission’s entire energy directorate, according to Oxfam..... https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2017/apr/04/palm-oil-biofuels-meps-eu-transport-deforestation-zsl-greenpeace-golden-agri-resources-oxfam

European Parliament votes in favour of strict new palm oil measures By Louis Gore-Langton, 04-Apr-2017 -- Today the European Parliament voted to implement tough new palm oil resolutions, which if enforced would see its elimination from use in biofuels and enforce stricter regulations on production and certification throughout the continent.  http://www.foodnavigator.com/Policy/European-Parliament-votes-in-favour-of-strict-new-palm-oil-measures

4 Apr 2017: Tasmanian dairy, deforestation pressure and conflicts

Tasmanian dairy uses palm oil spin-off in its cow feed - The Australian, April 3, 2017 -- Chief executive David Beca stressed that the product — which is linked to deforestation in Southeast Asia, including of orangutan habitats, as well as to biosecurity breaches and altered fat levels in milk — had certification by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil. “(It is) the highest ethical and environmental standard accepted in Europe,” Mr Beca said. “PKE is a feed source of high protein and energy, which is safe to feed to milking cows, dry stock and young calves.” http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/tasmanian-dairy-uses-palm-oil-spinoff-in-its-cow-feed/news-story/04324c9ca5e93580c7a89804185901b5

Snake eats human in Sulawesi, under pressure of deforestation: Expert by Andi Hajramurni, The Jakarta Post, Makassar | Wed, March 29, 2017 -- According to Rahmansyah, the forest was the python’s natural habitat but had continued to expand into a palm oil plantation. “It’s becoming more difficult for the animals to find their natural food,” he said.... http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2017/03/29/snake-eats-human-on-sulawesi-under-pressure-of-deforestation-expert.html

Environmental Damage, Social Conflicts Overshadow Future of Indonesia's Palm Oil Sector By : Ratri M. Siniwi & Muhamad Al Azhari | March 21, 2017 -- Palm oil is an important commodity for Indonesia's economy, contributing $17.8 billion, or about 12 percent, to its export revenue. While this year the production of crude palm oil is likely to increase 16 percent, to up to 33 million tons, with expected conducive weather conditions, environmental issues and social conflicts continue to overshadow the sector's future in the world's biggest palm-oil producing country. http://jakartaglobe.id/business/environmental-damage-social-conflicts-overshadow-future-indonesias-palm-oil-sector/

28 Mar 2017: Nestlé "very concerned" over deforestation links to Wilmar palm oil - RAN report, ZSL analysis reveals almost one million undisclosed hectares “missing” 

Nestlé "very concerned" over deforestation links to Wilmar palm oil By Louis Gore-Langton, 27-Mar-2017 Nestlé says it is "very concerned" by allegations that its palm oil supplier Wilmar International has again been implicated in sourcing palm oil from the protected Leuser ecosystem in Indonesia, according to a report by the Rainforest Action Network (RAN). 

Rainforest Action Network report here: https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/rainforestactionnetwork/pages/17392/attachments/original/1486495650/RAN_Leuser_Watch_PT_Agra_Bumi_Niaga_20170207.pdf?1486495650

ZSL analysis reveals almost one million undisclosed hectares “missing” from corporate palm oil landbanks, 21st March 2017 -- 50 producers assessed... many have shown evidence of increasing the transparency of their operations in recent years. However, ZSL’s study  identifies that more than half of these companies have published inconsistent figures across their annual reports, sustainability reports and/or corporate websites, potentially leaving nearly one million hectares either currently unaccounted for or being used for unclear purposes. https://www.zsl.org/conservation/news/palm-oil%E2%80%99s-hidden-hectares

Report here: http://www.sustainablepalmoil.org/landbank/

18 Mar 2017: Doubts on transparency in corporate commitments, fire-free programme, biodiversity issues, Indonesia land ownership inequality in spotlight 

Growth in deforestation commitments hides transparency issues By David Burrows, 17-Mar-2017 -- The number of manufacturers using one of the four key commodities linked to deforestation has increased from 67% to 71%, but a worrying number of targets have been missed or forgotten, according to a new report.

Fire Free Alliance Welcomes Malaysian Palm Oil Giants - Muhamad Al Azhari | March 16, 2017 -- The Fire Free Alliance, a voluntary multi-stakeholder platform to aid in the resolution of land and forest fires in Indonesia, has welcomed aboard Malaysian corporations Sime Darby and IOI Group, thus further extending the reach of their program across Indonesia and Malaysia. http://www.jakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/business/fire-free-alliance-welcomes-malaysian-palm-oil-giants/

Paichit – the baby elephant saved from a palm oil plantation in Indonesia - Orphaned at a few months old and nursed back to health by a local wildlife centre, Paichit’s story has serious implications for critically endangered Sumatran elephants - Kate Lamb in Indonesia,  16 March 2017  https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/mar/16/paichit-the-baby-elephant-saved-from-a-palm-oil-plantation-in-indonesia

An impact analysis of RSPO certification on Borneo forest cover and orangutan populations https://www.researchgate.net/publication/313927667_An_impact_analysis_of_RSPO_certification_on_Borneo_forest_cover_and_orangutan_populations

EDITORIAL: Inequality in asset ownership, The Jakarta Post March 16, 2017 -- The Agrarian and Spatial Planning Ministry has set itself a target of granting 5 million land titles this year at a cost of Rp 2 trillion (US$148 million), which will be fully financed by the state budget. Land titles will empower the poor to take maximum benefit from their physical assets, such access to bank loans. Usually, registering a property can be an arduous and costly procedure. Ministry data shows that of the 136 million plots of private land across the country, only 46 million plots have legal titles... Encouraged by the smooth implementation of a land reform pilot project last year, the ministry will also speed up the redistribution of neglected land, estimated at 12.7 million hectares across the country, to landless people around forests through local customary communities.,,Many plantation companies hold land concessions of more than 500,000 ha, or more than six times the land area of Singapore. We are afraid that if the expansion of plantations, especially oil palm, by big companies remains at its current rate of more than 100,000 ha per year, mounting problems of inequality of income, wealth and land conflicts could threaten the long-term sustainability of the plantation industry, even the macroeconomic stability. http://www.thejakartapost.com/academia/2017/03/16/editorial-inequality-in-asset-ownership.html

National park fights back against illegal plantations, Apriadi Gunawan, The Jakarta Post March 11, 2017 http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2017/03/11/national-park-fights-back-against-illegal-plantations.html -- More than 2,000 hectares within the National Park had been converted into plantations, which were mostly spread throughout Langkat, North Sumatra and Southeast Aceh. The forest conversions were mostly committed by local people who were supported by payments from outside investors. “Most of the investors come from Medan,” Joko said...http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2017/03/11/national-park-fights-back-against-illegal-plantations.html

11 Mar 2017: Indonesia oil palm concession maps win for Forest Watch Indonesia, Amnesty-Wilmar, 

Indonesian Supreme Court orders Jokowi administration to hand over palm oil permit data - 10 March 2017 / Philip Jacobson -- Forest Watch Indonesia has been trying to force the Ministry of Land and Spatial Planning to release in full the maps of oil palm companies' concessions, known as HGUs. The Supreme Court's decision hands the NGO a victory in its freedom of information request, launched in 2015.. Once it receives the hard copies of the documents, FWI will scan and upload them on its website.. Forest Watch Indonesia, an NGO, has won its freedom of information request. https://news.mongabay.com/2017/03/indonesian-supreme-court-orders-jokowi-administration-to-hand-over-palm-oil-permit-data/

Palm Oil Giant Denies Covering up Labor Abuses in Indonesia By : Beh Lih Yi | March 08, 2017 -- Amnesty said in a statement on Tuesday that Wilmar — the world's largest palm oil processor — had asked its workers to sign a document to deny the investigation findings during a recent meeting with trade union representatives. Wilmar rejected the claim and said the union representatives had "voluntarily" signed the letters as "a show of support" to the company. http://jakartaglobe.id/news/palm-oil-giant-denies-covering-labor-abuses-indonesia/

National park fights back against illegal plantations by Apriadi Gunawan The Jakarta Post http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2017/03/11/national-park-fights-back-against-illegal-plantations.html

9 Mar 2017: Some information on Europe grants here

Where the forest grants went, 6 March 2017 / Commentary by Harriet Williams -- What is the flow of grant finance around specific issues, forest regions, and theories of change? Where do gaps and opportunities lie? How do forest programmes operated by foundations and governments compare? The views expressed are those of the author. https://news.mongabay.com/2017/03/where-the-forest-grants-went/

22 Feb 2017: HSBC promises to cut ties forest-peat clearing companies

Editor's note: Reader asks if this is presumably done at concession company level and not on group basis?

HSBC promises to cut ties with forest-trashing palm oil companies, Blogpost by Annisa Rahmawati - 21 February, 2017 -- HSBC’s new policy - released today - says they will no longer provide funding to companies involved in any kind of deforestation or peatland clearance, both of which were missing from previous versions. Another big step forward is insisting that all HSBC's customers must publish their own forest protection policies by the end of June.


16 Feb 2017: Greenpeace gathers 228k Malaysia signatures in HSBC-deforestation campaign

Palm Oil Workers Investigated For Killing, Eating Endangered Orangutan
Slaughtering orangutans is a common crime on Borneo, but rarely prosecuted.
 02/15/2017 07:45 pm ET Dominique Mosbergen  Reporter, The Huffington Post



NGOs Slam IndoAgri Over Labor Rights Abuses and Poor Sustainability Policies http://jakartaglobe.id/business/ngos-slam-indoagri-over-labor-rights-abuses-and-poor-sustainability-policies/

Malaysian customers urge HSBC to stop funding forest fires in Indonesia 14th February 2017 -- Dissatisfied Malaysian customers on Tuesday presented HSBC with a mock cheque with 228,434 signatures urging the bank to "Stop Funding Forest Fires in Indonesia." ..."We are asking customers to join this movement to urge HSBC to stop funding deforestation. In the past five years alone, HSBC has been part of banking syndicates that arranged $16.3 billion of loans to six companies whose palm oil operations have destroyed vast areas of rainforest, peatland, and orangutan habitats in Indonesia," said Octyanto Bagus Indra Kusuma, Greenpeace Southeast Asia Forest Campaigner....Last year, the IUCN changed the classification of the Bornean orangutan from endangered to critically endangered, citing destruction, degradation, and fragmentation of their habitats, including conversion to plantations, as a main reason for the decline in population  http://www.antaranews.com/en/news/109404/malaysian-customers-urgehsbc-to-stop-funding-forest-fires-in-indonesia

Islanders take on challenge to go Palm Oil Free for a month 16th February, 2017  -- Members of the Isle of Wight Green Party are challenging themselves and members of the public to try to live palm oil-free during March. Find out why they are giving up Palm Oil for Lent. https://onthewight.com/islanders-take-on-challenge-to-go-palm-oil-free-for-a-month/

Documenting the consequences of palm oil production beyond Southeast Asia 6 February 2017 https://news.mongabay.com/2017/02/documenting-the-consequences-of-palm-oil-production-beyond-southeast-asia/

Banks Finance More Palm Oil Than Investors: Investors Face Indirect Exposure Feb. 16, 2017 -- Published by Chain Reaction Research, and written by Fenneke Brascamp, Aidenvironment; Alexandra Christopoulou, Profundo; and Gabriel Thoumi, CFA, FRM, Climate Advisers. By financing the massive expansion of the palm oil sector, banks are contributing to deforestation, peat development and social conflicts. Analysis of bank financing - both loans and equity and debt underwriting - of 16 major palm oil companies from 2006-2015 shows that banks are more important financiers than equity and debt investors. http://seekingalpha.com/article/4046726-banks-finance-palm-oil-investors-investors-face-indirect-exposure

27 Jan 2017: How local elites earn money from burning land in Indonesia, Politician’s son a suspect over illegal land clearing in Leuser Ecosystem, Norway $400 million fund by 2020 in deforestation-free agriculture investments  

Editor's note: I understand that this is building upon the oligarchs-patronage theme that is now emerging, see 30 Dec 2016 posting and Eye on the Forest's latest report alleging tax and other irregularities.

How local elites earn money from burning land in Indonesia 16 January 2017 / Alice Cuddy - Slash and burn is big business in the archipelago country -- A “fire economy” has emerged in Indonesia in which the blazes tearing through the country’s land and forests, driven largely by the global demand for palm oil, are lining the pockets of local elites and their patronage networks, according to a new study. https://news.mongabay.com/2017/01/how-local-elites-earn-money-from-burning-land-in-indonesia/

Politician’s son named a suspect over illegal land clearing in Leuser Ecosystem 26 January 2017 / Junaidi Hanafiah Adapted by Philip Jacobson - A window into Indonesia’s problem with encroachment in its protected areas, often the work of powerful actors.  The son of a local parliament chief has been named a suspect over illegal land clearing in the Singkil Swamp Wildlife Reserve, a heavily protected area home to the densest population of Sumatran orangutans (Pongo abelii).... The case is the just the latest example of encroachment in Indonesia’s protected areas. The blame tends to fall on impoverished villagers, but the revelation of Rizal’s involvement highlights the role often played by more powerful actors....https://news.mongabay.com/2017/01/politicians-son-named-a-suspect-over-illegal-land-clearing-in-aceh-wildlife-reserve/

Norway announces fund that will raise $400 million by 2020 and could lead to over $1.6 billion in deforestation-free agriculture investments. Fund will protect 5 million hectares in countries that are working to reduce deforestation and forest and peat degradation. https://www.weforum.org/press/2017/01/400-million-fund-launched-in-davos-to-stop-tropical-deforestation-and-boost-farming/?platform=hootsuite

World Bank loans support high-carbon development in Indonesia: report 26 January 2017 / Isabel Esterman -- An analysis of the World Bank’s Development Policy Loans finds support for investment incentives that flowed to coal and other fossil fuel projects. -- Despite their stated aim of boosting low-carbon growth, World Bank policy loans to countries like Indonesia are creating subsidies for coal, gas and oil projects, according to a report released today by the nonprofit Bank Information Center. At the same time, these policy programs undercut efforts to conserve forests, protect land rights and develop renewable energy, the report argues. The report examined Development Policy Finance (DPF) operations in four countries: Indonesia, Peru, Egypt and Mozambique, which received a combined total of US$5 billion in funds from 2007 to 2016. Governments applying for these loans must agree with the World Bank on a policy reform agenda, which the funds are then used to support – money goes into the country’s general budget rather than to individual projects -- In Indonesia, DPF-backed programs were found to support the development of coal-fired power plants and roads in sensitive forest areas. Similar patterns were found in the other countries studied....https://news.mongabay.com/2017/01/world-bank-loans-support-high-carbon-development-in-indonesia-report/

Link to BIC report here: http://www.bankinformationcenter.org/world-bank-breaks-climate-pledges-by-financing-new-fossil-fuel-subsidies-undermining-forest-protection-and-exacerbating-climate-change/

26 Jan 2017: Ceres-Oxfam guide to palm transparency, palm oil failed certification policies?

NGOs publish best practice guide on transparency in palm oil supply chain By Niamh Michail+, 25-Jan-2017 Environmental and scientific organisations, including Ceres and Oxfam, have published a best practice guidance on how to improve transparency in the palm oil supply chain. http://www.foodnavigator.com/Policy/NGOs-publish-best-practice-guide-on-transparency-in-palm-oil-supply-chain

The real impact of palm oil and failed policies  By Jakub Kvapil, Stanislav Lhota, Zoltán Szabó  Jan 23, 2017 https://www.euractiv.com/section/energy/opinion/the-real-impact-of-palm-oil-and-failed-policies/

18 Jan 2017: Greenpeace on HSBC. Grants list relating to banks and finance on sustainability policy from selected (mostly US) foundations.

Editor's note: Greenpeace's Dirty Bankers campaign features HSBC. Useful also to refer again to excerpts from the Climate and Land Use Alliance website on funding on sustainability policy relating to banks and finance. The largest individual grants (over US$ half million each) for finance or similar in its title or description amount to some US$12.7 million (see bottom of today's post). I am also reminded by a reader on a report on the tropical forest conversion impacts by commodity (report below ranks biggest by far as cattle, then soy, timber & pulp and palm oil is fourth on annual hectare count).

Revealed: HSBC linked to forest destruction Posted by Annisa Rahmawati — 16 January 2017 
This is a guest blog from Annisa Rahmawati, Senior Forest Campaigner, Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

Today we’ve let the cat out of the bag that HSBC - the biggest bank in the UK - is funding destructive palm oil companies.... Now customers across the globe are waking up to the news that the bank card in their pocket is linked to the destruction of already-endangered forests.


Greenpeace challenges HSBC on financing for palm oil companies - Claims bank funds groups alleged to be behind deforestation  JANUARY 17, 2017 by: Emiko Terazono and Martin Arnold

Greenpeace says HSBC among banks funding palm oil companies ‘destroying’ Indonesian rainforests PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 17 January, 2017 http://www.scmp.com/business/banking-finance/article/2062880/greenpeace-says-hsbc-among-banks-funding-palm-oil-companies

Supply Change - Tracking Corporate Commitments to Deforestation-free Supply Chains, 2016 06 June 2016 | London, England


Excerpts from the Climate and Land Use Alliance website - search for "bank" in project title and description:

Bank Information Center (BIC) – ClimateWorks Grant
PURPOSE:  to increase the World Bank Group’s commitment to engaging constructively in the forest
sector and to ensure the availability of more and better project‐level finance to reduce deforestation
and protect the rights of forest communities
AMOUNT:  $300,000.00
DURATION:  12 months / Start date: April 2016

Bank Information Center (BIC) – ClimateWorks Grant
PURPOSE:  to develop a forest sustainability screen to reduce the impact of investments by the
International Finance Corporation and other lenders on forests and forest‐dependent peoples
AMOUNT:  $300,000.00
DURATION:  12 months / Start date: April 2015

Bank Information Center (BIC) – ClimateWorks Grant
PURPOSE:  to ensure the World Bank develops adequate safeguards to protect people and forests
AMOUNT:  $300,000.00
DURATION:  12 months / Start date: April 2014

Bank Information Center (BIC) – ClimateWorks Grant
PURPOSE:  to ensure the World Bank develops adequate safeguards to protect people and forests
AMOUNT:  $300,000.00
DURATION:  12 months / Start date: April 2014

Bank Information Center (BIC) – ClimateWorks Grant
PURPOSE:  to ensure that multilateral REDD+ finance complies with relevant safeguards, and to promote
the rights and effective participation of forest‐dependent communities in its planning and
AMOUNT:  $100,000.00
DURATION:  3 months / Start date: January 2014

Bank Information Center (BIC) – ClimateWorks Grant
PURPOSE:  to ensure that multilateral REDD+ finance complies with relevant safeguards, and to promote
the rights and effective participation of forest‐dependent communities in its planning and
AMOUNT:  $400,000.00
DURATION:  12 months / Start date: January 2013

Bank Information Center (BIC) – ClimateWorks Grant
PURPOSE:  to contribute to the effective design and implementation of multilateral REDD+ initiatives by
ensuring meaningful participation of forest‐dependent communities and sound environmental and
social due diligence
AMOUNT:  $350,000.00
DURATION:  12 months / Start date: January 2012

Bank Information Center (BIC) – ClimateWorks Grant
PURPOSE:  to strengthen safeguards, accountability, and informed civil society engagement in
multilateral REDD initiatives
AMOUNT:  $350,000.00
DURATION:  13 months / Start date: February 2011

Bank Information Center (BIC) – ClimateWorks Grant
PURPOSE:  for support in strengthening transparency and informed engagement in International
Financial Institution REDD initiatives
AMOUNT:  $321,750.00
DURATION:  12 months / Start date: January 2010

Bank Information Center (BIC) – Moore Grant
PURPOSE:  to support the final year of BIC's campaign to strengthen the requirements contained in the World Bank's Environmental Assessment safeguard policy
AMOUNT:  $250,000.00
DURATION:  12 months / Start date: February 2014

Excerpts from the Climate and Land Use Alliance website - search for "finance" and similar in project title and description:

Burness Communications – ClimateWorks Contract
PURPOSE:  to increase media attention on deforestation‐free commodities, forests, the role of
indigenous peoples in the climate change agenda, and opportunitis for effective climate finance in the
forest sector
AMOUNT:  $223,225.00
DURATION:  12 months / Start date: March 2016

Forest Peoples Programme (FPP) – ClimateWorks Grant
PURPOSE:  to increase recognition of forest peoples’ rights in global policies, intergovernmental
initiatives, and finance, in an effort to address the drivers of tropical deforestation
AMOUNT:  $200,000.00
DURATION:  12 months / Start date: May 2016

Forest Peoples Programme (FPP) – ClimateWorks Grant
PURPOSE:  to increase recognition of forest peoples’ rights in global policies, intergovernmental
initiatives and finance in an effort to address the drivers of tropical deforestation
AMOUNT:  $200,000.00
DURATION:  12 months / Start date: May 2015

Friends of the Earth (FOE) US – Ford Grant
PURPOSE:  to engage financiers of key palm oil companies to encourage better business practices that reduce deforestation and protect community rights
AMOUNT:  $200,000.00
DURATION:  12 months / Start date: July 2016

Friends of the Earth (FOE) US – Ford Grant
PURPOSE:  to engage financiers of palm oil companies in efforts to reduce deforestation and land
grabbing by plantation owners, improve global norms for palm oil production, and strengthen
community resource rights
AMOUNT:  $100,000.00
DURATION:  12 months / Start date: November 2015

Friends of the Earth (FOE) US – Packard Grant
PURPOSE:  to promote the adoption of strong Environmental Social and Governance policies by
institutions financing  palm oil supply chains, in line with global best practices.
AMOUNT:  $400,000.00
DURATION:  24 months / Start date: January 2016

International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) – ClimateWorks Grant
PURPOSE:  to ensure forests are included in the discussion on the new post‐2015 development agenda
and emerging financing modalities
AMOUNT:  $250,000.00
DURATION:  14 months / Start date: November 2013

Pivot Point – Ford Grant
PURPOSE:  to develop options for delivering climate finance to community forestry and systems for
monitoring performance
AMOUNT:  $278,000.00
DURATION:  30 months / Start date: July 2014

Editor's note: Above are 10 of 46 found... please refer to more listings here... http://www.climateandlandusealliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Global-Grants-List_2017-Q1.pdf, and among the largest (over US$0.5 million each) are the following that total some US$12.7 million:

Stichting AERA (Aidenvironment) – Packard Grant
PURPOSE:  to investigate palm oil industry players and their sustainability risk profiles, and publish
findings in financially actionable terms for a global audience
AMOUNT:  $800,700.00
DURATION:  18 months / Start date: April 2015

World Resources Institute (WRI) – Moore Grant
PURPOSE:  to improve transparency and enable measurement of financial institutions’ and companies’ progress toward deforestation‐free commodity commitments
AMOUNT:  $1,554,439.00
DURATION:  28 months / Start date: November 2014

World Wildlife Fund (WWF) – Moore Grant
PURPOSE:  to move key financial institutions to make and implement commitments to eliminate
deforestation and illegality within agriculture (and seafood) supply chains in their lending and
investment portfolios
AMOUNT:  $7,994,616.00
DURATION:  25 months / Start date: March 2016

World Wildlife Fund (WWF) – Moore Grant
PURPOSE:  to support a transition to deforestation free supply chains for key commodities through the implementation of the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) commitments and engagement of relevant
financial institutions
AMOUNT:  $900,000.00
DURATION:  32 months / Start date: December 2013

Ceres – Moore Grant
PURPOSE:  to support shifting businesses, investors and financial markets towards more sustainable
practices and policies
AMOUNT:  $660,000.00
DURATION:  25 months / Start date: November 2013

Stichting AERA (Aidenvironment) – Packard Grant
PURPOSE:  to investigate major palm oil industry players and their sustainability risk profiles, and to
publish findings in financially actionable terms for a global audience
AMOUNT:  $830,000.00
DURATION:  19 months / Start date: October 2013

17 Jan 2017: $13 million from Ford, Packard and ClimateWorks for efforts on palm oil sustainability (1Q2017 report list)

Editor's notes: These refer only to the Ford and Packard Grants and ClimateWorks Contracts and Grants for campaign efforts which refer specifically to palm oil in their purpose (there are others that cover palm oil in a broader purpose; possibly within World Resources Institute (WRI) c.$2.2 million and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) c.$9 million of funding received - not counted in the $13 million summation below), on sustainability policies starting 2010-2016. 

Excerpts from Climate and Land Use Alliance website:
At the global level, we aim to support public and private sector policies and finance that help achieve large cuts in greenhouse gas emissions from land use, and improve the land rights of indigenous peoples and rural communities.
Grants List »


Climate Advisers – Packard Grant
PURPOSE: to encourage major palm oil producers to make commitments to produce palm oil with no deforestation, peatland expansion, or exploitation
AMOUNT: $250,000.00
DURATION: 9 months / Start date: February 2015

Conservation International – Packard Grant
PURPOSE: to accelerate U.S. market conversion to sustainable palm oil and develop similar initiatives in emerging markets including Indonesia
AMOUNT: $250,000.00
DURATION: 15 months / Start date: October 2014

Food and Environment Reporting Network – Packard Grant
PURPOSE: to produce news stories regarding biofuel and palm oil production, with a preference for success-oriented, solutions-oriented approaches
AMOUNT: $60,000.00
DURATION: 12 months / Start date: December 2015

Friends of the Earth (FOE) US – Ford Grant
PURPOSE: to engage financiers of key palm oil companies to encourage better business practices that reduce deforestation and protect community rights
AMOUNT: $200,000.00
DURATION: 12 months / Start date: July 2016

Friends of the Earth (FOE) US – Ford Grant
PURPOSE: to engage financiers of palm oil companies in efforts to reduce deforestation and land grabbing by plantation owners, improve global norms for palm oil production, and strengthen community resource rights
AMOUNT: $100,000.00
DURATION: 12 months / Start date: November 2015

Friends of the Earth (FOE) US – Packard Grant
PURPOSE: to promote the adoption of strong Environmental Social and Governance policies by institutions financing palm oil supply chains, in line with global best practices.
AMOUNT: $400,000.00
DURATION: 24 months / Start date: January 2016

Green Century Capital Management, Inc. – Packard Grant
PURPOSE: to effectively implement the no-deforestation, no-peat, no-exploitation agreements made by palm oil companies
AMOUNT: $78,000.00
DURATION: 12 months / Start date: April 2016

Greenpeace Fund, Inc. – ClimateWorks Grant
PURPOSE: to support continued work on campaigns and commodity market pressure to end deforestation caused by palm oil expansion in Indonesia
AMOUNT: $1,000,000.00
DURATION: 15 months / Start date: September 2013

Greenpeace Fund, Inc. – Packard Grant
PURPOSE: to end deforestation caused by palm oil expansion in Indonesia through campaigns and commodity market pressure
AMOUNT: $1,000,000.00
DURATION: 24 months / Start date: January 2015

Rainforest Action Network (RAN) – Packard Grant
PURPOSE: to ensure companies implement policy commitments to minimize the social, environmental, and climate impacts of global palm oil trading operations
AMOUNT: $1,000,000.00
DURATION: 17 months / Start date: November 2015

Rainforest Action Network (RAN) – Packard Grant
PURPOSE: to minimize the social, environmental, and climate impacts of global palm oil trading operations
AMOUNT: $1,300,000.00
DURATION: 24 months / Start date: September 2013

Stichting AERA (Aidenvironment) – Packard Grant
PURPOSE: to investigate palm oil industry players and their sustainability risk profiles, and publish findings in financially actionable terms for a global audience
AMOUNT: $800,700.00
DURATION: 18 months / Start date: April 2015

SumOfUs – Packard Grant
PURPOSE: to support a campaign to move large consumer brands to improve their palm-oil sourcing policies
AMOUNT: $250,000.00
DURATION: 12 months / Start date: September 2015

SumOfUs – Packard Grant
PURPOSE: to support a campaign to encourage large consumer brands to improve their palm oil sourcing
AMOUNT: $250,000.00
DURATION: 12 months / Start date: July 2014

TFT - The Forest Trust – Packard Grant
PURPOSE: to develop and share innovations for North American companies to source responsibly produced palm oil and convert a major portion of the industry to responsible purchasing
AMOUNT: $228,000.00
DURATION: 18 months / Start date: July 2014

Zoological Society of London (ZSL) – Packard Grant
PURPOSE: to reduce deforestation and its associated greenhouse gas emissions in Indonesia by improving oil palm landscape management through better monitoring, reporting, verification and accountability
AMOUNT: $997,000.00
DURATION: 12 months / Start date: February 2015

Zoological Society of London (ZSL) – Packard Grant
PURPOSE: to help transform the palm oil sector to a sustainable model via a transparency toolkit
AMOUNT: $250,000.00
DURATION: 7 months / Start date: July 2014

Ceres – Packard Grant
PURPOSE: to encourage major consumer-brand companies to commit to sourcing Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO)
AMOUNT: $50,000.00
DURATION: 12 months / Start date: November 2013

Climate Advisers – ClimateWorks Contract
PURPOSE: to support a World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Deforestation to identify meaningful targets for sustainable supply chain management in four key commodity supply chains (beef, soy, palm oil, paper and pulp)
AMOUNT: $185,675.00
DURATION: 12 months / Start date: July 2014

Climate Advisers – ClimateWorks Contract
PURPOSE: to assess opportunities and risks for promoting sustainable palm oil supply chains in China
AMOUNT: $50,000.00
DURATION: 4 months / Start date: June 2014

Climate Advisers – ClimateWorks Contract
PURPOSE: to support a campaign to remove deforestation, peatland conversion, and rural violence from palm oil production (co-funded with Packard Foundation)
AMOUNT: $25,000.00
DURATION: 7 months / Start date: December 2012

Climate Advisers – Packard Grant
PURPOSE: to encourage major palm oil traders to make commitments to sourcing palm oil produced without deforestation, peatland expansion, or exploitation
AMOUNT: $250,000.00
DURATION: 9 months / Start date: April 2014

Climate Advisers – Packard Grant
PURPOSE: for a communications campaign coordinated with rapid-response research on deforestation, peatland, and rural violence-free policies in the palm oil industry
AMOUNT: $75,000.00
DURATION: 4 months / Start date: February 2013

Climate Advisers – Packard Grant
PURPOSE: to work with the Center for International Environmental Law to secure a favorable decision by EPA to not include palm oil in the Renewable Fuel Standard
AMOUNT: $71,650.00
DURATION: 7 months / Start date: November 2012

Conservation International – Packard Grant
PURPOSE: to accelerate market conversion to sustainable palm oil
AMOUNT: $185,500.00
DURATION: 9 months / Start date: November 2013

Forest Trends Association – ClimateWorks Grant
PURPOSE: to develop, produce, and disseminate a new Ecosystem Marketplace branded report on corporate commitments to low “forest footprint” commodities focused on palm oil, cattle, paper, and soy
AMOUNT: $245,000.00
DURATION: 13 months / Start date: January 2014

Friends of the Earth (FOE) US – Ford Grant
PURPOSE: to engage financiers of palm oil companies in efforts to reduce deforestation and land grabbing by plantation owners, improve global norms for palm oil production, and strengthen community resource rights
AMOUNT: $300,000.00
DURATION: 12 months / Start date: November 2014

Friends of the Earth (FOE) US – Ford Grant
PURPOSE: to engage palm oil financiers to reduce deforestation, improve global norms to reduce land grabbing, and strengthen community resource rights
AMOUNT: $400,000.00
DURATION: 18 months / Start date: May 2013

Glenn Hurowitz – ClimateWorks Contract
PURPOSE: to assess opportunities to reduce emissions associated with the expansion of palm oil
AMOUNT: $123,820.00
DURATION: 6 months / Start date: June 2012

Glenn Hurowitz – ClimateWorks Contract
PURPOSE: to support a global assessment examining opportunities to reduce palm-oil driven deforestation
AMOUNT: $105,000.00
DURATION: 6 months / Start date: December 2011

Glenn Hurowitz – ClimateWorks Contract
PURPOSE: to build support for U.S. and international policies and financing for tropical forest protection and to develop a campaign with the Girl Scouts to convince major palm oil users to take steps to reduce the deforestation caused by their products
AMOUNT: $100,000.00
DURATION: 6 months / Start date: April 2011

Greenpeace Fund, Inc. – ClimateWorks Grant
PURPOSE: to further Greenpeace's campaign to stop deforestation and peat land clearance for palm oil expansion in Indonesia
AMOUNT: $400,000.00
DURATION: 13 months / Start date: December 2012

Meridian Institute – ClimateWorks Contract
PURPOSE: for organization and facilitation of CLUA-sponsored meetings on palm oil
AMOUNT: $87,060.00
DURATION: 4 months / Start date: September 2012

Oxfam America, Inc. – ClimateWorks Grant
PURPOSE: to influence the food and beverage sector to make emissions-reducing changes in agricultural supply chains, particularly those of palm oil, soy, and sugarcane
AMOUNT: $250,000.00
DURATION: 15 months / Start date: January 2014

Rainforest Action Network (RAN) – ClimateWorks Grant
PURPOSE: to scale up ongoing work to reduce negative impacts of palm oil expansion through development of an integrated global campaign
AMOUNT: $400,000.00
DURATION: 10 months / Start date: November 2012

Stichting AERA (Aidenvironment) – Packard Grant
PURPOSE: to investigate major palm oil industry players and their sustainability risk profiles, and to publish findings in financially actionable terms for a global audience
AMOUNT: $830,000.00
DURATION: 19 months / Start date: October 2013

Stichting Oxfam Novib – Ford Grant
PURPOSE: to support work on scaling up sustainable palm oil production, building improved models for smallholder production of oil palm, and linking this work to NOVIB's on-going engagement on improving the sustainability of key internationally-traded commodities,
AMOUNT: $200,000.00
DURATION: 17 months / Start date: August 2010

TFT - The Forest Trust – ClimateWorks Grant
PURPOSE: to promote responsible supply chains within the U.S. palm oil sector, including commitment to no expansion onto High Carbon Stock (HCS) forests or peat lands
AMOUNT: $201,000.00
DURATION: 18 months / Start date: July 2012

Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) – ClimateWorks Grant
PURPOSE: to incubate a quarterly or semi-annual report on deforestation, peatland degradation, and rural violence related to palm oil expansion
AMOUNT: $240,000.00
DURATION: 10 months / Start date: January 2013

5 Jan 2017: Brazil Amazon rainforest ingredients featured

FOOD FROM BRAZIL’S AMAZON FINDS ITS WAY TO METROPOLITAN TABLES 2 January 2017 / Carolina Torres -- From small eateries to Michelin-star restaurants, food establishments are increasingly sourcing ingredients from the Brazilian Amazonian rainforest. https://news.mongabay.com/2017/01/food-from-brazils-amazon-finds-its-way-to-metropolitan-tables/

30 Dec 2016: 14 oligarchs and 4 million workers? Consumer pressure to reach Indonesia’s oil palm plantation giants, deforestation/palm-free global equity fund

Fourteen of the 32 Indonesian billionaires identified by Forbes magazine are palm oil tycoons, having accumulated their wealth at least in part through the industry. That includes six of the country’s 10 richest, and 12 of its wealthiest 20... (oligarchs and)... The industry is said to employ nearly 4 million people in Indonesia, although a substantial portion of them are day laborers who earn next to nothing.... The country represents a particularly extreme example of oligarchic dominance and distortion in part because wealth is unusually concentrated.
Jeffrey Winters, political scientist..... http://www.eco-business.com/news/indonesias-rich-list-stacked-with-palm-oil-billionaires/

Refers to: Focusing just on the net worth of the top 500 individuals or families in each case, the Senators of Rome were about 10,000 times richer than the average farmer or slave living in the Roman Empire. In the United States today, wealth is twice as concentrated – the top 500 Americans are about 20,000 times as wealthy as the average citizen. Singapore’s ratio is slightly higher than that of the U.S., at about 25,000 to 1. But in Indonesia, the top 500 oligarchs are about 600,000 times richer than the average Indonesian. http://www.insideindonesia.org/pathways-to-a-people-s-president-3

Consumer pressure to ditch deforestation begins to reach Indonesia’s oil palm plantation giants - A new report by Chain Reaction Research finds that some of the Southeast Asian nation’s biggest oil palm growers have issued stronger sustainability policies in response to interventions from their buyers. Will the trend continue? By Tara MacIsaac 28 December 2016 http://www.eco-business.com/news/consumer-pressure-to-ditch-deforestation-begins-to-reach-indonesias-oil-palm-plantation-giants/

The Chain: Dimensional Fund Advisors Divests From Some Palm Oil Positions to Mitigate Risks By GabrielThoumi on December 25, 2016 http://www.valuewalk.com/2016/12/chain-dimensional-fund-advisors-divests-palm-oil-positions-mitigate-risks/

Palm Oil Divestment Goes Mainstream - World's First Broadly-Diversified "Deforestation Free" Global Equity Portfolios Now Available to Everyday Investors - December 23, 2016 (Investorideas.com Newswire) http://www.investorideas.com/news/2016/renewable-energy/12231Mainstream.asp

21 Dec 2016: Campaigners for no deforestation need to focus on human diets, Indonesia’s forestry ministry takes Greenpeace to court over maps, 187 Kalimantan land conflicts mapped, Sarawak Dayaks lose right to claim forests as communal area 

Editor's note: Reading findings on diet-production feasibility of a no-deforestation approach suggests that NGOs also need to focus on human diets as that is the "'strongest determinant of the biophysical option space, stronger than yields or cropland availability" i.e. vegan and vegetarian diets are more feasible scenarios for no deforestation campaigners.

Exploring the biophysical option space for feeding the world without deforestation by Karl-Heinz Erb et al. Nature Communications 7, Article number: 11382 (2016) -- ...human diets are the strongest determinant of the biophysical option space, stronger than yields or cropland availability. Unsurprisingly, vegan diets and diets with a low share of livestock products (for example, the VEGETARIAN variant) show the largest number of feasible scenarios.... doi:10.1038/ncomms11382http://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms11382

In pivotal decision, Dayaks lose right to claim forests as communal area BY SULOK TAWIE Published: December 20, 2016 -- In a 3-1 majority decision, the apex court allowed an appeal by the Forest Department and the state government in a case filed by headman Sandah anak Tabau and other seven other NCR landowners over an area in Ulu Machan, Kanowit.... Court of Appeal President Tan Sri Mohd Raus Shariff, in a written judgment, said there is no law in Sarawak that gives the force of law to customary rights claims by the Dayaks over virgin forests as NCR lands. He said the Sarawak Land Code, Tusun Tunggu (Codified Customary Laws), Iban Adat 1993 and a number of Rajah Orders only recognise cultivated land called “temuda” as NCR land.... Headman Sandah and the seven have claimed that they have customary rights over 2,712 ha of communal forest, also called “pulau galau”, in Ulu Machan, Kanowit, which they claimed as belonging to them since it is within their territorial domain, or called “pemakai menoa”. - See more at: http://m.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/in-pivotal-decision-dayaks-lose-right-to-claim-forests-as-communal-area#sthash.tinNSwkA.dpuf

Study maps 187 land conflicts as palm oil expands in Kalimantan 20 December 2016 / Rachel Diaz-Bastin -- Indonesia is rife with disputes between indigenous communities and plantation firms, but the problem remains poorly understood. https://news.mongabay.com/2016/12/study-maps-187-land-conflicts-as-palm-oil-expands-in-kalimantan/

Oil palm–community conflict mapping in Indonesia: A case for better community liaison in planning for development initiatives by Nicola K. Abram et al.  Highlights •Oil palm–community conflict occurrence was widespread in Kalimantan (187 villages). •Spatial patterns of conflict varied according to the differing types of conflict. •Forest-dependent communities were more likely to oppose oil palm establishment. •Opposition from forest-dependents' related to likely livelihoods/environment impacts. •Conflicts in transformed areas were associated with differing conflict types.... http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0143622816306087

Indonesia’s forestry ministry takes Greenpeace to court over freedom of information request 19 December 2016 / Basten Gokkon -- The latest front in the battle for transparent management of the archipelago country’s natural resources. https://news.mongabay.com/2016/12/indonesias-forestry-ministry-takes-greenpeace-to-court-over-freedom-of-information-request/

12 Dec 2016: Olam in the spotlight on HCS and third-party sourcing

Olam takes aim at critical report on deforestation, palm oil sourcing December 12, 2016 by JAMIE LEE -- Olam said questions leading to the report came from a US-based communications and lobbying company, Waxman Strategies, working as Mighty Earth (Mighty) and with Brainforest, a Gabon-based non-governmental organisation (NGO). Olam took on two main claims made by the report. The first is that Olam is deforesting in Gabon through its operations there, and will not sign a no-deforestation commitment that adheres to the High Carbon Stock Approach (HCSA) methodology. The second claim is that Olam's third party sourcing of palm oil comes from companies that are environmentally destructive and causing fire and haze..... http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/companies-markets/olam-takes-aim-at-critical-report-on-deforestation-palm-oil-sourcing

Olam International’s response to Mighty Earth and Brainforest report Singapore, December 12, 2016 - See more at: http://olamgroup.com/news/olam-internationals-response-to-mighty-earth-and-brainforest-report/#sthash.oKkjAmo2.H4A1ZleN.dpuf

Olam under fire over Africa deforestation https://www.ft.com/content/bd2de89a-c01b-11e6-9bca-2b93a6856354

THE VIOLENT COSTS OF THE GLOBAL PALM-OIL BOOM By Jocelyn C. Zuckerman   December 10, 2016 http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/the-violent-costs-of-the-global-palm-oil-boom

8 Dec 2016: RAN investigator on mill linked to Leuser clearing, Wilmar stopped buying since October

CSR Sugar owner Wilmar International linked to palm oil deforestation in Indonesia orangutan habitat By Hayden Cooper Updated about 2 hours ago
The clearance has been taking place on a palm oil plantation which was part of the Wilmar supply chain, and in spite of a moratorium on land clearing in the Leuser Ecosystem announced by the Aceh Government..... The RAN investigators then filmed workers at the plantation loading a truck with palm oil fruit and followed the truck to a processing mill known as Raja Marga. The mill is listed by Wilmar International on its website as a supplier of its palm oil.... Ms Tillack acknowledged Wilmar had improved its sustainability performance in recent years, but said the latest footage undermined the company's efforts. "Two years ago, Wilmar did commit to stopping deforestation, to stopping the destruction of the peatland and the exploitation of workers and communities, so it has taken the first step with this commitment," she said. "But what we've found on the ground is that its third-party suppliers continue to destroy rainforests including those in the Leuser Ecosystem."....In a statement to 7.30, Wilmar said it shares the concerns about the Leuser Ecosystem and it has taken action on the processing mill which was filmed receiving the fruit from the land-clearing plantation. "Through Wilmar's own monitoring and due diligence, we have of our own accord halted buying from the company since October 2016," Wilmar said. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-12-08/wilmar-accused-of-palm-oil-deforestation-in-orangutan-habitat/8100800

VIDEO: CSR Sugar owner accused of palm oil deforestation in Indonesia orang-utan habitat (ABC News) http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-12-08/csr-sugar-owner-accused-of-palm-oil-deforestation/8103478 

7 Dec 2016: Prince Harry calls for palm oil to be labelled 'like cigarettes' 

Prince Harry calls for palm oil to be labelled 'like cigarettes' on royal visit to Guyana - PRINCE Harry believes palm oil should come with a health warning because of the environmental damage caused by deforestation. By CAMILLA TOMINEY, SUNDAY EXPRESS ROYAL EDITOR IN GUYANA PUBLISHED: 03:32, Sun, Dec 4, 2016 http://www.express.co.uk/news/royal/739581/Prince-Harry-palm-oil-health-warning-environmental-damage-cigarette-packets-guyana-royal

MPOC comment, 6 Dec 2016, The Oil Palm <info@theoilpalm.org> is: As has been indicated previously on this blog and in research from the European Commission, Centre for Global Development and other organisations, the contribution of palm oil to deforestation is lower than beef, maize, soybean, and even infrastructure developments. In fact the deforestation footprint for beef is nine times higher than that of palm oil. If Prince Harry wants commodities labelled 'like cigarettes', other major commodities would also need to be labelled -- with even bigger warnings. Prince Harry is clearly oblivious to the fact that palm oil supports the lives of more than 3 million small farmers and their families in developing countries. 

1 Dec 2016: Amnesty International investigates Indonesia palm oil labour

By Amnesty International , 30 November 2016, Index number: ASA 21/5184/2016
The world’s most popular food and household companies are selling food, cosmetics and other everyday staples containing palm oil tainted by shocking human rights abuses in Indonesia.

Case studies: Palm oil and human rights abuses 30 November 2016, 00:01 UTC

Palm Oil and human rights: What you need to know 30 November 2016, 16:36 UTC


Firms such as Kellogg's, Unilever and Nestlé 'use child-labour palm oil' by Rob Davies 30 November 2016 -- “These findings will shock any consumer who thinks they are making ethical choices in the supermarket when they buy products that claim to use sustainable palm oil,” said the senior Amnesty investigator Meghna Abraham. “There is nothing sustainable about palm oil that is produced using child labour and forced labour. Something is wrong when nine companies turning over a combined revenue of £260bn in 2015 are unable to do anything about the atrocious treatment of palm oil workers earning a pittance.” She said allegations of child labour at Wilmar were not “isolated incidents but are systemic and a predictable result of the way Wilmar does business”...... When approached by Amnesty, seven of nine companies admitted that they use palm oil from Wilmar’s Indonesian supply network but only two – Kellogg’s and Reckitt Benckiser – offered any detail about which products were affected. The two companies cited “traceability” as a factor in why they had not been aware of abuses at the plantations supplying them palm oil through Wilmar. “Using mealy mouthed excuses about ‘traceability’ is a total cop-out from those companies,” said Amnesty’s business and human rights programme director, Peter Frankental. “You can be sure that if one of these companies’ products were contaminated and had to be taken off the shelves of supermarkets, they would ensure that they could trace the source to specific plantations.”... https://www.theguardian.com/law/2016/nov/30/kelloggs-unilever-nestle-child-labour-palm-oil-wilmar-amnesty

29 Sep 2016: Slew of reports on palm oil 

Editor's note: Despite IOI Group’s reinstatement to RSPO on 8 August 2016, Greenpeace has a high-key and ongoing market campaign. It seeks redress for its allegations that its third-party suppliers that have been involved in primary forest destruction in Papua and Kalimantan, as well as peatland developments and human rights abuses. Greenpeace ship, the Esperanza, and kayakers blocked entrances to a docking jetty. The port reports that one harbour mooring (used only for palm oil coming from Indonesia) was affected while other traffic was not disrupted and that the activists were arrested. Media reports expect more Greenpeace direct actions in the near future.

What does Greenpeace's palm oil report mean for IOI & RSPO? By Niamh Michail+, 28-Sep-2016
Greenpeace's damning report on Malaysian palm oil supplier IOI, just one month after its membership of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) was renewed, could be damaging for the certifier, according to one sustainability consultant.

Greenpeace report that accompanies the Rotterdam port blockade at Rotterdam... 


Palm oil company with links to Tory donors accused of failing to prevent ‘thousands of acres’ of rainforest being destroyed - Former Prime Minister David Cameron once worked for the firm’s parent company, Jardine Matheson – largely controlled by the Scottish Keswick family which includes leading Conservative party donors by Ian Johnston Environment Correspondent Wednesday 28 September 2016 http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/palm-oil-rainforest-destruction-tory-donor-links-jardine-matheson-david-cameron-a7332716.html

AidEnvironment‘s Sept 2016 report (for Rainforest Foundation Norway, Mighty, YMP and KKI Warsi)  alleges problems at Astra Agro’s Kalimantan concessions during the 2015 haze crisis; it cites a total of 677 fire hotspots in its concessions from July to October 2015, likely due to ineffective fire prevention and mitigation. 

At the launch of Mighty, Sept 2016, alleged illegal clearing for palm oil and timber by the Korean-Indonesian conglomerate Korindo was launched in AidEnvironment’s report (Mighty, SKP-KAM, Pusaka, KFEM, FOE Korea, Rainforest Foundation Norway, Transport & Environment). The Indonesian government has launched its own investigation in response to the report, and that many of Korindo’s major customers have already suspended ties with the company. This week, our team is launching the campaign on Korindo’s home turf in South Korea

Rainforest Action Network notes that "PepsiCo’s Progress Report includes a new commitment to intervene on suppliers found to be violating its policy in Indonesia which is the frontline of palm oil expansion and human and labor rights violations in palm oil production" but seeks a deadline for it to break supplier links.

FORESTS & FINANCE - The banks and investors exposed to deforestation risks in Southeast Asia - 

See more at: http://forestsandfinance.org/#sthash.3NvDn2U8.dpuf              

5 Sept 2016: Korean palm oil firm accused by Mighty NGO

Korean palm oil firm accused of illegal forest burning in Indonesia - Some of the world’s biggest buyers have stopped trading with Korindo after the emergence of footage claiming to show illegal burning in Papua province, 1 September 2016 - Korindo’s alleged deforestation of pristine woodland in Papua province also threatens to destroy the last sanctuary of several birds of paradise and the tree kangaroo, according to a report by a new environmental alliance called Mighty. The group has collected evidence from drones, remote sensors, GPS satellites, and videographers and photographers on the ground, which it says proves that Korindo has flouted Indonesia’s no-burning laws and violated responsible sourcing requirements. Bustar Maitar, Mighty’s campaign director in Papua, told the Guardian: “Korindo is clear-cutting forests and then starting fires to clear the land of remaining biomass. That is forbidden by Indonesia’s regulations but during last year’s forest fires, most of the blazes in the Papua region happened in Korindo’s concessions.”... Korindo is active in Indonesia’s north Malaku region as well as Papua, holding around 620 square miles of forest concessions in total. The company, whose promotional video calls on viewers to “make the Earth green”, has already cleared around 193 square miles of forest. Maitar said that Korindo had not responded to letters sent by the new alliance, and that the new report was aimed at putting pressure on the Indonesian government......Several major buyers of Korindo’s palm oil acted to cut the firm out of their supply chains after hearing of the allegations.....NDPEs have become a palm oil industry standard in south-east Asia but the Mighty campaign argues that they are not working. Glenn Hurowitz, Mighty’s US campaign director, said that Korindo had been able to deforest 113 square miles of land since 2013, despite clearly visible satellite evidence of 894 hotspots in that period. “This investigation shows the true face of the palm oil industry in Indonesia even after No Deforestation policies,” Hurowitz said. “The current, mostly confidential company-by-company system is inadequate. We urgently need a transparent, systematic approach, as well as further action by government and prosecutors.”.... https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/sep/01/korean-palm-oil-firm-accused-of-illegal-forest-burning-in-indonesia

Video: The devastating deforestation of Papua for the palm oil industry, from above by Cassie Werber September 02, 2016  http://qz.com/770674/video-the-devastating-deforestation-of-papua-for-the-palm-oil-industry-from-above/

Korean firm burns rainforest for palm oil in Indonesia   3 September 2016 http://www.thestar.com.my/business/business-news/2016/09/03/korean-firm-burns-rainforest-for-palm-oil-in-indonesia/

8 August 2016: NZ's Landcorp to stop using, but Fonterra stays with palm 

New Zealand farm company to stop using palm oil products - New Zealand's state-owned farming company says it will stop using palm kernel products to feed its animals as it seeks to take better care of the environment Aug. 8, 2016, at 2:38 a.m.  --  Farmers typically use imported palm kernel cake, also known as expeller, as part of a diet for dairy cows, especially during the winter or when natural feed is low. The cake is a byproduct of palm oil production. Palm oil is a common ingredient in many household products, from margarine to lipstick.  Carden said the company will replace palm products with locally grown alternatives like maize silage and chicory. ........... Landcorp is one of the largest farming companies in New Zealand, with 140 farms and 850,000 animals. It uses about 15,000 metric tons of palm cake each year. But thousands of dairy farmers who provide milk to the country's biggest company Fonterra will continue to use the product, after Fonterra said Monday it had no immediate plans to stop using it....Environmental advocacy group Greenpeace said Monday it welcomed Landcorp's move and hopes that Fonterra will soon follow suit..... http://www.usnews.com/news/news/articles/2016-08-08/new-zealand-farm-company-to-stop-using-palm-oil-products

27 July 2016: FOE on investors

US investors ploughing billions into palm oil, claims report - Friends of the Earth warns investors they could be unknowingly contributing to deforestation and land grabs, and calls on them to show leadership by Oliver Milman 26 July 2016 -- According to the FoE report, BlackRock, the Vanguard Group, JPMorgan and Fidelity Investments have almost $13bn in holdings in palm oil between them. In the report, FoE claims that pension funds CalPERS and TIAA-CREF also have investments of more than $100m each in palm oil activity, with overseas land and agriculture “widely perceived as low-risk asset classes” for investor portfolios. Joe DeAnda, a spokesperson for CalPERS, said: “We don’t have anything specific to palm oil – as such holding[s] are likely de minimus in the portfolio.” However, DeAnda says CalPERS has an extensive and detailed investment policy, which includes environmental considerations like climate change.... https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2016/jul/26/palm-oil-us-investors-deforestation-land-grabs-pension-funds-banks-forest-fires-climate-change

25 July 2016: Nigeria talks lipid and CVD and Texas story on biodiversity

‘You don’t need that much palm oil’ By: OYEYEMI GBENGA-MUSTAPHAon: July 21, 2016 In: HEALTH -- OYEYEMI GBENGA-MUSTAPHA writes that reducing the quantity of palm oil consumed can further reduce heart diseases. The rate at which Nigerians consume palm oil is raising concerns. This is because palm oil has been identified to be a significant factor causing cardio vascular diseases (CVDs). According to health experts, cooking at home with unmeasured palm oil, eating out at Bukateria, also known as Buka, Mama put or canteen, to eating assorted meats known as orisirisi, as well as consuming ‘butter and bread’ could cause CVDs such as heart attack.... The authorities converged at a summit on Lipids and Cardiovascular health among Nigerians. It was organised by the Nigerian Heart Foundation and National Heart Health and Nutrition... They also lamented that there are many brands of vegetable and animal oils in the market without appropriate labeling of their constituents and origin (plant or animal source). http://thenationonlineng.net/dont-need-much-palm-oil/

Bornean orangutans now critically endangered, with change blamed on palm oil  Submitted by Joshua Cobb on July 20, 2016  http://theexaminer.com/stories/news/bornean-orangutans-now-critically-endangered-change-blamed-palm-oil

Can palm oil be sustainable?  July 21, 2016 Source: International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis Summary: A new study shows to where and to what extent palm oil plantations could be expanded, while avoiding further deforestation in pristine and carbon-rich tropical forests.  https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/07/160721104617.htm

12 July 2016: More worries about food waste, palm, beef and seafood

The Hidden Consequences of Food Waste 07/11/2016 by Annie Leonard, Executive Director, Greenpeace USA  -- Food waste is especially unforgivable. Millions of people are malnourished or going hungry, not only in developing countries but here in the US, while grocery stores, restaurants and homes are throwing away tons of perfectly edible and nutritious food every day. But the problem is not just the food that’s wasted when leftovers go in the trash. It’s also all of the greenhouse gas emissions, water, biodiversity loss and soil & air pollution that was generated to create that food only for it to be tossed away uneaten. To understand the full impact of wasting food, we have to look at where that food comes from and where the wasted food goes.
.... http://www.huffingtonpost.com/annie-leonard/the-hidden-consequences-o_b_10930938.html

7 July 2016: IPOP disbands and NGOs call for soy, palm oil and beef deforestation laws, pulpwood tree plantations least popular with locals

IPOP disbands: A step backwards for sustainable palm oil in Indonesia? By Niamh Michail+, 05-Jul-2016 -- After less than two years in existence, the Indonesian Palm Oil Pledge has disbanded to the dismay of environmentalists who say its member companies were bullied by the Indonesian government into adopting weaker standards. http://www.foodnavigator.com/Market-Trends/IPOP-disbands-A-step-backwards-for-sustainable-palm-oil-in-Indonesia

NGOs call for soy, palm oil and beef deforestation laws By David Burrows , 05-Jul-2016 -- NGOs have urged the EU to expand regulations that curb deforestation beyond timber to encompass commodities like soy, palm oil and beef.  http://www.foodnavigator.com/Policy/NGOs-call-for-soy-palm-oil-and-beef-deforestation-laws

5 Food Commodities Produce More GHGs than Any Country Apart from China, U.S. June 27, 2016 by Sustainable Brands -- New research commissioned by Oxfam shows that rice, soy beans, corn, wheat and palm oil together lead to more greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than any country’s individual footprint, with the exception of emissions giants China and the United States. The organization asserts that without making drastic emissions cuts to these five food commodities’ supply chains, the Paris Agreement’s goals to reach ‘net-zero’ by 2050 and limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius will not be met.... Today, Oxfam released a report prepared by research consultancy CE Delft, Feeding Climate Change, as well as an online interactive data tool that illustrates the scale of greenhouse gases produced by various food commodities around the world. They also examine the global production and water scarcity footprint of each commodity....Greenhouse gasses produced annually by each commodity - Tonnes of CO2 equivalent ranks highest as rice, soybeans, maize, palm oil, wheat, sugar cane... 

links: https://www.oxfam.org/en/research/feeding-climate-change and https://policy-practice.oxfamamerica.org/work/climate-change/food-commodity-footprints/

What do locals think of large-scale tree plantations? Tree type can make a difference for people living near plantations in Indonesia. ROMAIN PIRARD 1 Jul 2016  -- For the study, CIFOR scientists conducted hundreds of interviews in a variety of tree plantations across the Indonesian archipelago. Results show that local perceptions vary depending on a number of factors, including tree species, rotation periods, level of economic development in the area, or plantation lifespans.... TREE TYPE MATTERS. Fast-growing and land-hungry pulpwood estates, using species like acacia and eucalyptus, are among the most negatively received. These pulpwood plantations have spread to cover millions of hectares of land across the Indonesian islands of Sumatra and Kalimantan in recent decades. In interviews, local populations complained of limited access to land for cultivation, few positive contributions to local livelihoods and several negative impacts on biodiversity and environmental services as a result of the plantations.   et there was some level of acknowledgment for the capacity of estates to open up areas with limited infrastructure.... In contrast, teak and pine plantations, such as those long established on the island of Java, are much more positively received. These estates are praised for providing jobs, revenue and improved environmental services, including clean water and local climate regulation. Specifically, pine plantations offer beneficial distribution of rights to tap resin, while teak plantations are seen to increase access to land, goods and services....Rotation periods were found to be an influencing factor for local perceptions. Pine and teak plantations with a long history of development and relatively long rotations appear to be well integrated in the social landscape of Java. Meanwhile, newly established acacia pulpwood plantations with short rotations are shown to trigger more antagonistic views and have a harder time earning local recognition of any positive impacts....http://blog.cifor.org/42155/what-do-locals-think-of-large-scale-tree-plantations?fnl=en

Latin America most dangerous region for environmentalists in 2015 by LINDSAY FENDT JUNE 19 2016 -- Latin America remains the most dangerous region for environmental activists, according to a new report from the U.K.-based watchdog group Global Witness. Now in its third iteration, the report, “On Dangerous Ground,” assembled information on the known worldwide murders of environmentalists and land defenders in 2015.  With 185 recorded deaths, 2015 was the deadliest year on record for environmentalists. “As demand for products like minerals, timber and palm oil continues, governments, companies and criminal gangs are seizing land in defiance of the people who live in it,” said Global Witness campaign leader Billy Kyte. “Communities that take a stand are increasingly finding themselves in the firing line of companies’ private security, state forces and a thriving market for contract killers.”  More than 65 percent of the murders tallied by Global Witness in 2015 occurred in Latin America, with 50 environmentalists killed in Brazil alone. Activists were also killed in Colombia, Peru, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico. Most of the murders in the region stemmed from conflicts related to mining, agri-business and hydroelectric dams, according to Global Witness, with indigenous people disproportionality affected. http://www.ticotimes.net/2016/06/19/latin-america-dangerous-region-environmentalists-2015

24 June 2016: Singapore Alliance for Sustainable Palm Oil kicks off soon

Singapore Alliance for Sustainable Palm Oil kicks off on Monday 27 June at Marina Bay Sands - convened by WWF, Unilever, Ayam Brand http://www.ayambrand.com.sg/ and Ikea. 

Rainforest Action Network: Workers Exploited at Indonesia's Palm Oil Estates, 11 June 2016 -- San Francisco-based environmental organization Rainforest Action Network (RAN) released a report last week that claims Indonesian workers - including children - at North Sumatran palm oil plantations are being exploited. On two palm oil plantations owned by PP London Sumatra Indonesia, a unit of the Indonesian Indofood Group, researchers of RAN found evidence of child labor, unethically low wages, as well as other forms of worker exploitation. The report also links American multinational food and beverage firm PepsiCo Inc's products to the exploitation.... http://www.indonesia-investments.com/news/todays-headlines/rainforest-action-network-workers-exploited-at-indonesia-s-palm-oil-estates/item6916

Exploitation, child labor found in Indonesia palm oil linked to PepsiCo: charities BY BEH LIH YI Jun 15, 2016 http://www.reuters.com/article/us-indonesia-palmoil-rights-idUSKCN0Z11V8

13 June 2016: Worries about Indonesia "casual labour" and issues. EU activists are concerned about rise of palm biodiesel.

Editor's note: The Indonesia labour problem of high use of “casual labour” was discussed at RSPO RT in Nov 2015, so the emergence of NGO reports on this is expected. Malaysia’s labour problem is on migrant labour.

Palm Oil's Human Cost Alleged in New Report - Indonesian plantations are accused of exploitative labor conditions and other harmful practices by a coalition of nonprofit groups., JUNE 8, 2016 -- The report, "The Human Cost of Conflict Palm Oil," details the results of an on-the-ground investigation into the conditions of workers on two representative palm oil plantations in Sumatra, Indonesia.....  Roughly 50 percent of workers on the two plantations are casual laborers who do a variety of jobs, from harvesting to caring for the oil palms. Many of these workers lack health care and other benefits and are paid low wages. While casual workers are supposed to be temporary (no more than three months), many have been employed for years without promotion to permanent status.... Allegedly unrealistic daily quotas set by the company force harvesters to hire helpers, called “kernet workers,” who have no direct employment relationship with companies and are paid by the workers themselves. These invisible workers.... Children often help their parents or other harvesters meet high quotas by collecting fruit and transporting fruit bunches. Typically, the children drop out of school. It’s a vicious circle....women workers and child laborers—who perhaps suffer the most under the impossibly high quotas and unethically low wages....an inability to organize and collectively bargain through independent unions....  spraying pesticides and spreading fertilizer, with a disproportionate number of women in these positions. However, they are often not provided with health and safety equipment, and many workers report using the pesticide Gramoxone, which contains Paraquat, a hazardous herbicide banned in many Western countries..... http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/06/palm-oil-labor-exploitation-indonesia/
Source: Image of cover of Rainforest Action Network et al report on Indonesia labour. Excerpt: In order to understand the impact of this exclusion on palm oil workers, a team of researchers investigated the living and working conditions of laborers on two palm oil plantations ...(of) PT PP London Sumatra Tbk‘s (Lonsum), located on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia.... Investigations were conducted in September and October 2015 by a team of researchers through one-on-one interviews with workers; examination of workers’ documents such as pay slips, letters and work agreements; and on-site observation of workers performing their work duties, workers’ living conditions and the plantations’ amenities. Forty-one Indofood workers were individually interviewed for this investigation.

Forest-destroying palm oil powers cars in EU: report by Marlowe Hood, June 1, 2016 AFP -- https://sg.news.yahoo.com/forest-destroying-palm-oil-powers-cars-eu-report-171951187--finance.html

Biodieselgate? British industry leads EU on elimination of palm oil biofuels, says REA 1 June 2016, source edie newsroom -- http://www.edie.net/news/7/Biodieselgate-EU-palm-oil-biofuel-transport-environment-report-2016/

Unclear if France will revisit ‘discriminatory’ palm oil tax 6 June 2016 / Loren Bell https://news.mongabay.com/2016/06/unclear-if-france-will-revisit-palm-oil-tax/

New GRAIN article: ADM’s offshore links to Wilmar, world’s worst environmental offender by GRAIN | 08 June 2016 -- Wilmar, based in Singapore, amassed 600,000 hectares of oil palm plantations through deforestation and the violent eviction of local communities. Newsweek magazine ranked it as the world’s “worst” corporation in terms of environmental performance. But this criticism of Wilmar rarely spills over to ADM, one of its top shareholders. Few people appear to be aware of the offshore structure through which ADM and Wilmar are so deeply entwined. https://www.grain.org/bulletin_board/entries/5473-new-grain-article-adm-s-offshore-links-to-wilmar-world-s-worst-environmental-offender

RAN Finds Japanese Companies Misreporting Sustainability, Linked to Deforestation June 2, 2016 by Hannah Furlong -- NGO Rainforest Action Network (RAN) claims it has found many Japanese companies are either “systematically misreporting compliance” under Japan’s Corporate Governance Code, or have a “fundamental lack of understanding as to what constitutes meaningful sustainability reporting and stakeholder engagement.” In June 2015, Japan introduced a Corporate Governance Code intended to increase transparency and oversight related to environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance. RAN marked the first anniversary of the its implementation by evaluating the Code reports of ten major Japanese companies with known links to tropical deforestation and associated social risks through their supply chains, trading divisions or financial relationships. The NGO asserts that none of the companies are sufficiently disclosing their risks, and advises shareholders to take heed.... http://www.sustainablebrands.com/news_and_views/supply_chain/hannah_furlong/ran_finds_japanese_companies_misreporting_sustainability

30 May 2016: Cows and deforestation - a new worry for retail supply chains? One-third of Europe soy imports will be certified, Protesters Scale Iconic NYC Pepsi Sign to drop 100’ “Cut Conflict Palm Oil” Banner

Editor's note: Thanks to a reader for pointing out this article, and also to another for this link a few months ago on the same, http://www.cowspiracy.com/ 

Why cows are the new palm oil for retail supply chains by Christina MacFa... May 26, 2016... Based on last year’s annual Forest 500 assessment, only three (10 percent) of the 29 retailers received four out of the maximum five points available for policies related to cattle and deforestation. This reflects reasonable efforts by the three companies — Marks and Spencer, Burger King and Walmart — but also shows that strong policy leadership in this supply chain has yet to fully emerge.

Marketing sustainable soy: 'Invisible but important' or loud and proud? By Niamh Michail+, 24-May-2016 By the end of 2017 one third of soy imported into Europe will be certified, says the Roundtable on Responsible Soy, but will consumers know it? http://www.foodnavigator-asia.com/Markets/Marketing-sustainable-soy-Invisible-but-important-or-loud-and-proud

The Price of Palm Oil Business Daily Listen in pop-out player, Mon 30 May 2016 15:32 Local time BBC WORLD SERVICE.... Murder and theft, as well as environmental destruction, lurk behind this staple ingredient of supermarket foods and toiletries - as presenter Manuela Saragosa discovers. A Colombian farmer recounts the crimes committed against his own family in order to take control of his land, while Agus Sutomo of the pressure group Forest Peoples Programme explains how palm oil farming goes hand-in-hand with human rights abuses in many parts of the world.... http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03vz88y

Rain forest advocacy group installs 15-foot banner on LIC Pepsi-Cola sign to protest palm oil  By Angela Matua  / amatua@qns.com  / Monday, April 25, 2016 http://qns.com/story/2016/04/25/rain-forest-advocacy-group-installs-15-foot-banner-on-lic-pepsi-cola-sign-to-protest-palm-oil/

BREAKING: Protesters Scale Iconic NYC Pepsi Sign to drop 100’ “Cut Conflict Palm Oil” Banner by JESSICA SERRANTE http://www.ran.org/pepsi_sign_banner_drop

Greenpeace, McDonald’s and the power of collaboration Bob Langert April 18, 2016 https://www.greenbiz.com/article/greenpeace-mcdonalds-and-power-collaboration

Wilmar International says it recognises issues raised in Indonesia NGO alliance report on illegal palm oil APR 15, 2016 -- Singapore-based Wilmar International has said that it recognises the challenges raised in an investigation by an Indonesian green coalition that found palm oil from illegal plantations in Sumatra had tainted the global supply chains of Wilmar and four other top palm oil companies. Wilmar is the top global player in the palm oil sector, producing and trading almost half the world's palm oil. http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/wilmar-international-says-it-recognises-issues-raised-in-indonesia-ngo-alliance-report

19 May 2016: Recent Greenpeace video, "Eye on Forest" report critiques traceability

Dove Onslaught(er) GreenpeaceVideo https://youtu.be/odI7pQFyjso
Green Peace commercial about Palm. It’s still on TV in Europe.

No one is safe - Illegal Indonesian palm oil spreads through global supply chains despite global sustainability commitments and certification. Investigative Report, Eyes on the Forest, Published in April 2016. Eyes on the Forest (EoF) is a coalition of environmental NGOs in Riau, Sumatra: Friends of the Earth “Walhi” Riau Office, Jikalahari "Riau Forest Rescue Network" and WWF-Indonesia, Riau Program. EoF monitors the status of the remaining natural forests in Sumatra's Province of Riau and disseminates the information worldwide. 

For more news on Eyes on the Forest, go to: http://www.eyesontheforest.or.id For photos and maps, go to: http://maps.eyesontheforest.or.id Email: editor(at)eyesontheforest.or.id

17 April 2016: Indigenous campaigners to tour Europe

Indigenous leaders from threatened tropical forests to launch tour in Europe; will challenge ...14th April 2016; ...Between 27 April and 4 May 2016, indigenous representatives and community leaders from tropical forest countries in Asia, Africa and South America will tour Brussels, The Netherlands, Germany and the UK to raise concerns with high-level policy and decision-makers about palm oil supply chains and the impact they are having on their lands, forests and communities. http://www.businessghana.com/portal/news/index.php?op=getNews&news_cat_id=&id=210204

4 Mar 2016: Greenpeace report on implementation of "no deforestation" pledges

Editor's note: Greenpeace has released a new report on palm oil use and deforestation pledges. I've put in screenshots from the Greenpeace imagery on the topic - note the messaging on the health of children and babies, oil palm being planted on burnt land and orangutans losing their habitat in the peat-fire driven burning.

Palm oil: who’s still trashing forests? Blogpost by Annisa Rahmawati - 3 March, 2016 at 3:451 comment; How 'clean' is the palm oil used by major brands around the world? Today, we're releasing the results of our investigation into which companies are keeping promises to stop deforestation in Indonesia for palm oil. Take a look now to see who's keeping up - and who's lagging way behind....


Leading brands unsure if palm oil in products comes from rainforest land - Greenpeace claims brands such as PepsiCo and Mars cannot guarantee palm oil used in products comes from environmentally sound sources by Kate Lamb in Jakarta Thursday 3 March 2016.... http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/mar/04/leading-brands-unsure-if-palm-oil-in-products-comes-from-rainforest-land

17 Feb 2016: News review in progress - deforestation and Wilmar supply-chain questions

Is this Malaysian palm oil firm still destroying forest in Borneo — and selling to Wilmar? A Greenomics report finds deforestation in the supply chain of Genting Plantations, a supplier of Wilmar International. By Jonathan Vit, Mongabay 11 February 2016 http://www.eco-business.com/news/is-this-malaysian-palm-oil-firm-still-destroying-forest-in-borneo-and-selling-to-wilmar/

19 December 2015: China looks at printing industry, European consumers hypocritical says Porritt, the confusion of corporate forest commitments, Greenpeace and RSPO criticizes government authorities,  Europe pushes for more sustainable palm oil, Sierra Leone not ready for RSPO yet, Starbucks and RSPO criticised

China calls for the printing industry to move away from solvent-based technologies 16-Dec-2015 As the beauty label and package printing industry shifts its focus towards sustainability, the Chinese government is encouraging a move away from traditional solvent-based printing technologies and towards flexography. http://www.cosmeticsdesign-asia.com/Market-Trends/China-calls-for-the-printing-industry-to-move-away-from-solvent-based-technologies

European consumers hypocritical, says Porritt by Alexander Winifred December 14, 2015 http://themalaysianreserve.com/new/story/european-consumers-hypocritical-says-porritt

Does the World Need More Corporate Forest Commitments? by Katie McCoy Head of forests, CDP  12/17/2015; In the run up to the historic climate talks just concluded in Paris, we saw an increasing number of companies announcing ambitious and unprecedented commitments to protect the environment, not least on deforestation. Arguably it was one of the many reasons why policymakers were emboldened to come to such an ambitious accord. While this is welcome, we all know that what matters most is not making promises, but keeping them. CDP's data shows that commitments around reducing or removing deforestation are yet to successfully transition to action. This begs the question, should we be asking more companies to make pledges in this area when few appear to be delivering on them? What point do these pledges serve in any case? How do we hold companies accountable to them? And what's holding them back from achieving them? ....  The data suggests that these commitments aren't coming through to the marketplace. While companies are often looking to buy certified products with labels like FSC (Forest Stewardship Council), they are a long way from meeting their corporate goals. For example, 26% of companies are yet to get any certified palm oil (a key driver of deforestation in S.E. Asia) into their product supply chains, despite having commitments to do so.  And at the moment only a quarter of manufacturers and retailers are running workshops or training with their suppliers to help change this situation. Even fewer (13%) are working on joint projects with their supply chains.....it is worth noting some of the strategies being taken by the big confectionery brands. Mars has analyzed over 250 Malaysian mills to start getting visibility in its palm oil supply chain; and Nestlé is working with TFT (The Forest Trust) to increase the resilience and adaptability of smallholder palm oil producers...http://www.huffingtonpost.com/katie-mccoy/does-the-world-need-more_b_8827670.html

Can new sustainable palm oil study revolutionise efforts to protect rainforests? HCS+ study rejects 'zero deforestation' approach while advocating for 'carbon neutral' palm oil - But will it just confuse companies committed to sustainable supply chains? http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/analysis/2439556/can-new-sustainable-palm-oil-study-revolutionise-efforts-to-protect-rainforests

Forest fires devastating for Papua, says Greenpeace 15 December 2015; The environmental group Greenpeace has criticised Indonesian authorities over the inadequate response to forest and peatland fires raging out of control across the republic including Papua... http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/programmes/datelinepacific/audio/201782917/forest-fires-devastating-for-papua,-says-greenpeace

RSPO says ‘Govts should do more for smallholders to prevent haze’   By Meena Lakshana / The Edge Financial Daily   | December 14, 2015; Governments need to wake up and ramp up efforts to help oil palm smallholders adhere to sustainable practices to stop a "predictable catastrophe" such as the haze, the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) secretary-general Datuk Darrel Webber said. On the matter of Indonesian smallholders being held responsible for the haze that blanketed at least seven countries in Southeast Asia from September this year, Webber said it is inexcusable for them to resort to slash-and-burn activities after decades of having the same problem. darrel-webber_fd141215_theedgemarketsWebber: The government makes a ton of money from palm oil. Do something for goodness’ sake. The RSPO is a small organisation compared to what governments can do. The Edge file photo “I think governments need to wake up and smell the coffee in light of the haze situation which I call a predictable catastrophe,” he told The Edge Financial Daily in an exclusive interview on the future of sustainable palm oil....http://www.theedgemarkets.com/my/article/%E2%80%98govts-should-do-more-smallholders-prevent-haze%E2%80%99
Starbucks' Deforestation-Free Pledge Not Worth Beans 12/17/2015 by Elliott Negin, Union of Concerned Scientists; Today that coalition sent a letter to Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz (above) urging him to strengthen his company's procurement policy to ensure it doesn't contribute to deforestation, a significant cause of global warming. The commodities in question include wood, paper products and palm oil, an ingredient in a number of Starbucks menu items, including its Java Chip Frappuccino and Cranberry Bliss Bar. The signatories on the letter include the Center for International Policy, Forest Heroes, the International Labor Rights Forum, Rainforest Action Network, Rainforest Foundation Norway, the Sierra Club, SumOfUs and the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). In addition to the letter, more than 300,000 consumers have petitioned Starbucks to go "deforestation-free."... The company's pledge didn't impress the coalition. Its letter points out that "'a stronger focus' falls well short of the industry standard of a strict 'No Deforestation, No Peat and No Exploitation' palm oil sourcing policy and time-bound implementation plan." Other fast food chains, including Dunkin' Brands, McDonald's and Yum! Brands -- owner of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell -- have adopted zero-deforestation procurement policies.....Starbucks also vowed to only buy palm oil certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, but the company acknowledges that RSPO certification is insufficienthttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/elliott-negin/starbucks-deforestation-f_b_8824174.html

Sustainable palm-oil body slammed over slave labour auditing By John Wood, 15-Dec-2015; A coalition of international labour rights and environmental groups has questioned whether audits carried out by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) were robust enough to root out members that used slave labour. http://www.foodnavigator-asia.com/Policy/Sustainable-palm-oil-body-slammed-over-slave-labour-auditing

Five European nations make sustainable palm oil pledge By Poorna Rodrigo | 14 December 2015; The governments of five European countries – the UK, Denmark, France, Germany and the Netherlands – have pledged to make palm oil production 100% sustainable by 2020. Officials have signed the Amsterdam Palm Oil Declaration in support of a fully sustainable palm oil supply. The pledge was made in support of a separate commitment from 11 private sector organisations. The so-called Commitment to Support 100% Sustainable Palm Oil in Europe is an initiative of the European Sustainable Palm Oil project, which has been convened by the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) and the Netherlands Oils and Fats Industry (MVO).....Another of the 11 signatories, the International Margarine Association of the Countries of Europe (IMACE), said the 2020 goal sounds "ambitious" but is doable. However, Siska Pottie, the association's managing director, said along with RSPO reforms, other steps are needed. "Supporting producing countries to help them develop in a sustainable way, further alignment of definitions and criteria for sustainable palm oil, and a global approach in addressing deforestation is necessary to stop overall deforestation in the industry are necessary." http://www.just-food.com/news/five-european-nations-make-sustainable-palm-oil-pledge_id131912.aspx

Sierra Leone News: SLPMC Struggles to Meet EU Standards to Export Palm Oil to Europe 17 Dec 2015; The Sierra Leone Produce Marketing Company (SLPMC) wants to export palm oil to Europe but the process of producing palm oil in the country does not meet the Roundtable Sustainable  Palm Oil (RSPO) certification, Henry Kamara, the Managing Director of SLPMC said in an interview. The RSPO is the requirement palm oil producers must follow to export to the European market. Sierra Leone has still not done the national interpretation of the certification... http://awoko.org/2015/12/11/sierra-leone-news-slpmc-struggles-to-meet-eu-standards-to-export-palm-oil-to-europe/

12 December 2015: Supply chains class actions. California lawyers. UK DEFRA. Italy campaigns. Latin America spotlight. Fonterra and PK.

UK DEFRA - Legally defining sustainability: Edible palm oil must follow in biofuel footsteps By Annie-Rose Harrison-Dunn+ , 30-Nov-2015 Voluntary measures and government targets are great – but it is legislation that will push European palm oil users to true sustainability. The food sector could learn a lesson or two from biofuel here. http://www.foodnavigator.com/Sectors/Snacks/Legally-defining-sustainability-Edible-palm-oil-must-follow-in-biofuel-footsteps

These Lawyers Want Slave Labor Warnings on Your Cat Food by Erik Larson December 11, 2015. Supply chains for foodmakers seen tainted from Africa to Asia. Costco, Hershey sued over shrimp, chocolate; Nestle wins round... “This item may be the product of slave labor.” Those jarring words could end up on candy bar wrappers, packages of frozen shrimp and even cans of cat food if some California lawyers get their way. Forced labor permeates supply chains that stretch across the globe, from remote farms in Africa and the seas off Southeast Asia to supermarkets in America and Europe. Almost 21 million people are enslaved for profit worldwide, the UN says, providing $150 billion in illicit revenue every year. Governments are pushing companies to better police suppliers, including proposed SEC reporting rules in the U.S. But that’s not enough for a group of law firms. They’ve sued name-brand companies doing business in California, like Hershey Co., Mars Inc., Nestle SA and Costco Wholesale Corp., hoping to use the state’s novel consumer protection laws to put the suffering of millions squarely in front of shoppers. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-12-10/these-lawyers-want-you-to-know-slaves-may-be-feeding-your-cat?cmpid=BBD121115

Problem with Palm Oil (Or, Next Wave of Supply Chain Class Actions?) December 9, 2015 In previous post (here), we discussed a litigation trend that began in September of this year: putative class action lawsuits against U.S. retailers based on alleged unethical practices in their supply chains.  The first lawsuits asserted the presence of trafficked labor in the Thai and Indonesian shrimp and fishing industries, with complaints filed against Costco, Proctor & Gamble, Nestle, and other.  A later round of lawsuits alleged child labor at African cocoa plantations, with complaints filed against major U.S. chocolate producers.  Other lawsuits involved alleged unethical animal care practices by Whole Foods suppliers and general allegations of poor labor practices in supply chains supplying to mega-retailer Wal-Mart.  All of these lawsuits allege that the defendants’ practices differ from what they represent to consumers or shareholders. Now, the media has identified a new likely target: companies whose supply chains include palm oil.... http://www.natlawreview.com/article/problem-palm-oil-or-next-wave-supply-chain-class-actions#sthash.31mRgjua.dpuf

The Italians fighting against an 'invasion' of palm oil 9 Dec 2015 - Calls for Italy to ban palm oil on health and environmental grounds are challenged by those who believe boycotts are not the best way forward...the EU’s second largest (pdf) importer of the oil, which some estimate is found in 90% of biscuits and baked goods in Italian supermarkets.... http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2015/dec/09/italy-italian-food-palm-oil-supermarkets-boycott-deforestation-forests-health-environment-china-alliances

Analysis - Palm Oil’s Corporate Deception: Green-Washing a Dirty Industry 1 December 2015; .. The expansion of oil palm plantations around the tropical world presents a fierce assault on the climate in the name of corporate profits. While the industry green-washes palm oil under the guise of biofuels and so-called sustainable development, digging behind the corporate myths reveals a complex mess of deforestation, pollution, “carbon debt,” and destruction of biodiversity, wildlife habitat, and food security, often along with grave human rights abuses. ....Activists have slammed the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm, which purports to promote “sustainable development” and “green energy” through oil palm expansion, as “window dressing” to cover up the environmentally-destructive monopolization of land and resources and for turning a blind eye to land grabbing and grave abuses of human rights perpetrated by the industry.  According to Kerssen, author of “Grabbing Power: The new struggles for land, food, and democy in Northern Honduras,” biofuel uses actually makes up a small portion of the palm oil agricultural portfolio, which as a flex crop bends to where it maximizes corporate profits.... http://www.telesurtv.net/english/analysis/Palm-Oils-Corporate-Deception-Green-Washing-a-Dirty-Industry--20151201-0020.html

Fonterra to meet with Greenpeace 26 November 2015 Fonterra and Greenpeace will meet next week to discuss concerns about palm kernel expeller and major fires in Indonesia.... http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/rural/290586/fonterra-to-meet-with-greenpeace

Fonterra 'linked to rainforest destruction' 21 November 2015 Greenpeace is accusing Fonterra of being directly linked to deforestation in Indonesia through the importation of palm kernel... http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/290234/fonterra-'linked-to-rainforest-destruction'

Smoking out the truth on palm kernel by CHRIS LEWIS November 17 2015 http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/agribusiness/73990538/smoking-out-the-truth-on-palm-kernel

From Minerals to Palm Oil: Another Supply-Chain 'Conflict By: Robert J. Bowman, SupplyChainBrain November 09, 2015 Blood diamonds. Conflict minerals. And now, conflict palm oil.... http://www.supplychainbrain.com/content/blogs/think-tank/blog/article/from-minerals-to-palm-oil-another-supply-chain-conflict/ PNG government indicating logging for agricultural development will continue Eric Tlozek reported this story on Wednesday, November 11, 2015; ... TIM PALMER: Exploitation of Papua New Guinea's vast rainforests has seen the country become the largest exporter of logs in the world. The large-scale logging has intensified environmental concerns, and the PNG government has just promised to stop the export of unmilled rainforest logs, to improve forest sustainability. But logging operations are only ramping up, and exploiting special leases, meant for the development of agricultural projects, to clear forest on land belonging to customary owners. PNG correspondent Eric Tlozek reports. .. http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2015/s4349853.htm

14 Nov 2015: Latin America concerns, Malaysia labour system, Krabi farmers demand redistribution of land concessions to the poor

NGOs Demand Palm Oil Industry Stop Abuses in Latin America  12 November 2015 The coalition has called for big buyers of palm oil from the region to intervene into palm production activities in Latin America to put an end to alarming acts of violence against communities, especially environmental activists and human rights defenders....Campaigners highlight the targeted assassination of Rigoberto Lima Choc, a Guatemalan environmental and human rights activist fighting the contamination of Pasion River by polluted runoff from an oil palm plantation, as a particularly egregious example of the abuses caused by the rapidly expanding industry in the region.... Similarly, in Honduras, massive African oil palm monocultures in the northern Aguan Valley region are at the heart of an intense land struggle and brutal campaign of repression and criminalization against campesinos struggling for their rights to land and food sovereignty.... “In Guatemala, community members engaging in legitimate actions to protect their water quality and environment consistently face threats, attacks, and assassinations, often committed with impunity due to a lack of judicial independence, widespread government corruption, and ineffective oversight of corporate practices,” said Kelsey Alford-Jones, Executive Director of the Guatemala Human Rights Commission. http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/NGOs-Demand-Palm-Oil-Industry-Stop-Abuses-in-Latin-America--20151112-0012.html

Humans taking back seat to environment in palm oil impact talks, activists say, November 10, 2015.. Citing several migrant rights advocacy experts, UK daily The Guardian reported today an “abusive system” to be prevalent in Malaysia’s palm oil industry, involving human trafficking for labour, debt bondage and culminating in the birth of stateless children born to these foreign workers. “It is a very abusive system that includes labour-trafficking, debt bondage and unfair payments,” Eric Gottwald, legal and policy director at the International Labour Rights Forum, was quoted as saying. - See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/humans-taking-back-seat-to-environment-in-palm-oil-impact-talks-activists-s#sthash.yPVFhz1Y.dpuf

Palm oil farmers in Krabi block access to airport during protest - Scuffles broke out when residents whose businesses rely on tourism confronted the protesters. By Panu Wongcha-um, Channel NewsAsia 13 Nov 2015, ... The farmers have been protesting since Thursday, demanding redistribution of land concessions based on a 2003 Cabinet resolution on land distribution for the poor. They want to be able to farm their own land.... http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/palm-oil-farmers-in-krabi/2257784.html

19 October 2015: Greenpeace Is Building Its Own Team Of Investigative Journalists, opinions by Conservation International, Jonathon Porritt, Nigeria Okomu, Leuser-Sumatra worries, campaigns on PepsiCo, FGV too

Why Greenpeace Is Building Its Own Team Of Investigative Journalists, September 28, 2015  - The environmental activists now have a new weapon in the fight against polluters... Greenpeace activists see this as a chance to boost the group’s watchdog power. The group's U.K. chapter has recently taken the unusual step of starting its own investigative journalism bureau, hiring several veterans to do in-house reporting on topics ranging from illegal logging to climate change.... The new team, which includes former reporters for the BBC and New York Times, will apply editorial judgment, evaluating what stories to tell and building storytelling that would meet standards of major media outlets. The unit also look to use technology, such as drones or satellite images, and rely on Greenpeace’s network of expertise on the ground in 40 countries around the world in its reporting....http://www.fastcoexist.com/3051371/why-greenpeace-is-building-its-own-team-of-investigative-journalists
Why Sustainable Palm Oil Is Possible  Mark Tercek, President & CEO, The Nature Conservancy; Author, 'Nature's Fortune: How Business and Society Thrive by Investing in Nature' Posted:  10/14/2015 2:36 pm EDT     Updated:  10/14/2015 2:59 pm EDT  ; .....And now in Indonesia, governments, businesses, communities and NGOs like the Nature Conservancy (TNC) are coming together to figure out how to make these commitments work on the ground with farmers. Small farms manage the majority of land planted with oil palm -- an estimated 60 percent. Helping those farmers produce more palm oil on less land is a key piece of the puzzle in balancing Indonesia's economic growth with healthy forests and vibrant communities. Together, we're developing and testing scientific tools, financial incentives and policy and regulatory measures to help shift palm oil production to already-degraded lands. We are improving the capacity of governments to prevent additional deforestation. We are helping companies compensate for forest lands they have damaged. And we are working with indigenous communities to help them obtain legal rights to sustainably manage their traditional lands. The crucial next step is to integrate these solutions in a way that meets the needs of diverse stakeholders today and into the future. Transforming an entire industry won't be easy -- it's extremely complex. But where there's a will, there's a way. Take the Amazon rainforest, for example. At the height of the soy boom a decade ago, Greenpeace and McDonald's pressured Cargill to ensure its soy was sustainably produced. The campaign worked. Cargill committed to stop buying soy from newly deforested land. The company pushed fellow soy traders to do the same, resulting in an unprecedented agreement that has brought deforestation in the Amazon due to soy expansion nearly to a halt. To ensure the success of the agreement, Cargill teamed up with TNC and other organizations to develop monitoring systems and incentives for farmers who comply with Brazil's environmental regulations.... http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mark-tercek/why-sustainable-palm-oil_b_8295774.html

A new business model for palm oil? The recent haze in Southeast Asia has sparked renewed calls for alternatives to palm oil products. In this interview, Forum for the Future founder Jonathon Porritt tells Eco-Business why the industry - which is also provides thousands of livelihoods worldwide - needs a new business model, not boycotts.  By Vaidehi Shah Friday 16 October 2015 http://www.eco-business.com/news/a-new-business-model-for-palm-oil/

ERA, communities decry indiscriminate land use by multinationals By Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu and Michael Egbejule, Benin City on October 12, 2015 7:18 am  THE Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has expressed dismay by the activities of most big multinational companies in the country over the ugly trend of forcefully denying their host communities the use of their lands without any commensurate compensation.,,, Rita Uwaka, project officer of ERA in her research findings, told journalists that it was noted that Okomu Oil Palm firm grabbed more land across forest reserves for oil palm business and “another 11,000 hectares of farmland, including two forest reserves grabbed for oil palm plantation expansion by Okomu Oil Palm Plc- a member of the global SOCFIN Group, is worrisome, adding that community-based livelihoods, comprising mainly farming and fishing, had been truncated with over 20 communities risking eviction and human rights abuses.... http://www.ngrguardiannews.com/2015/10/era-communities-decry-indiscriminate-land-use-by-multinationals/

Palm oil company caught destroying primary forest in endangered ecosystem  Tuesday 13 October 2015 by Mongabay.com - RAN photo deforestation lesuer Non-profit forest group, Rainforest Action Network took pictures of the forest, which it says was cleared by palm oil company PT Tualang Raya in August 2015 in the Leuser Ecosystem in northern Sumatra. Image: Paul Hilton/ RAN  http://www.eco-business.com/news/palm-oil-company-caught-destroying-primary-forest-in-endangered-ecosystem/

The Forgotten Elephants of the Leuser Ecosystem Posted by International League of Conservation Photographers on September 30, 2015  http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/2015/09/30/the-forgotten-elephants-of-the-leuser-ecosystem/

As Fires Consume Indonesia, Pepsi Profits by Ivy Schlegel September 23, 2015 PepsiCo's updated sustainable palm oil commitment is another half step, but protecting forests requires a big leap. http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/as-fires-consume-indonesia-pepsi-profits/

Indonesia’s new emissions target actually a step back: Greenpeace The new target might seem like an improvement over Indonesia’s previous commitment to cut emissions growth by 26 per cent over projected business-as-usual levels by 2020, but it actually represents a regression, Greenpeace says. http://www.eco-business.com/news/indonesias-new-emissions-target-actually-a-step-back-greenpeace/

FGVH said to be target of global anti-palm oil lobby by Mohamad Azlan JaafarWednesday, September 23, 2015; Several anti-palm oil groups are pressuring international manufacturers to boycott products from Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd (FGVH), according to industry sources. FGVH, Malaysia’s largest oil palm planter, is being singled out for using “unfair labour practices” among other things. There has always been an anti-oil palm lobby, but recently several non-governmental organisations’ (NGOs) have canvassed local manufacturers of consumer product companies to stop buying products from FGVH. “It appears that there is a move to target FGVH products using labour practices as the excuse,” said an industry source. “The authorities should investigate this latest move to boycott FGVH products.” Previously, anti-palm oil lobbyists, comprising NGOs and consumer groups, have cited deforestation, destruction of peatlands, health concerns, habitat degradation, animal cruelty and indigenous rights abuses to spread t eir anti-palm oil gospel. Today, they have added “modern slavery” into their argument to force international food and consumer goods manufacturers to abandon palm oil in the production of their products. http://themalaysianreserve.com/new/story/fgvh-said-be-target-global-anti-palm-oil-lobby

As Fires Consume Indonesia, Pepsi Profits by Ivy Schlegel September 23, 2015 PepsiCo's updated sustainable palm oil commitment is another half step, but protecting forests requires a big leap. http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/as-fires-consume-indonesia-pepsi-profits/

14 September 2015: MPOC counters anti-palm oil propaganda in Paris 

MPOC counters anti-palm oil propaganda in Paris  Monday, 7 September 2015  By: DANIEL KHOO; KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) is launching a palm oil branding campaign in Paris on Monday in a move to balance the anti palm oil lobby in parts of Western Europe.

22 August 2015: Greenpeace promotes POIG, Starbucks under scrutiny, Norwegian fund excludes four Asian companies over palm oil

Greenpeace promotes POIG. How fixing palm oil could save orangutans from extinction; Blogpost by Achmad Saleh Suhada - 21 August, 2015 at 8:07 In Indonesia, we’ve shown that the palm oil sector was the single largest driver of deforestation between 2009-2011, accounting for about a quarter of the country’s forest loss. Orangutans face extinction in Borneo due to habitat clearing, which is underway across Indonesia and Malaysia; and if this continues, a staggering 75 percent of Southeast Asia’s original forest cover will be lost by 2030 according to the UNEP... OK, so that’s the bad news. But it’s not all doom and gloom....In 2013 we established the Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG), a joint Non-Governmental Organisation and business initiative that aims to promote environmental responsibility and community partnerships. It’s the first step in creating standards that can finally verify whether or not the palm oil you are consuming is free from deforestation.
And just recently, the scheme has approved three companies - two in Latin America and one in Papua New Guinea. Other companies, including operators in Indonesia, are also lining up for this 'top of the class' recognition....http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/news/Blogs/makingwaves/palm-oil-orangutan-POIG-Indonesia/blog/53866/

Starbucks under scrutiny for palm oil policy 20 August 2015, source edie newsroom; Starbucks is the latest in a line of companies to have its sustainability credentials scrutinised by SumOfUs  Starbucks has become the latest major brand to come under fire from campaign groups for its palm oil policy, with a new video urging consumers to boycott the coffee shop chain.  The video is part of an ongoing campaign from the SumOfUs group, which has almost reached its petition goal of 200,000 signatures calling on Starbucks to cut conflict palm oil from its supply chain.http://www.edie.net/news/5/Starbucks-palm-oil-policy-scrutinised-by-SumOfUs-campaign/

Norwegian fund excludes four Asian companies over palm oil - Norway's gigantic sovereign wealth fund announced on Monday it was divesting from four large Asian companies over the environmental damage their palm oil activities have on tropical forests.POSTED: 18 Aug 2015 03:16; Daewoo, South Korean steelmaker Posco and Malaysian groups Genting and IJM were targeted in the divestment decision by Norway's central bank, which manages the wealth fund that owns around 1.3 per cent of all stocks on global equity markets, with stakes in about 9,000 companies...http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/business/norwegian-fund-excludes/2057170.html

12 August 2015: Greenomics eyes Wilmar-Ganda - another smaller NGO questions a traceability giant

Not just any Wilmar supplier caught violating no-deforestation policy 30th July 2015 / Philip Jacobson - Published underMongabay Reporting Network; A subsidiary of Ganda Group, owned by Wilmar founder's little brother, presided over rainforest destruction for palm oil in Indonesia. •Greenomics identifies deforestation in two oil-palm concessions in Riau and West Kalimantan, including one controlled by Ganda •In the other concession, Wilmar blames encroachers; Greenomics believes clearing was company-directed •Wilmar the biggest buyer from both companies, giving it significant leverage to affect their practices... http://news.mongabay.com/2015/07/not-just-any-wilmar-suppliers-caught-violating-no-deforestation-policy/

Editor's note: Earlier, another major traceability integrated plantation group faced NGO heat via FPP's complaint to the RSPO. Read: 21 May 2015: TFT suspends Golden Agri takes (and hours later a new chief sustainability officer is appointed for the plantation giant - Agus Purnomo)/khorreports-palmoil/2014/01/garsinar-mas-back-in-ngo-focus.html

21 July 2015: Greenpeace responds to Tropical Forest Trust on moving 'Beyond Certification', Deforestation in Asia and Africa - FPP challenges Wilmar, Popular snack foods may cause rainforest destruction - environmental groups are stepping up a crusade, Rainforest Action Network -  specifically targeted PepsiCo, which uses 450,000 tons of palm oil a year

Greenpeace responds to Tropical Forest Trust on moving 'Beyond Certification'  Commentary by Grant Rosoman of Greenpeace  July 08, 2015 Editor's Note: Greenpeace submitted this commentary in response to an interview Mongabay recently conducted with Scott Poynton of Tropical Forest Trust (TFT). In the interview, Poynton said the forest commodity sector needs to move 'beyond certification' to effectively address social and environmental issues. The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of Mongabay; We at Greenpeace believe certification schemes are far from perfect, nor are they the only tool to achieve environmental and social goals; however some schemes are stronger than others such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), and we do believe that they have an important role to play. Here we respond to TFT's attack on certification..... TFT says certification "stifles innovation", is "falling behind" and has "weak standards". Clearly TFT is underestimating change that is occurring within certification schemes and standards. Just ask any forest manager or certification body working with FSC — they will say there is so much change that they can hardly keep up! TFT have disengaged from certification for several years so may be out of touch — it would pay for them to take a look at the certification systems and see what innovations are afoot. For example, over the last 5 years there has been a huge overhaul in FSC standards for responsible forest management, with international generic indicators being approved recently, which will now be translated into indicators at a national level together with stakeholders. This will be the most comprehensive and strongest set of standards for forest management to date. The standards development process has been highly transparent and with an enormous amount of stakeholder involvement — meaning we would expect TFT would support it. Of course, we still need these standards to be implemented strongly on the ground by companies and communities, and rigorous audits are required in the certification process — something that is not always done well.
..... Meanwhile, to reward a high level of performance in the palm oil sector, rather than focus on the RSPO certification scheme, Greenpeace has worked together with a group of progressive companies and other NGOs to create the Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG). POIG has identified important additional requirements that are not addressed by existing standards, and has third-party verification as a core requirement. Traders, manufacturers and consumer goods companies can now preferentially buy from POIG producers and also pay a premium to reward performance. Here is a clear example of innovation and stronger standards linked to third-party verification and certification — yet TFT does not recommend companies join the POIG....TFT claim certification is "too expensive and too much money wasted". We agree that certification is too expensive and we need to find more streamlined ways of verifying compliance with standards. However, it must be remembered that much of the cost of certification is not the audit itself but the transformation, change and preparation required to meet the standards — work that TFT have done well for many years. In the next few years technology will help a lot, with better satellite 'eyes in the sky' that can save costly time in the field, and which will increase the current low rate of sampling. And certification has fallen into the trap of checking on a lot of things that are not critical for achieving performance on the ground. But for TFT to propose that companies should abandon certification in favor of spending their money on TFT's approach and local level monitoring smacks of self-interest, especially when their critique of certification is based on several false assumptions. ..... Declaration of interest: Greenpeace does not receive any funds from companies and has no financial interest or paid collaboration in relation to companies achieving certification. Grant Rosoman represented Greenpeace as a member of the FSC International board for 7 years including one year as board chair. Greenpeace is a member of FSC but is not a member of RSPO. ]  Read more: http://news.mongabay.com/2015/0708-greenpeace-rosoman-beyond-certification-response-rps.html#ixzz3frUuNNUF

Deforestation in Asia and Africa: Palm Oil Giant Wilmar Resorts to “Dirty Tricks” By Forest Peoples Programme Global Research, July 08, 2015; ...After a consortium of NGOs complained in 2008 to the International Finance Corporation that its client, Wilmar, was taking over community lands in Sumatra and Indonesian Borneo without their consent, the company agreed to the IFC’s independent Compliance Advisory Ombudsman mediating a conflict resolution process. Some land was returned and smallholdings reinstated in two villages in West Sumatra but the communities remain critical of Wilmar: “It was all just for show,” says Sajingan Kecil community leader and head of the oil palm cooperative, Pak Muksidin ruefully. “We did get our smallholdings along with a business deal to repay the costs of land clearance and planting, but then the company provided no follow up. The roads have not been maintained, we can’t get the palm fruits to the mill and we are just left with unpayable debts.” Banks and investors should not ass me that companies with strong commitments in place are free of social, environmental, legal and market risks. “Investors and buyers must look very carefully at what is happening on the ground when they assess company promises of no deforestation and no exploitation. Wilmar’s commitments are impressive on paper, but the company needs to radically improve its actual performance” says Patrick Anderson, a policy advisor with Forest Peoples Programme....  Through a raft of subsidiaries the Singapore-based company holds a ‘land bank’ of over 600,000 hectares, principally in Sabah, Sarawak, Sumatra and Kalimantan in Malaysia and Indonesia.... It is also expanding its operations into Africa. It accounts for about 45% of all globally traded palm oil. About 30% of the crude palm oil that Wilmar processes in its huge refineries comes from its own estates while the rest is bought from other suppliers... Resources... http://www.globalresearch.ca/deforestation-in-asia-and-africa-palm-oil-giant-wilmar-resorts-to-dirty-tricks/5461252

Popular snack foods may cause rainforest destruction By    Dan Ashley  Friday, July 10, 2015 01:06PM; SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) --  Environmental groups are stepping up a crusade to make sure the food people eat is good for the planet. They are focused on palm oil, a common ingredient in a lot of processed food most people eat every day without knowing the cost to the environment. Activists from around the country recently gathered at a secret location in San Francisco to train and strategize about how to get big snack food companies to crack down on environmental and human rights abuses in the palm oil industry. The meeting was put on by the Rainforest Action Network. Activists practiced staging non-violent events to spread awareness about industry practices.... Activists fighting abuses in those countries face extreme danger. ABC7 News spoke with one activist visiting the Bay Area from Indonesia. He asked that he not be identified. He is particularly concerned about threats to the highly prized Leuser Ecosystem, a protected area of rainforest on the island of Sumatra. The man said palm oil "is good only for companies, not people." He says workers are often badly paid and poorly treated and a lot of land is being stolen from indigenous people. It's almost impossible for American shoppers to figure out all the products that contain palm oil and whether it was grown responsibly. The Rainforest Action Network has just released a scorecard and interactive website, grading the twenty biggest snack food companies.... Rainforest Action Network also called out companies it says are not doing enough. The group has specifically targeted PepsiCo, which uses 450,000 tons of palm oil a year, sold under a lot of different brand names... PepsiCo responded with the following statement: While the Rainforest Action Network has been critical of PepsiCo and our robust sustainable palm oil plan, this year, the Union of Concerned Scientists, an ally of the RAN, gave PepsiCo an 80 on their palm oil scorecard, which in their ranking equates to having strong palm oil commitments. We have met our stated commitment to exclusively purchase 100 percent certified sustainable palm oil for our products by this year and we are starting to source 100 percent physical RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) certified palm oil in a couple of markets.  After checking with the Union of Concerned Scientists, they sent a statement of their own to ABC7 News: PepsiCo talks a good game, but the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) is skeptical about PepsiCo's ability to follow through on its commitment....http://abc7news.com/society/popular-snack-foods-may-cause-rainforest-destruction/839344/

15 July 2015: Moratoria beat certification to reduce deforestation for soy, palm oil, cattle  - says study in Mongabay's Tropical Conservation Science journal

Moratoria beat certification to reduce deforestation for soy, palm oil, cattle BY  Sean Mowbray July 14, 2015; .... Voluntary agreements to reduce deforestation have become common in places without effective regulations. A new study in Mongabay's open access journal Tropical Conservation Science compares four such initiatives in the tropics to examine how they vary in effectiveness and determine what makes such endeavors work, or not.... Study author Karen Meijer, an environmental policy researcher with the German Development Institute, focused on four initiatives: the Soy Moratorium, the Cattle Agreement, and the Roundtable on Responsible Soy (RTRS) in Brazil, and the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) in Indonesia. The first two involved temporary bans, with major companies pledging not to buy from producers linked to deforestation. The last two are certification schemes involving members from all links in the supply chain, from farmers to retailers and everyone in between. The study found that the temporary bans tended to be more effective in terms of achieving compliance within the supply chain and setting stricter goals than the certification schemes.  The two moratoria — the Soy Moratorium and the Cattle Agreement — involved large companies near the top of the supply chain temporarily refusing to buy from suppliers linked to deforestation. Because of their market sway — companies participating in the Soy Moratorium represented 90 percent of Brazil's total soy market — these companies were able to impose their will on those further down the supply chain who depended upon their business, resulting in higher compliance rates than found in certification schemes. Read more: http://news.mongabay.com/2015/0714-mowbray-moratoria-certification-schemes-deforestation.html#ixzz3fw0ff2Kl

27 June 2015: Industry observers and Greenpeace have defended Nutella, Ségolène Royal apologises for Nutella boycott call , Wellington Zoo puts pressure on to unmask palm oil

You're really spoiling us: has Ferrero been wrongly accused over Nutella? Industry observers including Greenpeace have defended the confectionery firm on sourcing sustainable palm oil after a French minister urged citizens to stop buying its spread Friday 19 June 2015 11.28 BST; It is not often that government ministers urge their citizens to boycott a specific product. But that is just what the French environment minister Ségolène Royal did with Nutella this week – claiming that the palm oil it is made from contributes to deforestation and does “considerable damage” to the environment. Cue irritation from the Italian company Ferrero that makes the chocolatey spread and a backlash from Royal’s opposite number in Italy. Industry observers including Greenpeace and WWF also leapt to the defence of the company, pointing out that it has in fact led the industry in cleaning up its act and goes much further than most competitors on responsible sourcing of palm oil. The company has met its commitments to the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), the voluntary mechanism for controlling the practices of the industry, a year ahead of time. This means it can trace 100% of its palm oil from RSPO registered oil mills. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jun/19/ferrero-accused-nutella-youre-really-spoiling-us
Ségolène Royal apologises for Nutella boycott call By Caroline Scott-Thomas+, 22-Jun-2015 French ecology minister Ségolène Royal has apologised for urging a Nutella boycott over its palm oil content after learning that parent brand Ferrero uses sustainably sourced palm oil. http://www.foodnavigator.com/Policy/Segolene-Royal-apologises-for-Nutella-boycott-call

Wellington Zoo puts pressure on to unmask palm oil Monday, 22 June 2015, 1:27 pm Press Release: Wellington Zoo   Wellington Zoo will deliver thousands of postcards to Food Safety Minister Hon Jo Goodhew asking government representatives in New Zealand and Australia to demand clear labelling of vegetable oils on all food products through the Unmask Palm Oil campaign. Wellington Zoo collected signatures from our community between April to June, with overwhelming support from our visitors to urge Minister Goodhew to support clear labelling at the Legislative and Governance Forum on Food Regulation. However, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has been delayed writing the report necessary for the vote on mandatory labelling. This means the vote will likely be delayed until 2016. http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1506/S00229/wellington-zoo-puts-pressure-on-to-unmask-palm-oil.htm

20 June 2015: Conservationists are fighting to save Sumatran orang-utans from near-extinction

How palm oil demand has left orang-utans on the brink of extinction By David Higgs 8:00AM BST 20 Jun2015 - As an ever-increasing global trade in palm oil fuels mass deforestation in Indonesia, conservationists are fighting to save Sumatran orang-utans from near-extinction

16 June 2015: Scientist research argues for price premium for "conservation grade" palmoil for plantation companies to conserve nearby forests, as consumers would be prepared to pay between 15 and 56 per cent extra - Independent UK (question: at what volume though?)

Raising palm oil prices could help to save endangered tigers and orangutans, study claims - If money raised from a price premium on palm oil went towards conservation, the habitats of some of the world's rarest species could be protected by Steve Connor   Science Editor Tuesday 16 June 2015
Supermarkets could help to save rare endangered animals such as the Sumatran tiger and the orangutan by increasing the price of products containing palm oil providing the money raised went to forest conservation, a study has found. Placing a price premium on items containing palm oil ingredients – which amount to about half of all supermarket products – would have a significant effect on protecting the remaining forests that have not yet been completely destroyed by palm oil plantations, scientists said.......The study found that consumers would be prepared to pay between 15 and 56 per cent extra for products containing palm oil if they knew that it would help to protect the natural habitats of threatened animals and plants in Indonesia and Africa, where palm plantations have spread rapidly over the past 20 years. Scientists found in research on supermarket shoppers and a palm-oil company in Sumatra, Indonesia, that the higher prices people were will willing to pay for “conservation grade” palm oil more than made up for the extra costs the company incurred when conserving nearby forests......“Consumers’ willingness to pay for sustainably grown palm oil has the potential to incentivise private producers enough to engage in conservation activities. This would support Red List species,” Professor Bateman said.... http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/nature/raising-palm-oil-prices-could-help-to-save-endangered-tigers-and-orangutans-study-claims-10321465.html

28 May 2015: Sawit Watch member murdered probably by member of navy; Club of Rome report on deforestation points to cattle, soy and palm oil 

Murderer probably from Navy, say police The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Jakarta | Tue, May 26 2015, 7:05 AM; The investigation into the murder of environmental activist Jopi Teguh Lesmana Peranginangin suggests that the killer may be a member of the military.Jakarta Police spokesperson Sr. Comr. Muhammad Iqbal said on Monday that currently the South Jakarta Police were coordinating with the Navy’s Military Police (Pomal) on the investigation.“However, we still don’t know the identity of the perpetrator yet,” he said.Iqbal went on to say that the police had confiscated closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage from the night club and questioned five witnesses. He also said that the motive of the attack had not been revealed yet.Jopi, who was a member of environmental group Sawit Watch, an NGO addressing the negative impacts of palm oil plantations, was stabbed to death outside a night club in Kemang, South Jakarta, on Saturday. According to a witness, the perpetrator claimed to be a military officer. - See more at: According to a press release from Walhi, the Barito Utara Police officers in Central Kalimantan arrested as many as 27 residents of Kemawen village on Jan. 14, 2015, when residents tried to defend 4,500 hectares of their customary land. The land was acquired by PT Berjaya Agro Kalimantan and is slated to become part of its 20,000-ha oil palm plantation.The latest case of violence against an environmental activist was on Feb. 27, when a farmer-cum-activist Indra Pelani was murdered, allegedly by security guards of the forest industry company PT Wira Karya Sakti in Tebo, Jambi, which is owned by Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), according to a press release by Walhi in Jambi. - See more at: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2015/05/26/murderer-probably-navy-say-police.html#sthash.la2Irbc2.dpuf

Agriculture and Cattle Ranching Threatening Global Rainforests 'By' Vanessa Dezem 5:00 PM HKT  May 21, 2015; The Brazilian city of Altamira used to be in the middle of Amazon forest. Not anymore, not after decades of deforestation. Now it’s a two-hour drive to the nearest native forest areas still standing. The view along the way is mostly pastures, with a few tall nut trees surrounded by cattle. Lots of cattle. The expansion of the herd in the Brazilian Amazon is emblematic of global economic forces that are driving deforestation to support the growth of farms, ranches and other commercial enterprises, according to a report released Thursday in Berlin by the Club of Rome, a research group that studies global issues. “The world may literally eat up the tropical rainforests,” said Claude Martin, author of the report On The Edge: The State and Fate of the World’s Tropical Rainforests. They may be “the only large areas still available for agricultural expansion.” Almost 50 percent of the world’s rainforests have disappeared since the start of the 1970s, when the first scientific studies began to raise awareness about their value. Tropical deforestation and forest degradation are estimated to contribute between 10 percent and 12 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the report. Converting rainforest for commercial agriculture -- primarily cattle, soybean and palm oil -- has been the main driver of deforestation for the past 25 years, Martin said in a telephone interview from Zurich. Of the more than 100 million hectares of agricultural land added in the tropics from 1980 to 2000, more than 55 percent came from cutting down rainforests, according to the report. That includes small-scale cultivation and subsistence farming, and large-scale commercial plantations. Brazil’s portion of the Amazon, the largest remaining tropical forest, has shrunk by 20 percent in the last 40 years, according to government data.... http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-05-21/agriculture-and-cattle-ranching-threatening-global-rainforests
Link to "On the Edge - The State and Fate of the World's Tropical Rainforests" is here http://www.clubofrome.org/?p=8465

1 May 2015: Food companies scramble to cut palm oil, WWF says palm oil deforestation continues

Food Companies Scramble to Cut Palm Oil From Supply Chains - McDonald’s push poses major test of industry’s ability to trace, eliminate contentious materials  By Erica E. Phillips And Betsy Morris  Updated April 29, 2015 7:12 p.m. ET; The roster of food companies that want to eliminate palm oil from their products is getting longer. But actually reaching that goal will require an enormous effort across their supply chains.  “Once a company goes into the palm oil supply chain, it gets incredibly complex,” says Alexis Bateman, a research associate with the MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics. The company “can have multiple different products that contain the material and then palm oil can come from several different derivatives—from fruit bunches, from the tree, from the palm kernel.”  A McDonald’s Corp. announcement in April that a “comprehensive” supply chain sustainability plan will focus on reducing deforestation in its beef, poultry, coffee and palm oil sourcing will provide perhaps the biggest test of companies’ ability to trace and eliminate contentious materials from their products.

Deforestation continues for palm oil, says WWF The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | National | Wed, April 29 2015, 6:13 AM; Millions of more hectares of forest across the country are likely to be destroyed in the near future despite a decline in the deforestation rate over the past decade, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).The WWF on Tuesday released its 2015 Living Forests Report, projecting that between 2010 and 2030 around 35 million hectares of forests in Kalimantan, Sumatra and Papua would gradually disappear mainly because of rapid agricultural development.“These three fronts are where the bulk of global deforestation is expected to take place in the next two decades under business-as-usual scenarios and without interventions to prevent losses,” WWF International Forest Program director Rodney Taylor said on Tuesday in Central Jakarta.Kalimantan is predicted to see the biggest forest losses, amounting to 22 million hectares, because of the past decade’s significant expansion of large-scale oil palm plantations, which currently cover 11.7 million hectares in the country, according to the report.WWF Indonesia policy and transformation director Budi Wardhana said that Kalimantan had lost almost half of its forests in the past decade.“And half of what’s left can be destroyed in the near future. Oil palm plantations are the main cause,” Budi said. Meanwhile, 7 million hectares of forests on Papua will disappear as up to 10 million hectares of them are set to be cleared for massive development of agricultural products, the report shows. - See more at: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2015/04/29/deforestation-continues-palm-oil-says-wwf.html#sthash.HHaWyaEh.dpuf

19 April 2015: Bloomberg - Greenpeace's Midlife Crisis, Naidoo leaves end of 2015 - his legacy was to focus resources in key environmental battles and increase its influence with companies

Bloomberg: Greenpeace's Midlife Crisis - Familiar tactics against savvier corporate targets have made life harder for the environmental icon  by hidden line after 'By'Peter Robison and Monte Reel April 14, 2015; Greenpeace's account of its mission to board and occupy an enormous oil-drilling rig in the middle of the Pacific evoked a familiar image of daring environmental activists confronting determined opposition from a corporate titan. The six people who used ropes and harnesses last week to scale the Royal Dutch Shell rig from inflatable rafts dodged "jets of water from high-powered hoses aimed at them by the rig's crew." There was only one problem: The encounter involved no hoses. In fact, as a later clarification from Greenpeace made clear, the activists met no resistance at all..........It was a small but telling slip-up for Greenpeace, which has been mired in an internal debate over how far to go to capture the public's attention at a time when its traditional stunts often seem familiar. Many corporate targets are now savvy enough to avoid the confrontations that hand Greenpeace camera-ready scenes to generate publicity and support.  "It's no longer maybe the mind-blowing tactics that it was in the '70s or '80s to go out and take some pictures," says Laura Kenyon, a Greenpeace campaigner who participated in the latest effort to shadow the Artic-bound Shell rig across the Pacific. "People now expect things from Greenpeace."... It seems scaling a moving oil rig in the middle of an ocean isn't enough to guarantee attention. The activists managed to spend almost a week aboard Shell's Polar Pioneer before departing over the weekend. In that time Kenyon's colleagues set up camp, unfurled a "Save the Arctic" banner, and shot videos of themselves. Shell made no physical attempt to dislodge the Greenpeace team—some crew members could be seen waving to them. Shell sought a restraining order to keep the activists away, and a federal judge in Alaska granted the measure on April 11..........Procter & Gamble was similarly unruffled last year when a Greenpeace team, including one in a tiger suit, used zip lines to hang a banner between two of the company's Cincinnati office towers in a bid to draw attention to the use of palm oil from rain forests in shampoos. A local police officer rapped on a window and calmly asked the activists when they would be done. Later, in a sign of just how far corporate targets can take nonconfrontational tactics, P&G even persuaded prosecutors to reduce the charges against the activists from felony vandalism and burglary to misdemeanor trespassing...............Greenpeace Executive Director Kumi Naidoo, hired in 2009 to inject fresh vigor into the 44-year-old organization, has tried to strike a balance between its militant early days and the sort of advocacy campaigns befitting an organization with an annual budget topping $300 million and 2.8 million global members. That tension boiled over late last year in one of Greenpeace's most embarrassing episodes. Activists tromped onto the grounds of the Nazca Lines in Peru to leave a climate-change message, and their tracks disturbed the 1,500-year-old cultural site and outraged an entire country.......Last month, Naidoo announced he would be leaving Greenpeace by the end of the year. He has said the decision to step down is unrelated to the Peru incident. Naidoo's legacy, according to Greenpeace's self-assessment, has been to focus resources in key environmental battles and increase its influence with companies—among them P&G, which promises to ensure no deforestation in its supply chain by 2020.......Some supporters, however, worried that the tactic only cast doubt on all of the group's claims. "There are so many actual damning truths that could be told to fight the good fight, but here you are wasting time blurring ethical boundaries and reducing your credibility," one reader posted to Greenpeace's blog..

One year later, Greenpeace's Cincinnati court battle over a tiger suit comes to a close Apr 10, 2015, 12:54pm EDT; Greenpeace had claimed that palm oil used in P&G (NYSE: PG) brands such as Head & Shoulders shampoo, Gillette shaving gel and Olay skin care products is connected to the deforestation of an area of Indonesia that is home to endangered tigers... As part of a deal with Deters, the protesters entered guilty pleas on Dec. 12 to charges of misdemeanor trespassing. They were each ordered to perform 80 hours of community service.... Bill Gallagher, a Cincinnati lawyer who represented some of the Greenpeace protesters, had filed a Dec. 19 motion requesting that the confiscated items be returned. Marcella “Koala” Largess, the activist who wore the tiger suit while suspended by ropes between the 17-story twin towers of P&G’s headquarters, previously told me she wanted the costume back.... Deters previously told me he was upset with Greenpeace because the city spent a lot of time and money in having police and firefighters respond and investigate the publicity stunt. “I have no problem with people having protests lawfully, but this was quite over the top,” Deters said. The prosecutor added that he was pressured by P&G to make a plea bargain because the company wanted the case to go away....... http://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/news/2015/04/10/one-year-later-greenpeaces-cincinnati-court-battle.html?page=all

9 April 2015: How the deal was done - changing palm oil trade policy to eliminate deforestation: the Wilmar-TFT-Forest Heroes story...

This is a very in-depth (long) and interesting reportage of what went on behind the scenes to drive the 5 Dec 2013 shift to the "no peat, no deforestation, no...." policies. I remember this period quite vividly for all the chatter swirling over large plantation groups pondering over these new pledge terms. These are being operationalised as de facto trade standards for the palm oil trade, and percolating surely down to the entire supply-chain. It is part of  the "second wave" of NGO policy makers into the palm oil sector (first wave being lead by WWF-RSPO). /khorreports-palmoil/2015/04/how-deal-was-done-changing-palm-oil.html

10 November 2013: NGO attack on snacks & supply-chain

Rainforest Action Network (RAN), a US-based NGO has recently been active on a campaign targeting snack food brands on “conflict palm oil” that “contaminates” the products. RAN is concerned about “deforestation, child or forced labour, plantation expansion on carbon-rich peat lands, or violations of forest-dependent communities’ rights” and uses the orang-utan as a symbol. The campaign targets the “Snack Food 20” group of companies — Campbell, ConAgra, Dunkin’, General Mills, Grupo Bimbo, Hillshire Brands,  Heinz, Hormel Foods, Kellogg,  Kraft, Krispy Kreme, Mars, Mondelez, Nestlé, Nissin Foods, PepsiCo, Hershey, J.M. Smucker,  Toyo Suisan Kaisha, and Unilever. The NGO talks about the big companies having supply-chain power to “drive a transformation.” In recent media focus are Kraft and Wilmar.

This is reminiscent of the Greenpeace vs. Nestle (anti-Kit Kat) campaign in Europe in 2010. The overall goal of RAN is in accord with the RSPO which aims for the largest companies in order to effect market “transformation.” Thus, another NGO is “muscling in” on the incumbent WWF-RSPO turf. Together with Greenpeace, RAN is part of the Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG) which is still lacking buyer members. The snack food company campaign must hope to bring some on board POIG. RAN and other NGOs are also asking more questions about the supply-chain. Wilmar, commonly said to control one-third of the global palm oil trade, is in the cross-hairs of NGO questions about its trade in non-certified products. Questions are also being asked on FFB sourcing from third parties. This stage of NGO campaigning on palm oil takes it to the US and focuses on the supply-chain.

Source: Khor Report's Palm Oil Nov/Dec 2013, Issue 5 (released)

Palm oil in Africa:Bidco protestors, angst in East Africa about local oilseeds

Looking at recent news that relate to FDI projects for palm oil in West Africa:

29 Aug 2016: Bidco protestors, angst in East Africa about local oilseeds

Bidco fends off protestors over palm oil  August 28, 2016 -- Bidco, the Kenya-based vegetable oil producer and manufacturer of detergents and other household items, is not pleased by the protestors who turned up last week in London to highlight the company’s palm oil operations, specifically in neighbouring Uganda.  Bidco CEO Vimal Shah, said the people involved lacked credibility and there is no merit in their claims of exploitation.... The Bidco Truth Coalition (BTC) an activist alliance, last week picketed the London headquarters of  Barclays and Standard Chartered, who they claim are funding Bidco Africa’s deforestation to make way for palm oil production in places like Uganda writes SAMUEL NABWIISO..... The Coalition says the Banking Environment Initiative (BEI), based at Cambridge University’s Institute for Sustainability Leadership under the patronage of The Prince of Wales, is failing in its mission to lead the banking industry in collectively directing capital towards environmentally and socially sustainable economic development. BEI has nine member banks comprised of Barclays, Standard Chartered, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Lloyds, Northern Trust, RBS, Santander and Westpac.... Shah said in a statement last week, “These guys are just bodies for hire. If you watch the video, the incredible thing is they cannot even get the company name right. They are protesting against ‘Bisco’ and ‘Vamil Shah’, that tells you all you need to know about these people.”... http://www.busiweek.com/index1.php?Ctp=2&pI=5564&pLv=3&srI=68&spI=107

Uganda: Imports of Cheap Crude Palm Stifle Uganda's Oilseed Farming  5 April 2016 -- The Kazimingi area of Jinja, once designated as Uganda's industrial hub, is today a shell of rusty disused oil mills and crumbling buildings -- testimony to a bygone era, when smallholder farmers prospered by growing cotton and other oil seeds to feed the mills. Kazimingi is just one of the many ghost towns spread all over Uganda -- towns that were built around an oil seed industry that no longer exists. Since the early 1980s, Uganda has been struggling to revive its vegetable oil industry to satisfy both immediate consumer demand and revive a domestic value chain.... At least four big millers -- Mukwano, Bidco, Nile Agro and Tasco -- have set up big vegetable oil processing plants in the country. But while they have the capacity to convert locally produced oil seeds, the lure of cheap value addition from imported southeast Asian crude palm means local farmers are still in limited.... Independent policy analysts argue that of these three countries, two Uganda and Tanzania could save close to $500 million in foreign exchange annually if they substituted imports with locally produced oil seeds such as sunflower, soya, sesame and maize. This would also have a positive impact on the social status of communities because as much as 30 per cent of that value would be retained by producer communities, according to some estimates.... They further say that if duty were imposed on palm oil, which is currently zero-rated, and the farmers and manufacturers given incentives, East Africa could soon be growing its own oilseeds and developing a vertically integrated vegetable oil industry..... Under the current situation, much of the profits from the vegetable oil trade go to just two firms -- Wilmar (an associate of Bidco) and Louis Dreyfus Commodities. The two control bulk liquid storage for crude palm oil in Mombasa and Dar es Salaam ports. Most of the unaffiliated oil millers buy their supplies of crude palm oil from these two firms, which both have palm plantations in Malaysia and Indonesia.... http://allafrica.com/stories/201604060110.html

29 July 2016:  NGO calls on Liberia to prevent the export of tropical timber from plantation concessions

“Liberia’s Rainforests In Danger” 07/27/2016 By William Q. Harmon -- SDI says the country’s forests are under renewed threats from what it termed as Conversion Timber/Logging, which the government is on the verge of introducing – and has the potential to destroy the country’s remaining rain forests....At a ceremony over the weekend where the SDI presented a petition to government, SDI disclosed that the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) has developed regulations that would enable large-scale timber extraction in agricultural concession areas for export. SDI believes this will further exacerbate the threats from the oil palm sector...At present, commercial logging and timber export are banned. Were government to permit the sale of timber from the legal clearing of forests for oil palm concessions, this would simplify the laundering of illegal timber and drastically increase the pressure on the country’s forests.... However, SDI has been joined by 50 international holders of the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize calling on the government to prevent the export of tropical timber from plantation concessions....http://www.liberianobserver.com/news/%E2%80%9Cliberia%E2%80%99s-rainforests-danger%E2%80%9D

The effect of the Brass oil war on the creation of Nigeria Omotayo Yusuf 5 days ago -- In this retro series, Naij.com looks back at the significant period in history when the area that would later become Nigeria was sold to Britain for £865,000. The second industrial revolution which put Britain at the forefront of technological development necessitated a huge demand for palm oil which was necessary to power industrial machines. The Niger Delta region was the world’s leading producer of this much south-after oil. Read more: https://www.naij.com/901602-retro-series-nigeria-sold-865000-britain-photos.html

27 July 2016: Sime Darby responds to article on "ultimatum: from 15 townships

LIBERIA: Sime Darby’s Response to The Inquirer’s Article  July 26, 2016 Cholo Brooks -- Monrovia, 26 July 2016 – In reference to the article published in The Inquirer on July 25th headlined “Sime Darby Given 14 days Ultimatum” , Sime Darby Plantation Liberia (SDPL) would like to inform all our stakeholders who have been assisting  us and the communities in this matter , that SDPL has received a letter from the communities  that is in substance the source of the story published in The Inquirer . The letter was signed by Eshmeal H. Pusah, Sr . and Jefferson V . Paasewe, claiming to be, respectively,  new Secretary and new Chairman of the Project Affected Community . The letter was also signed by 65 residents of the 15 townships which are part of the 17 project affected communities (P AC). SDPL takes seriously the concerns raised by the community , and that is why SDPL established the independent multi-stakeholder crop compensation investigation on process that would review the evidence and make recommendations on how best to resolve the issue. Meanwhile, SDPL seeks to set the record straight.....http://gnnliberia.com/2016/07/26/liberia-sime-darbys-response-inquirers-article/

Search for "Sime Darby" in The Inquirer:
Ellen Ends Deadlock In Grand Cape Mount County...Maintains Sime Darby Must Be Allowed To Operate So 
Operations Continue At Sime Darby But... Breakthrough In Sime Darby Discussions Bopolu Citizens Present Statement On Sime Darby's Operations Sime Darby Scholarship Students Hit High Employees Praise Sime Darby School System Sime Darby: Changing Lives From Poverty To Prosperity: How The Malaysian Oil Palm Giant Is Making I Sime Darby Promises "Best Practices" Sime Darby Denies Awarding Green Advocates Contract Sime Darby Gives US$420,000 Scholarships Turning A Strong Foe Into A Friend...Sime Darby Gives Rice To The Elderly And Disabled In Grand Cape Sime Darby, Workers Union Reach Agreement Sime Darby, Local And International Partners Launch Sustainable Partnership Initiative As a Palm Oil Sime Darby To Put Over 600 Employees Down    
source: http://www.theinquirer.com.lr/content1.php?main=search&news.id=2001, acccessed 4pm 27 July 2016

25 July 2016: News update

Sierra Leone News:Ned Oil Exports Over 20 Containers of Palm Oil to Europe 22 July 2016 - Ned Oil a Dutch company engaged in palm oil investment in Yele has exported over 20 containers of palm oil and the company will export more by the end of the year, Abubakarr Daramy, head of public relations in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security said in an interview. The company hopes to reach full capacity by 2020. Each container is twenty feet long. http://awoko.org/2016/07/18/sierra-leone-newsned-oil-exports-over-20-containers-of-palm-oil-to-europe/

Norway Is The First Country To Ban Deforestation, Brazil, Liberia, And Indonesia To Follow. July 18, 2016 by Cholo Brooks Africa http://gnnliberia.com/2016/07/18/norway-first-country-ban-deforestation-brazil-liberia-indonesia-follow/

17 July 2016: Liberia land rights bill, GVL says no permit to allow logging from concession area, 

Editor's note: On logging and concessions, also Refer to 7 July 2016 posting, http://khorreports-palmoil.blogspot.my/2015/09/deforestation-development-and-redd-pick.html

Liberia must pass land rights bill or risk jeopardising peace, campaigners warn - Civil society groups want 2014 bill passed before August recess, claiming land grabs have ‘turned citizens into refugees in their own country’ by Ruth Maclean in Dakar 14 July 2016 -- Over the past few decades, according to the Sustainable Development Institute, land grabs have “turned citizens into refugees in their own country”.... Three senior politicians, including the chairman of the ruling party, were recently arrested and charged with “economic crimes” after an investigation by the campaigning group Global Witness.. The president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, has spoken of her support for the act. For decades, however, the government has granted logging, mining, and agriculture concessions over about 40% of the country, ignoring the communities living there.... “Land grabs in Liberia have effectively turned citizens into refugees in their own country,” said Ali Kaba, of the Sustainable Development Institute. “We cannot continue on in a state where people’s homes and farms can be sold out from under them without their knowledge or consent, and where those who resist face violence.” https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2016/jul/14/liberia-land-rights-bill-risk-jeopardising-peace-campaigners-warn

LIBERIA: GVL Strongly Rejects SDI’s Erroneous Assertion July 11, 2016 by  Cholo Brooks Blog -- It has repeatedly asked the FDA and SDI for guidance on what is legally permissible in order to help the community maximum value from its land. Based on feedback from the FDA following our request for clarity, GVL has advised the community that they will not be able to extract timber for their own business purposes.GVL wishes to reiterate that it has been open and transparent from the outset in this matter and has fully complied with the advice and requests it has received from FDA throughout. GVL has never sought to sell timber for commercial purposes, either in Liberia or for export, and has complied at all times with its own No Deforestation policy commitments’... http://gnnliberia.com/2016/07/11/liberia-gvl-strongly-rejects-sdis-erroneous-assertion/

Liberia: GVL Rejects Media Report 12 JULY 2016 Golden Veroleum Liberia strongly rejects the suggestion that it had applied for "a permit to allow logging for export in its Concession Area" as suggested in the Front Page Africa article of 11 July 2016 titled "Liberia's Forest in Danger - International conservationists Alarm"... http://allafrica.com/stories/201607121233.html

Nigeria Spends $11B On Food Import Despite Immense Agricultural Potential By Kevin Mwanza Published: July 15, 2016 http://afkinsider.com/129681/nigerias-food-import-bil-reaches-11b-despite-immense-agricultural-potential/#sthash.cJQ1cUP9.dpuf

Forest conservation can offset emissions from palm oil expansion in Africa: Study 13 July 2016 / Mike Gaworecki - A new paper published in the journal Conservation Letters suggests that if the governments of tropical African countries were to enact mandatory policies regulating which forests can be cleared and how much remaining forest must be set aside for conservation, they could largely offset the emissions created by converting the land to palm oil plantations. The Conservation Letters paper summarizes the results of a case study focused on an oil palm operation in Gabon. “Clearing just 11,500 hectares of forest — or roughly 28,400 acres — would release about 1.5 million metric tons of carbon into the atmosphere,” John R. Poulsen of Duke University, an author of the study, said. “That’s equivalent to the annual emissions of some small developing countries.” Poulsen and his colleagues found that the emissions from the plantation, jointly developed by the Gabonese government and agribusiness firm Olam International, could be completely offset within 25 years if oil palm development is centered on forests with lower carbon stocks and if every development set aside a portion of forest for conservation.... https://news.mongabay.com/2016/07/forest-conservation-can-offset-emissions-from-palm-oil-expansion-in-africa-study/

Olam To Divest Timber Assets In Gabon For US$18.0 Million, Singapore, January 24, 2014 -- entered into an agreement with a consortium of Chinese investors to sell part of its forestry and saw milling assets in Gabon for a gross consideration of US$18.0 million.... The divestment, which is a part of Olam’s revised strategy to restructure the Wood Products portfolio, includes the sale of two saw mills in the Makokou region of Gabon, 2.5 hectares of land in the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) at Nkok, Gabon and associated forestry concessions. - See more at: http://olamgroup.com/news/olam-to-divest-timber-assets-in-gabon-for-us18-0-million/#sthash.LkMYLaI4.dpuf (note: search of company website does not indicate any further divestment of Gabon timber business)

11 July 2016: FDA 'It's now safe to consume palm oil in Ghana,' European Union ban extended by three years on pesticide residues in Nigeria produce

FDA 'It's now safe to consume palm oil in Ghana' According to the authority, a market survey it conducted in 10 markets in the Greater Accra Region last November showed that 90 per cent of palm oil products in those markets were free from the Sudan IV dye, the textile dye which causes cancer. http://pulse.com.gh/health/fda-its-now-safe-to-consume-palm-oil-in-ghana-id5236267.html

Nigeria’s Toxic Trade Policy Jun 26, 2016 in Business | By Ayinde Alaba Nigeria does not appear to be learning any lesson from the counsel of this American writer and philosopher. Otherwise, as we continue to writhe under the European Union ban on our “diseased” beans, we would not be offering an open door trade policy to similarly “ailing” food items from outside our shores. Last year the EU outlawed the export of beans from Nigeria, along with other consumable products like dried fish, melon seeds, palm oil, and meat because, according to the Europeans, they “contained a high level of unauthorised pesticide”.... Now, the European authorities’ move sought to save lives, which is the primary responsibility of any well-meaning government. Their research revealed that the beans that found their way to Europe “had between 0.03mg/kg to 4.6mg/kg of dichlorvos pesticide when the acceptable maximum residue limit is 0.01mg/kg.” This is considered dangerous to human health. Tha ban on our beans was to be lifted in June 2016. But it has been extended by three years. The official journal of the EU said the new sanction came into force because Nigeria is “not doing enough” to address the pesticide content in our beans. So EU had to give Nigeria time to “implement the appropriate risk-management and provide required guarantees.”... http://www.nigeriatoday.ng/2016/06/nigerias-toxic-trade-policy/

The Liberian Dream LETTERS & COMMENTS 1 week ago -- I have a Liberian dream that the nooks and corners of this Country will be filled with economic opportunities and lift millions of Liberians out of poverty. I have a Liberian dream, that descendants of white slave masters, African Americans and their Liberian/African counterparts will create many business and economic opportunities for the mutual benefits of a prosperous Nation. I have a Liberian dream, that natural God’s gifted resources of this nation will no longer be used as weapons against its citizens, but as Gifts from God and for the people of God. I have a dream that finished rubber products and palm oil products will be produced in Liberia and exported to the world. I have a Liberia dream that Buchanan will become a port city and the port of Buchanan will be the busiest port on the West Coast of Africa and serve as the epicenter for transshipment. John Y. Brownell http://frontpageafricaonline.com/index.php/letter-comment/1196-the-liberian-dream

Activists from Indonesia, Liberia, Colombia and Peru to EU tells of palm Horror June 24, 2016 -- A delegation of indigenous people from Indonesia, Liberia, Colombia and Peru did a tour of European capitals last month to give policymakers and investors first-hand testimony of what they said were escalating human rights and environmental abuses linked to the rapid spread of palm oil cultivation. The delegation, which visited the Netherlands, Germany, Brussels and London during the 10-day tour, said that members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) frequently flout the voluntary group’s requirement to respect community land rights, and are involved in human rights abuses and destructive plantation development. At a press conference in London, Tom Griffiths of UK NGO Forest Peoples Programme, which sponsored the tour, said while the RSPO is beginning to crack down on malpractice by its members, it has a long way to go before all RSPO members’ palm oil is conflict-free. “The key message of the mission is that these [palm oil] operations should be suspended until land rights are secured and proper protections are in place,” he said.... http://gnnliberia.com/2016/06/24/activists-indonesia-liberia-colombia-peru-eu-tells-palm-horror/

News review for early 2016

Nigeria's forex policy a boon for palm oil industry by CNBC Africa Reporter  Last Updated: Wed, 08 Jun 2016 -- “Sometime in 2015 amid the crude oil earnings and the consequence impact on our reserves, one of the FX policies introduced by the CBN was to exclude some 41 items from the official window, palm oil made that list." “What this means is that importers will have to source FX from autonomous sources - you would expect the overall cost of importation to tipper in both volumes going forward. CBN policies on the FX have impacted these imports and will likely continue to impact it going forward,” said Ramon. In Nigeria, palm oil is a basic food and has several uses besides cooking, says Ramon so the demand is quite high.  "Before now there was no major incentive for local producers given that the price of imported palm oil product is more competitive, however we think that the industry is currently taking a new shape that might incentivise the local producers." He adds: "Going forward the importation of palm oil might be challenging so we think this could cut supply and push up prices and once this happens you will expect the local production to tap into the opportunity.... http://www.cnbcafrica.com/news/western-africa/2016/06/08/leveraging-on-nigerian-fx-policies-in-palm-oil-industry/

Mapping Ebola, A new method for tracking the virus could help prevent outbreaks. CATRIONA CROFT-CUSWORTH 7 Jun 2016 http://blog.cifor.org/41810/mapping-ebola?fnl=en

Ebola virus hotspots across Africa revealed: New study  5 JUN 2016 http://www.cifor.org/press-releases/ebola-virus-hotspots-across-africa-revealed-new-study/

Malaysia – Africa’s Silent Partner - One of Southeast Asia’s largest economies is quietly engaged across Africa. By Tim Steinecke May 30, 2016 http://thediplomat.com/2016/05/malaysia-africas-silent-partner/

Abuse of import duty waivers By Daily Trust | Jun 1 2016  -- The Senate Ad hoc Committee on Import Duty Waivers, Concessions and Grants headed by Senator Mohamed Adamu Aliero said last week alleged fraud in the administration of import duty waivers on rice, sugar, other foods items and automobiles by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government. The ad hoc committee’s report said it uncovered fraud worth N447.42 billion involving frontline companies such as Dangote Limited, Kersuk Farms, Bua Group, Elephant Group, Milan Group and Golden Penny between 2011 and 2015. The government agencies involved are Ministry of Finance, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NPC), Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and Federal Inland Revenue Service.....  Granting import waivers is not fraud in itself. The Customs and Excise Management Act provides that some imported goods could be granted duty exemptions if they are meant to boost local manufacturing of goods for export. In this regard, agricultural implements, materials for textiles and automobile industries are usually exempted from duty. The reason is mainly to protect local industries because imported finished goods may be cheaper and of higher quality than locally-produced goods. If duty is not imposed, imported finished goods could displace local products in the market. For instance, the palm oil industry in Nigeria is now being threatened by duty-free imports of palm oil from Malaysia. In 2011, government granted waiver worth N150 billion to 10 firms to import refined palm oil. This is not healthy for the local palm oil industry.... http://www.dailytrust.com.ng/news/editorial/abuse-of-import-duty-waivers/149248.html#4SHQgotzU040SkSX.99

A new generation of forest managers in the Democratic Republic of Congo - A university on the banks of the Congo River is producing the next generation of experts on sustainable forestry.  Fai Collins 29 May 2016 http://blog.cifor.org/41698/a-new-generation-of-forest-managers-in-the-democratic-republic-of-congo?fnl=en

GVL donates crude palm oil to host communities in Sinoe 24 May 2016 http://www.thenewdawnliberia.com/news/10479-gvl-donates-crude-palm-oil-to-host-communities-in-sinoe

Liberia: Soros Connection - Why Global Witness Report Won't Go Away -- By Rodney D. Sieh Monrovia — George Soros is widely known as the hedge fund tycoon and renowned philanthropist. His philanthropic work has been instrumental to Liberia where since the ascendance to office of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the country has benefited from millions in various humanitarian areas... His son, Alexander, is the founder of The Alexander Soros Foundation, an organization promoting civil rights, social justice and education. The younger Soros who visited Liberia sits on the board Global Witness, which exposes and breaks the links between natural resources, conflict and corruption; and the Open Society Foundations, the New York City-based group founded by his dad who works to build vibrant and tolerant democracies. While both organizations receive strong financial support from the Soros Foundation, it is the former that has been in the thick of exposing lapses in Liberia's governance, since it started in 1993 and dubbed by many as Soros' anti-corruption campaigner group....http://allafrica.com/stories/201605240833.html

Liberia: GVL Repudiates Erroneous Allegations of Child Labour 25 May 2016 -- press release. Monrovia — Golden Veroleum Liberia strongly rejects allegations of child labor by the company as contained in recent news report published by Daily Observer Newspaper title "Advocate Demands Justice for Children" and the New Dawn Newspaper report titled "Liberian Children Alarm Danger" published on 25 and 18 May 2016. GVL policies are clear; we don't hire children at all. GVL makes similar requirement of its subcontractor and suppliers, and works to monitor their workforces. http://allafrica.com/stories/201605251434.html

Sime Darby denies employment of children  May 23, 2016 Cholo Brooks Blog -- In reference to an article in The New Dawn titled “Liberian Children Alarm Danger” published on 18 May, Sime Darby Plantation (Liberia) Inc. (SDPL) denies the allegation that the company employs children in its operations. SDPL does not employ any children in Liberia or anywhere else and it respects and abides by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Liberian Law. Our workers’ union, General Agriculture and Allied Workers Union of Liberia (GAAWUL) through the signed Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), ensures that there are no children employed with our company. http://gnnliberia.com/2016/05/23/sime-darby-denies-employment-children/

The vegetable oil that fuels a $50 billion business By Katie Pisa, for CNN May 26, 2016 -- So what's the problem in Africa? Palm oil producers have turned their eyes to Africa as their next growth spot. The plant is native to Liberia, Cameroon, Sierra Leone, Benin and Democratic Republic of the Congo, but Nigeria is by far Africa's largest producer of palm oil, and fifth largest in the world in 2015. It already has 2.5 million hectares of land used for the production of the oil. Liberia, where the palm is an indigenous crop and widely used for cooking, has few restrictions on land and a government keen to sign contracts, making it an ideal place for companies looking for growth according to Ali Kaba, the Liberian program coordinator for the Sustainable Development Institute....."Palm oil is not the problem. The problem is human rights' violations," he said, speaking at a press conference in London in May. According to Kaba, the problem stems from the government signing over land to companies, displacing local people off the land they have always lived on and farmed. "People are losing access to their farmland," said Kaba. Food insecurity and pollution have gone up, and families have been massively displaced in their daily life. "A woman used to take 30 minutes to fetch water (for her family). Now, it takes 2 hours," he explained, as villagers have lost their usual resources as a result of companies clearing land. Liberia currently has 17,000 hectares planted with palm oil, and another 700,000 set aside for further production. While this is a small number in comparison to many countries, a handful of multinational companies have set up operations in the country. It's the lack of regulation of these companies that Kaba, and people in other African countries, are worried about. A great deal of land in many African countries is owned by the government, leaving people living on it with little or no rights to it once the large companies are involved. http://edition.cnn.com/2016/05/18/africa/palm-oil-liberia-africa/index.html

Equatorial Palm Oil widens H1 pretax loss By StockMarketWire | Mon, 16th May 2016 -- "The commitment by LPD to begin construction of the new 60 mt/hr mill at Palm Bay Estate confirms the Directors' views that Liberia can be a significant producer of crude palm oil in years to come.....  EPO fully engaged with High Carbon Stock ("HCS") assessment and committed to establish clear parameters, alongside stakeholders, for the development of new plantations..  MOU signed with villages on Palm Bay Estate delineating clear boundaries for development of oil palm and adhering to free, prior and informed consent, post period. http://www.iii.co.uk/stockmarketwire/317446/equatorial-palm-oil-widens-h1-pretax-loss 

Equatorial Palm Oil Reports Wider Interim Loss During First Half 16th May 2016 http://www.lse.co.uk/AllNews.asp?code=znwz226x&headline=Equatorial_Palm_Oil_Reports_Wider_Interim_Loss_During_First_Half

Tomco Energy assessing West African palm oil venture 19 May 2016 -- Tomco says the palm oil opportunity has low capex costs and potential for cash flows starting in mid-2017. http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/126124/tomco-energy-assessing-west-african-palm-oil-venture-126124.html

Indigenous leaders from three continents are touring Europe begging people to boycott palm oil by Cassie Werber May 07, 2016 http://qz.com/676063/death-and-deforestation-indigenous-leaders-are-touring-europe-begging-people-to-boycott-palm-oil/

Liberia, 3 Others Oppose Human Rights Violation In ‘Conflict Palm Oil Trade’ 05/06/2016 tjohnson http://www.liberianobserver.com/news/liberia-3-others-oppose-human-rights-violation-%E2%80%98conflict-palm-oil-trade%E2%80%99

French President Hollande's Palm Oil Tax is an Attack on Africans -- French Senate Shows Solidarity With Africans, By Rejecting Government Palm Oil Tax LAGOS, Nigeria, May 13, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, IMANI Center for Policy and Education, sub-Saharan Africa's second most influential think tank, and the Initiative for Public Policy Analysis (IPPA), the leading Nigerian think-tank, call on the French Government to withdraw its planned palm oil tax, due to the major negative impact on African farmers and communities.  http://www.prnewswire.co.uk/news-releases/french-president-hollandes-palm-oil-tax-is-an-attack-on-africans-579332821.html

IPPA: French Government Shows Callous Disregard for Global South Time for Hollande to Support Africa and Abandon His Palm Oil Tax LAGOS, Nigeria, May 11, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, the Initiative for Public Policy Analysis (IPPA) – the Nigeria-based public policy think tank, issued a statement condemning the French Government's planned palm oil tax. http://www.prnewswire.co.uk/news-releases/ippa-french-government-shows-callous-disregard-for-global-south-579020591.html

Land rights at root of palm oil conflict in Liberia, campaigners say BY MATTHEW PONSFORD  May 6, 2016 http://www.reuters.com/article/us-liberia-land-palmoil-idUSKCN0XX17U

PZ Cussons calls for global suppliers to set up in Nigeria May 4, 2016 by  Georgina Caldwell https://globalcosmeticsnews.com/africa-middle-east/2703/pz-cussons-calls-for-global-suppliers-to-set-up-in-nigeria

Equatorial Palm Oil signs MOU with Liberian communities Josh White | Sharecast | 05 May, 2016 http://www.digitallook.com/news/aim-bulletin/equatorial-palm-oil-signs-mou-with-liberian-communities--1152577.html

Palm oil in Cameroon – ‘a blessing or a curse’ to small-scale farmers? 29 April 2016 / John C. Cannon As palm oil expands in Africa, researchers say more smallholders should be brought into the fold. https://news.mongabay.com/2016/04/palm-oil-cameroon-blessing-curse-small-scale-farmers-2/

The new name behind the threat to Cameroon’s Forests, Feature story - May 6, 2016 -- After the slowdown of the destructive Herakles Farms palm oil project in Cameroon, following extensive environmental and social opposition, we had hope for the future. However, it now looks like the infamous operation is being resurrected under a new identity, with ambitions to to destroy vast areas of forest and local community land. Since 2013, Greenpeace and other local and international organizations have been sounding the alarm over the Herakles Farms palm oil project in Cameroon’s Southwest Region While nobody was looking, Herakles Farms appears to have sold its palm oil project to new investors.  Reports from local workers and villagers pinpoint this transition to the summer of 2015, however according to company filings, it was not until November that a British man, Jonathan Johnson Watts, was named the new Chairman and General Manager of the SGSOC plantation. Jonathan Johnson Watts is no stranger to taking over struggling palm oil projects.  Watts was also involved in the purchase of a struggling palm oil project in Ghana, which as it turns out, was also sold to him by its previous owner, Herakles Farms a few years ago. The Volta Red plantation, as it is now know, is growing and palm oil production has begun.... http://www.greenpeace.org/africa/en/News/news/The-New-Name-Behind-the-threat-to-Cameroons-Forests/

Unprecedented deforestation in old Herakles plantation, now under new management 6 May 2016 / John C. Cannon -- After a spate of inactivity, a palm oil plantation in western Cameroon has come back to life. https://news.mongabay.com/2016/05/unprecedented-deforestation-old-herakles-plantation-now-new-management/

Golden Veroleum Dedicates Mini Oil Palm Mill in Sinoe County --  It is a joy for us to celebrate with the government and our partner communities as we dedicate our mill,” said Rothschild. The GVL Director says a similar project will be replicated in Grand Kru, stating that today is the mini mill; in 2017 GVL will be commissioning its main mill, which is 15 times larger than the mini mill and is currently under construction in Tarjuowon, Sinoe County. ...Rothschild concluded by saying that the mini mill was constructed after Vice PresidentJoseph Boakai visited Indonesia and appealed for it, with the goal of not letting the palm spoil...http://www.frontpageafricaonline.com/index.php/county-news/544-golden-veroleum-dedicates-mini-oil-palm-mill-in-sinoe-county

UNMIL Drawdown: Bassa Residents, Police Sweat Over Low Support http://www.frontpageafricaonline.com/index.php/county-news/589-unmil-drawdown-bassa-residents-police-sweat-over-low-support

11 Sime Darby Protestors Charged With Criminal Facilitation April 22, 2016 Cholo Brooks Liberia http://gnnliberia.com/2016/04/22/liberia-11-sime-darby-protestors-charged-criminal-facilitation/

Nigeria: The Lie Told Against Palm Oil By the West 7 APRIL 2016 http://allafrica.com/stories/201604080403.html

Equatorial Palm Oil Starts To Bear Fruit As It Plans On Building Mill  13th Apr 2016 http://www.lse.co.uk/AllNews.asp?code=ttmxtwlv&headline=Equatorial_Palm_Oil_Starts_To_Bear_Fruit_As_It_Plans_On_Building_Mill

An agribusiness revolution is needed to save Africa’s last great apes 12 April 2016 / William H. Funk -- Global industrial agriculture is ramping up in Africa — and when combined with grinding poverty and corrupt elites — it spells great risk for gorillas, chimps and bonobos  https://news.mongabay.com/2016/04/agribusiness-revolution-needed-save-africas-last-great-apes/

President Koroma Commissions The Largest Oil Mill In West Africa Built In Sahn Malen, Pujehun District By Socfin Agricultural Company April 13, 2016 5:11 pm, Posted by Amadu Daramy -- President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma on Saturday 9th April formally commissioned the largest palm oil production mill built by Socfin Agricultural Company in Sahn Malen Chiefdom, Pujehun District....the Socfin palm oil farm is not just the largest in the country, but also in West Africa, and that the company has invested over US$130 Million, planting 12, 319 hectre of hybrid oil palm trees and building a mill currently with a 30t/hr of Fresh Fruit Bunch capacity and with capacity to increase to 60t/hr.... company has employed over 2,460 seasonal workers to support plantation operations plus 1,091 permanent workers all totaling 3,551 workers, and most of these workers he said are from the surrounding communities within the company’s operational areas.... http://www.globaltimes-sl.com/president-koroma-commissions-the-largest-oil-mill-in-west-africa-built-in-sahn-malen-pujehun-district-by-socfin-agricultural-company/

Sime Darby Destruction Scare Investors, As Local Authorities Call On Gov’t To Remove Illegal Squatters April 12, 2016 Cholo Brooks Liberia -- Recent action on the part of some residents of Grand Cape Mount and Bomi Counties to  burn down major parts of the Sime Darby Plantation in the area destroying several parts of the plantation on an report that a lady was missing from the hospital of the company is reportedly scaring investors. For their part, local authorities of Bomi County told reporters on Monday   that the arson attack on Sime Darby Plantation is a threat to the economy and the investment climate as a whole. http://gnnliberia.com/2016/04/12/15823/

Margarine producer fined R35m for anticompetitive behaviour BY FIFI PETERS ,  14 APRIL 2016 -- ON top of the R35m fine margarine producer Sime Darby Hudson Knight has to pay for anticompetitive behaviour, the company may also face being monitored to ensure that it complies with further remedial action handed down to it for contravening the competition act.... Sime Darby Hudson Knight makes and sells bakery fats and frying oils. In 2014, the Competition Commission raided its Boksburg offices as well as those of Durban-based Unilever during its investigations into restrictive price behaviour in the industry. It found that Sime Darby Hudson Knight had entered into an agreement that precluded it from supplying certain pack sizes of edible fats and oils to a number of customer channels. The agreement meant that it could not supply retail outlets, and other areas where Unilever was active.... As part of the Commission’s remedial action, which includes the R35m fine, Sime Darby Hudson Knight agreed to supply the retail sector with its products and to build a new warehousing facility to accommodate this..... http://www.bdlive.co.za/business/retail/2016/04/14/margarine-producer-fined-r35m-for-anticompetitive-behaviour 

We Did Not Ban Export Of Nigeria’s Agric Products – EU Kingsley Alu — Apr 25, 2016 -- While admitting that although it was true that there were a number of food products (such as melon seeds, dried meat, palm oil) imported from Nigeria that were sometimes rejected at the EU border because they were found to contain dangerous substances for human health, Amato said the import suspension measure adopted by the EU only concerned dried beans. “The reason for the import suspension measure of dried beans is that since January 2013 more than 50 rejections have been recorded at the EU border in relation to this product originating from Nigeria, nearly all of them reporting the presence of the unauthorised pesticide dichlorvos at levels largely exceeding the acute reference dose tentatively established by the European Food Safety Authority,” he explained. http://leadership.ng/business/521249/not-ban-export-nigerias-agric-products-eu

17 Feb 2016: News review in progress - Nigeria worries about forex allocaiton, Sierra Leone land rights dispute case

Nigeria - Govt urged to restrict forex allocation to essentials Posted By: Muyiwa Lucason: February 08, 2016;.... With a dwindling foreign reserve, the Federal Government has been advised to restrict the sale of foreign exchange (forex) to only importation of very essential commodities, Chairman, Board of Trustees, Cocoa Association of Nigeria, and President, Federation of Agricultural Commodity Associations of Nigeria (FACAN), Dr Victor Iyama, has said. According to Iyama, this will enable the government to better manage the nation’s revenue, as well as checkmate frivolous importation of items that are of little or no value to the economy....Why should any responsible government give you foreign exchange from her little to import palm oil,” he said. He urged Nigerians to take measures to save the economy from collapse. He said government needs to take drastic action to restore the nation’s economic and financial independence. This, he said, should come in the form of rebuilding the nation’s industries... http://thenationonlineng.net/govt-urged-to-restrict-forex-allocation-to-essentials/

Sierra Leone convicts six of destroying palm oil trees in land rights dispute Source: Reuters - Fri, 5 Feb 2016; By Umaru Fofana BO, Sierra Leone, Feb 4 (Reuters) - A Sierra Leone court has convicted six people opposed to a palm oil project in which French conglomerate Bollore owns a major stake of destroying trees and inciting the local population to protest over land rights. In a ruling on Thursday, the court in the town of Bo found that the defendants, who include a former lawmaker and are members of a local landowners association, destroyed 40 palm oil trees belonging to Socfin in the Pujehun District. An official with Luxemburg-based Socfin said thousands of trees had been damaged during the 2013 incident, but he did not provide a precise figure..... A growing number of African land lease deals for mining and agribusiness have provoked tensions for allegedly depriving often poor countries of the means to feed their own populations. The six defendants, who received sentences ranging from five to six months in prison in addition to fines, were involved in organising protests against what they claimed were unduly low fees paid by Socfin for the land it used.... http://news.trust.org/item/20160205115329-tv1tv

19 December 2015: Nigeria’s future depends on agriculture, Golden Veroleum Liberia new mill

Nigeria’s future depends on agriculture –Nkem-Abonta Posted By: GEORGE OPARAon: December 15, 2015 Hon. Uzoma Nkem-Abonta is a PDP member representing Ukwa East and Ukwa West Federal Constituency of Abia State. Currently, he is sponsoring a bill for an act to provide for the establishment of the Chartered Institute of Export and Commodity Brokers of Nigeria that has just passed second reading. In this interview, he spoke with GEORGE OPARA on the objectives and merits of the bill and other political matters. Excerpts http://nationalmirroronline.net/new/nigerias-future-depends-on-agriculture-nkem-abonta/

NEPC proposes increased investment in palm oil, other agricultural produce, to diversify economy; Following dwindling crude oil price and its negative effect on Nigeria’s economy, the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), an agency of Government saddled with the responsibility of promoting non-oil export, has canvassed for increased investment in agriculture, especially palm oil production, to diversify the country’s economy. Olusegun Awolowo, executive director/chief executive officer, NEPC, who made… https://businessdayonline.com/2015/12/nepc-proposes-increased-investment-in-palm-oil-other-agricultural-produce-to-diversify-economy/

Liberian palm plantation plans expansion - Golden Veroleum Liberia is investing $30 million in a new mill, expected to increase employment in rural southeast 16.12.2015 http://aa.com.tr/en/africa/liberian-palm-plantation-plans-expansion/491699

13 December 2015: Sime Darby and other giants go HCS, GVL prepares for processing, how to seafood palm nut soup

Sime Darby to test oil palm production scheme Published: 11 December 2015 5:04 PM Major oil palm growers, including Sime Darby Bhd will conduct trials of a sustainable cultivation scheme under the Sustainable Palm Oil Manifesto - See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/business/article/sime-darby-to-test-oil-palm-production-scheme#sthash.mnvIYveQ.dpuf

GVL prepares for processing 08 December 2015 http://www.thenewdawnliberia.com/news/9015-gvl-prepares-for-processing

Uganda: Oil Palm Prices Fall By 50 Per Cent 9 December 2015; Bidco Uganda managing director Kodey Rao during an interview with Daily Monitor in Jinja. A metric tonne of oil palm, which was at $606 (Shs 2.03m), is now at $391 (Shs1.3m). He was quoting the monthly palm oil currency in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where price for Ugandan oil palm is derived....http://allafrica.com/stories/201512091166.html

Nigerian import curbs hit SA groups by Zeenat Moorad, November 23 2015... The bank imposed import restrictions in June to preserve the value of the naira, protect foreign exchange reserves and limit demand for dollars. "Trading in Nigeria was initially strong, but slowed appreciably in the last two months due to recently imposed restrictions on imported merchandise.. In a bid to prevent naira devaluation and encourage domestic manufacturing, Nigeria’s central bank governor Godwin Emefiele has drawn the ire of foreign investors for restricting the importation of various items including eggs, margarine and palm oil, among others. In a statement, the central bank said it had become imperative to exclude importers of some goods and services from accessing foreign exchange in order to encourage the domestic production of these items.

President: Nigeria Cannot Sustain N1tn Spending on Food Imports 18 Nov 2015...  The president, who spoke at the launch of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) Anchor Borrowers’ Programme and the commencement of dry season farming, said that the falling oil prices had left Nigeria with no option than to diversify. The president recalled that agriculture was the mainstay of the nation’s economy but was abandoned following the discovery of oil... http://www.thisdaylive.com/articles/president-nigeria-cannot-sustain-n1tn-spending-on-food-imports/225937/

How to make Abak Mbakara (Seafood palm nut soup) - Highly nutritious and tasty, this soup is native to the Niger Delta region in South South Nigeria. 25.11.2015  by Onnaedo Okafor http://pulse.ng/food/diy-recipes-how-to-make-abak-mbakara-seafood-palm-nut-soup-id4393706.html

Cameroonian environmental activist pursued in the courts as palm oil company interferes in legal process Press release - November 18, 2015  Yaoundé November 17 2015 - An internationally-renowned environmental human rights defender continues to be pursued in the courts in Cameroon for no crime other than defending his own community’s land rights. Meanwhile the very company he is peacefully protesting against is seeking favourable treatment from the state for its own lawsuits, according to new evidence obtained by Greenpeace Africa and the Forest Peoples Programme (FPP)... http://www.greenpeace.org/africa/en/Press-Centre-Hub/Environmental-activist-pursued-by-courts-in-Cameroon-as-palm-oil-company-interferes-in-legal-process/

Herakles Farms project rears its ugly head again  Blogpost by Amy Moas and Eric Ini - November 18, 2015 at 8:00 Add comment  By Amy Moas and Eric Ini Herakles Farms project rears its ugly head again  Blogpost by Amy Moas and Eric Ini - November 18, 2015 By Amy Moas and Eric Ini

Nigeria: Glimpses of Old Calabar 4 November 2015; By Chineme Okafor
Chineme Okafor, in a recent hike around Henshaw Town, Duke Town and the waterfront areas of the old districts of Calabar, caught glimpses of features that bring to mind the socio-economic prosperity that Old Calabar enjoyed
Everything including culture, architecture and self-admiration still reside with the older parts of Calabar, a former administrative capital of the southern protectorate of Nigeria, to give it an immortal air of glory. Standing on what was once an esteemed territory, just meters away from the shorelines of the ever-furious Atlantic, is the celebrated city of Old Calabar, an old municipality with a magnificent landscape.... It was in this old city that one of the most vibrant marinas and international sea ports in the West Africa area once stood and a successful merchant colony that traded in what was then regarded as the 'red gold' (palm oil), and other goods of economic importance evolved. Old Calabar from anecdotal accounts, did not only build a reputation in oil palm merchandising, it also provided the gateway for shipping of slaves from the hinterlands of the Igbo nation to the outer world as it was randomly estimated that about 30 per cent of the 2.5 million slaves that were shipped off from the west coast were processed through the slave ports in Duke Town. ... As a coastal city, the waters of Old Calabar were once the busiest and vital trading routes on Africa's west coast and by extension, in the world. Accounts of how the Calabar marina became more illustrious from the reliance of the allied forces of the Second World War on its palm oil which was used as industrial oil for military equipment, have equally added to confirm the earlier glory and tremendous fortunes of Old Calabar.... .....

Implications of CBN’s forex restrictions on CPO October 18, 2015; The consumption of palm oil in Nigeria amounts to 1.0 million MT per annum. 90.0% of palm oil is consumed by food industry and the remaining 10.0% is used by the non-food industry. Foods like noodles, vegetable oil, biscuits, chips, margarines, shortenings, cereals, baked stuff, washing detergents and even cosmetics thrive on palm oil. Noodle industry alone consumes 72,000 MT of imported palm oil and the leading, domestic palm oil producers fail to meet this demand.... Saddened by unavailability of sufficient oil palm in the Nigerian market, some industries have proactively announced strategic alliances to invest in oil palm plantations. Large estate in the palm oil plantations and output in Nigeria, which is the only category producing palm oil used by the food industry  produced 80,000tons annually, which is only 10% of local production and the overall domestic oil production was 1.35mn tones, the consumption demand was 2.25mn tones resulting in a shortfall of 900,000 tones. http://thenationonlineng.net/implications-of-cbns-forex-restrictions-on-cpo/

EU Ban of Some Nigerian Foods Worry Stakeholders Posted by :bworld Posted date : October 28, 2015; Following the recent suspension of some agricultural food exports from Nigeria to European Union countries till June 2016, the development has since been eliciting some level of concern to stakeholders. Some of the food items so affected are beans, sesame seeds, melon seeds, dried fish and meat, peanut chips and palm oil...Although the European Union Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS led by Mr. Filippo Amato, head of Trade and Economic Section of the EU sometime in September, was quoted to have refuted the reports, but he however, noted that the import suspension measure, which he said had been misconstrued, affected only dried beans; but that some other agricultural products had occasionally been rejected at the EU borders due to high level of pesticides which is dangerous for human health. http://businessworldng.com/eu-ban-of-some-nigerian-foods-worry-stakeholders/

FDA’s alert on palm oil is sweeping and panicky by Columnist: Franklin Cudjoe 27 October 2015; The story published on October 26, 2015 stated in part “The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) is warning against the consumption of palm oil sold on the market across the country.  The Authority has currently heightened its market surveillance after discovering oil samples picked from ten markets in the Greater Accra Region contained highly dangerous textile dye which causes cancer. The FDA in a statement said it randomly sampled 50 palm oil.” It continued “The results showed that 98% of the palm oil tested positive to Sudan IV dye. Following up, the FDA on Tuesday, 20th October, 2015 in collaboration with the Narcotics Division of the Ghana Police Service apprehended some dealers suspected to be involved in this practice and confiscated the products, which were also analysed and found to contain Sudan III and Sudan IV dyes, leading to the arrest of 22 market women and a driver.”  http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/features/FDA-s-alert-on-palm-oil-is-sweeping-and-panicky-390246

Uganda's 40-Year Oil Palm Journey by The Monitor (Kampala) 24 October 2015; By Emmanuel Mukanga The year was 1972. I had joined Makerere University, Kampala as a teenager and Frank Kalimuzo, the first vice chancellor, was to disappear and never to be seen again. That was the year the late John Akii Bua brought home the 400 metres hurdles' gold medal with a new Olympic record..... General Idi Amin was president of Uganda and had not yet declared himself Conqueror of the British Empire. In that year, he was busy wading off an invasion by Ugandan exiles from Tanzania and taking time off to snooze in Moroto District and dream up divine instructions to expel the Ugandan Asian community within 90 days beginning in August.... In that same year, a team of young scientists from Kawanda Agricultural Research Station were preparing to set off and set up oil palm research trials in Bundibugyo, Kalangala, Kituuza and Nakabango in Busoga. Their findings laid the foundation for oil palm development in Uganda, which has turned around Kalangala District from among the poorest to a major magnet for investment today....This team was led by a 35-year-old plant pathologist and administrator - Sebastian Matovu, who was in charge of the coffee research unit that carried out research on coffee, cocoa and oil palm...http://allafrica.com/stories/201510261134.html

The Palm Oil You Want to Eat - Ruddy 'dendê' is a far cry from the grease found in so many processed foods. Oct 21, 2015.... First off, the red palm oil (aka dendê) you see in West African markets, health food stores, and some supermarkets, like industrial palm oil, is derived from the fibrous mesocarp of the fruit of the African oil palm. (Mesocarp? Quick—check out last week’s anatomy-of-a-palm lesson. Then come right back.) But red palm oil is less processed—either refined at lower temperatures or not heated at all during processing—so it retains its great abundance of carotenoids, including alpha carotene and beta carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A and which give the oil its beautiful orange-red color. Red palm oil is also rich in tocopherols, the most potent natural source of vitamin E.... Like any tropical oil, it also contains a hefty amount of saturated fats. “Fully half of palm oil is composed of saturated fats, as is 86 percent of the oil from the kernel of that palm fruit and 92 percent of coconut oil,” Nina Teicholz writes in The Big Fat Surprise. Those numbers were scary to a public that had long been assured of saturated fat’s dangers, she adds, and starting in the late 1980s, food companies responded by replacing the palm oil in processed foods with—you guessed it—trans fats, mostly in the form of partially hydrogenated soybean oil. A leaflet distributed by the American Soybean Council boasted the title “What You Don’t Know About Tropical Fats Can Kill You!” and an image of a lighted fuse attached to the top of a coconut..... ... . Establishing cause and effect when it comes to a single ingredient is notoriously difficult, and Teicholz’s chapters on the tropical oils war, trans fats, and how the food police identifies a dietary villain, data be damned—then gins up the populace and, inevitably, governmental regulators—make for fascinating, if troubling, reading. For example, a year after Harvard epidemiologist Walter Willett published an opinion piece stating that trans fats were causing an astonishing 30,000 American deaths a year from heart disease, two large observational studies conducted in Europe showed no relationship between trans fats and rates of heart attacks or sudden cardiac death. “Far more than the public realizes, Willett was out on a limb with his data,” Teicholz wrote.... ... But the effect of trans fats in Willett’s study was small, not even a twofold increase in risk. ... And I’m returning red palm oil, albeit a sustainably sourced one, to my pantry shelf. I was first introduced to the stuff by Jessica B. Harris, the authority on the food and foodways of the African diaspora, and was captivated by dendê’s deep orange shimmer and sensual, nutty richness. “In places like northeastern Brazil or Nigeria, for instance, where you have a diet very low in animal fat, dendê is an important thing,” Harris said in a phone conversation. “It’s a part of the traditional diet.”... In the African-influenced cuisine of the Brazilian state of Bahia, there’s a whole subgenre of dendê cooking, she went on to explain. It can be used as the cooking fat, as in the iconic acarajé, or black-eyed-pea fritters (its high smoke point makes it ideal for deep frying), or as a flavoring or finishing ingredient in Bahian dishes such as the chicken stew called xinxim de galinha or the shrimp stew moqueca de camarão. You can also use it in a vinaigrette or swirl it into all sorts of dishes as a condiment, as you would olive oil. The companies that produce all the red palm oil from Malaysia (Carotino is one brand) are certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil...  ... Nutiva; according to the company website, its red palm oil is sustainably produced on small organic family farms in Ecuador and certified organic, non-GMO, and Fair Trade... http://www.takepart.com/article/2015/10/21/cooking-palm-oil

Reports demystify palm oil myths, expose benefits By: JILL OKEKEon: October 18, 2015; For years, scientists from the so-called developed world, especially the United States, have campaigned relentlessly against the consumption of RPO. It was a target of massive advertising campaign, including widely published allegations that it was hazardous to health. It was attacked as ‘saturated’ since it contains 44% palmitic acid and 5% stearic acid, thereby allegedly raises blood cholesterol and increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Because it was comparatively new to many of the so-called developed countries, it was judged solely on the basis of its saturated fatty acid content while its numerous benefits were over looked. ..... It also appears that palm oil, compared to polyunsaturated oils, poses a reduced risk for cancer. This may be due to the tocotrionols in palmoil... http://thenationonlineng.net/reports-demystify-palm-oil-myths-expose-benefits/

Archived News (26/10/2015) : Olam International Signs MoU With FGV To Train Gabonese Farmers....  http://www.bernama.com.my/bernama/v8/ge/newsgeneral.php?id=1183513


19 October 2015: Africa forest plantation worries, Liberia land scramble, Nigeria forex restrictions, Europe mycotoxins export problem, FDI in Cross River, Presco, GVL, Sime Darby chemical explosion

Riot on the plantation - In Liberia, palm oil has set off a dangerous scramble for land - By  Elaisha Stokes in Sinoe county, Liberia Photos by  Kuni Takahashi for Al Jazeera America; Published on Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015; On the morning of May 24, a rumor started to circulate around Butaw district. The CEO of Golden Veroleum Liberia, the palm oil company that had become the lifeblood of the local villages, was going to visit. It was a big deal. When the roads are good, Butaw is a six-hour drive from the country’s capital, Monrovia. But the roads are rarely good, and dignitaries seldom visit. When the company planted its first oil palm seedlings in 2010, villagers hoped they might find employment with the company. But for most the jobs didn’t materialize. People remained unemployed and terribly poor. They were farmers by trade, but farmland had become scarce since the company came to town. Now villagers had no land and no jobs, and they were angry. http://projects.aljazeera.com/2015/10/liberia-palm-oil/

CBN’s forex restrictions on Crude Palm Oil: Economic implications - The consumption of palm oil in Nigeria amounts to 1.0 million Metric Tonnes (MT) per annum. http://businessdayonline.com/2015/10/cbns-forex-restrictions-on-crude-palm-oil-economic-implications/

Expert urges produce audit to avert exports rejection Posted By: Daniel Essieton: October 09, 2015; Chairman Board of Trustees, Mycotoxicology Society of Nigeria, Prof Dele Fapohunda,  has  urged  the  government to  improve  on exports  standards and ensure commodities  meets European Union (EU) requirements for import...  He said the rejection of some of Nigeria’s exported food items by the EU is not only detrimental to the agricultural sector, but is also counterproductive to the economy. He was addressing a workshop organised by the Raw Materials Research and Development Council in Abuja. He said beans, sesame seeds, melon seeds, dried fish and meat, peanut chips and palm oil from Nigeria have been banned by the EU till June, next year, which the reason given were aflatoxins and pesticides at unacceptable levels. http://thenationonlineng.net/expert-urges-produce-audit-to-avert-exports-rejection/

ERA, communities decry indiscriminate land use by multinationals By Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu and Michael Egbejule, Benin City on October 12, 2015 7:18 am  THE Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has expressed dismay by the activities of most big multinational companies in the country over the ugly trend of forcefully denying their host communities the use of their lands without any commensurate compensation.,,, Rita Uwaka, project officer of ERA in her research findings, told journalists that it was noted that Okomu Oil Palm firm grabbed more land across forest reserves for oil palm business and “another 11,000 hectares of farmland, including two forest reserves grabbed for oil palm plantation expansion by Okomu Oil Palm Plc- a member of the global SOCFIN Group, is worrisome, adding that community-based livelihoods, comprising mainly farming and fishing, had been truncated with over 20 communities risking eviction and human rights abuses.... http://www.ngrguardiannews.com/2015/10/era-communities-decry-indiscriminate-land-use-by-multinationals/

‘Save us from threats to our existence’ By Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu and Michael Egbejule, Benin City on October 13, 2015 5:58 am • ERA, Edo State communities decry indiscriminate land use by multinationals http://www.ngrguardiannews.com/2015/10/save-us-from-threats-to-our-existence/

Sime Darby findings Release   Created: Wednesday, 14 October 2015 05:58, The Inter-Ministerial and Agency Investigative Committee probing the recent fire incident at the Sime Darby Plantations in Bomi County has submitted its findings and recommendations. On the morning of September 20, 2015, a fire incidence occurred at one of the chemical storage facilities within the sime Darby Plantations and gutted the storage.  Preliminary investigation showed that no death occurred. However, ten volunteer-fire-fighters who helped in the fight to extinguish the fire were affected by heat exhaustion mostly. According to a release issued in Monrovia yesterday, immediately upon receiving the news of the incident, an Inter-Ministerial/Agency Investigative Committee was dispatched to the plantations where the team held discussions with both management and workers’ representatives…. During the tour of the facilities and its surrounding areas, the team established that the warehouse storing the chemicals was destroyed by the fire, and that remnants of the burnt chemicals were a major source of an offensive odoe. Given this toxic odor, the management issued nose masks to workers, students, as well as visitors to avoid the toxic (chemicals) smell released into the environment in the aftermath of the explosion. The cause of the fire was traced to an electrical shock which overheated different chemicals stored in varying concentration and under the abnormal temperature of each chemical. The team further observed that due to the lack of trained fire-fighters, fire-fighting equipment and logistics, the fire was not extinguished in time, thereby causing a huge loss to the investment. Upon completion of its investigation, the Committee recommended that Sime Darby Plantations as a company, thoroughly cleanup and properly dispose of the chemical debris at its own cost on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) instruction. It also recommended that Sime Darby should not dispose the debris of burnt materials without permit from the Environmental Protection Agency;  desist from spraying herbicides during the raining season....http://www.thenewdawnliberia.com/news/8636-sime-darby-findings-release

Sime Darby Plantation welcomes report  Created: Monday, 12 October 2015 08:17

LIBERIA: Aggrieved Women Of Sime Darby Plantation Stage Protest Action; Submitted by Cholo Brooks on Fri, 10/09/2015 - 19:16..Over 60 Women recently stormed the Sime Darby Plantation in Gbarjike, Klay District, Bomi County in protest at the mysterious deaths of cattle in the plantation and neighboring villages. http://www.gnnliberia.com/articles/2015/10/09/liberia-aggrieved-women-sime-darby-plantation-stage-protest-action

Liberia: GVL Donates to Educational Efforts in Liberia  13 October 2015 http://allafrica.com/stories/201510131667.html

Liberia: Sime Darby Faces Fine Following Chemical Explosion  By Henry Karmo http://allafrica.com/stories/201510081015.html

Nigeria needs restructuring to move forward –Ikoku Posted By: EBERE NDUKWUon: October 06, 2015; Malaysia had to come to International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, IITA in Ibadan to see our palm kernel seedlings and we gave it to them. The IITA in Ibadan is still there, they took our palm kernel seedlings to Malaysia, developed it and within 10 years Malaysia now uses palm oil to produce what they call bio fuel with which you drive a car. Today, they are selling palm oil to Nigeria, is it not a big shame? The thing is that we have left the things that should have helped us grow and are pursuing other things. At what point would you say we got it wrong? We got it wrong after the Nigerian civil war, I won’t say immediately after the independence because with independence we still had national leaders.... http://nationalmirroronline.net/new/nigeria-needs-restructuring-to-move-forward-ikoku/

Liberia: Affected Communities in Sime Darby Explosion Fear Worst Future 2 October 2015 by The Inquirer (Monrovia) http://allafrica.com/stories/201510021635.html

Ghana - Agric Minister calls for sustainable oil palm production  2 October 2015, AFRICA risks losing out in oil palm production if it fails to mainstream sustainable measures into the production of the commodity, the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Mr Fiifi Kwetey, has said. http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/business/Agric-Minister-calls-for-sustainable-oil-palm-production-385193

Palm oil plantations devouring forests in West Africa Global Information Network |   September 29, 2015,  newly released study has found that trees covering an area twice the size of Maine were cut down worldwide in 2014. But, the biggest threat to forests is looming over West Africa. Governments there have been buckling to pressure to convert “vacant” land and sell off forests for more profitable uses, namely palm oil plantations—a key ingredient in shampoo, toothpaste, ice cream, floor polish and many other foodstuffs and cosmetics. By 2020 global demand for palm oil is expected to double and then triple by 2050 http://www.frostillustrated.com/2015/palm-oil-plantations-devouring-forests-in-west-africa/

GVL Conducts Participatory Mapping with Communities in Grand Kru Thu, 10/01/2015 - 02:24 admin  Golden Veroleum Liberia (GVL) is holding a series of meetings, alongside land mapping with communities that have freely offered new and additional lands for oil palm development and extension in Grand Kru County. http://www.liberianobserver.com/agriculture/gvl-conducts-participatory-mapping-communities-grand-kru

Nigerian firms in trouble as central bank measures backfire  Thu Sep 24, 2015 11:09am EDT  By Julia Payne * Nigeria imposes forex controls, bans import of 680 items * Manufacturers warn import ban might force closure of plants * Companies wait for weeks to get dollars to pay suppliers * Africa's biggest economy suffers from oil price crash http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/09/24/nigeria-economy-idUSL5N11T3LB20150924

Presco Taps into Agro Sector Opportunities 30 Sep 2015; Presco is a subsidiary of Siat S.A., a Belgian agro-industrial company, with specialisation in  industrial and  as smallholder plantations of oil palm and rubber, and allied processing industries such as palm oil mills, palm oil refining. As at December 2014, Siat S.A, held 60 per cent  of the total issued shares. First Inland Bank/Fidelity Financial Co. (TRDG) also had  8.16 per cent  of the equity. The  principal activities of Presco Plc are the development of oil palm plantations, palm oil milling, palm kernel processing and vegetable oil refining.  The company cultivates  oil palm and in the extraction, refining and fractionation of crude palm oil into finished products. It is also a supplier of specialty fats and oils. However,  the company, based in Edo State,  has commenced investment in the rubber sector with the establishment of a bud wood garden and the acquisition of 14,000 hectares of land for rubber and oil palm plantations... http://www.thisdaylive.com/articles/presco-taps-into-agro-sector-opportunities/221543/

GVL welcomes RSPO final decision  Wednesday, 30 September 2015 03:38   Golden Veroleum Liberia or GVL has welcomed the recent final decision issued by the Complaints Panel of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil in the country. The final decision, dated Sept. 19th, 2015, identified complaints made to the organization, which had been investigated by the RSPO Complaints panel. A GVL press release says included in the report are clarifications on the company’s Concession Agreement, employment, Free, Prior and Informed Consent, employment of former combatants, crop compensations, etc.   “We thank RSPO for many months of looking into all the details surrounding these complaints and coming up with what they have noted to be evidence-based decisions,” said Stephen Binda, GVL Spokesperson.   The release says in each case RSPO conducted a detailed assessment of GVL operations and its community engagements, along with consultations with local communities and NGO and CSO stakeholders.   http://www.thenewdawnliberia.com/news/8531-gvl-welcomes-rspo-final-decision

Nigeria: Cross River State - Investment Yet to Yield Dividend 20 September 2015 By Anietie Akpan Calabar — The Cross River government, in the last four years, has continue to intensify efforts at improving agriculture production in the state, thereby, diversifying from the over dependence on allocation from the Federation Account. Much of the effort is seen in the establishment of the Songhai Farms, the Private Public Partnership (PPP) arrangement with PZ Wilmer and massive disbursement of funds to individuals in the private sector. The Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources during Senator Liyel Imoke-led administration, Mr. James Aniyom, said the state's policy aimed at repositioning agriculture. He said, "the vision is to move Cross River State agriculture from government to private sector driven. It will also give a clear focus to all stakeholders, the direction of government and address the specific needs of the state." By Anietie Akpan; Calabar — The Cross River government, in the last four y  rs, has continue to intensify efforts at improving agriculture production in the state, thereby, diversifying from the over dependence on allocation from the Federation Account. Much of the effort is seen in the establishment of the Songhai Farms, the Private Public Partnership (PPP) arrangement with PZ Wilmer and massive disbursement of funds to individuals in the private sector. The Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources during Senator Liyel Imoke-led administration, Mr. James Aniyom, said the state's policy aimed at repositioning agriculture. He said, "the vision is to move Cross River State agriculture from government to private sector driven. It will also give a clear focus to all stakeholders, the direction of government and address the specific needs of the state." By Anietie Akpan http://allafrica.com/stories/201509210384.html

Concerns as  Mycotoxins  deny Nigerian products access to EU market Mon, Sep 21st, 2015  Real Sector | By Harrison Edeh  Experts say the use of ‘Mycotoxins’ remains a major factor denying Nigerian and other developing countries’ food items access to the European and American markets. Mycotoxin is a toxic secondary metabolite produced by organisms of the fungi kingdom, commonly known as molds. This concern is coming on the heels of the European Union (EU) ban, until 2016 http://businessdayonline.com/2015/09/concerns-as-mycotoxins-deny-nigerian-products-access-to-eu-market/

Liberia’s Port Shows Surge in Trade as Nation Recovers from Ebola - APM Terminals says a 30% jump in container volume through Monrovia demonstrates a gathering recovery after disease devastated the population and the country’s economy By  Brian Baskin   Sept. 15, 2015 2:11 p.m. ET  http://www.wsj.com/articles/liberias-port-shows-surge-in-trade-as-nation-recovers-from-ebola-1442340705

‘Failure of mono economy creates investment opportunities in non-oil sector’ Sep 14th, 2015  Economy | By ODINAKA ANUDU & HOPE MOSES-ASHIKE  

Kissing livelihoods and ecosystems goodbye — the very real threat of 'fake forests' in Africa  15 Sep 2015 09:25|Samantha Spooner; Planted forests have been increasing in Africa at a rate of 0.2 million hectare a year--to the benefit largely of the commercial plantations....This culminated in a protest on September 10 in Durban, when over 3,000 people took to the streets as part of an action against “fake forests”. The march concluded with Greenpeace executive director, Kumi Naidoo, handing over a 100,000 signature petition against plantations to the WFC Programme Manager Motsamai Nkosi. Fake forest threat. Since 1990, some 38 million hectares  of primary forest have been reported as modified or cleared. This does not necessarily mean that this forest is converted to other land uses. Primary forest, when modified but not cleared, changes into other naturally regenerated (secondary) forest and in some cases planted forest. Planted forest area has increased by over 110 million hectares since 1990, reaching a to al of 290 million hectare in 2015, and accounts for 7% of the world’s forest area. In the case of Africa, the amount of replanted forest increased by 0.2 million hectares per year from 2010, totalling 16 million hectares in 2015. What is of concern to the civil society groups is that even the FAO is not making enough of a differentiation between natural and planted forests and the impact this has on the ecosystems and local communities. For example, the FAO’s definition of ‘“forest” includes commercial plantations of fast growing trees.  http://mgafrica.com/article/2015-09-01-the-threat-of-fake-forests-in-africa

13 September 2015: Deforestation shifts to West Africa, Nigeria EU ban, Presco Nigeria cuts costs, DekelOil certification, Nigeria forex waivers problem 

Trees covering an area twice the size of Portugal lost in 2014, study finds - Palm oil plantations are devouring forests rapidly worldwide, with west Africa becoming the new hot spot for tree loss, Wednesday 2 September 2015 04.00 BST;  ...Researchers at the US-based World Resources Institute (WRI) who analysed the data said they were surprised by the west Africa finding. Among the 10 countries are Sierra Leone, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia and Madagascar, which last year lost 2% of its total forest area to agriculture, mining and the timber industry. Nigel Sizer, who leads the forests work at the WRI thinktank, said that the data showed tree loss was no longer just a problem for Brazil and Indonesia. “We are seeing a shift in the expansion of tree cover loss to a second tier of smaller countries that traditionally get much less attention from environmental groups.” ....Liberia’s finance minister, Amara Konneh has said the nation is “worried about the ecological consequences” of palm oil but must grow the economy to create jobs. The analysis shows that more than 62% of tree loss in tropics last year occurred outside of Indonesia and Brazil, in comparison to 47% in 2001. The two countries are home to some of the world’s largest tropical forests and have long been the focus of conservationists concerned about the impact on indigenous communities and endangered species.

Export Council Seeks Review Of EU Ban On Nigeria’s Products by Channels Television. Updated September 8, 2015; Agricultural products banOfficials of the Nigeria Export Promotion Council are looking at ways of reviewing the European Union’s ban of products from Nigeria. Issues of poor packaging, non-adherence to food safety measures and non-compliance to administrative procedure had characterised ‎product export from Nigeria to countries in Europe... http://www.channelstv.com/2015/09/08/export-council-seeks-review-of-eu-ban-on-nigeria-products/

Can This Government Truly Rescue Liberian Businesses? Thu, 09/10/2015 - 22:22 admin http://www.liberianobserver.com/editorials/can-government-truly-rescue-liberian-businesses

Presco Nigeria profit surges on cost cuts Wed, Sep 2nd, 2015; Presco Nigeria Plc’s cost control measures put in place by its proactive management have paid off as half year net income increased 10.18 percent amid tough operating environment crimping the growth of companies in Africa’s largest economy. Profit was N1.19 billion in June 2015, from N1.08 billion the same period of the corresponding year (HI) 2014. The growth at the bottom line was a result of a 25.25 percent reduction in cost of sales to N2.05 billion from N2.78 billion last year.... http://businessdayonline.com/2015/09/presco-nigeria-profit-surges-on-cost-cuts/

Cheap vegetable oils said to be killing oil palm industry in Ghana   August 25, 2015  https://www.ghanabusinessnews.com/2015/08/25/cheap-vegetable-oils-said-to-be-killing-oil-palm-industry-in-ghana/

DekelOil Moves Ahead On Certification As Sustainable Palm Oil Producer  Tue, 25th Aug 2015 08:45; DekelOil said its objective is to become the first RSPO certified, fully functioning producer of crude palm oil in the Ivory Coast and among the first in West Africa. It said it has engaged with Proforest, a UK-based environmental and social consulting group, to assist with the implementation of social and environmental programmes to prepare its milling operations and oil palm estates for certification. The mill is anticipated to be certified first, with the oil palm estates to be certified within three years of the completion of the mill certification. http://www.lse.co.uk/AllNews.asp?code=ka9u4ko0&headline=DekelOil_Moves_Ahead_On_Certification_As_Sustainable_Palm_Oil_Producer

‘CBN’s policy ‘ll promote local self-sufficiency’ Posted By: Osagie Otaboron: August 28, 2015; The Managing Director,  Okomu Oil Palm Plc, Dr. Graham Heifer, has said the policies of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on forex only affected businessmen asking for waivers especially on palm oil. He said granting waivers by previous administration has affected oil palm production in the country negatively. Heifer who spoke with reporters said granting waivers was unfair because some people have to pay duty while others got waiver to bring in things and it affected the industry negatively. The Okomu Oil chief said the CBN policy offered local producers of oil palm to produce more as well as an opportunity for others to invest in the business. He said his firm has purchased 12,000 hectares of land in Ovia North East Local government Area of Edo State with a view to expanding production to meet market demands. http://thenationonlineng.net/cbns-policy-ll-promote-local-self-sufficiency/

7 September 2015: NIFOR worried about adulterated palm oil, Olam Gabon settlers training at Felda schemes

Nigeria: Institute Raises Alarm Over Adulteration of Palm Oil 26 August 2015; By Eyo Charles  Calabar — Director of research at Nigeria Institute for Oil Palm Research (NIFOR) Dr Celestine Ikwuenobi is alarmed that palm oil widely used for food has been adulterated with chemicals used in the dyeing of clothes. He said this has become a major health risk among consumers of the products. He disclosed this Wednesday during a training session for oil palm farmers in Calabar by a non-governmental organisation, Solidaridad. He said that unless efforts are taken to address the situation a major health disaster will erupt in the country. He also disclosed that the adulteration is not only in palm oil but also oil palm seedlings sold to farmers, stressing that the chemical is unsafe for human consumption. http://allafrica.com/stories/201508270977.html

54 Gabonese settlers undergoing training at Felda schemes   6 September 2015 @ 10:28 AM   KUALA LUMPUR: Gabon-based OLAM Palm Gabon SA has sent 54 Gabonese settlers to undergo a four-month training at Felda land schemes in Trolak, Perak and Tekam, Pahang.  The training, which entails a one-month stint on farm management and another three months on oil palm cultivation, is being conducted by Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd’s (FGV), FGV Organisational Learning and Development Manager Saiful Nizam Yahaya said..... http://www.nst.com.my/news/2015/09/54-gabonese-settlers-undergoing-training-felda-schemes

22 August 2015: Olam Gabon opens new palm oil mill, ‘We want our land back': Liberian communities speak out about big palm oil, Nigeria Agricultural Transformation Agenda, Nigeria’s Agro-products And EU Ban, EPOL exports infra, Global Witness "Snake Oil" report, Wilmar and Socapalm also under scrutiny, Presco earnings.

Gabon opens new palm oil plant Posted by:  APA   Posted date : August 14, 2015 at 7:06 pm UTC  252 views  In : business; Gabonese President, Ali Bongo Ondimba on Friday inaugurated a new palm oil production facility in Kango, south of Libreville.  It is the second such plant after that managed by SIAT Gabon in Lambaréné (center). The plant was built by the Singapore-owned agro-industrial group Olam, as part of a public-private partnership with the Gabonese government. Gabon exploits oil palm trees for cooking oil and soap. The country plans to increase its oil production to 250,000 tons by 2020 and thus become the largest producer in Africa, south of the Sahara. http://en.starafrica.com/news/gabon-opens-new-palm-oil-plant.html

 ‘We want our land back': Liberian communities speak out about big palm oil 10th August 2015 / Sara Jerving; Some communities are eager to participate Liberia's expanding palm oil industry, while others say their land was taken from them without their permission.... This is the first part in a series on palm oil in Liberia written through on-the-ground reporting. http://news.mongabay.com/2015/08/mrn-we-want-our-land-back-liberian-communities-speak-out-about-big-palm-oil/...  Read the second part here.... http://news.mongabay.com/2015/08/mrn-will-palm-oil-bring-jobs-to-liberia/

Nigeria. Adesina Slams Oshiomole For Criticising Jonathan’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda Posted by: niyi  August 19, 2015; ...under ATA, efficient distribution of subsidised farm inputs – also known as the Growth Enhancement Support Scheme (GESS), reached 14.3million farmers with 1.3million MT of fertiliser, 102,703 metric tons of improved rice seeds, 67,991 metric tons of improved maize seeds, 6,171 metric tons of improved cotton seeds, 130 million stems of cassava, 45.5million seedlings of cocoa, nine million seedlings of oil palm amongst many other crops between 2012 and 2014....

Nigeria’s Agro-products And EU Ban bt leadership editorial — Aug 9, 2015 3:27 am; Recently, it was reported that the European Union (EU) has placed a ban on a number of Nigeria’s agricultural products, for not meeting the quality standards set for such items destined for their markets. In other words, the products failed the standardisation test and, therefore, did not meet the stringent international exports standards of countries in the Union. The items include beans, sesame seeds, dried fish, dried meat, peanut chips and palm oil. The restriction, it also indicated, will last till June next year. Before the discovery of petroleum in commercial quantity, agriculture used to be the nation’s economic mainstay. Cocoa, rubber, timber for instance, financed the free education and other laudable policies of the then Western Region; groundnuts, ginger, cotton and other products bank-rolled development projects in the North, while palm produce put the Eastern Region on the world map, as one of the fastest growing economies in Africa decades ago. With easy petro-dollar, the country lost its agricultural momentum to the point that she is today a net importer of agro-products from palm oil, cocoa derivatives, rice to poultry and dairy products. Each year, the country spends billions of dollars importing agricultural products that can be conveniently produced locally....http://leadership.ng/opinions/editorial/452693/nigerias-agro-products-and-eu-ban

MADE in the Niger Delta By Idang Alibi | Publish Date: Aug 12 2015 11:15PM | Updated Date: Aug 13 2015 8:00AM MADE, as used here, is not the past tense of make. Rather, it is an acronym standing for Market for Development (MADE) project in the Niger Delta. MADE is a DFID funded intervention agency meant to create market for poor farmers and develop linkages among them in the nine states of the Niger Delta in order to improve their socio-economic circumstances....http://www.dailytrust.com.ng/news/opinion/made-in-the-niger-delta/106161.html

Equatorial Palm Oil Reaches Deal To Allow Exports From Liberia Mon, 10th Aug 2015 12:47; LONDON (Alliance News) - Equatorial Palm Oil PLC Monday said it has signed an agreement with the National Port Authority of Liberia to lease land so it can build a palm product export facility at the port of Buchanan. The company signed the agreement through its operating subsidiary, LIBINC Oil Palm Inc, so it can build the export facility at the port, which lies around 24 kilometres away from Equatorial Palm Oil's Palm Bay estate. The 4.5 acre site is in close proximity to the wharf where vessels will load the company's produce to ship to customers. The company will truck its produce from Palm Bay to the port of Buchanan, where it will store its produce in a tank which it intends to build at the site. Over time, Equatorial Palm Oil will build the tank to have a capacity of 10,000 metric tonnes of palm oil... http://www.lse.co.uk/AllNews.asp?code=m094l32v&headline=Equatorial_Palm_Oil_Reaches_Deal_To_Allow_Exports_From_Liberia

Africa: Will Herakles Farms' Monster Palm Oil Project Destroy Endangered Animal Habitats Too? 11 August 2015 http://allafrica.com/stories/201508121716.html

Palm Oil Company Is Accused of Exploiting Liberia’s Ebola Crisis By CLAIR MacDOUGALLAUG. 1, 2015; Mr. Wloh, 35, comes from a long line of farmers and has been working the land since childhood. But last year, during the height of the Ebola outbreak, his community signed an agreement turning over large swaths of land to Golden Veroleum Liberia, a palm oil company that operates in remote parts of southeastern Liberia. The agreement was signed in September and a few months later large tracts of land were cleared to make way for palm oil plantations. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/02/world/africa/palm-oil-company-is-accused-of-exploiting-liberias-ebola-crisis.html?_r=0

Sierra Leone News : Gold Tree Opines Economic Boom from Oil Palms  By Augustine Samba  Aug 5, 2015, 17:02 Email this article; The General Manager of the Goldtree Oil Palm Plantation on Friday 30th July 2015 said well planned oil palm investment will yield huge economic boom for Sierra Leone but lamented his company was as yet unable to secure needful funding. Mr. Pieter Van Dessel made this statement during his presentation to the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security and Ministry officials at a meeting held at the Goldtree Oil Palm Mill at Daru in the Kailahun District....http://news.sl/drwebsite/publish/article_200527997.shtml

East Africa: Land Mishaps Stall Palm Tree Project 1 August 2015 By Isaac Khisa Poor land documentation and resistance from landowners are stalling regional vegetable oil and soap maker Bidco's palm tree growing project on the Buvuma Islands in Lake Victoria. Sources familiar with the situation told The EastAfrican that the palm oil project is yet to take off three years after it was launched, because the government is yet to secure enough land. http://allafrica.com/stories/201508031365.html

Liberia: Brown Debunks Global Witness 'Snake Oil' Report 30 July 2015 By Wilfred Gortor; Information Minister Lewis G. Brown has refuted reports by the advocacy group Global Witness that the Government of Liberia is involved in unwholesome acts such as confiscating private lands for use by concessionaires. According to Minister Brown, the report which was dubbed "Snake Oil," referenced specifically Golden Veroleum Liberia, owner of the biggest palm oil plantation in the Southeastern region, as being aided by government to terrorize citizens in signing away their lands. The Information Minister termed the report as "inaccurate and contrary" to government's vision of ensuring and guaranteeing land ownership and the rights of land tenures for the people of Liberia. http://allafrica.com/stories/201507311347.html

Food Musings: On The Palm Oil Matter, To Eat Or Not To Eat by Ifeyinwa Nzeka 2 weeks ago 8415 Editor’s note: Palm oil, made from palm kernels, is a staple in Nigeria, used especially in soups and of course, beans. However, lately, it has been getting a bad rap among promoters of ‘healthy’ eating. Naij.com‘s contributor, Ifeyinwa Nzeka analyses the matter to help decide whether to eat or not to eat. https://www.naij.com/508320-food-musings-palm-oil-matter-eat-not-eat.html

Uganda’s farmers battle palm oil Goliaths for land By AFP on July 25, 2015; Muylisa, a 53-year old father of nine, had leased a 17 hectare (40 acre) plot farming coffee, bananas, cassava and potatoes on Kalangala island. But in 2011 that land was taken and cleared for a palm oil estate. “It’s like I’m starting all over again now,” Muyiisa said, adding he once could earn over 1,400 dollars a year (1,300 euros) but is now struggling to survive... It is a story repeated elsewhere in Africa, where large internationally-backed companies are snapping up agricultural land, and activists claim their actions deprive local farmers of basic needs. But Muyiisa did not legally own the land he farms.. The palm oil project is being carried out by Oil Palm Uganda, a subsidiary of local food producer Bidco Uganda. Bidco in turn is a joint venture between global palm oil giant Wilmar International — backed by several European banks and financiers — and other international partners....http://www.ngrguardiannews.com/2015/07/ugandas-farmers-battle-palm-oil-goliaths-for-land/

See How Much Nigeria Earned From Non-oil Commodities In 2014 by Clement Ejiofor 3 weeks ago; According to the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) data, Nigeria earned a total sum of $2.4bn from the exportation of cocoa, rubber, and other non-oil commodities within the 2014 fiscal period. The NEPC estimates show that cocoa exports with a total amount of $666.45m accounted for the highest non-oil export earnings, followed by raw hides, skins and leather with $487.97m. Oil seeds, grains and plant/straw – $389.78m; aluminium, $113.35m; tobacco, $109.05m... https://www.naij.com/499136-see-much-nigeria-earned-non-oil-commodities-2014.html
Agriculture As Panacea To Nigeria’s Failed Economy July 31, 2015 • By Comrade Imuagbonhen Johnson http://www.nigerianobservernews.com/2015/07/31/agriculture-as-panacea-to-nigerias-failed-economy/

Africa: Can We Save Forests and Produce Palm Oil? Scientists Seek Answer 29 July 2015 By Megan Rowling;...Led by an independent team of 50 scientists, a draft version of the "High Carbon Stock Study" - commissioned by a group of Asian oil palm growers, agribusiness giant Cargill and consumer goods firm Unilever - was released last month for consultation....  http://allafrica.com/stories/201507300231.html

Ghana is second leading producer of palm oil in Africa and yet… – Opoku-Asare July 25, 2015... Mr Gabriel Opoku-Asare, the Head of Corporate Affairs, Unilever Ghana, has described the palm oil sub-sector as the next “gold” for the country if it can meet the increasing global demand for sustainable palm oil. He said the palm oil sector currently employs over 300,000 people in the country and this must be given the needed attention to exploit its full potential....https://www.ghanabusinessnews.com/2015/07/25/ghana-is-second-leading-producer-of-palm-oil-in-africa-and-yet-opoku-asare/

West Africa develops guidelines for responsible production of palm oil July 29, 2015; The workshop, held in Accra, was part of the Tropical Forest Alliance (TFA) 2020 Africa Palm Oil initiative, which is developing a set of high level regional principles to guide palm oil development across the region. Proforest, which is leading the Initiative on behalf of TFA 2020, organised the Ghana National Workshop on Sustainable Palm Oil Development in collaboration with the Government through the Ministry of Food and Agriculture. It brought together senior representatives of the government, traditional leaders, major palm oil producing and consumer goods companies, and civil society organisations....The workshop brought together TFA 2020 is a public–private partnership bringing together companies, governments and civil society with a shared goal of reducing tropical deforestation across the globe. Its focus is on agricultural commodities like palm oil, soy, pulp and paper, and beef products, which drive more than 50 per cent of such deforestation.... https://www.ghanabusinessnews.com/2015/07/29/west-africa-develops-guidelines-for-responsible-production-of-palm-oil/

The palm oil company at the centre of a bitter land rights struggle in Cameroon - Local residents complain expansion plans by Socapalm, Cameroon’s biggest palm oil company, will take over land that belongs to them; Victoria Schneider in Cameroon; Victoria Schneider is a freelance journalist. She has written for Al Jazeera, Krautreporter and Zeit Online Monday 27 July 2015 13.45 BST; Socapalm owns six plantation concessions in Cameroon, located in two regions along the country’s fertile coast.... We are not far from Mbonjo II, one of the villages inside the Dibombari region, in west Cameroon that is also a concession area of the private oil palm company Socapalm. Currently the country’s biggest producer, Socapalm is trying to further expand production and help Cameroon become a net exporter of palm oil.http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2015/jul/27/palm-oil-boom-cameroon-land-ownership-protest

Liberia: Global Witness Exposé Reveals Violence, Threats, and False Promises Driving Rapid Palm Oil Expansion in Liberia 23 July 2015;  press release Urgent reforms needed to protect citizens and regulate plantation companies... press release Urgent reforms needed to protect citizens and regulate plantation companies. Oil palm growers push for protection, Business News of Saturday, 18 July 2015; Government needs to urgently introduce fiscal measures to protect the oil palm industry so as to attract investors and rural dwellers, oil palm outgrowers and smallholder farmers in the Eastern Region have said. The farmers argued that if adequate protection is not given to the palm sector, the country will risk losing local production of 135,000 tonnes that needs to be replaced by imports -- which will cost the country more than US$95million and also risk eliminating the livelihoods of 290,000 farmers....http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/business/Oil-palm-growers-push-for-protection-369435

Palm oil firm under fire over land deals sealed during Ebola crisis in Liberia - Campaign group urges Golden Veroleum Liberia to renegotiate deals in which communities panic-stricken by Ebola signed over thousands of hectares of land... http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2015/jul/23/palm-oil-golden-veroleum-liberia-land-deals-ebola-crisis

Palm Oil's Push To Control More Land In West Africa - There are claims communities in Liberia are under pressure to give up land for palm oil plantations. We discuss the allegations with the campaign group Global Witness and hear from David Rothschild, theco-founder of Golden Veroleum, the company that has signed a contract with the Liberian government to exploit palm oil.…Thu 23 Jul 2015 http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02x6cwb

Mounting complaints put Wilmar under scrutiny, The world's largest palm oil trader faces accusations against unresolved land grabbing and human rights issues by its concessions in Asia and Africa, but says it stands by its sustainability policy. By Medilyn Manibo Tuesday 21 July 2015.  Farmers protesting Wilmar’s destruction of their lands, near Ibogo Village, Cross River State in May 2015....Two years after Wilmar International set an ambitious drive to commit to zero-deforestation and protection of indigenous rights, its suppliers are still at the center of land disputes with indigenous communities in Asia and Africa, civil society groups reported earlier this month.
Forest Peoples Programme (FPP), which has been tracking the Singapore-listed firm’s ground operations in Borneo, Sumatra, Uganda and Nigeria, said on July 8 that indigenous communities have accused Wilmar of resorting to “dirty tricks” to secure licenses and resolve land-grabbing issues.

PRESCO Plc records N2.6bn profit  Posted: 7:15 am, July 24, 2015 by admin; OBARETIN (IKPOBA-OKHA) – Presco Plc has posted the sum of N2,605,302 as profit after tax for the year ended December 31, 2014 as against the N1,337,202,000 for preceding financial year representing a 7.69 percent increase over that of previous year. - See more at: http://www.nigerianobservernews.com/2015/07/24/presco-plc-records-n2-6bn-profit/#sthash.53xzCSbD.dpuf

CBN to Lead Revitalisation of Oil Palm Sector 11 Jul 2015; The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has disclosed the central bank’s resolve to lead the revitalisation of the oil palm sector in Nigeria in order to provide jobs for Nigerians. Emefiele, made the pledge after meeting with rice processing companies in Nigeria in Abuja at the weekend. The meeting between the management of the CBN and oil palm value chain stakeholders also agreed on a road map to resolve the challenges in the oil palm value chain in Nigeria. http://www.thisdaylive.com/articles/cbn-to-lead-revitalisation-of-oil-palm-sector/214283/

Manufacturer Plans N1.2b Oil Processing Factory in Anambra   By:   Awka., Nkiru Nwagbo   10:14 pm, July 13, 2015; The Managing Director Chicason Group, Nnewi , Engr. Linus Ilozue has disclosed that the company has concluded plans to establish a palm oil plantation, valued at N1.2billion, in Anambra State with a capacity production of 150 tons per day . Disclosing this during a joint press briefing with the management of Chicason Group, and the state government at the company premises, Nnewi, Anambra State, on Monday, Engr. Ilozue said his company has approached Anambra State government for allocation of 34,000 hectares of land to establish palm plantation in the state. He said the farm is expected to yield over 1000 tons of palm produce to feed their vegetable oil plant which presently has production capacity of 50 tons per day....http://dailytimes.com.ng/manufacturer-plans-n1-2b-oil-processing-factory-in-anambra/

Wilmar replies FoE on condemnation of operations in Nigeria, pledges to remain focus on responsible development  By Press Release July 16, 2015 19:46:24pm GMT   ; Leading global palm oil trader, Wilmar International Ltd on Thursday released a detailed respond to the Friends of the Earth U.S. and Environmental Rights Action-Nigeria damnation of its operations in Nigeria with a report, “Exploitation and empty promises: Wilmar’s Nigerian landgrab” on July 8, 2015, saying many of the allegations were rehashed from earlier reports to which Wilmar had responded or in which the issues raised havd been addressed.... http://www.worldstagegroup.com/worldstagenew/index.php?active=news&newscid=23417&catid=44

Gov’t partly takes blame for GVL’s crisis   Created: Tuesday, 30 June 2015 09:52   Published: Tuesday, 30 June 2015 09:52   President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf says part of the causes resulting to some unfortunate incidence at Golden Veroleum Liberia’s operations is due to government “not fully engaging the communities.” Mrs. Sirleaf made the comment after receiving letters of credence from Indonesian Ambassador to Liberia, Mr. Harry Purwanto at her office at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Monrovia. Golden Veroleum Liberia or GVL is an Indonesian oil palm concession company that began operations here following negotiations between the Government of Liberia and its Indonesian counterpart to invest in the agriculture sector. http://www.thenewdawnliberia.com/news/7782-gov-t-partly-takes-blame-for-gvl-s-crisis


21 July 2015: Millions of dollars pumped into oil palm development in Tanzania, DekelOil’s success belies weak palm oil market, Ghana - Banks urged to support oil palm sector, Liberia conmen use EPOL and Sime Darby Liberia as lure

Millions of dollars pumped into oil palm development in Tanzania by  John C. Cannon July 09, 2015; A partnership with foreign investors aims to scale up the East African nation’s production of palm oil, but details on its implementation and possible consequences remain scarce. Plans for a 10,000-hectare oil palm project are underway in Tanzania, backed by a $111 million investment from a local industrialization organization and a foreign investment firm, reported the East African Business Times. The National Development Corporation, or NDC, is spearheading what they’re calling the Integrated Oil Palm Project in the Ruvu River Basin near Tanzania’s commercial capital, Dar es Salaam. It’s the next step in a deal signed in 2013 with Nava Bharat, a venture capital firm based in Singapore. So far, the project has secured 6,000 hectares of the total project area. NDC was formed by an act of parliament in the 1960s to “catalyze economic development” with the motto, “Join us in industrializing Tanzania.” The organization points to lucrative export markets hungry for palm oil in Europe and Asia. “Oil palm has been chosen as it is ideal for commercial agriculture thus supporting ‘Kilimo Kwanza’ campaigns,” according to the NDC website. “Kilimo Kwanza,” Swahili for “transforming agriculture” or “agriculture first,” is Tanzania’s campaign to advance the country’s agriculture sector, which is responsible for more than a quarter of the nation’s economy.  In the past decade, the Tanzanian Government has shown increasing interest in biofuels in general and oil palm specifically in an effort to steel its economy against the effects of rising fuel prices and help it move toward energy self sufficiency. The government set up a task force in 2006 to facilitate the growth of Tanzania into a biofuel- and palm oil-producing country..... Read more: http://news.mongabay.com/2015/0709-mrn-cannon-massive-palm-oil-plantation-planned-for-tanzania.html#ixzz3frASBjMV

DekelOil’s success belies weak palm oil market 12:21 08 Jul 2015; DekelOil maintains good margins despite current low-end palm oil prices; DekelOil’s Ayenouan mill in the Ivory Coast produced 21,836 tonnes of crude palm oil (CPO) in the six month period, which includes the peak harvest between March and June. That represents a 53% increase on the 14,242 tonnes that were produced in the whole of 2014. “We continue to sell at a premium [to the international palm oil price] and we continue to have a good gross margin even at current low-end prices,” executive director Lincoln Moore explained recently. Production growth and margin gains set DekelOil up for a “significant step change in profitability”, Moore explained as the company gave its first half update.The imminent addition of a new kernel crushing plant promises further upside and is central to Dekel’s strategy to maximise profitability, according to Moore..... http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/108800/dekeloils-success-belies-weak-palm-oil-market-108800.html

Ghana - Banks urged to support oil palm sector Thursday, 9 July 2015 Source: B&FT; Banks and other financial institutions have been challenged to take a strong stance in providing financial incentives to support the oil palm sector, as the commodity’s value chain holds great potential to be the next economic driver and improve rural livelihoods. “From the government side, nobody gives the smallholder farmers any financial support. The banks also continuously deny them financial support; this is a major hindrance to the survival of the oil palm industry. “Investors and banks must begin to invest heavily in oil palm value chain as this can allow them to push for best practice via responsible investment standards, and limiting their financial services to certified sustainable companies.  "Oil palm growers ultimately rely on their own little financial support to balance their books and finance further expansion of their plantations; this is not helping the sector to achieve the expected growth,” Rosemary Addico, Country  anager, Oil Palm Ghana, Solidaridad told participants drawn from the country’s financial sector including the commercial banks, rural banks microfinance institutions, and savings and loans institutions at a two-day programme at Cape Coast in the Central Region. http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/business/Banks-urged-to-support-oil-palm-sector-367458

2 Arrested with US$700,000 Counterfeit  Tue, 07/07/2015 - 23:49 admin  By: Alvin Worzi; The LNP boss revealed that Mr. Lacto has been a con-artist since the 90s, which he (Lacto) admitted to investigators. “He and his men, to be identified, operate a network through which they usually persuade their victims to believe that Equatorial Palm Oil Liberia, Sime Darby and other institutions are in search of anti-bug, chlorine and other chemicals to buy,” he said. Director Massaquoi further explained that, “They create amongst themselves local dealers, sales agents as well as chemists in order to carry out their criminal activities and Mr. Lacto was arrested several times during the regime of former President, Charles Taylor.”...http://www.liberianobserver.com/news/2-arrested-us700000-counterfeit

1 July 2015: Ebola fears again?

Ebola Death in Liberia Sparks Fears of New Outbreak - Quarantine imposed after teenage boy dies of the disease By  Patrick McGroarty   Updated June 30, 2015 1:47 p.m. ET  JOHANNESBURG—Liberian officials on Tuesday quarantined a neighborhood near the capital city where a 17-year-old boy died of Ebola, a grim setback for a poor African country that was declared free of the deadly virus in May. Deputy Health Minister Tolbert Nyenswah said dozens of people were under observation after potentially coming into contact... http://www.wsj.com/articles/ebola-death-in-liberia-sparks-fears-of-new-outbreak-1435683070?mod=djem10point


27 June 2015: Sime Darby adapts engagement strategy, Wilmar International Response to Nigeria palm oil land grab allegations, Nigeria: Apex bank announces new measures to stabilise forex market, Liberia concessions and UN Mission draws down

Sime Darby adapts engagement strategy  Created: Tuesday, 23 June 2015 05:54   Published: Tuesday, 23 June 2015 05:54  Sime Darby The new Chief Executive Officer or CEO for the Malaysian-owned Sime Darby Plantation in Liberia has promised to adapt a policy of engagement as an effective strategy in interacting with various stakeholders, including citizens, government and the media on activities of the company. Mr. Rosli Mohamed Taib said Sime Darby Plantation is here to stay and disclosed that management looks forward to commence harvesting and processing its palm crop into finished products by November this year. Speaking with editors and correspondents over the weekend at a local restaurant in Sinkor, Monrovia CEO Taib said due to Ebola outbreak in Liberia last year, the company suspended several activities, including construction of a staff headquarters on the plantation. However, he added that palm mills or machinery for the processing of palm nuts into finished products are being assembled in Malaysia and would be ready within two years. Mr. Taib also disclosed that a medium size mills for the plantation is being acquired and would be operational by August or September, pending arrival of the bigger mills in Liberia in two years. The Malaysian company scaled down operations following the devastated outbreak of Ebola here last year, but has maintained 2,800 local workers, who continue to receive benefits, including subsidized food and free healthcare.... http://www.thenewdawnliberia.com/news/7719-sime-darby-adapts-engagement-strategy

Strengthening Liberia's Justice and Security as the UN Mission Draws Down....  Posted:  06/18/2015 1:28 pm EDT    Updated:  06/18/2015 1:59 pm EDT  Liberia has less than 13 months to assume full responsibility for its own security, as the UN peacekeeping mission in the country since 2003 continues to draw down. With many Liberians uneasy at the prospect of an eventual withdrawal of the mission, the government needs to establish clear priorities now to be prepared.  Liberia has made great progress in 12 years of peace. But many Liberians remain "jittery," as one minister remarked last month, about the prospect of UNMIL leaving too quickly, and question whether their government is prepared to take over.....Liberia's mining and other concessions - principally iron ore, timber, rubber and palm oil - are assumed to be the drivers for national growth. Since the end of the war, there has been a reported inflow of $16 billion in foreign direct investment, largely in these concessions. But these concessions are also hot spots for tension and violence. I recently travelled to Sinoe County, where violence had broken out on the morning of May 26 at a major oil palm plantation. Seventy-two UNMIL police personnel were deployed to the scene to help restore calm, along with UNMIL civilian staff.  The UNMIL police withdrew by the end of the day, with the situation calm and Liberian security in control. However, when I spoke with the local administration and concession managers about the events, they talked soberly about what the outcome might have been without the UN intervention. Simply put, without adequate security, these investments will be at risk. As the Minister of Justice has noted, without a climate of security farmers in their fields are at risk, too. And a well-functioning system of justice is needed, to deal fairly with criminals, and strengthen accountability. Here, too, absenteeism poses significant problems throughout the country.... http://www.huffingtonpost.com/karin-landgren/strengthening-liberias-justice-and-security-as-the-un-mission-draws-down_b_7602664.html

Wilmar International Response to Nigeria palm oil land grab allegations - Wilmar expects its suppliers to comply with its No Deforestation, No Peat and No Exploitation Policy (“Policy”), and its own operations are no exception.  It is being implemented across all operations including subsidiaries and joint ventures, in partnership with The Forest Trust (TFT). A testament to our continuous efforts in Nigeria and Uganda can be found in a write-up from TFT explaining the work Wilmar, together with TFT, have done - and are continuing to do - to ensure that our practices in those two countries comply with our Policy...The Group therefore rejects the allegations in yet again another report “Deforestation, exploitation, hypocrisy: no end to Wilmar's palm oil land grabs” by Friends of the Earth (FoE) and the Ecologist, particularly the case of Nigeria, in which many of the allegations were rehashed and have been dismissed by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) Complaints Panel. We welcome issues to be raised by concerned stakeholders but we would appreciate that they are based on facts and supported by evidence.  For this reason, Wilmar is obliged to clarify many of the misleading points in the report... [Wilmar also provided this water analysis from a laboratory in Nigeria as part of its response.] http://business-humanrights.org/sites/default/files/documents/Wilmar%20response_Ibiae%20Water%20Analysis%20result-Appendix%20I.pdf; http://business-humanrights.org/en/nigeria-ngos-allege-human-rights-abuses-by-wilmar-international-company-denies-claims#c124713

Ghosts of problems past and present loom over Nigerian palm oil plans Greg Norman May 28, 2015; Africa is often described as a new frontier for industrial palm oil production, such are the number of new plantations being planned and developed. The expansion of large-scale plantations on the continent, however, could be seen as a global industry returning to its roots, and that is no truer than in the case of Nigeria.  Cross River State, a coastal jurisdiction in southeastern Nigeria, still bears the marks of the country's agricultural heritage when it was the world's largest palm oil producer. That lasted until the late 1960s, when Malaysia and Indonesia surpassed it.  The landscape is now dotted with hundreds of small farms and agricultural developments. Many mark the sites of the government's past attempts to set up large-scale plantations, which ended in failure or with significant forest destruction or both. These include projects backed by the European Union in the 1990s.  The state is also home to pristne tracts of rainforest and endangered species such as the Cross River gorilla, of which the latest figures suggest there are no more than 300 left.  This is where Wilmar, one of the world's largest palm oil producers, has set up shop. Its projects through local subsidiary PZ Wilmar will cover close to 30,000 hectares, including on old plantations through so-called backward integration. The company claims these will create much needed employment and help Nigeria address its palm oil shortfall, which has seen the country become an importer of foodstuffs. Read more: http://news.mongabay.com/2015/0528-norman-nigeria-palm-oil.html#ixzz3eFlrBR5U

Nigeria: Apex bank announces new measures to stabilise forex market Posted by:  SPOREVER   Posted date : 24 June 2015 at 8:37 am UTC  The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has exempted importers of some goods and services from those qualifying to access foreign exchange from the foreign exchange window. The CBN said in a circular on Tuesday in Abuja that the measure was intended to stabilise the foreign exchange market and ensure its efficient utilisation, amongst other benefits. According to the circular signed by the Director, Trade and Exchange Department, Olakanmi Gbadamosi, the goods include, rice, cement, margarine, palm kernel/palm oil products/vegetable oil; meat and processed meat products. The others are vegetables and processed vegetable products; poultry-chicken, eggs, turkey; private airplane and jets; Indian incense; tinned fish in sauce (Geisha)/sardines; cold rolled steel sheets; galvanised sheets; roofing sheets; wheelbarrows; head pans; and metal boxes and containers among others. The CBN said that the measure was part of its continuing efforts to sustain the stability of the foreign exchange market and ensure efficient utilisation and derivation of optimal benefits from goods and services imported into the country.  “It has become imperative to exclude importers of some goods and services from accessing foreign exchange at the Nigerian Foreign Exchange Markets in order to encourage local production. http://en.starafrica.com/education/nigeria-apex-bank-announces-new-measures-to-stabilise-forex-market.html

Nigeria: Ado-Ekiti Polytechnic Opens 200 Hectares of Oil-Palm to Boost Revenue Nigeria: Ado-Ekiti Polytechnic Opens 200 Hectares of Oil-Palm to Boost Revenue  http://allafrica.com/stories/201506190445.html

2 June 2015: Liberia labour actions affects Golden Veroleum / Golden Agri - 23 suspects charged for attack

Liberia Charges 23 Suspects for Palm-Oil Plantation Attack by Sarah McGregor June 2, 2015 — 5:08 AM HKT Liberian authorities have charged 23 people in connection with violent protests and looting last week at a palm-oil plantation run by Golden Veroleum Ltd., police said.
A dispute over pay turned violent when protesters broke into the plantation on May 26, destroyed parts of the facility including vandalizing a rice warehouse, and stole equipment, according to the company and police. The demonstrators set up road blocks to prevent authorities from responding, wounded employees and temporarily held a manager captive.

Liberia charges 23 over violent plantation protest: police By Afp  Published: 16:16, 2 June 2015  | Updated: 16:16, 2 June 2015  Liberian police have charged 23 people over riots at a palm oil plantation in which a senior company official was taken hostage and a government minister wounded, the force said on Tuesday. Protesters with machetes broke into Golden Veroleum Liberia (GVL) in Sinoe County, in the country's southeast, on Tuesday last week, looting equipment and workers' property, according to the Liberian National Police and the company. "Several weapons including machetes, knives and other deadly instruments were found in their possession," the police said in a statement on the protesters, who were arrested on Friday last week. GVL said Deputy Internal Affairs Minister Varney Sirleaf, a nephew of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, had been wounded by the protesters as he tried to negotiate a settlement. The protest prompted an angry response from the president, who urged Liberians to stand against violent disorder as she returned from a visit to Ivory Coast on Wednesday last week. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/afp/article-3107720/Liberia-charges-23-violent-plantation-protest-police.html

24 May 2015:  Vandebeeck (Presco Oil Palm) interview, Sime Darby denies strike (its a go slow labour action)

Vandebeeck (Presco Oil Palm): Buhari's Dream to Export Oil Palm Unfulfilled 30 Years After 19 May 2015 Pierre Vandebeeck In this interview with Crusoe Osagie, the Chairman of Presco Oil Palm Plc, Pierre Vandebeeck, stresses the need for the incoming administration to pursue the advancement of the local vegetable oil industry and end importation. Excerpts: I think you have asked me why a Nigerian as the Managing Director, this country is the most exciting place as far as I am concerned. I was called by the President of Congo Brazzaville ‎sometime ago and he asked what I was doing in Nigeria and Gabon wasting my time. Today, we have our biggest investment in Gabon, but Nigeria is our game changer,  Ivory coast is number two and we are also going to Liberia soon and from here I go to Abidjan and next week I am in Liberia, but at the onset I have said that Nigeria is the biggest place to be but how big is the risk and we do not want to lay all our eggs in the same basket and this is why we diversified in many other countries, but I always come back here to say this is where we can make things happen. One other thing I will like to add is the lesson to be learnt from the drop in petroleum prices in the market, even though the Nigerian market is insatiable for palm oil products, we have to think about foreign exchange generation and that is why we are going into rubber and cocoa. No matter how much Naira we will make, one day we will have to go to the bank because I have to pay dividends to international investors and I have to buy new machines and I have to pay for  the oil mills and the rest. We are going to diversify our crops into cash crops for export and palm products for the local market.  This is not to say that we will put less money into oil palm ‎because this is what makes money and it is also the money spinner. We also have to think about how we are going to get all the dollars that we need because a concern like this gulps a lot of dollars because we need spare parts, machineries and what we are experiencing today and I did not know  that it was so serious, today in Nigeria, it is not easy to get dollars. There are no more dollars in the banking system and a year ago, I warned them about something like this saying that a time will come there will be a dollar crunch. Do you need a power license to generate your power?  No, we are generating on our own power from waste in our Biogas plant and doing what we have to do. When I was in Ologbo there was this huge gas field flaring gas and I said what a waste because they have three huge flares. Put a turbine there of about 10 mega watts and you will supply the whole of Delta State and Edo State all the power they need.

Sime Darby denies strike (its a go slow) report  Published: Monday, 18 May 2015 02:10  The Management of  Sime Darby Plantation Liberia (SDPL) has clarified that there is no strike at its plantation contrary to report in the media. “What is happening is a “go slow” action, which means that employees are coming to work but mainly with a purpose of discussing work-related issues with the management”, a press release issued by the company on Sunday said. According to the release, every April the company in accordance with the Liberian tax regulation, deducts Vacation Leave Payment tax from pay-checks, which causes employees’ dissatisfaction, adding, “We are currently talking to the representatives of the workers’ union to explain the issue and resolve any misunderstanding.” Recently, an online news outlet, Global News Network Liberia, reported strike at China Union and Sime Darby Plantation Liberia. http://www.thenewdawnliberia.com/news/7388-sime-darby-denies-strike-report

20 May 2015: Teething issues for Olam’s rubber push in Gabon  by AFP

Teething issues for Olam’s rubber push in Gabon Source: AFP BITAM, Gabon, May 20, 2015: When one of the world’s biggest traders of agricultural commodities went to Gabon’s government with a multi-million-dollar plan to produce rubber, the authorities jumped at the chance to diversify an oil-dependent economy. The Batouri rubber plantation and processing plant taking shape in the north not only will bring US$400 million (RM1.44 billion) in investments but also up to 5,000 new jobs to a nation with an unemployment rate topping 20%. Crucially, it was also viewed as the first step for the equatorial African country to diversify its economy, which draws about 70% of its revenues from energy exports. But critics are alarmed at the environmental and social costs of the project by the Singapore-based company Olam, warning that it could wipe out biodiversity in the tropical forest and threaten farming livelihoods. .......Gupta said that Olam gives priority to hiring locals, who make up 97% of the workforce, but dozens of immigrants have come to work at Batouri, some from as far away as Mali. Some workers say they are glad to have jobs in a country where one in five are unemployed, but others have complaints. “Working for Olam is hard. I earn 150,000 CFA francs (RM935) each month. Six days a week. We start at 6:30am to finish at 2:30pm. I leave my home at 2:00am. The pay is not good for the amount of work,” a Malian immigrant said. Gabonese Aurelien Mengue also believes that “the pay is not right”. “That’s why there are strikes,” said Mengue. Gupta said however that Olam “isn’t a company that earns money by shaving 10,000 CFA francs off somebody’s pay,” pointing out that the multinational has a turnover in the billions of dollars.
“We pay everyone who is reliable properly, but if they’re not, it’s normal that we make cuts. The problem here is one of understanding and not of the wages.”

17 May 2015: Nigeria seeks oil palm and other investment, NGOs concerned about Cross River deforestation, Ghana oil palm seeks protection, Sime Darby and others in Liberia face strikes

Nigeria: Agric Minister Makes Case for Investment in Oil Palm, Others Daily Independent (Lagos) » 11 May 2015 By Oladele Ogunsola Ibadan — In view of the comparative advantages oil palm, rice and cassava have over other crops, the Minister of Agriculture, Akinwunmi Adesina has called on potential investors in agriculture to invest on the crops to enhance the agricultural sector, especially in the area of employment generation. This call was made by the Minister at the first investors workshop/training on modern crops processing, processors' group formation, products quality and organised marketing held in Ibadan at the weekend. Represented at the programme by the Regional Director, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Abuja, Olalekan Quadri said: "we want investors to look at the areas they can invest in and take advantage of the different areas we have in the sector because this can ensure job opportunities". He maintained that there were tremendous opportunities in the agricultural sector, especially in the area of oil palm that could transform the lives of youths, adding that, "the ministry has embarked on what we call wild groove and re-planting operations, in other words, all old palm trees of 40 years to 50years, the ministry is now giving seedlings free so that people can begin to replace the old ones".

Nigeria: Groups Raise Alarm Over Deforestation in Cross River 11 May 2015 By Anietie Akpan Calabar — With Nigeria losing over 500,000 hectares of forest yearly to deforestation, experts have called for the repeal of the Land Use Act in the country. Executive Director, Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria, (ERA/FoEN) Dr.Godwin Uyi Ojo, in an inception workshop on "Community Mobilization and Resistance Against Land Grabbing and Transnational Oil Palm Plantations in Cross River State" in Akamkpa on last week by ERA/FoEN-RainForest Resources Development Centre (IDRC), said this massive loss of land is against the recent globally approved land guidelines of 2012, which is intended to protect communities' right to land and forests.
He said, "on a global scale there is a growing effort to discentralised natural resource management in ways that local communities can share in the roles, responsibilities and benefits from conservation and forest management. This sort of initiative is gradually gaining roots in Ghana, Liberia, Uganda, Cameroun, where Community-Based Forest Management Systems (CBFMS) have been elaborated and functional. "In Nigeria the reverse is the case as "the forests and natural resources face severe degradation and acute problems of land tenure system, thereby depriving settlers as well as small scale farmers to marginal lands which in turn result in reduced farm yields and a cycle of poverty."
Furthermore, transnational corporation land grabbing is of huge consequence to the local economies. While it displaces local farmers and leads to land scarcity, often, the produce from large scale plantations is mainly for export and to the detriment of local consumption". .........Taking a review of on Cross River State Review of the Land Tenure System in Nigeria Executive Director, NGO Coalition for Environment (NGOCE), Chief Edwin Usang called for the development of an all-inclusive land policy, effective monitoring of the activities of companies operating in the state while Civil society should engage them effectively. .....He called on all Stakeholders must ensure effective implementation of international safeguards standards and principles. On his part, Professor Lucky Aworika who presented a paper on "Prospects of Securing Communal Land Tenure Rights: Voluntary Tenure Guidelines Versus Cross River State and National laws of Nigeria", decried land use act as it gives exclusive powers to the governors and it should be abolished. He "such powers is absolutely wrong and this can be challenged in court in view of current international best practices. The land use law act is acronistic and antiquated because it has not taken current circumstances into consideration. That law only serves the exclusive interest of the ruling class. The law is not for our interest". In this regard, the workshop recommended that the law should be expunged and done with.

Oil palm entrepreneurs call for policy intervention Business News of Saturday, 9 May 2015; Government have been asked to speedily intervene with strict regulatory and protection mechanisms to avoid risking the loss of 135,000 metric tonnes of oil palm production, and also losing the livelihoods of 290,000 farmers, oil palm entrepreneurs have said. “Ghana is a growing economy and demand for vegetable oil will keep rising, and as such the nation needs to support the sector to increase domestic production with the right policies and incentives. “With 50% low yield, high cost of infrastructure, maintenance, electricity, it is very difficult for local farmers to compete with crude palm oil (CPO) imported from the Far East without the duty protection,” Mr. Gangadhar Shetty, Head of Sales and Marketing, Ghana Oil Palm Development Company Ltd., told B&FT in an interview in Accra.  He disclosed that without protection, the economy will need about US$100million foreign exchange to enable it import the commodity. Without duty protection, the palm plantation sector tends to be non-viable and forces plantation stakeholders to freeze the operation. http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/business/artikel.php?ID=357492

LIBERIA: China Union, Sime Darby In Crises, Workers Take Issue With Employers Submitted by Cholo Brooks on Wed, 05/13/2015 - 12:16  (PHOTO CAPTION: Liberia's Labor Minister, Neto Zarzar Lighe) Trouble seems to be brewing in tow of Liberia’s concessional areas, with workers staging series of strike actions crippling the smooth operations of those companies affected. Employees of both China Union Investment, in Bong County and Sime Darby Plantation Company in Grand Cape Mount and Bomi Counties are said to be on strike demanding benefits from their respective employers. At Sime Darby Plantation, workers have reportedly gone strike in demand of several benefits, including salaries increment for nearly a week now.


14 May 2015: Liberia declared ebola free last week - investors to get back in full force soon?

Khor Reports: we hear that oil palm projects investors will be back in full force soon to crank back up their projects there.

Ebola Epidemic Slows Even More, World Health Organization Says By Maggie Fox; First published May 14th 2015, 1:56 am ; The Ebola epidemic is slowing even more, with just nine new cases reported in Sierra Leone and Guinea last week, the World Health Organization says.  It's a rare piece of good news in an epidemic that completely eclipses all previous outbreaks of the virus, with of 26,724 reported cases in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone and at least 11,065 deaths. Many more deaths have not been reported, WHO says. Just last week, Liberia was declared Ebola-free after 42 days -- two full incubation periods -- without a reported case of Ebola. Now, Sierra Leone may be close to being able to start the same kind of countdown. ... http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/ebola-virus-outbreak/ebola-epidemic-slows-even-more-n358376

Banks and pension funds continue to bankroll deforestation and land grabs - It’s right to hold destructive palm oil companies to account, but until we look to the organisations funding their activities we’re missing an important part of the puzzle by Andrew Simms, Author, analyst and campaigner, Andrew works for Global Witness and is a fellow of the New Economics Foundation Thursday 30 April 2015 12.05 BST  Sponsored by: RSPO; Whether its food you’re putting in your mouth, or products you’re putting on your body, the probability is that half of them contain palm oil. That’s no accident, nor the result of some natural evolution in our eating habits and predilection for cosmetics. It’s because palm oil makes big profits for corporations. But it takes money to make money, and large scale investment is pushing the expansion of plantations. Take the recent example of Credit Suisse, Mitsubishi UFJ Securities and the Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation, which has engineered a $400m (£260m) bond issue on behalf of Golden Agri-Resources (GAR), part of the giant Sinar Mas Group.....

LIBERIA: Forest Peoples Requested to Provide Answers  Submitted by Cholo Brooks on Mon, 04/27/2015 - 19:39; Some of the questions regarding the claims GNN wanted to obtain were: 1) When did FPP conduct this study and in what communities?  2) Why does FPP use anonymous sources in its report?  3) What is FPP definition of human rights?  4) Why does FPP consider Liberian concession agreements or at least elements to be illegal?  And, has FPP addressed this officially with the Liberian government?  5) When does FPP plan to come to Liberia and embedding in the local communities?  6) What Liberian NGOs or CSOs are FPP working with?  7) Why should the Liberian people take FPP seriously since it does not operate in Liberia, but from Europe?
8) Has FPP coordinated its efforts with the Liberian government?  9) What alternatives does FPP have for employment or improved livelihoods for Liberian people?  10) Why does FPP not have an official boots on the ground approach by living with and in Liberian communities, which it claims to speak for and defend?  http://www.gnnliberia.com/articles/2015/04/27/liberia-forest-peoples-requested-provide-answers


26 April 2015: PZ Wilmar Nigeria, Presco's investment in Nigeria, Asian and African business leaders form business council

Nigeria's path to revamping oil palm sector by Femi Adekoya on April 22, 2015

PZ Wilmar Nigeria refinery capacity 300,000 tons/year and 50m000 ha of oil palm soon  - Backward integration ‘ll cut palm oil import by $300m April 22, 2015 Written by Chikodi Okereocha; On-going backward integration plan for palm oil embarked upon by PZ Wilmar Nigeria Limited, a palm oil processing, packaging and distribution company, will help Nigeria save foreign exchange by eliminating imports to the value of $300 million per year now being spent on palm oil import, its Managing Director, Mr. Santosh Pillai, has said. The backward integration programme, which aims at making the country self-sufficient in oil palm production would also create about 9, 000 direct and 45, 000 indirect jobs,......He said: “With refinery capacity of over 300, 000 tons per year, it will reduce Nigeria’s estimated 500, 000 ton annual supply shortage by 60 per cent.”..... According to Pillai, Nigeria’s total market for palm oil is estimated at two million tons, and local output meets about 75 per cent of total. He said to close the supply gap of crude palm oil in the country, the company is working to increase the availability of locally sourced products, as well as introducing modern plantation management. He said the company has acquired 26, 500 hectares of land in Cross River State for oil palm plantation, adding that the target is to acquire 50, 000 hectares soon...... The 26,500-hectare project is part of an integrated end-to-end value chain in oil palm production and processing. The project, according to Pillai, is the result of a joint venture between PZ Cussons and Wilmar of Singapore to explore the opportunities in the agro-allied industry and in the process deliver benefits to the Nigerian economy...... http://thenationonlineng.net/new/backward-integration-ll-cut-palm-oil-import-by-300m/

Presco's Investment in Nigeria ?Hits $1bn 21 Apr 2015; The investment injected into the Nigeria economy by Presco Oil Palm plc in the past one decade has risen beyond $1 billion, THISDAY has learnt...... With the company bringing in a minimum of $100 million investment into the country annually for the past ten years, the companies total investment in the country has risen over a billion dollars during the period. Chairman of the company, Mr. Pierre Vandebeeck, explained that the investments  included procuring high quality state-of-the-art ‎equipments, automated steam turbines and a biogas plant  for power generation, oil palm processing mills, refineries  and plants and machineries.....  Vandebeeck in an interview with THISDAY, said the company is going forward by building a new refinery and oil mill that would gulp another $30 million to boost oil palm production in Nigeria. In his words: "I have not done the feasibility study yet but the cost estimate for the oil mill  is about $20 million and the refinery is $10 million summing up to a $30 million investment. A hectare of new plantation is about $6000 so multiply that to know how much we are investing every year. We are not stopping. We are like a vehicle driving very fast  all the time, although I do say should we  slow down a bit but there are so many opportunities that come up that we do not want to miss and therefore you are more or less pushed to continue investing. ‎"........"We are the only company in this industry in the world that has succeeded  in cloning rubber trees. We started two years ago and will be planting our first cloned rubber trees in Ivory Coast and Ghana because we believe through this system we will be increasing the rubber yields by about 30 per cent per hectares by 2 tonnes to 3 tonnes, but I believe it will be more‎," he said..... ‎He noted that for the past  ten years, Presco has being investing in what he described as a genetic block of oil palm having over 200 different crosses ‎and varieties from all over the world, saying that the company will propagate and make it available to anyone willing to pay the price. "We have the first result for this and five years after planting, we added 20,000,000 per hectares with an extraction rate of 29 per cent and this means we are doubling the oil yields per hectare of what is coming now.‎ We are doing the same thing ‎for cocoa because personally I believe in three crops which are  rubbber, oil palm and cocoa. We are going to produce high performing clones that are disease resistant, he said...... http://www.thisdaylive.com/articles/prescos-investment-in-nigeria-hits-1bn/207365/

Asian and African business leaders form business council to boost trade, prosperity Published on Apr 21, 2015 6:45 PM; JAKARTA - INSTANT noodle producer Indofood plans to build a factory in Morocco, its sixth in Africa, this year. It is one of a growing number of Asian companies investing in the continent of late. More natural resources from Africa, such as crude oil from Angola, are also flowing to Asia. But trade between both regions remains well below its potential, and business leaders on both sides today agreed to form an Asian-African Business Council (AABC) to step up links, share know-how and boost investments..... http://www.straitstimes.com/news/asia/south-east-asia/story/asian-and-african-business-leaders-form-business-council-boost-trade#sthash.NVVHZxow.dpuf

19 April 2015: GAR and Wilmar critiques as no deforestation polices still linked to FPIC  problems (Uganda "class action" case seeks compensation and return of homes) but companies rebut claims and TFT speaks up for its clients, Ghana seeks 20% tax on palm oil imports to encourage investment in oil palm, Ghana mill project to help women and youth unemployment

Criticism of GAR and Wilmar African oil palm projects highlight global ‘no-deforestation' challenges Mongabay.com Friday 17 April 2015; A swathe of no-deforestation policies by major commodities producers and suppliers in recent years brought fresh hope that genuine progress to curb rampant forest destruction was in full flow.... Despite the huge efforts to attain these deals, some argue the bulk of the hard work lies ahead in monitoring and ensuring these ambitious commitments are followed through.... That is a challenging enough endeavor for palm oil giants Golden Agri-Resources (GAR) and Wilmar with their vast chain of suppliers in Indonesia. But production is global these days and both have investments in projects in Africa, the so-called new frontier of production......Both projects are covered by the companies’ no-deforestation policies and both have attracted criticism recently, particularly regarding the correct implementation of free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) of affected communities........ Some NGOs have suggested these persistent problems indicate no lessons have been learned from years of bad practice in Indonesia that provoked catastrophic levels of forest destruction........ A report from the Forest Peoples Programme (FPP) published this month claims that Golden Veroleum Liberia (GVL) – a majority of which is controlled by GAR – has for several years created division and conflict among communities while developing its palm oil project in the country’s southeast “ The far greater risk is the one borne by communities duped by false promises into permanent dispossession from their lands, and the destruction of their forests, wetlands and strongly land- and forest-connected cultures." Tom Lomax, human-rights lawyer with FPP.......In Uganda, farmers from Kalangala and Buvuma Islands in Lake Victoria learned last week that they will be able to pursue a case in court where they will seek compensation and the return of their homes after their allegedly unlawful displacement three years ago in the development of a 40,000-hectare oil palm project co-owned by Wilmar....Friends of the Earth Europe, which is supporting the case, said the idea is for it to evolve into something akin to a class action with residents ....Both companies reject the latest criticisms and believe they are being unfairly targeted. Wilmar released a response to the launch of the court action in February denying it was responsible. The company also says it is investigating claims of illegal forest clearance in its Indonesia plantations said to have taken place after its no-deforestation pledge signed in December 2013....Virgil Magee, GVL’s head of corporate communications, said the company was disappointed with the FPP report and that, due to the fact the NGO researchers had not themselves been on the ground for 18 months, their claims “reflect a lack of understanding of the communities of South East Liberia or how GVL works with them.”...TFT founder Scott Poynton said that while GAR and Wilmar are “no angels,” some credit must be given in particular to GVL for its efforts to improve its operations... Criticism of GAR and Wilmar African oil palm projects highlight global ‘no-deforestation' challenges by  Greg Norman, mongabay.com contributor  April 16, 2015

GVL invites FPP, CSOs and NGOs to dialogue  Published: Monday, 06 April 2015 08:31
Golden Veroleum Liberia has again invited Non-Governmental Organizations to sustained fieldwork and dialogue with the company and local communities of South East Liberia....  The GVL is today the largest employer in the South East with more than 3,600 jobs providing wages, that are five times the national average, and benefits, after signing direct agreements with more than half-a-dozen communities and clans for the development of oil palm farms.... A press release for GVL says the company continues to be invited for partnerships to develop land by more communities than it is possible to work within.  GVL further continues to welcome constructive, open and direct dialogue and discourse.... It is against this background that the Forest Peoples Programme (FPP) has published a press release titled “Harmful Social and Environmental Impacts of Liberia Palm Oil Project Exposed” and an accompanying report.... The company notes that regrettably, the report lacks a real and current understanding of the communities of South East Liberia, and of how its works with them.
In a press release, GVL says the authors of the report have not participated in sustained fieldwork with the communities for the past 1.5 years or more.....

Ghana: Minister calls for establishment of Palm Oil Dev’t Board 17 April 2015 Source: GNA
The Minister of Trade and Industry Dr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah has called for the establishment of a Palm Oil Development Board (PODB) to oversee policies, regulations, and possible legislations in the industry. Speaking at the official launch of the Oil Palm Development Association of Ghana (OPDAG) in Accra, Dr Spio-Garbrah said a first step would be a Palm oil stakeholder’s forum to analyse and outline the needs of the various actors, including funding options.

Ghana: Impose 20% tax on palm oil importation 11 April 2015 Source: B&FT; The economy stands a chance of raising approximately US$20million annually if government is able to impose a 10 percent adjustment tax in addition to the 10 percent ECOWAS Common External Tariff (CET) on importation of crude palm oil (CPO), B&FT has been told. Being a major net importer of the CPO,the country's domestic consumption is pegged at about 370,000 metric tonnes of palm oil in refined and crude form, and imports 260,000 metric tonnes of palm oil. Over the past six months, about 48,000 tonnes of sub-standard palm oil has been illegally imported into the country without appropriate duties. Nigeria, the largest producer of palm oil in Africa, produces 930,000m/t of CPO and consumes 1,430,000mt -- and has decided to protect the palm industries by imposing import adjustment tax of 25% in addition to CET tariff of 10 %, making 35% duty on importation of CPO. A total of 525,000 m/t of CPO is imported by Nigeria to supplement local production. Gangadhar Shetty, Head of Sales and Marketing of the Ghana Oil Palm Development Company Limited (GOPDC), in an interview with the B&FT said the import adjustment tax of 10% not only brings additional revenue to government annually, but also discourages import of CPO and encourages investors to develop the oil palm plantations......... http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/business/artikel.php?ID=354018

Ghana: Palm oil producers to get processing plant 12 April 2015 Source: Graphic Online; A sod-cutting ceremony has been performed at Onwane in the Ajumako-Enyan-Essiam District of the Central Region for the construction of a facility to house a palm oil processing plant.... The project is being financed by the German government in collaboration with the African Union in Ostfriesland, Germany, the Centre for International Migration (CIM), the German Development Agency (GIZ) and Women and Youth Development Association Ghana, a local Ghanaian partner.... The project also includes the provision of a mechanised borehole with a standby water tank, provision of modern equipment for the palm oil producers as well as the rehabilitation of the sheds of the women who are into palm oil production.... The Chairman of the African Union in Ostfriesland, Germany, Mr Abdou Ouedraogo, said the project was to encourage more women and the youth to go into palm oil production to help reduce unemployment in the district.... http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/business/artikel.php?ID=354116


18 April 2015: Congo Basin 1.6 million ha oil palm expansion worries but local communities should get greater benefits than Southeast Asians; Ebola aftermath and commodity shock damps GDP growth on FDI delays

Easter eggs, palm oil and the Congo basin  Written by  Laura Cole  03 Apr 2015; As the UK gets ready to eat millions of chocolate eggs made with palm oil, Geographical explores the global implications of our dependence on this controversial ingredient. Easter eggs are a colourful microcosm of our dependence on a very global ingredient: palm oil. A report published in 2013 by the Rainforest Foundation (UK), named and shamed the most unsustainable chocolate companies based on their palm oil content. Since then, market leaders such as Mars, Ferrero and Modelez International (Cadbury’s) have worked towards sourcing more sustainable palm oil. .... The chocolate guide was published to draw attention to the varying sustainability policies of big food manufacturers. It is part of a larger report,‘Seeds of Destruction’, which the RFUK hoped would alert the general public to the idea of palm oil companies expanding into the Congo rainforests. Since it was published, the RFUK have found that little has been done to decrease deforestation.......Most of the palm oil in our products comes from Southeast Asia, where Malaysia and Indonesia account for 90 per cent of global palm oil production. However, this is set to change. With demand predicted to outstrip supply, palm oil plantations need more land and cheap labour to expand their projects further afield. They look to the rainforests of Central and Western Africa as the ‘new frontier for palm oil’. Particularly, in the Congo river basin.........With a small-scale palm oil industry already in place, the rainforests of the Congo basin have the ideal climate and the promise of rich, damp soils. Since 2008, palm oil companies from Malaysia, France, Belgium, Italy, Singapore, US, Canada and Spain have earmarked a total expansion of over 1.6 million hectares in the Congo basin made up of substantial plantations in Cameroon, Congo, DR Congo and Gabon........'There is potential for palm oil to be a ‘sustainable’ product.' said Simon Counsell, executive director of the RFUK. 'However, for this to become reality, the industry needs to pay much greater attention to both the direct and indirect social and environmental impacts that it can have.' 'In Africa, ‘sustainability’ probably means allowing local communities a greater say in how the industry is developed and ensuring they receive greater benefits than has generally been the case in southeast Asia'

As Ebola Cases Dwindle, West Africa Turns To Economic Recovery by Nurith Aizenman April 17, 2015 5:13 PM ET
West Africa is about to receive a hefty infusion of cash. This Friday the World Bank unveiled a major aid package for the three West African countries at the center of this past year's Ebola epidemic.
Over the next 18 months, the bank plans to provide Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea $650 million in recovery assistance, mostly in the form of grants. The African Development Bank followed suit Friday with a pledge of about $300 million in similar funding.... Combined with additional new promises by other international organizations and governments, the three affected countries will be getting more than $1 billion. Those additions boost the total international commitment to Ebola recovery since the outbreak began by about a third, the advocacy group One Campaign reports.
The aid comes amid recent steady declines in the number of new cases in the region. Weekly tallies are now down to fewer than 40 cases — their lowest level since last May, when the outbreak was just beginning to gather steam.... Still, the economic and social repercussions of the epidemic continue to reverberate..... In Sierra Leone, the Ebola crisis coincided with a plunge in the price of iron ore, one of the country's major exports. The economy there could end up contracting by more than 20 percent in 2015, the World Bank estimates.Guinea's economy is stagnating. Liberia is projected to see growth rates of about 3 percent, but that's still well below the pre-Ebola estimates of 6.8 percent.........
Recently, the U.S. effort in Liberia has come under fire. The multimillion dollar effort to build Ebola treatment units was completed too late to be of much use, The New York Times reported Sunday. The U.S. deployed almost 3,000 military troops at a cost of hundreds of millions to erect 11 treatment facilities. But by the time they were ready, the caseload in Liberia had already fallen precipitously. Only 28 Ebola patients were treated at a unit built by U.S. forces.... http://www.npr.org/blogs/goatsandsoda/2015/04/17/400387093/as-ebola-cases-dwindle-west-africa-turns-to-economic-recovery

Ebola's toll: $2.2B economic hit for W. Africa by  Donna Leinwand Leger, USA TODAY 7:23 p.m. EDT April 17, 2015 WASHINGTON — The Ebola epidemic that swept through West Africa this year sucked $2.2 billion from the economies of the three countries hit hardest by the disease, the World Bank said Friday.... Even as the epidemic comes under control, West Africa may be in for more bad economic news, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde said Friday in remarks with the presidents from the three countries at the IMF-World Bank Spring Meeting in Washington.... "All three countries face a second shock," she said. "The recent sharp decline in commodity prices will significantly impair prospects for recovery. Many investors are considering delaying projects, while some operating mines have already suspended their activities."...
Even as the epidemic comes under control, West Africa may be in for more bad economic news, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde said Friday in remarks with the presidents from the three countries at the IMF-World Bank Spring Meeting in Washington. "All three countries face a second shock," she said. "The recent sharp decline in commodity prices will significantly impair prospects for recovery. Many investors are considering delaying projects, while some operating mines have already suspended their activities."......  http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2015/04/17/ebola-hurt-african-economies/25933815/


30 November 2014: Ebola update

Number of Ebola infections in west Africa passes 16,000; http://gu.com/p/43md3

10 November 2014: Update on KLK's EPO planting plans and status

"Kuala Lumpur Kepong’s Equatorial Palm Oil Ltd (EPO) plans to plant up to 2,500ha of oil palm in Liberia by end-2014F. This is lower than the original target of 4,000ha. EPO said that operations are continuing as normal although it is not easy to travel due to the many check points. There has not been any outbreak of Ebola in EPO’s estates. EPO has more than 1,500 employees in Liberia. Out of these, about 12 are expatriates...." - excerpt from AmBank's "Plantation Sector (Neutral): Newsflow for week 3-7 November"

2 November 2014: Supply-chain concerns, mobilization on ebola, and accusation of industrial oil palm?

How Ebola is affecting the supply chain Published Monday 27 October 2014 4:46 pm; http://www.supplychainstandard.com/2014/10/how-ebola-is-affecting-the-supply-chain/; "The World Cocoa Foundation has donated $600,000 to fight Ebola in West Africa – money raised by its members, which include  big chocolate makers such as Mondelēz, Nestlé and Hershey.It’s not pure altruism. Almost 70 per cent of the world’s cocoa production comes from West Africa – notably: Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroon – countries close to the outbreak.... So far, the virus has not been seen in Ghana or Côte d’Ivoire, the two main producing countries, but, inevitably, fear of the potential impact has already had an effect on  cocoa prices.... Of course, the Ebola epidemic is not only affecting the cocoa supply chain. Liberia is a big exporter of  rubber and iron ore. Guinea’s main export is aluminium ore, while Sierra Leone is major exporter of iron ore, titanium ore and cocoa.
A group of major employers in Liberia have formed an organisation, the Ebola Private Sector Mobilisation Group (EPSMG), to help combat the spread of the virus.... The group represents 45 the largest private employers in West Africa including: ArcelorMittal Liberia, Equatorial Palm Oil, Exxon Mobil, Golden Veroleum, Putu Iron Ore Mining, Total Liberia, Monurent, Aureus Mining Company, Chevron and Price Waterhouse Coopers...."

Oil palm explosion driving West Africa's Ebola outbreak by Richard Kock  29th October 2014; "The medical response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has been monstrously inadequate, writes Richard Kock. But so has been recognition of the underlying causes - in particular the explosive spread of industrial oil palm, which disrupts the ecology of forests and farms, and undermines local economy and traditional governance, leading to a 'perfect storm' of disease...." http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2612900/oil_palm_explosion_driving_west_africas_ebola_outbreak.html

8 October 2014: Liberian Rubber Farm Becomes Sanctuary From Ebola


Liberian Rubber Farm Becomes Sanctuary From Ebola By Drew Hinshaw, Oct 7, 2014; As "Ebola exploded in Liberia this year, a rubber farm embarked on a crash course on how to tame an epidemic that has killed thousands of people and derailed governments across West Africa.
One morning in March, when the first case arrived at the Liberian unit of Japan’s Bridgestone, managers sat around a rubber-tree table and googled “Ebola,” said Ed Garcia, president of Firestone Natural Rubber Company. Then they built two Ebola isolation clinics, using shipping containers and plastic wrap. They trained their janitors how to bury Ebola corpses. Their agricultural surveyors mapped the virus as it spread house to house, and teachers at the company’s schools went door-to-door to explain the disease.... “It was like flying an airplane and reading the manual at the same time,” said Philippines-born Mr. Garcia, who runs this 185-square-mile stretch of rubber trees....Six months later, Firestone has turned the tide of infections, offering a sanctuary of health in a country where cases are doubling every three weeks...."

24 Sept 2014:

Sime Darby delays Liberia palm oil mill construction over Ebola By Alphonso Toweh; Tue Sep 23, 2014 12:29pm GMT; WASHINGTON (Reuters) - "Malaysian palm oil firm Sime Darby has delayed construction of a mill for its Liberia plantation and has suspended talks to expand its planted acreage there due to the Ebola outbreak, it said on Tuesday.... More than 2,811 people have died from the disease in West Africa since the initial outbreak was identified in March, according to World Health Organisation figures. Liberia has been the country hardest hit with 1,578 deaths..... Sime Darby has one of the largest palm oil plantations in the West African country, with a planned total investment of more than $2 billion.... A contractor for Sime Darby Plantation Liberia's (SDPL) palm oil mill has been chosen and preparations for construction - initially due to be completed in mid-2015 - had already begun when the outbreak began. Dagenhar said it would resume work when the disease was under control.... The company had planted 10,035 hectares of oil palm and 107 hectares of rubber as of early this yearThough it has signed an agreement with the government to develop about 220,000 hectares of land for 63 years, it must negotiate with local communities before planting on undeveloped areas of the concession. Those talks have now been put on hold.  ..." http://af.reuters.com/article/investingNews/idAFKCN0HI18Q20140923

15 August 2014:

GAR's 2013 Sustainability Report (released 1 August 2014) reports: "In 2010, GAR decided to invest in The Verdant Fund LP, a private equity fund which owns Golden Veroleum (Liberia) Inc (“GVL”), a company incorporated in Liberia, West Africa. GVL has been granted a concession by the Liberian government to develop 220,000 hectares of land for oil palm plantations. The area will be developed over a period of 20 years in accordance with the highest standards of agronomy and sustainability, and in compliance with RSPO standards and GAR’s Forest Conservation Policy (“FCP”) commitments. Currently, four nurseries for seedling development have been established. As at end 2013, approximately 3,100 hectares of plantations had been planted. By providing technical expertise to the project, GAR will ensure that, like all our plantations in Indonesia, the oil palm cultivation in Liberia adopts good sustainability practices....."

Golden Veroleum Liberia Sees Short-Term Disruptions From Ebola By Olivier Monnier  Aug 5, 2014 2:19 AM GMT+0800; "Golden Veroleum Liberia, a palm-oil producer in the West African nation, said it expects its business operations to be disrupted in the short-term because of the Ebola outbreak. “We are operating normally; although will be somewhat impacted by restrictions introduced by the authorities and by carriers on international travel,” Virgil Magee, a spokesman for the palm-oil producing company, said in an e-mailed response to questions. The worst outbreak of the hemorrhagic fever in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea has killed more than 800 people since March. Golden Veroleum has increased screenings for the illness at its two farms in southeast Liberia, an area not affected by the disease, Magee said. The company is curtailing domestic and international travel for non-essential staff, he added. ..." http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-08-04/golden-veroleum-liberia-sees-short-term-disruptions-from-ebola.html

About the Ebola outbreak:

Ebola could strike 20,000 in six weeks, "rumble on for years" - study; Tue Sep 23, 2014 6:35am GMT  By Stephanie Nebehay and Tom Miles; "GENEVA (Reuters) - The Ebola outbreak in West Africa could infect 20,000 people as soon as early November unless rigorous infection control measures are implemented, and might "rumble on" for years in a holding pattern, researchers said on Tuesday... In an article in the New England Journal of Medicine, experts from the World Health Organization and Imperial College said that infections will continue climbing exponentially unless patients are isolated, contacts traced and communities enlisted.... "With exponential growth, you'll see that the case numbers per week go up so that by the second of November, over these three countries our best estimate is over 20,000 cases, confirmed and suspected cases," Dr. Christopher Dye, the WHO director of strategy, and co-author of article, told a briefing. Nearly 10,000 of those would be in Liberia, 5,000 in Sierra Leone and nearly 6,000 in Guinea, he said. But those numbers would only come about with no enhanced infection control... U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said last week that under a $1 billion plan, he will create a special mission to combat the disease and deployed staff to the region..." http://af.reuters.com/article/topNews/idAFKCN0HI0CB20140923

What You Need to Know About the Ebola Outbreak UPDATED SEPT. 8, 2014
By Joe Burgess, Denise Grady, Josh Keller, Patrick J. Lyons, Heather Murphy and Sergio Peçanha.

Hell in the Hot Zone By Jeffrey E. Stern, October 2014. As the Ebola epidemic rages, two questions have emerged: How did the deadly virus escape detection for three months? And why has a massive international effort failed to contain it? Traveling to Meliandou, a remote Guinean village and the likely home of Patient Zero, Jeffrey E. Stern tracks the virus’s path—and the psychological contagion that is still feeding the worst Ebola outbreak in history....


Sabah & Sarawak news (update 10): Plantation company link to Miri murder of activist Bill Kayong. Sabah pledges RSPO, 3D forest mapping by Lidar, 90 meter tree, other use of Lidar

17 July 2016: Plantation company link to Miri murder of activist Bill Kayong

Two charged over murder of Miri PKR's Bill Kayong BY KANDAU SIDI - 15 JULY 2016 MIRI: A 29-year-old car repossesor was among two people charged at the magistrate's court here today over the murder of PKR Miri branch secretary and activist Bill Kayong @ Mohd Hasbie Abdullah, who was gunned down last month. Mohamad Fitri Pauzi was charged with murdering Kayong at a traffic light intersection near the E-Mart Supermarket, Jalan Miri-Kuala Baram, at 8.20am on June 21. Pub owner Lie Chang Loon, 37, and three others who are still at large, were charged with abetting Fitri with the murder. One of persons who are still at large has been named as Lee Chee Kiang. It was learnt that Lee, 45, is attached with a plantation company. Fitri was charged under Section 302 of the Penal Code for murder, which carries the mandatory death sentence upon conviction. Meanwhile, Lie was prosecuted under Section 109 of the same Act. Read More : http://www.nst.com.my/news/2016/07/158372/two-charged-over-murder-miri-pkrs-bill-kayong

Coupon system to overcome fertilizer distribution for smallholders in Sarawak: Uggah BY BERNAMA - 2 MAY 2016 -- BINTULU: The Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) will introduce a coupon system to overcome problems in the distribution of fertilizer to oil palm smallholders. Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities Datuk Seri Douglas Uggah Embas said the decision was made following claims by smallholders that they were facing difficulties to receive fertilizer. http://www.nst.com.my/news/2016/05/143025/coupon-system-overcome-fertilizer-distribution-smallholders-sarawak-uggah

Kemena smallholders happy with Rundi’s efforts  May 3, 2016 --  Tuai Rumah Jimbai Saban, 65, was grateful that his longhouse’s request to expand the community’s oil palm farm had been approved. “Fifty-two residents of my longhouse will be involved in this programme. MPOB has approved RM936,000 to cultivate 104 hectares. “I am confident that Rundi if elected for a third term will do much more for the people. He is very sensitive to the people’s needs,” he said. For Rundi, close cooperation with the Plantation Industries and Commodities facilitated his efforts to help the farmers in the area. “We thank the ministry for helping the smallholders. This will provide a certain amount of satisfaction for them and I believe such aid would continue,” he said. Rundi also thanked the ministry for approving RM2 million to complete the gravel road connecting the oil palm estate with the main road in Kemena. The allocation was announced by Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas while launching the Commodity Smallholders Transformation Programme at the Sebauh community hall here, today.....http://www.theborneopost.com/2016/05/03/kemena-smallholders-happy-with-rundis-efforts/

13 June 2016: Sabah 3D forest mapping by Lidar, 90 meter tree, other use of Lidar finds Cambodia medieval cities hidden beneath the jungle

Lidar system spots ‘tallest tree’ in the tropics 09 Jun 2016 -- At almost 90m, a Yellow Meranti is the tallest jungle tree ever discovered in reforestation research project. An 89.5m (293 foot) tall tree, equivalent in height to a column of 65 people standing on top of each other, has been discovered in Malaysia by conservation scientists using a laser-based system to monitor the impact of human activity on the biodiversity of a pristine rainforest. The tree, a Yellow Meranti (familiar to Minecraft players, who can create entire jungles of the variety) was spotted by a aircraft-borne lidar system an area of forest known as “Sabah’s Lost World” in the Maliau Basin Conservation Area, one of Malaysia’s last few untouched wildernesses. Its height pips the previous record-holder, an 88.3m example, found in the Tawau Hills National Park. The giant tree was discovered during reconnaissance flights by conservation scientists from the UK’s University of Cambridge working with the Sabah Forestry Department to help prot ct the area’s biodiversity. It comes at a crucial time, as the Sabah government takes measures to protect and restore heavily logged areas in the region....http://optics.org/news/7/6/16

3D mapping to decide on land use April 6, 2016 -- Carried out by the Carnegie Airborne Observatory (CAO), a facility under the Department of Global Ecology, Carnegie Institution for Science in Stanford University, the high resolution and three dimensional mapping will provide a good understanding of the structure and quality of Sabah’s forests, carbon stocks and biodiversity patterns – and help with conservation and restoration decisions. CAO, which is the most scientifically advanced aircraft-based mapping and data analytics system globally in the civil sector today, will map forest and non-forest vegetation carbon stocks, 3-D vegetation structure, and canopy tree diversity across the state’s 7.4 million hectare land area. This mapping process will provide government decision makers, scientists and conservationists an understanding on how past environmental management decisions have impacted the land and biodiversity, and how current and future decisions can make their status better. The maps will also set a baseline against which land and biodiversity management can be assessed in the coming years. The CAO aircraft is scheduled to collect data until early May 2016 as part of a partnership between CAO and the Sabah government through the Sabah Forestry Department (SFD). The partnership was initiated and facilitated by Forever Sabah.... http://www.theborneopost.com/2016/04/06/3d-mapping-to-decide-on-land-use/#ixzz4BQVf2gFV

Revealed: Cambodia's vast medieval cities hidden beneath the jungle - Exclusive: Laser technology reveals cities concealed under the earth which would have made up the world’s largest empire in 12th century  11 June 2016 -- What is a lidar survey? An airborne laser scanner (ALS) is mounted to a helicopter skid pad. Flying with pre-determined guidelines, including altitude, flight path and airspeed, the ALS pulses the terrain with more than 16 laser beams per square metre during flights. The time the laser pulse takes to return to the sensor determines the elevation of each individual data point.  The data downloaded from the ALS is calibrated and creates a 3D model of the information captured during the flights. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jun/11/lost-city-medieval-discovered-hidden-beneath-cambodian-jungle

13 December 2015: Sabah pledges RSPO and to test HCS

Sabah To Test High Carbon Stock For Sustainable Oil Palm December 11, 2015   KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 11 (Bernama) -- The Sabah Forestry Department has committed to test the High Carbon Stock plus (HCS+) methodology for sustainable oil palm development in six months following the release of the HCS+ study's findings.  "We are very keen to pursue the offer from the Sabah Forestry Department which indicated that this would be very helpful for them.  "This shows that the state is very committed towards sustainable palm oil and a sustainable economy," said Forum for the Future founder Director Jonathan Porritt.http://www.bernama.com.my/bernama/state_news/news.php?id=1198759&cat=sbe

Sabah's CSPO Pledge Will Improve Smallholders Yields: MPONGOC   KOTA KINABALU, Dec 1 (Bernama) -- Smallholders who lack knowledge and support for good agricultural practices or skills such as negotiating rates for their harvest stand to gain from the Sabah Government's move to fully produce Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) within the next 10 years. The Malaysian Palm Oil NGO Coalition (MPONGOC) said the move will also help secure environmental benefits such as safe water supply and soil conservation, as all producers in Sabah will be both obliged and assisted to meet globally-accepted standards such as those advocated by Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).  "The commitment to help Sabah's smallholders achieve RSPO standards will future-proof their access to top-flight international markets," MPONGOC representative, Cynthia Ong, said in a statement Tuesday. http://www.bernama.com.my/bernama/state_news/news.php?id=1195489&cat=ess

Sabah’s move to produce sustainable palm oil hailed  November 12, 2015 Read more: http://www.theborneopost.com/2015/11/12/sabahs-move-to-produce-sustainable-palm-oil-hailed/#ixzz3u8F7AcRR


22 October 2015: Sarawak asks for more than "palm oil, palm oil, palm oil,"    PT Bank Mandiri - commodity-based provinces should find new sources of economic growth as the commodity boom is over

Sarawak has to industrialise: CM 22 October 2015 by Patricia Hului BPO Newsdesk; ...In an interview with Bloomberg TV Malaysia, ‘Spotlight on Sarawak: Playing Catch-Up’ broadcast on its website Oct 21, the chief minister addressed the need for the state to industrialise, diversify its agricultural sector and increase infrastructural development....On the need for the state to industrialise, the chief minister said that Sarawak was no longer satisfied with only producing raw materials as in the old days. “We want to process these products ourselves so that we can retain the added value.” About 40 per cent of Sarawak’s economy is reliant on commodities, but contribution from manufacturing, construction, services and other industries is on the increase. “I have decided no more timber licensing, no more plantations. For the time being, give ourselves a respite and then perhaps eventually we will depend on our industry.” .... On the state’s palm oil industry, Adenan is looking to diversify the agricultural sector in Sarawak. “Food production is very slow and now we insist on palm oil, palm oil, palm oil. It’s good, but why can’t we grow other crops for production, food crops and so on,” he said, foreseeing increased interest in this area coupled with Sarawak’s availability of land for food production. Read more: http://www.theborneopost.com/2015/10/22/sarawak-has-to-industrialise-cm/#ixzz3pHYAZ1CD
Analysis: The effect of commodity price changes on Sumatra and Kalimantan Mamay Sukaesih, Jakarta | Business | Wed, October 21 2015, 5:45 PM; .... Our analysis has revealed that commodity-based provinces should find new sources of economic growth in the future. The main reason is simply that the commodity boom is over, implying that they can’t rely on commodity-based development anymore. One of the alternatives is to promote resources-based industries such as manufacturing and adding the value of goods that have been produced in the regions. PT Bank Mandiri (Persero) Tbk. - See more at: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2015/10/21/analysis-the-effect-commodity-price-changes-sumatra-and-kalimantan.html#sthash.rdFSxar4.dpuf


20 October 2015: Smallholders to get stake in independent Beluru mill project, one of 5 independent mills planned for Sarawak, Sarawak rejects trade barriers

Sarawak rejects trade barriers  By OOI TEE CHING - 17 October 2015 @ 11:00 AM; Wilmar’s refinery in Bintulu, Sarawak, was the main buyer from 41 palm oil mills across the state, absorbing 1.7 million tonnes of CPO, or half of the state’s production. In sourcing CPO to feed its refinery, the Wilmar-Unilever pledge dictated to planters in Sarawak that starting January, it will stop buying oil from estates where there are allegations of land grabbing from natives. The pledge will also lead to a halt in the sourcing of palm oil from farmers who have planted their trees in areas of “high carbon stock” and peat swamp. In an interview at his longhouse in Silas Estate near Bintulu, village head Meikle Ding spoke about his people’s sentiment.  When asked if the native customary rights (NCR) landowners had seen any tangible benefits from the Wilmar-Unilever pledge, Meikle replied: “It looks protective of us natives, but in reality our genuine business partner is Ta Ann Plantation.” He said Ta Ann, as the 60 per cent shareholder in Silas Estate, had taken considerable risk in coming up with up-front capital to lay in infrastructure to plant oil palms.  From the start of planting, even before the trees have started to bear fruit, it had given incentive payments to landowners....“As rural folks, we are simple people, but we’re certainly not simple-minded. Many of our children are working as doctors, lawyers and high-ranking diplomats serving the government in overseas missions. When asked to comment on anti-palm oil campaigns run by green activists, Meikle explained that natives were landowners as well as shareholders in the business of oil palm planting... Meikle also questioned whether the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) and Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreements would address discriminatory and oppressive business dictates from buyers like Wilmar and Unilever. His query has struck a poignant chord on global edible oils trade politics.... Earlier this week, Indonesia and Malaysia agreed to harmonise and combine palm oil certification standards. Indonesia’s Chief Natural Resources Minister Rizal Ramli told the Parliament that it was time for Indonesia and Malaysia to fight and regain sovereignty on their own turf.... http://www.nst.com.my/news/2015/10/sarawak-rejects-trade-barriers
Smallholders welcome independent Beluru mill project September 19, 2015, Saturday; “This would be the first in Sarawak where smallholders can also purchase shares and be stakeholders in a palm oil mill,” Entri said during a project progress briefing to about 1,000 smallholders and representatives yesterday.... The projected cost of the mill would be between RM40 million and RM50 million, which would involve RM5 million worth of shares for smallholders. Entri said smallholders can enjoy multiple benefits when the mill is operational. Registered members of farmers organisations would enjoy dividends through SFO’s involvement apart from direct shares, while smallholders can also tap into technical advice, farm maintenance and production items such as weedicides and fertilisers without worrying about being fleeced by mills or collection centres while selling their fresh fruit bunches (FFB).... A special investment scheme would be set up to assist smallholders interested in purchasing shares, including loans where payment instalments could be made through deductions by the mill from FFB sales. Meanwhile, MPOB Sarawak regional head Sulim Lumong said Beluru will be one of five independent mills planned by Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas for the state... Read more: http://www.theborneopost.com/2015/09/19/smallholders-welcome-independent-beluru-mill-project/#ixzz3owZl0aXX

22 August 2015: Rimba Sarawak forestry study

Adenan hits out at ‘stupid’ forest policies BY DESMOND DAVIDSON Published: 20 August 2015 5:50 PM; Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem today described the  decision by the previous administration to bar foreign researchers, ecologists, conservationists and naturalists from conducting studies on the state's forests, particularly its totally protected forests, as “stupid”.
Launching a new study called Research for Intensified Management of Bio-rich Areas of Sarawak (Rimba) and later witnessing the signing of the memorandum of understanding on it, Adenan, who became chief minister last year, said it was “stupid” not to seek foreign expertise “when we don't have the expertise”. Rimba Sarawak will be the first collaborative international study to gather what the Sarawak Forestry describes as “credible scientific information on the status and health of our totally protected forests so that the appropriate management prescriptions can be formulated for these and other bio-rich areas”.
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20 July 2015: Wetlands International - About 82% of the Rajang Delta in Sarawak (East Malaysia) will be irreversibly flooded within 100 years and substantial areas are already experiencing drainage problems

Wetlands International Press Statement - Peatlands of South East Asia are heading towards a socio-economic disaster 6 Jul 2015; Agricultural production in vast regions of South East Asia will be lost in the coming decades as a result of flooding of extensive lowland landscapes due to unsustainable development and management of peat soils. About 82% of the Rajang Delta in Sarawak (East Malaysia) will be irreversibly flooded within 100 years and substantial areas are already experiencing drainage problems. This will increasingly impact local communities, the economy and biodiversity and will develop over time into disastrous proportions unless land-use on the region’s peatlands is radically changed. Therefore Wetlands International calls for conservation and sustainable management of peatlands in South East Asia. A study commissioned by Wetlands International and executed by Deltares suggests that extensive drainage of peatlands for oil palm cultivation in the Rajang river delta results in such massive land subsidence that this will lead to extensive and devastating flooding incidents in the coming decades..... http://www.sarawakreport.org/campaign/wetlands-international-press-statement-peatlands-of-south-east-asia-are-heading-towards-a-socio-economic-disaster/

23 June 2015: Ta Ann new NCR JV for 60% stake in 17,000 ha (60% plantable; Sibu and Kapit area) replaces 2012 agreements revoked for lack of land owners' interest; BLD questioned over "no deforestation, no peatland" policy; Palm oil a matter of national security for Malaysia - opinion

Bunge palm oil supplier plans to clear peatlands for plantations by Rhett A. Butler June 22, 2015  BLD Plantation Bhd, a Malaysian palm oil company, plans to clear some 14,000 hectares of peatlands in Sarawak, on the island of Borneo, potentially putting it in conflict with the deforestation-free sourcing policy established by American agribusiness giant Bunge, say campaigners who filed a grievance over the matter.  In a statement issued last week, Forest Heroes announced it has formally filed a complaint via Bunge's grievance system in anticipation of BLD Plantation's peatland clearance. The complaint urges Bunge to suspend sourcing from the company, which supplies the multinational with palm oil via the Kirana refinery in Bintulu, Sarawak. It also asks BLD to adopt a zero deforestation policy and restore an area of peatland equivalent to the 6,000 ha it has already cleared.... http://news.mongabay.com/2015/0622-bunge-forest-heroes-bld-sarawak.html#ixzz3dqUWCg1l Ta Ann and Sarawak state government in new oil palm JV projects Monday, 22 June 2015  By: M. HAFIDZ MAHPAR; KUALA LUMPUR: Ta Ann Holdings Bhd is making a second go at doing joint-venture (JV) oil palm development projects with Sarawak state-owned Land Custody and Development Authority (Pelita) after an aborted earlier attempt. Ta Ann had to cancel earlier planned projects with Pelita - a statutory body under the Sarawak Ministry of Rural and Land Development - to develop jointly three parcels of land in Mukah and Kota Samarahan totalling about 39,000ha. These agreements, signed on Sept 28, 2012, were revoked due to the land owners’ lack of interest. However, Ta Ann’s unit Ta Ann Plantation Sdn Bhd (TAP) signed two new agreements on Monday with the authority’s unit Pelita Holdings Sdn Bhd to implement oil palm development projects in partnership with the Sarawak state government and native customary rights (NCR) owners. In a statement to Bursa Malaysia, the company said it would have a 60% stake while Pelita H oldings as trustee of NCR owners would have 30% and Pelita itself 10%. (For the 2012 agreenment, the proposed equity interests had been 55%, 30% and 15% respectively.) This time the JV companies plan to develop the parcels of NCR land situated in Sibu, with aggregate gross area of 17,017ha (of which an estimated 10,210.2ha are plantable area) and NCR land situated in Kapit with aggregate gross area of 11,178ha (of which an estimated 6,706.8ha are plantable). http://www.thestar.com.my/Business/Business-News/2015/06/22/Ta-Ann-and-Sarawak-state-government-in-new-oil-palm-JV-projects/?style=biz

Background news:
  • Sarawak timber firms step up tree planting to ensure constant supply Monday, 8 June 2015  By: JACK WONG;KUCHING: Timber companies in Sarawak, hit by falling log production, are stepping up tree replanting efforts to ensure future supply. WTK Holdings Bhd is expanding its forest plantation area by 12% this year, as it targets to replant 1,000ha more with fast-growing commercial timber trees. “Effort is being made on research and development to increase the seedlings’ yields and reduce planting costs,” chairman Datuk Wong Kie Yik (pic) said. The group has planted 8,000ha and Wong said it was a long-term goal to replace timber from natural forest concessions with trees from the forest plantations for downstream products in line with the state’s sustainable forest management practice..... http://www.thestar.com.my/Business/Business-News/2015/06/08/Sarawak-timber/?style=biz
  • Chong blames ‘Big Six’ for deforestation Posted on May 29, 2015, Friday Chong who is also Bandar Kuching MP claimed concessions given to the ‘Big 6’ are: •Ta Ann Group of Companies:  433,003 Ha /1,069,935 acres •RH Group of Companies : 1,001,877 Ha / 2,475,604 acres; •Shin Yang Group of Companies: 500,904 Ha /1,237,716 acres; •Samling Group of Companies: 1,288,389 Ha / 3,183,565 acres; •KTS Group of Companies: 144,485 Ha / 357,017 acres  •WTK Group of Companies: 357,017 Ha / 882,176 acres.....http://www.theborneopost.com/2015/05/29/chong-blames-big-six-for-deforestation/#ixzz3dqShMjUW

Palm oil a matter of national security  By Dr Ahmad Ibrahim - 22 June 2015 @ 12:00 PM; MANY may not be fully aware that oil palm is a strategic crop for the region. Both Malaysia and Indonesia, which together control almost 90 per cent of the global supply of palm oil, depend to a significant extent on oil palm for their economic wellbeing.... Oil palm has, for years, been a lifeblood of the rural economy in both countries. In fact, it would not be wrong to suggest that any serious disruption to the palm oil market may even spell dire consequences for rural households in both countries. Many families are entirely dependent on the income from oil palm for their livelihoods..... Malaysia now has about 5.4 million hectares of oil palm. Indonesia has almost twice that. Production in Malaysia has been stagnating just under 20 million tonnes a year. It has been estimated that around 250,000 small farmers contribute towards the nation’s production. In fact, smallholders account for about 50 per cent of planted hectarage in the country. But the more important statistic is that close to 2.5 million people in the country make their living from the palm oil industry. The continued wellbeing of the industry is, therefore, important to them. It has been reported that some of the nation’s richest individuals owe much of their fortunes to activities linked to palm oil.... ....... In Malaysia, Sarawak is a good example of one such case. The plan by the state to expand oil palm cultivation was met with serious opposition by NGOs. Unsavoury tactics have been used to trigger negative market sentiments among palm oil buyers. The European Union (EU) market has been especially influenced. The EU has put up non-tariff barriers to palm oil export, using greenhouse gas emission as the criteria. This has been vehemently contested by the palm oil industry.... The industry has started questioning the sincerity of such groups offering sustainability schemes. Many among industry members have expressed concern about the changing criteria of their certification schemes. They keep moving the goal posts. It is as if the agenda is not at all about sustainability. Instead, it is about making it difficult for palm oil. Smallholders are especially worried. And smallholders are naturally the ones most affected if such actions lead to reduced demand for palm oil. The ultimate pain for smallholders is the risk of a decline in demand leading to big drop in palm oil prices. Which is what is happening now. Many small farmers are now suggesting that the negative campaigns by the NGOs may be tantamount to deliberate sabotage. And as a strategic crop for the nation, palm oil must now be viewed as a matter of national security for the country. The writer is a fellow of the Academy of Sciences Malaysia.....http://www.nst.com.my/node/89254

7 June 2015: Sabah to pledge 100% CSPO by 2025? Dolphin Int sees strong East Malaysia demand, CIMB- Plantations update- Minimal quake effect

23 June note: On Sabah CSPO plan - one industry expert reckons that this move was initiated by Sabah authorities.

Malaysian state eyes 100% certified palm oil by 2025  mongabay.com  May 30, 2015  Sabah, a state in Malaysian Borneo, is weighing a proposal to produce only palm oil certified under the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), an eco-certification initiative, by 2025. The move, if approved, would represent the first time a sub-national or state entity has committed to 100% certified palm oil production.  Sabah currently produces 12 percent of the world's palm oil, making it one of biggest global players. Production comes from a wide range of actors, from smallholders to some of the biggest palm oil companies. That diversity however, makes a state-wide certification approach challenging, since smallholders typically cannot afford the cost of certification.   But some officials think that obstacle may be worth overcoming if it enables Sabah to differentiate its palm oil from other producers, especially given the rise in the number of companies that have adopted social and environmental safeguards for palm oil sourcing.  “Both global demand and downstream industries will increasingly pull the supply chain for Certified Sustainable Palm Oil and Sabah must act to be ahead of the curve,” said Sam Mannan, Director of the Sabah Forestry Department, which owns about 100,000 hectares of palm oil plantations in the state. "With time, large competitors will inevitably outpace Sabah’s total output of palm oil but with certification, Sabah can build itself as a niche producer of a branded good – i.e. certified palm oil, and compete on the basis of governance and not size.”  Read more: http://news.mongabay.com/2015/0529-sabah-jurisdictional-approach-palm-oil.html#ixzz3cQFyLOmz

Upcoming listing Dolphin International sees strong demand from East Malaysia by Ronnie Teo Posted on June 4, 2015, Thursday KUCHING: Dolphin International Bhd, which aims to list on the main market of Bursa Malaysia next Tuesday, anticipates strong demand from Sabah and Sarawak for its palm oil machinery. As a company involved in the design, development, fabrication and sale of products for the palm oil milling machineries sector, Dolphin International is indeed in a unique position to tap into the many demands of the plantations sector. Within Malaysia, Dolphin’s role mainly focuses on machineries and automation in palm oil milling. As such, plantation owners, as well as commercial palm oil millers are key customers for the group, it told The Borneo Post in an interview yesterday. Read more: http://www.theborneopost.com/2015/06/04/upcoming-listing-dolphin-international-sees-strong-demand-from-east-malaysia/#ixzz3cQ8XKtJe
CIMB- Plantations update- Minimal quake effect: A strong 6.0-magnitude earthquake rocked the state of Sabah, prompting concerns that palm oil output from Sabah, which account for 31% of Malaysia’s palm oil production, could be affected. Our checks with the planters reveal that their palm oil operations have either been unaffected or just minimally impacted by the event as most of their estates are located some distance away from where the earthquake struck. We maintain our Neutral rating.
News links 

26 April 2015: Uggah: Sellers of FFB must include names - FFB thefts in Sarawak was a matter of concern

Uggah: Sellers of FFB must include names; Posted on April 18, 2015, Saturday; KUCHING: Sellers of palm oil fresh fruit bunches (FFB) are now required to put down their names and particulars to be sent to Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) for monitoring and checking purposes.
This is a new strategy introduced with the aim to curb the never-ending thefts of fresh fruits bunch in the state, says Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities Datuk Seri Douglas Uggah.
He said mills and collection centres were only initially required to record the quantity of the FFB sold to them but now they had to get the names of the sellers as well. “Failing to get their names means the collection centres are committing an offence and stern action will be taken against them,” he told a media conference after chairing a second meeting to discuss FFB issues here yesterday. Deputy Home Minister Dato Sri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar and representatives from other relevant agencies were also present; Uggah lamented that the FFB thefts in Sarawak was a matter of concern because despite the operation code-named Ops Sawit Kenyalang mounted from July 1 to December last year there was still no end to the problem. Ops Sawit Kenyalang 2015 was launched on April 2.
He said that from January to March this year the authority had received 82 reports of FFB thefts throughout the state involving a total area of 18,192 hectares including Samarahan, Sibu, Mukah, Kapit and Miri. “To prevent the sales of FFB from suspicious sources MPOB has issued a directive which restricts mills from buying more than two tonnes of FFB per hectare,” he said. Uggah said through the operation conducted by MPOB and various other enforcement agencies including the police from July to December last year a total of 278 compounds and 41 show cause letters had been issued to several operators to explain why their licences should not be suspended......
Read more: http://www.theborneopost.com/2015/04/18/uggah-sellers-of-ffb-must-include-names/#ixzz3YNfDyJHM

24 April 2015: Salcra to build new palm oil mill in Merindun

Salcra to build new palm oil mill in Merindun Posted on April 24, 2015, Friday; SARAWAK Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority (Salcra) has obtained approval from Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) to construct a new palm oil mill in Merindun in line with its development plan.
According to Assistant Minister of Land Development Datuk Abdul Wahab Aziz, the new mill located near the old mill that was partly destroyed by a fire last year, would have a processing capacity of 60 metric tonnes (MT) per hour and upgradeable to 120MT per hour. “Site preparations and other civil works for the new mill commenced in July last year and is expected to be operational by the end of 2016,” he said in response to Johnichal Rayong’s (BN-Engkilili) query on whether Salcra would build a new palm oil mill in Merindun. On a related matter, Abdul Wahab said Salcra would continue to purchase FFBs from smallholders who have signed long-term contracts to sell their FFBs to Lubok Antu Palm Oil Mill..... Read more: http://www.theborneopost.com/2015/04/24/salcra-to-build-new-palm-oil-mill-in-merindun/#ixzz3YBVmqXWr

18 April 2015: Drag plantations to Environment Court over riparian says CJ of Sabah and Sarawak

Drag plantations to court: CJ April 18, 2015; Kota Kinabalu: The best way to get plantation bosses and others to ensure they respect riparian areas is to sue them for growing oil palm or other crops illegally right to the river bank, thus affecting wildlife movement and river quality. "Encroachment of riparian reserves is subject to challenge in court especially if the evidence is good now that the Environment Court has been set up since January 2015.  "If only anybody such as NGOs take an action in court and say 'look we want this to be declared a wrong action, get a judicial review or declaration in court, it's there," said Chief Justice of Sabah and Sarawak, Tan Sri Richard Malanjum.
Malanjum said this when asked to clarify on Land Ordinance Sabah (Cap 68) Section 26 (1)(2) which specifies riparian reserves along all rivers , even small rivers must be kept.
He spoke at a joint press conference, Thursday, with State Culture, Tourism and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun, in conjunction with the Workshop on Environment organised by the Judiciary-initated Sabah Working Group on Environment, at UMS.

18 November 2014: RSPO RT12: Sabah considering 100 percent RSPO by 2025?

Moderator Cynthia Ong on the Reaching the Market discussion reports that Sabah stakeholders are discussing 100 percent CSPO by 2025. She says authorities, industry, civil society and small holders are discussing. She is championing this move for Sabah.
Cynthia Ong asked Wilmar if they would support such a Sabah move. Wilmar notes that there are many who are not RSPO members abd that various types certification may be used.
Darrell Webber (RSPO Secretary General) notes there is more talk of jurisdictional approach as it's hard to certify smallholders.
MR Chandran (RSPO Advisor) suggests getting downstream players getting uptake commitment. He notes the Sabah Chief Minister has recently endorsed the RSPO. If Sabah can pull this off it would be an example for the rest of the world.
Companies who have cleared after 2005 may need to comply with the RSPO's Compensation Liability. Darrell Webber notes that 280,000 hectares (globally) need to be compensated for. He says that it would be good if the government is involved as they could help with conservation area planning for the RSPO Compensation if Sabah were to go 100 percent RSPO certified.
MR Chandran picks up on question on cost or cost sharing. He reckons the downstream players need to be involved in this cost share. On cost Cynthia Ong reckons that Sabah government, industry and RSPO could help fund Sabah smallholder certification. She asks if others would help too.

Producer pledges for palm oil sustainability: IPOP dissolves to no surprise within Indonesia and to some negative international reactions, GAR blog on mapping supply chains

Just to keep an eye on producer pledges. Just to post up a recent announcement from Musim Mas on joining  TFT traceability for now. We will consolidate with links to other older postings subsequently and of course keep an eye out for new announcements. Just as buyers are shifting on sustainability toward traceability, more suppliers joining traceability programs is to be expected given the past pledges made for c.2015 changes and the practical problems of RSPO-type certification which many say still point to limited prospect for large numbers of smallholders and small producers rapidly joining and being certified. Under such circumstances, processor/traders are expected to find traceability an attractive option. Others who are on TFT traceability programs (these are customized B2B solutions) are Wilmar, Golden-Agri/PT SMART, Cargill and Bunge.

7 July 2016: IPOP dissolves to no surprise within Indonesia and to some negative international reactions, GAR blog on mapping supply chains

IPOP disbandment due to two key drivers, says DG  2016-07-03 JAKARTA (foresthints.news) - The Indonesia Palm Oil Pledge (IPOP), a green pledge aimed at creating a deforestation-free palm oil industry in Indonesia, was officially disbanded by its signatories on 1 July 2016. Even though they made no contribution to the presence of new Indonesian government policies, in particular those policies associated with the palm oil expansion moratorium and no-peat development, the now ex-IPOP signatories sought to use these policies as a pretext for their disbandment of IPOP, saying that the main reason for its disbandment is that the government policies have supplanted the purpose of IPOP. IPOP was signed on 24 September 2014, on the sidelines of the UN Climate Summit in New York, by four palm oil business groups that dominate the world’s palm oil supply chain to a significant extent.... “The self-disbandment of IPOP by the ex-IPOP signatories is not really surprising news. Their desire to do this has been plain to see since early July 2015. They’ve also not been involved at all in giving rise to Indonesian government policies such as the palm oil expansion moratorium and no-peat development," Professor San Afri Awang, Director General of Forestry Planology and Environmental Governance at the Environment and Forestry Ministry, told foresthints.news in an interview on Saturday (Jul 2). It should also be noted, he added, that the ex-IPOP signatories had failed to prove or demonstrate any commitment and leadership in cleaning up their supply chains from deforestation while (supposedly) implementing IPOP....Prof San, as President Jokowi calls him, went on to say that the failure and inability of the ex-IPOP signatories to clean up their supply chains from deforestation was the key driver in why steps towards the self-disbandment of IPOP were taken in the first place. “The latest example of this is the failure of the ex-IPOP signatories to clean up their supply chains from deforestation in the Leuser Ecosystem. We didn’t see any monitoring system whatsoever from the ex-IPOP signatories operating on the ground level in the Leuser Ecosystem.” The Director General gave a reminder as to how, by early July 2015, the ex-IPOP signatories were already expressing reservations to the government about the difficulty of implementing IPOP, putting forward various for reasons this, and had already begun to urge the government to dissolve IPOP..... http://foresthints.news/ipop-disbandment-due-to-two-key-drivers-says-dg

New haze fears as palm oil firms ditch landmark Indonesia pact Tuesday July 5, 2016 - See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/world/article/new-haze-fears-as-palm-oil-firms-ditch-landmark-indonesia-pact#sthash.rJ2ojkDX.dpuf

"A Lost Opportunity for Indonesia" RAN Responds to Dissolution of the Indonesian Palm Oil Pledge. San Francisco. Today, Rainforest Action Network responded to the announcement made by six of the world’s largest palm oil companies to dissolve the Indonesian Palm Oil Pledge (IPOP) group, an innovative platform designed to advance the environmental and human rights reforms needed to address the international controversy surrounding the rainforest destruction and labor exploitation associated with Indonesia’s palm oil industry. Gemma Tillack, Agribusiness Campaign Director for Rainforest Action Network issued the following statement. “IPOP was an important mechanism for Indonesian companies to differentiate themselves from their competitors by taking real steps to halt the rampant destruction of forests and peatlands, to end the widespread abuse of workers and address the long-standing conflicts resulting from the displacement of local communities from their lands for industrial scale plantations. IPOP’s dissolution is a disappointing step backward in the urgent fight to achieve truly responsible palm oil and is a major lost opportunity for Indonesia’s palm oil industry to maintain its stake in the global market. “IPOP’s former members, Wilmar, Golden Agri-Resources, Musim Mas, Astra Agro Lestari, Asian Agri and Cargill, must now meet their responsible palm oil promises independently and demonstrate that they intend to follow through on the commitments made to smallholders, local communities, workers and customers across the globe that are demanding fundamental changes in the way the palm oil is produced.... http://www.ran.org/a_lost_opportunity_for_indonesia_ran_responds_to_dissolution_of_the_indonesian_palm_oil_pledge

Video Blog : Mapping our supply chain - a palm oil FFB broker's experience - Meet Pak Jondris Pakpahan, a palm oil Fresh Fruit Bunch (FFB) broker from Kandis Village, in central Sumatra. He collects and buys FFB from many different palm oil farmers which he then sells to the Ujung Tanjung mill owned by GAR in Rokan Hilir Regency. http://www.goldenagri.com.sg/blogs-72

Ministry seals off palm oil concession in Leuser Ecosystem linked to supply chain of top biofuel producers  2016-06-23 -- The sealing off of the PT ABN palm oil concession was done at three locations and witnessed in person by the General Manager of PT ABN. Meanwhile, the ministry's law enforcement team for the Sumatra region was accompanied by officials from the Environment and Forestry Ministry's Aceh office during the sealing off process. There was also a team from Greenomics Indonesia present at the locations where the sealing off took place.... Minister Siti asserted that the Indonesian government, as a buyer of biofuel purchased through a number of suppliers, would certainly have to look into any strong indications of illegal operations taking place in the supply chain of the biofuel supplied to it in the context of meeting Indonesia’s mandatory biofuel target, which has been fixed at 20 percent this year. “If any of the biofuel suppliers bound by contracts to participate in the fulfillment of Indonesi’s mandatory biofuel target are found to be linked at the supply chain level to this PT ABN case, this will of course be cause for deeper investigation. The supply chain involved in meeting Indonesia’s mandatory biofuel target may in no way be associated with any kind of illegal operation. This is a serious problem.”... http://foresthints.news/ministry-seals-off-palm-oil-concession-in-leuser-ecosystem-linked-to-supply-chain-of-top-biofuel-producers

12 December 2015: Wilmar in FOE spotlight, Sime Darby and others to test High Carbon Stock study, Rainforest Alliance - Proforest - Daemeter work with Musim Mas. Sabah pledge. Worry about cost to smallholders. Traceability dashboards. RSPO targets and greenwash accusation.

Up in Smoke: Failures in Wilmar’s promise to clean up the palm oil business, 8 December 2015 http://www.foeeurope.org/up-in-smoke-failures-Wilmar%E2%80%99s-promise-clean-up-palm-oil-business

Sime Darby to test oil palm production scheme Published: 11 December 2015 5:04 PM Major oil palm growers, including Sime Darby Bhd will conduct trials of a sustainable cultivation scheme under the Sustainable Palm Oil Manifesto - See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/business/article/sime-darby-to-test-oil-palm-production-scheme#sthash.mnvIYveQ.dpuf 

Proforest and partners to verify Musim Mas palm oil supply chain 02.10.2015 Musim Mas, one of the world’s leading integrated palm oil businesses, is collaborating with the Consortium of Resource Experts (CORE), comprising Proforest, Rainforest Alliance and Daemeter Consulting, as the company implements their sustainable palm oil sourcing policy.  Musim Mas launched its sustainability policy at the end of 2014 and signed the Indonesian Palm Oil Pledge (IPOP) earlier this year. During 2015 Musim Mas has been working on meeting their traceability commitments, which is one of the first steps towards the implementation of their sustainable palm oil policy.... http://www.proforest.net/en/news/proforest-and-partners-to-verify-musim-mas-palm-oil-supply-chain

Sabah To Test High Carbon Stock For Sustainable Oil Palm December 11, 2015   KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 11 (Bernama) -- The Sabah Forestry Department has committed to test the High Carbon Stock plus (HCS+) methodology for sustainable oil palm development in six months following the release of the HCS+ study's findings.  "We are very keen to pursue the offer from the Sabah Forestry Department which indicated that this would be very helpful for them.  "This shows that the state is very committed towards sustainable palm oil and a sustainable economy," said Forum for the Future founder Director Jonathan Porritt.http://www.bernama.com.my/bernama/state_news/news.php?id=1198759&cat=sbe

Sabah's CSPO Pledge Will Improve Smallholders Yields: MPONGOC   KOTA KINABALU, Dec 1 (Bernama) -- Smallholders who lack knowledge and support for good agricultural practices or skills such as negotiating rates for their harvest stand to gain from the Sabah Government's move to fully produce Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) within the next 10 years. The Malaysian Palm Oil NGO Coalition (MPONGOC) said the move will also help secure environmental benefits such as safe water supply and soil conservation, as all producers in Sabah will be both obliged and assisted to meet globally-accepted standards such as those advocated by Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).  "The commitment to help Sabah's smallholders achieve RSPO standards will future-proof their access to top-flight international markets," MPONGOC representative, Cynthia Ong, said in a statement Tuesday. http://www.bernama.com.my/bernama/state_news/news.php?id=1195489&cat=ess

FGV concerned about cost of certification for smallholders   By Danial Idraki / theedgemarkets.com   | November 18, 2015 KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 18): While Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd (FGV) ( Valuation: 2.00, Fundamental: 1.15) supports the sustainable palm oil certification initiative that is driven by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), it has concerns over who will cover the cost of certification for independent smallholders in the country... .http://www.theedgemarkets.com/my/article/fgv-concerned-about-cost-certification-smallholders

Malaysia, Indonesia seek 50% CSPO by 2020 by Alexander Winifred November 19, 2015 Malaysia and Indonesia will ensure half of all palm oil produced in both countries is sustainable as the region reels from haze that has cost billions to fight this year. Officials from the 13th Annual Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) said yesterday that burning for land clearing activities has been blamed for one of the worst haze occurrences in recent history in this region. The Indonesian government has estimated that the cost of stopping the fires this year would be around 475 trillion rupiah (RM150 billion)...  http://www.themalaysianreserve.com/new/story/malaysia-indonesia-seek-50-cspo-2020

Sime Darby launches online dashboard to address deforestation concerns  17 November 2015 http://www.thestar.com.my/business/business-news/2015/11/17/sime-darby-launches-online-dashboard-to-address-concerns-on-deforestation/?style=biz

RSPO sets new targets for sustainable palm oil By Vaidehi Shah 20 November 2015 - RSPO and palm oil companies have unveiled new sustainability commitments, but said that without strong support from the government, even their best efforts won't make a dent in global sustainability goals. ... http://www.eco-business.com/news/rspo-sets-new-targets-for-sustainable-palm-oil/

RSPO sets target for M'sia, Indonesia to achieve 50% certified sustainable palm oil by 2020   By Danial Idraki / theedgemarkets.com   | November 18, 2015 : 3:25 PM MYT   KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 18): The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), an international grouping tasked to promote the growth and use of certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO), is targeting a take-up of 50% CSPO by the industry in Malaysia and Indonesia by 2020, as part of its initiative to create gre.. http://www.theedgemarkets.com/en/node/242708

Jurisdictional Certification Important To Develop Sustainable Production Of Palm Oil 19/11/2015 http://www.bernama.com.my/bernama/v8/bu/newsbusiness.php?id=1191405
Who watches the watchmen? RSPO’s greenwashing and fraudulent reports exposed  By Chris Lang 17 November 2015 http://www.redd-monitor.org/2015/11/17/who-watches-the-watchmen-rspos-greenwashing-and-fraudulent-reports/

World’s second largest palm oil producer makes sustainability pledge By Simon Pitman+, 18-Nov-2015 Golden Agri-Resources, the world’s second biggest producer of palm oil, has agreed to re-engage with The Forest Trust in an effort to improve its sustainability profile. http://www.cosmeticsdesign-asia.com/Formulation-Science/World-s-second-largest-palm-oil-producer-makes-sustainability-pledge

Greenwashing? RSPO audits rife with ‘mistakes and fraud,’ report finds 16th November 2015 / Jonathan Vit  An NGO investigation raises serious concerns about the credibility of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil's most fundamental processes. http://news.mongabay.com/2015/11/greenwashing-rspo-audits-rife-with-mistakes-and-fraud-report-finds/

Malaysia baulks on oil palm maps [KUALA LUMPUR] Malaysia now remains the only country that has yet to resolve its legal position on supplying concession site boundary maps for oil palm plantations — an essential tool for identifying the causes and perpetrators of perennial forest fires and haze.  The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) announced at a press conference (18 November) during its 13th annual meeting in Kuala Lumpur that after months of discussions, it is now clear on its legal position on the supply of concession maps in Indonesia leaving only Malaysia as the only one without maps due to the contentious legal issue related to the Official Secrets Act.  http://www.scidev.net/asia-pacific/farming/news/malaysia-baulks-on-oil-palm-maps.html

Croda bags Certified Sustainable Palm Oil for its global manufacturing facilities By Simon Pitman+, 09-Nov-2015  With the growing importance on sourcing and processing sustainable palm oil, Croda has fulfilled requirements for all of its manufacturing facilities to comply with industry standards. http://www.cosmeticsdesign.com/Formulation-Science/Croda-bags-Certified-Sustainable-Palm-Oil-for-its-global-manufacturing-facilities

Low uptake of sustainable palm oil  7 November 2015... Only half of RSPO-certified palm oil finds a buyer. THERE is a sluggish uptake of sustainable palm oil, and the frequent excuse is that nobody wants to pay the premium. What is the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) response to this?... Bek-Nielsen (who is RSPO co-chair, MPOA): People generally do not like broken promises. Growers are no exception and the growers who committed themselves to the RSPO in many instances feel short-changed. The producers have taken a leap of faith undergoing an herculean task (not without costs) to live up to the standards of sustainable palm oil set in force by a number of stakeholders, amongst them NGOs and multinationals like WWF, Conservation International and Unilever to mention a few....http://www.thestar.com.my/business/business-news/2015/11/07/low-uptake-of-sustainable-palm-oil/?style=biz

A new business model for palm oil? The recent haze in Southeast Asia has sparked renewed calls for alternatives to palm oil products. In this interview, Forum for the Future founder Jonathon Porritt tells Eco-Business why the industry - which also provides thousands of livelihoods worldwide - needs a new business model, not boycotts.  By Vaidehi Shah  16 October 2015 http://www.eco-business.com/news/a-new-business-model-for-palm-oil/


20 October 2015: Worry about IPOP, ISPO dilution

Editor's note: Discussion in palm oil circles on the Indonesia-Malaysia cooperation intention and the call to water down IPOP and ISPO to accommodate smallholders (a significant portion without legal land tenure) along with the independent mills and FFB dealers serving these smallholders.

The origins of the cooperation push is the President of Indonesia's office and specialists agree that the traditional bureaucracies of Indonesia and Malaysia are not at the forefront of this new effort. What's different is that it comes with Indonesia impetus, whereas previous bilateral efforts petered out on lack of Indonesia interest. 

Unusually, it also came along with a corporate presence - FGV and Eagle High deal. Interesting in news reports that the Coordinating Maritime Minister of Indonesia being a prominent spokesperson of the palm oil G2G deal. The harmonization of ISPO and MSPO would not be an easy feat - one being mandatory and the other voluntary. And this seems quite mixed up in the apparent pressure on the giant plantations groups at IPOP assuring on buying from the smallholders-independent mills-FFB dealers network. Also, noteworthy is that Pak Dr. Herdradjat (ex Director of Estate Crops at Ministry of Agriculture) takes over Ibu Dr. Rosediana Suharto's role at ISPO quite suddenly.

The issue of "illegal palm oil mills" in Indonesia is surfacing - notably 70 in Riau according to a news report. Question: While the big plantations slow under the sustainability spotlight, who is funding the smallholder push? Illegal mils (by definition independent mills are illegal in Indonesia) and FFB dealers (currently not regulated)? Jakarta experts say that these mills may have a license issued by provincial politicians or Bupati, but lack a national level license. It is notable in ISPO's presentation at PIPOC that it refers to this sector of independent/"illegal" mills. Those concerned about non-certification traceability have been asking what if they trace to illegal sources and what is the basis of their verification?

More here: http://khorreports-palmoil.blogspot.my/2015/10/jokowi-and-2015-haze-step-down-on.html

News links

New Palm Oil Council Abolishes 'No Deforestation' Pledge  Published 14 October 2015; The production of palm oil has long been criticized by environmentalists, mainly because mass land and forests must be cleared for its production. A new palm oil council is being established in Indonesia and Malaysia to create a joint set of standards for the industry, which will effectively abolish a previous “no deforestation” pledge made by major palm oil companies in the region, Reuters reported Wednesday.  Palm oil companies in Indonesia made the historic pledges at a climate change summit last year. After feeling international pressure to adopt better practices, some of the biggest palm oil companies in the region – including Cargill, Golden Agri-Resources and Wilmar International – signed the Indonesian Palm Oil Pledge. However, according to the Indonesian government these promises are hurting smallholders who cannot afford to adopt to the sustainable practices... http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/New-Palm-Oil-Council-Abolishes-No-Deforestation-Pledge--20151014-0015.html

Indonesia to Stop Complying with European Union's Palm Oil Standards  12 October 2015 The Indonesian government will (temporarily) stop using sustainability standards designed by the European Union regarding crude palm oil (CPO). Indonesian Minister of Maritime Affairs Rizal Ramli said the current strict standards of the European Union hurt the domestic palm oil industry, especially smallholders. Moreover, Indonesia and Malaysia, the world's two largest CPO producers and exporters, are to set up a new intergovernmental palm oil council that will design new rules and standards regarding sustainable palm oil production....Last week it was announced that Indonesia and Malaysia agreed to set up the new palm oil council (called the Council of Palm Oil Producer Countries). This council aims to control the global palm oil supply, stabilize CPO prices and promote sustainable practices in the palm oil industry, partly by harmonizing existing standards of Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO) and Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO). Indonesia and Malaysia account for about 85 percent of the world's CPO output. Rizal is confident that demand for Indonesian CPO will not decline due to the moratorium on applying the European Union's palm oil standards. The Indonesian government will lobby the governments of China and India to use the palm oil standards that are to be developed by the Council of Palm Oil Producer Countries (CPOP).... http://www.indonesia-investments.com/news/todays-headlines/indonesia-to-stop-complying-with-european-union-s-palm-oil-standards/item6025


30 September 2015: Sime Darby's Borneo study on biodiversity in plantation setting, Brazil to collect final tranche of $1 billion payment for protecting Amazon

World's largest ecological study aims to make palm oil wildlife-friendly - A new palm oil plantation in Borneo, Malaysia, is being used by researchers to study ways of retaining endangered wildlife, including the orangutan Tuesday 29 September 2015 14.03 BST  by Tom Levitt; .... On average, just 15% of the species recorded in primary forest are found in oil palm plantations. But what if these forest fragments were expanded or redesigned to encourage more species to survive and migrate through palm oil landscapes? For the past five years, Ewers has been leading a study called the Safe project to answer this question. With a team of researchers on the island of Borneo, Malaysia – one of the most biodiverse regions in the world – he is studying the impact of different types and sizes of forest fragments on wildlife populations. With the support of a major palm oil company, Malaysia-based Sime Darby, which Ewers says has no involvement in the study, the researchers have been given exclusive access to a forest site being cleared for palm oil conversion. They are assessing the impact of different types of forest fragments, including continuous patches of forest, so-called wildlife corridors, that allow wildlife to move in and out of plantations....http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2015/sep/29/palm-oil-wildlife-forests-ecological-study-borneo-Malaysia

Norway to complete $1 billion payment to Brazil for protecting Amazon by Green Business  |  Tue Sep 15, 2015 9:52am EDT Norway will make a final $100-million payment to Brazil this year to complete a $1-billion project that rewards a slowdown in forest loss in the Amazon basin, Norway's Environment Ministry said on Tuesday. Brazil had more than achieved a goal of reducing the rate of deforestation by 75 percent, the condition for the payments under an agreement for 2008-15 meant to protect the forest and slow climate change, it said. The remaining cash would be paid before a U.N. summit on climate change in Paris in December, the ministry said. Since 2008, Norway has paid about $900 million to Brazil's Amazon Fund.  "Brazil has established what has become a model for other national climate change funds," Norwegian Environment Minister Tine Sundtoft said in a statement...... http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/09/15/us-climatechange-amazon-norway-idUSKCN0RF1P520150915

13 September 2015: Felda denies WSJ report on workers’ abuse, hiring illegals, pick-up in Indonesia and Brazil deforestation post 2013,  RSPO reports only 10 fire hotspots occurred in RSPO-certified [land] compared to over 2,000 total fire hotspots in six months to 2 Sept

Trees covering an area twice the size of Portugal lost in 2014, study finds - Palm oil plantations are devouring forests rapidly worldwide, with west Africa becoming the new hot spot for tree loss, Wednesday 2 September 2015 04.00 BST; Data reveals that tree loss in Brazil and Indonesia is on the rise again – by 16% and 30% respectively since 2013 – despite longer term downward trends.. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/sep/02/trees-covering-an-area-twice-the-size-of-portugal-lost-in-2014-study-finds

Data streams from dozens of sources help companies measure the risk of deforestation in their supply chains by Stacy Collett By Stacy Collett   Computerworld | Sep 2, 2015 3:30 AM PT; Today, about a dozen of the largest commodity traders and buyers in the world use the app.  The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) uses the tool for its alert and fire monitoring system to track fires and deforestation activity.  "Companies who are certified by RSPO had far fewer fire alerts" on their land, says Sanath Kumaran, head of impacts for RSPO in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. "During the last six months, only 10 fire hotspots occurred in RSPO-certified [land] compared to over 2,000 total fire hotspots in all other oil palm [land]."...http://www.computerworld.com/article/2977562/data-analytics/world-resources-institute.html

Felda denies WSJ report on workers’ abuse, hiring illegals Published: 28 August 2015 9:17 PM; Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd (FGV) has investigated allegations of human rights abuses raised by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) and clarified that it did not employ illegal immigrants. In a statement, it said a special taskforce was assembled and chaired by its group president and chief executive officer, Datuk Mohd Emir Mavani Abdullah, to investigate the allegations and reiterated that all its workers were employed in full compliance of all regulations and laws. - See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/felda-denies-wsj-report-on-workers-abuse-hiring-illegals#sthash.XDFSt14s.dpuf

21 July 2015: Sabah affirms 100% RSPO-certified by 2025 plan - Sabah Forestry Department director Sam Mannan

Note: It would be useful to know what RSPO policy adaptations relate to a state-wide adoption of RSPO standards

Sabah - 100% RSPO-certified palm oil by 2025, KUALA LUMPUR, July 20, 2015; Sabah aims to produce 100% Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certified palm oil by 2025 – which would make it the first sub-national or state entity to fully commit to producing 100% RSPO certified palm oil..... State officials look to overcome these challenges to differentiate Sabah’s palm oil from other producers, especially given the rise in the number of companies that have adopted social and environmental safeguards for palm oil sourcing. “Both global demand and downstream industries will increasingly pull the supply chain for certified sustainable palm oil and Sabah must act to be ahead of the curve,” said Sabah Forestry Department director Sam Mannan. “With time, large competitors will inevitably outpace Sabah’s total output of palm oil. But with certification, Sabah can build itself as a niche producer of a branded good certified palm oil, and compete on the basis of governance and not size.” Studies have also suggested that the value of such certification efforts would provide dividends beyond public relations value by shifting adopters toward more efficient practices and bringing supply chains in line.... Cynthia Ong, director at Forever Sabah, an initiative that aims to fundamentally shift Sabah’s economy from resource extraction to sustainable enterprises, said: “Research shows that productivity of producers, especially smallholders, can increase dramatically after certification, allowing Sabah to gain in yield while also making conservation gains.”... http://www.therakyatpost.com/business/2015/07/20/100-rspo-certified-palm-oil-by-2025/

14 July 2015: First Resources goes with TFT / Greenpeace HCS Approach, promises not to develop forest with more than 35 tC/ha; Sept 2014 Bumitama shift and Manifesto 5's moratorium

First Resources the latest palm oil giant to announce zero-deforestation commitment by  Philip Jacobson  July 03, 2015; Palm oil giant First Resources has committed to eliminate deforestation and rights abuses from its supply chain, making it the industry's first company operating primarily at the grower level to do so. The policy, announced on Wednesday, is the latest in a wave of sustainability commitments from corporations that produce, trade and use palm oil.  First Resources' policy was designed in conjunction with a coalition of environmental groups, including Switzerland-headquartered The Forest Trust (TFT), whose founder, Scott Poynton, argues that companies must move beyond certification schemes for timber and agricultural commodities.....Where the RSPO does not ban all deforestation, for example, First Resources has prohibited the destruction of high carbon stock (HCS) forest. (The term, defined as containing more than 35 tons of carbon per hectare, generally applies to any forest more robust than shrubland.) The RSPO forbids clearance of high conservation value (HCV) forest but makes no mention of HCS. Glenn Hurowitz, a campaigner formerly with Forest Heroes, which also worked with First Resources, said the company deserves credit for responding to concerns raised by civil society.... http://news.mongabay.com/2015/0703-jacobson-first-resources-new-policy.html#ixzz3fq8gtVtE

Major Indonesian Palm Oil Grower Announces New Direction on Conserving Forests and Peat Posted by Glenn Hurowitz 4hc on September 13, 2014 Statement from Forest Heroes Campaign Chairman Glenn Hurowitz on Major Indonesian Palm Oil Grower Announces New Direction on Conserving Forests and Peat Serious Issues Remain, but Conservation Measures Offer a Template for Resolving Other Problems "Today, the supply chain worked. Bumitama’s forest conservation steps mark a breakthrough in which a very large scale Indonesian palm oil supplier publicly announced meaningful steps for forest conservation in response to new No Deforestation policies from major agricultural traders like Wilmar and GAR. The second green revolution is happening before our eyes. Agricultural producers are realizing that they can expand without converting natural ecosystems, upending thousands of years of assumptions about civilization’s growth. “Bumitama Agri announced that it would set aside more than 13,000 hectares of forest and peatland from development, after the results of a pilot study looking at deforestation’s impact on climate change and biodiversity. And they did it because they wanted access to global markets following zero-deforestation commitments from palm oil traders Wilmar and Golden Agri-Resources.  Notably, in its press release, Bumitama also attributed the move to a “response to the changing global trend on sustainability...

The Chain: Five large palm oil producers announce HCS moratorium 19 September 2014 by jbfinkelstein; Five large palm oil producers announce HCS moratorium, but questions remain. Five major palm oil producers – Sime Darby (SIME:MK), Asian Agri, IOI Corporation (IOI:MK), Kuala Lumpur Kepong (KLK:MK), and Musim Mas, – announced today that they would institute a moratorium on clearance of high carbon stock areas while a yearlong industry–sponsored study of what constitutes a forest is underway.... The move potentially signals a move towards a unified approach towards protecting forests in the palm oil industry. This group of growers had previously resisted the “No Deforestation” approach to forest conservation undertaken by Wilmar, GAR, Cargill and others, and instead promulgated a “Sustainable Palm Oil Manifesto” that allowed continued clearing of high carbon stock forests.... http://chainreactionresearch.com/2014/09/19/the-chain-hcs-moratorium/

27 June 2015:

PT Eagle High Plantations unit in spotlight on forest clearance, Indupalma became the second RSPO-certified company in Colombia, after Daabon, Palm giant Golden Agri renews green push, Conservation grade palm oil? Ruchi Soya inks deal with Solidaridad to scale up sustainable production in India

Palm giant Golden Agri renews green push after criticism on land use JAKARTA, June 17  |  By Michael Taylor Wed Jun 17, 2015 4:25am EDT Singapore-listed palm giant Golden Agri-Resources has renewed its commitment to sustainability to address customer concerns after an international body accused one of its Indonesian subsidiaries of breaching land acquisition rules. http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/06/17/indonesia-golden-agri-rspo-idUSL3N0Z321H20150617

Conservation grade palm oil? Scientists discover how to make sustainable palm oil profitable By Niamh Michail+, 17-Jun-2015; Scientists have found an ‘optimal point’ at which switching to sustainable palm oil production methods actually becomes profitable. http://www.foodnavigator.com/Science/Scientists-discover-how-to-make-sustainable-palm-oil-profitable

Palm oil giants to investigate company found razing Papuan rainforest; Mongabay.com Monday 22 June 2015; Agribusiness giants Cargill and Golden Agri-Resources (GAR) are pledging to investigate a palm oil supplier after an Indonesian environmental group presented evidence of rainforest clearing in New Guinea. On Thursday, Greenomics-Indonesia released a report documenting destruction of forests in South Sorong, a regency in West Papua, Indonesian New Guinea. Greenomics found that PT Varia Mitra Andalan (VMA), a subsidiary of publicly-listed PT Eagle High Plantations Tbk, continued to clear high carbon stock forests through March 2015, potentially putting it in breach of sustainability commitments established last year by Cargill and GAR. Both companies buy significant volumes of product from Eagle High Plantations, according to public disclosures.  The findings led Greenomics to call on the companies to respect their “deforestation-free” sourcing policies. Both companies are signatories of the Indonesian Palm Oil Pledge (IPOP), a corporate commitment to eliminate deforestation from supply chains... http://www.eco-business.com/news/palm-oil-giants-to-investigate-company-found-razing-papuan-rainforest/

Good agricultural practices gain traction in Colombia 20 June 2015; In May, after in-depth work in understanding and implementing sustainable practices, and thanks to the commitment of the Farmer Support Programme (FSP), Indupalma became the second RSPO-certified company in Colombia, after Daabon. This achievement has motivated other companies from the palm oil sector to continue supporting Colombia in becoming a leader for sustainable agriculture... http://www.solidaridadnetwork.org/news/good-agricultural-practices-gain-traction-in-Colombia

Ruchi Soya inks deal with Solidaridad to scale up sustainable production in India 05 June 2015; Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte witnessed the signing of an agreement worth €4.5 million that is intended to reduce India's dependence on imports and save on foreign exchange. Ruchi Soya Industries Limited (Ruchi Soya), India’s number one edible oil and soya foods company, recently inked a deal with Solidaridad. Valued at €4.5 million, the deal was signed in the presence of the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte. Ruchi Soya will share 55% of this investment and Solidaridad the remaining 45%. The project will work on the principle of "Make in India" and "More Crop per Drop". http://www.solidaridadnetwork.org/news/ruchi-soya-inks-deal-with-solidaridad-to-scale-up-sustainable-production-in-india

20 June 2015: Agro Lestari moves with IPOP

Palm oil giant announces deforestation freeze amid NGO campaign by Philip Jacobson  June 12, 2015; Palm oil giant Astra Agro Lestari has announced an immediate moratorium on land clearing, less than a month after the launch of an environmental campaign targeting one of its sister companies, the Mandarin Oriental hotel chain. The prohibition applies to Astra Agro's own plantations as well as to those of its suppliers, according to a statement posted yesterday to the company's website. Astra Agro characterized the freeze as a "major step" toward bringing its operations into line with the standards of the Indonesia Palm Oil Pledge (IPOP), a high-profile, joint sustainability commitment signed by fellow industry titans Wilmar, Cargill, Golden Agri-Resources (GAR), Asian Agri and Musim Mas as well as the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce (Kadin). Forest Heroes, the group that spearheaded the She's Not a Fan campaign against Mandarin – the title is a play off the hotel chain's celebrity-fan endorsement drive – welcomed the announcement...."It's time for GAPKI to become a force for conservation and responsible development, rather than fighting to maintain the old status quo," Forest Heroes chairman Glenn Hurowitz said.... http://news.mongabay.com/2015/0612-jacobson-mandarin-campaign-deforestation-moratorium-announcement.html#ixzz3dqWp1v5v

Victory for campaigners as palm oil company vows to stop felling rainforest by  Ian Johnston Saturday 13 June 2015; Astra Agro Lestari (AAL), a subsidiary of the multinational conglomerate Jardine Matheson, announced a moratorium less than a month after The Independent on Sunday highlighted a campaign by pressure groups to make guests of the luxury Mandarin Hotel chain – another Jardine Matheson firm – aware of deforestation by AAL in Indonesia. http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/victory-for-campaigners-as-palm-oil-company-vows-to-stop-felling-rainforest-10318481.html

17 May 2015: RSPO strengthens its stance with RSPO+ Voluntary Addendum, Wilmar, Musim Mas supplier caught clearing elephant habitat for palm oil in Aceh, To make palm oil 'sustainable' local communities must be in charge Forest Peoples Programme, Multinationals cannot prevent palm oil deforestation on their own - collaboration needed

RSPO strengthens its stance on deforestation and human rights By Niamh Michail+, 07-May-2015; Stricter voluntary guidelines on deforestation, peatland development and indigenous people’s rights will strengthen the sustainable palm oil certification, says the RSPO. http://www.foodnavigator.com/Policy/RSPO-strengthens-its-stance-on-deforestation-and-human-rights

European 100% sustainable palm oil target is realistic, says RSPO By Daisy Phillipson, 14-May-2015 Reaching the goal of 100% Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) in Europe by 2020 is a big challenge with significant barriers, says RSPO, but one that is ultimately achievable with company and national commitments. http://www.foodnavigator.com/Policy/European-100-sustainable-palm-oil-target-is-realistic-says-RSPO

Wilmar, Musim Mas supplier caught clearing elephant habitat for palm oil in Aceh by Philip Jacobson May 12, 2015; A new report provides evidence that a supplier of palm oil giants Wilmar and Musim Mas is bulldozing valuable forests in Indonesia’s Leuser Ecosystem in violation of the companies’ zero-deforestation policies.  As of April 30, when the report’s author, policy development institute Greenomics Indonesia, conducted field checks to verify satellite imagery indicating the destruction, a Mopoli Raya Group subsidiary named Aloer Timur was clearing high-carbon stock (HCS) forest across its concession in Leuser, the only place on earth where Sumatran tigers, rhinos, elephants and orangutans still coexist in the wild.  Besides Wilmar and Musim Mas’ own commitments to purge their supply chains of deforestation, Aloer Timur’s activities would also seem to contravene the Indonesia Palm Oil Pledge (IPOP), a high-profile, joint sustainability pact the two firms have entered into along with fellow industry titans Golden Agri-Resources, Asian Agri, Musim Mas and the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin).  Musim Mas is aware of the report and is talking with Mopoli Raya, which has shown a willingness to cooperate, a Musim Mas spokesman told Mongabay.  “We would like to stress that the volume procured from Mopoli Raya is very insignificant to Musim Mas, but immediate discard of them from the supply chain will not provide a solution to protect the Leuser Ecosystem,” the spokesman wrote in an email. “Our strategy is to provide our expertise in sustainable development to our third-party suppliers who lack the skills and resources to achieve sustainable supplies.”  http://news.mongabay.com/2015/0512-jacobson-ipop-supplier-leuser.html#ixzz3aNIJ6jLn;  Link to report: http://www.greenomics.org/docs/IPOP-Implementation-Report-01_Greenomics.pdf

Hope for palm oil livelihood and yield improvements in West Africa 25 September 2014; Solidaridad's Sustainable West Africa Palm oil Programme (SWAPP) hosted a workshop last week to share its Best Management Practices on palm oil agronomy. The key message from the workshop was one of optimism, namely that: yields in Ghana and West Africa region can reach 15-16 tonnes per hectare on well-managed farms. In other words, BMP holds promise for enhancing both yields and livelihoods. SWAPP, in collaboration with the International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI) and other stakeholders in the oil palm sector, are piloting Best Management Practices (BMP) initiatives in Ghana. Due to the need to supplement a limited domestic supply, the BMP initiative aims to enable farmers to adopt best agronomic practices in order to boost production to meet the huge demand in a country that already currently imports 70,000 tonnes of oil palm. http://www.solidaridadnetwork.org/news/hope-for-palm-oil-livelihood-and-yield-improvements-in-west-africa; On Solidaridad: 2014-2015: Solidaridad is launching the Asian Sustainable Palm Oil (ASPO), a multi-stakeholder platform to support and promote sustainable palm oil production and consumption in the main Asian markets of India, China and Indonesia We supported nearly 10,000 palm oil workers and producers and had 71,365 hectares under sustainable management in 2013. http://www.solidaridadnetwork.org/supply-chains/palm-oil

As ADM aims to end deforestation in its supply chain, will soy become the next palm oil? Soy may be next on the no-deforestation hit list, with a significant new corporate commitment from Archer Daniels Midland. Will real change result? by Leigh Stringer A journalist specializing in corporate sustainability, environmental issues and chemical regulation Wednesday 6 May 2015 16.57 BST  In a potentially big win for Latin American rainforests, Archer Daniels Midland, the third largest global supplier of agricultural commodities, has adopted a draft policy to end deforestation across its supply chains. The company is expected to formally announce the new plan at its shareholders meeting Thursday. ADM’s commitment rivals that of palm oil giant Wilmar’s anti-deforestation promise in 2013. This time, the product in question isn’t palm oil, but soybeans. ADM is one of the world’s leading soy traders and a top soy exporter in Latin America, where expanding production is a leading driver of deforestation across the Amazon and the Gran Chaco forest. It’s a pressing problem: Forest Trends, a Washington-based international nonprofit organization, estimates that 50%-70% of soy exports – about 31m tons – have displaced forests in Brazil, Bolivia, Uruguay and Paraguay.  This isn’t ADM’s first agricultural commitment to Brazil. The company abides by both the Brazil Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources’ embargo and the 2006 Brazilian Soy Moratorium (SoyM), a voluntary commitment to avoid trading, acquiring or financing soybeans from areas of the Amazon Biome that were deforested after July 2006. But ADM’s new policy does advance from previous commitments. The centerpiece of the new move is a pilot version of the company’s Responsible Soy Standard, which it is launching with a group of Brazilian growers. Under the program, expert third party inspectors will conduct yearly assessments to determine if growers are adhering to a broad set of social, environmental, legal and agronomic standards. Among other things, th  program will grade farmers on their labor practices, water and soil usage, solid waste management, observance of land rights, legal compliance and fertilizer consumption.

To make palm oil 'sustainable' local communities must be in charge Forest Peoples Programme 14th May 2015; The palm oil industry's repeated failure to keep its promises illustrates why global initiatives to achieve 'sustainable palm oil' must place communities centre-stage, writes FPP. Standard-setters like the RSPO must demand action, enforcement and accountability - not just lofty commitments that inspire hope, but rarely deliver. http://www.theecologist.org/campaigning/2856781/to_make_palm_oil_sustainable_local_communities_must_be_in_charge.html

Multinationals cannot prevent palm oil deforestation on their own; Individual action, even by major players in the palm oil industry, cannot prevent large-scale destruction of Indonesia’s rainforests. Collaboration is key. Andrew Bovarnick, Samantha Newport and Tomoyuki Uno; The Green Commodities Programme at the UNDP Wednesday 13 May 2015 12.56 BST;    Shortly after taking office last year, Indonesian President Joko Widodo vowed to crack down on deforestation resulting from palm oil expansion. Last month, vice-president Jusuf Kalla called on the international community to partner with Indonesia on investing in green development at The Tropical Landscapes Summit (TLS) in Jakarta. The government has also launched a mandatory certification scheme – the Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO) standard – to legalise and organise production, particularly that of small producers, by providing a legal baseline standard that will complement the voluntary Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) standard. ISPO, like new standards, has to overcome challenges to become robust and credible, but once fully operational has the potential to raise the standards of all growers in the country and have a major positive impact on the sector.  In recent years, a series of commitments and pledges have been made by major companies to cease producing, trading or buying palm oil linked to deforestation and exploitative practices. This is in response to consumers and retailers voicing demands for ethically produced products.  Four major palm oil traders – Wilmar International, Golden Agri Resources (GAR), Asian Agri and Cargill – all adopted zero-deforestation policies last year. These companies were represented at the TLS and all emphasised the need to look beyond their supply chains and address major barriers to producing sustainable palm oil, and the need for government leadership to bring about change.
The recent RSPO announcement to request GAR to stop expansion reflects the challenge faced by leading companies to adhere to sustainable practices and non-deforestation pledges. A large portion of their supply chains consist of a complex web of smallholders, middlemen and third-party suppliers, which makes traceability extremely difficult. Many of these suppliers lack the means to increase productivity, adhere to sustainability standards and even apply for documentation to make themselves legal.  This is why companies and government need to work together to start shifting the sector towards improved legality and sustainability. This is beyond a corporate supply chain initiative and requires intervention at the landscape level. Recognising the value of smallholders - A major reason for this is that these companies realise that a key challenge to address – and for which the participation of all stakeholders is a must – is that of smallholder farmers. They typically farm 25 hectares (61.75 acres) or less but are responsible for farming at least 40% of the total land area planted with oil palm. There is a growing momentum for collaborative and sustained change that can strengthen Indonesia’s economic advantage in the palm oil sector (and, by ripple effect, in other sectors) in an environmentally sustainable way. The Ministry of Agriculture launched the Indonesian Palm Oil Platform (InPOP) last year to bring together stakeholders to tackle the problems head on, together. The Indonesian government should be applauded for opening itself up for such dialogue and cooperation. http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2015/may/13/palm-oil-indonesia-collaboration-smallholders-multinationals-government-ispo

4 April 2015: While buyers like ADM start to move on soy sustainability, interesting to note Brazil pesticides issue

ADM Commits to No-Deforestation Policy for Soybeans, Palm Oil  'By'Shruti Date Singh  12:00 AM HKT  April 1, 2015; (Bloomberg) -- Archer-Daniels-Midland Co., a global supplier of agricultural commodities, has pledged to curb deforestation that results from the farming of soybeans and palm trees.  ADM is committing to developing ways to trace crops it processes, make those supply chains transparent and protect forests globally, according to Victoria Podesta, a spokeswoman for the Chicago-based company. The policy “combines a clear commitment to no deforestation with progressive action focused on our most critical supply chains,” Podesta said Monday in an e-mailed statement.  The policy for soy production is the first for that crop..... http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-03-31/adm-commits-to-no-deforestation-policy-for-soybeans-palm-oil

Special Report: Why Brazil has a big appetite for banned pesticides LIMOEIRO DO NORTE, Brazil
(Reuters) - The farmers of Brazil have become the world’s top exporters of sugar, orange juice, coffee, beef, poultry and soybeans. They’ve also earned a more dubious distinction: In 2012, Brazil passed the United States as the largest buyer of pesticides. This rapid growth has made Brazil an enticing market for pesticides banned or phased out in richer nations because of health or environmental risks. At least four major pesticide makers – U.S.-based FMC Corp., Denmark’s Cheminova A/S, Helm AG of Germany and Swiss agribusiness giant Syngenta AG – sell products here that are no longer allowed in their domestic markets, a Reuters review of registered pesticides found. Among the compounds widely sold in Brazil: paraquat, which was branded as “highly poisonous” by U.S. regulators. Both Syngenta and Helm are licensed to sell it here.... http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/04/02/us-brazil-pesticide-specialreport-idUSKBN0MT1Q820150402

30 March 2015: Musim Mas with Indonesia Palm Oil Pledge, aims to join POIG

Musim Mas Goes Green With New Palm Oil Pledge By Jakarta Globe on 10:43 pm Mar 29, 2015
Jakarta. Musim Mas, one of Indonesia’s biggest traders in palm oil, has announced that it has joined the Indonesian Palm Oil Pledge, environmental group Greenpeace said in its press release.
The IPOP signatories are a number of progressive Indonesian palm oil companies that have announced they will follow steps to stop deforestation in their own concessions and supply chains.
Together with the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce (Kadin), they are urging the government to introduce strong measures to ensure forest and peatland protection.... “Greenpeace welcomes Musim Mas’s decision to join IPOP, and hopes that the IPOP signatory companies will combine to voice a strong call for conservation to the Indonesian government,” Greenpeace said in the statement.... The next step for IPOP signatories like Musim Mas is to take necessary measures to put their ambitious commitments into practice, Greenpeace said. These companies need to ensure there is no link to forest clearance and peatlands in their supply chains and work closely with suppliers to comply with their commitments.... Musim Mas is also in the process of applying for membership to the Palm Oil Innovation Group, which means it will commit to independent, third-party verification of its compliance with the charter.... In addition, Greenpeace said Musim Mas is to be commended for becoming a member of the High Carbon Stock Approach Steering Group. HCS puts “No Deforestation” into practice, ensuring a practical, transparent, and scientifically credible approach that is widely accepted to implement commitments to halt deforestation in the tropics, while ensuring that the rights, livelihoods and aspirations of local peoples are respected.... http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/news/musim-mas-goes-green-new-palm-oil-pledge/

14 March 2015: Matt Ridley argues for fossil fuels efficiency shifts not subsidies to wealthy crony capitalists; big palm oil "develops a green conscience" - Bloomberg; in palm oil green standards as in Halal standards - there's a prevalence of multiple standards and customers paying for the higher costs (and some profits on top of this...  some buyers worry)

14 March 2015: Halal standards also shows prevalence of multiple standards and customers paying for the higher costs...  No benefit from single Halal standard, says Brazil poultry body 10-Mar-2015; No cost advantage.. He dismissed the idea that a single standard might allow poultry producers to cut costs, saying that producers simply passed on costs to their customers: "It's not a question of easy or not easy, or more costly or less costly - we just say, if you want us to do this, we will do it. If you want us to improve the Halal controls, have two supervisors instead of one, we will do it, and it will cost you."... http://mobile.foodnavigator.com/Regions/Middle-East/No-benefit-from-single-Halal-standard-says-Brazil-poultry-body#.VQQPLZ2wqrR; Note:  In palm oil sustainability or other standards as in Halal standards - there's a prevalence of multiple standards and customers paying for the higher costs (and a profit margin on top of cost too, some buyers worry...)

The Saturday Essay: Fossil Fuels Will Save the World (Really) - There are problems with oil, gas and coal, but their benefits for people—and the planet—are beyond dispute By Matt Ridley March 13, 2015 5:33 p.m. ET;.... As for renewable energy, hydroelectric is the biggest and cheapest supplier, but it has the least capacity for expansion. Technologies that tap the energy of waves and tides remain unaffordable and impractical, and most experts think that this won’t change in a hurry. Geothermal is a minor player for now. And bioenergy—that is, wood, ethanol made from corn or sugar cane, or diesel made from palm oil—is proving an ecological disaster: It encourages deforestation and food-price hikes that cause devastation among the world’s poor, and per unit of energy produced, it creates even more carbon dioxide than coal.... We should encourage the switch from coal to gas in the generation of electricity, provide incentives for energy efficiency, get nuclear power back on track and keep developing solar power and electricity storage. We should also invest in research on ways to absorb carbon dioxide from the air, by fertilizing the ocean or fixing it through carbon capture and storage. Those measures all make sense. And there is every reason to promote open-ended research to find some unexpected new energy technology.... The one thing that will not work is the one thing that the environmental movement insists upon: subsidizing wealthy crony capitalists to build low-density, low-output, capital-intensive, land-hungry renewable energy schemes, while telling the poor to give up the dream of getting richer through fossil fuels.... Mr. Ridley is the author of “The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves” and a member of the British House of Lords.  http://www.wsj.com/articles/fossil-fuels-will-save-the-world-really-1426282420?mod=trending_now_3

A Palm Oil King Develops a Green Conscience - Wilmar International’s chairman is cleaning up the industry that made him a billionaire  by Yuriy Humberand Ranjeetha Pakiam 2:24 AM HKT  March 13, 2015; The sprawling palm oil industry has long been a destroyer of rain forests and tormentor of endangered species across Southeast Asia, to hear environmental groups tell it. And if one executive embodied this $50 billion business, it was Kuok Khoon Hong, a 65-year-old Singaporean commodities magnate. Known as the palm oil king, Kuok is a member of one of Asia’s most powerful business clans and co-founder and chairman of Wilmar International. These days he is no longer portrayed as a villain by activists and nongovernmental organizations. He’s become central to their campaign to prod the palm oil industry to adopt eco-friendly business practices that may start to slow the environmental damage in the region. “I would consider myself an environmentalist today,” he says. “I changed a few years ago when I saw the damage climate change had on the environment in some countries.”...  Greenpeace videos alleging that palm oil buyers including Unilever and Procter & Gamble contribute to deforestation scored millions of YouTube hits. On an investor call, environmentalists heckled the chief executive officer of Kellogg about buying palm oil from Wilmar. In 2013, Singapore, where Wilmar is based and Kuok lives, was covered in ash from plantation fires tied to the industry..... Wilmar had argued that it was primarily a trading company and didn’t play a direct role in the environmental abuses—and thus couldn’t be expected to police the industry. Nevertheless, it was an attractive target for critics. One activist went on TV to blame Singapore’s ash on Wilmar. “I asked myself what we did wrong for us to be so wrongly accused,” Kuok Khoon Hong says.... Kuok tracked down Hurowitz. Within weeks the former tormentor was in Kuok’s office laying out a plan to change the palm oil industry and eradicate its links to deforestation. Face to face with Kuok, Hurowitz says he found the businessman interested in what he had to say. “He had not been focused on the environmental issues until we started talking,” Hurowitz says. “He deserves enormous credit for being open-minded.”.... The push to clean up palm oil production faces big challenges. It’s a fragmented industry, and not every company has joined the sustainability push. Nor are the initiatives Wilmar and others have signed on to legally binding. Restoring the lost rain forests and animal habitats will take decades..... http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-03-12/wilmar-chairman-pushes-palm-oil-industry-to-clean-up

Going Green: Can Palm Oil Be Good for the Environment? 9:50 AM HKT  March 13, 2015
Palm oil has widespread uses but the industry's poor reputation is just as prevalent. For years plantation growers sacrificed forests and wildlife to make something found in almost 50 percent of shopping baskets around the world. However, in the face of a rising wave of criticism, change IS coming. Bloomberg's Haslinda Amin has been to Malaysia to see how the industry is attempting to go green. (Source: Bloomberg) http://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2015-03-13/going-green-can-palm-oil-be-good-for-the-environment-

5 March 2015: Greenpeace halts APP deal on allegations of farmer murder

Greenpeace halts APP deal after brutal murder Jon Afrizal, The Jakarta Post, Jambi | Headlines | Tue, March 03 2015, 6:26 AM .box-profile; Environmental group Greenpeace has suspended cooperation with giant Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) as police are trying to prevent further violence after a farmer was allegedly beaten to death in Jambi by guards linked to the company. Bustar Maitar, the head of Greenpeace’s Indonesia forest campaign, told Agence France-Presse on Monday that the group was temporarily withdrawing support for the company’s initiatives on forest conservation.Maitar said support for APP would be suspended until the case was “settled in a transparent and fair manner” http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2015/03/03/greenpeace-halts-app-deal-after-brutal-murder.html#sthash.BUpZIkQl.dpuf

older news on Greenpeace in Indonesia

31 January 2015: Malaysia launches own palm oil standard with RM53 million support fund

Cost, cynicism and frustration: Malaysian government launches own palm oil standard By Annie-Rose Harrison-Dunn+ , 30-Jan-2015; The Malaysian government has launched its own sustainable palm oil certification standard – but will this add to or detract from sustainability and transparency efforts in the sector? ....Unilever: "necessary but not sufficient" .... The commodities minister: "We want our industry to be certified...." and said one of the problems with RSPO was its "moving the goal posts" by continually adding new conditions.... Previously, the government had offered 50m Malaysian Ringgits (EUR 12.17 million) to help smallholders gain RSPO certification, but take up of the scheme had been poor. As a result this budget has been upped by 3m Malaysian ringgits and reallocated to a support fund encouraging producers to gain the MSPO certification....  http://www.foodnavigator.com/Policy/Malaysian-government-launches-own-palm-oil-standard

29 January 2015: Wilmar brings change with disclosure of names of suppliers to its refineries and kernel crushing plants via TFT. Includes traceability ratios for each facility covered.

Comment: Having logged into the Dashboard yesterday, it was interesting to see names of suppliers to each key facility (refineries and palm kernel crushing plants) covered. A snapshot of map also shows the level of detailed attained - GPS location of even individual smallholder suppliers with map boundary of estates supplying to Wilmar (including its own estates and those of large suppliers) - a map example was shown and presumably available to buyers from Wilmar (but without this fine level of detail for public access). I big step up in marketing compliance scrutiny for suppliers of palm oil products with Wilmar pushing with more data. Notably, there is also a grievance process and ultimately a plantation grower has been caught up in it (on Sulawesi estate land clearance) and promising to abandon development (likely to sell off the estate?).

In the last year or so, key targets under NGO scrutiny include fast growing plantations in the sub and 100,000 plus hectare or so category. Those with large unplanted land banks may also face very tight scrutiny as (technical) NGOs are keeping a close eye via remote sensing / satellite imagery studies and many RSPO growers have submitted vector boundaries of their concession areas (and more of these are being put on line and available to public scrutiny), aiding this effort. One key website with official RSPO company data included is:  http://www.globalforestwatch.org/.

Wilmar Opens Palm Oil Supply Chain to Scrutiny By Reuters on 08:54 pm Jan 22, 2015
Singapore-based Wilmar said it would give outsiders, from customers to environmentalists worried about deforestation, access to online maps showing where it buys palm oil in Indonesia and Malaysia;  Oslo, Norway. Wilmar International Ltd., the world’s largest palm oil processor, opened its supply chains to outside scrutiny on Thursday in what environmentalists called an unprecedented step to help safeguard tropical forests. Singapore-based Wilmar said it would give outsiders, from customers to environmentalists worried about deforestation, access to online maps showing where it buys palm oil at more than 800 mills in Indonesia and Malaysia..... http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/business/wilmar-opens-palm-oil-supply-chain-scrutiny/

Can palm oil companies deliver on deforestation promises? BY Oliver Balch Monday 26 January 2015 07.00 GMT; Wilmar, the world’s largest palm oil trader, has committed not to engage in deforestation. But with little control over smallholders, can palm oil companies shake of their environmentally destructive reputation? On the face of it, the praise appears merited. Wilmar’s new policy (which also includes a ban on developing palm on peat areas) stands to save more than 1.5 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide by 2020 – equivalent to the combined annual energy-related carbon emissions of Central and South America.... That’s all supposing the company can deliver, of course. So can it?  On its wholly owned, directly managed palm plantations, meeting its pledge should be straightforward. The real challenge arises with the franchised or independent smallholder farmers from whom Wilmar buys around one third of its raw supply.... http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2015/jan/26/palm-oil-companies-deliver-deforestation-promises
Wilmar's supply policy 4Q2014 report here:  http://www.wilmar-international.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Wilmar-Policy-Q4-2014-Progress-Report-FINAL.pdf

7 December 2014: Musim Mas moves on TFT traceability

Musim Mas ups the ante on sustainability, Press Release, 4 December 2014, Singapore – Musim Mas announces its Sustainability Policy today, which re-affirms its commitment to bring benefits to the community, respect the rights of smallholders to develop or conserve their land, while maintaining a strict guideline of No Deforestation, No Peatland development and No Exploitation. The policy ensures that development will be carried out responsibly, with a positive impact on the rights and welfare of local communities.... The policy takes effect immediately across Musim Mas global operations and extends to all third-party suppliers with whom the Group either has a purchase agreement or a trading relationship. By the end of 2016, all palm oil sourced by Musim Mas will be traceable to the Group's and third parties' plantations. In the interim period, by the end of 2015, all palm oil sourced by the Group will be traceable to the mills. Musim Mas will provide support for its smallholders and out-growers in a fair, transparent and accountable manner. The Group views the establishment of a fully traceable supply chain as an important step towards sustainable palm oil production.... The Group remains committed to the High Carbon Stock (HCS) methodology which will be developed by the Sustainable Palm Oil Manifesto Steering Committee[1]. The Steering Committee is led by leading environmentalist Sir Jonathon Porritt and eminent forest ecologist Dr John Raison. In the interim period when the methodology is being developed, Musim Mas will not develop on any potential HCS forest as defined by the HCS Approach Steering Group[2].... In cases of new acquisitions with palm oil mills, Musim Mas will strive to achieve implementation of this policy and RSPO certification within three years of acquisition..... Musim Mas adopted a multi-stakeholder approach in developing this policy by consulting various stakeholders. As an affirmation of its commitment to the implementation of this policy, the Group has also joined The Forest Trust (TFT) as one of its members.

From company website, Sustainability Journal 2014; The Sustainability Journal is our in-house newsletter which provides updates on how we implement our sustainability plan on the ground through actions and partnerships. http://www.musimmas.com/news/sustainability-journal/2014

NGO reactions:
Musim Mas says its palm oil will be deforestation-free Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com December 04, 2014; http://news.mongabay.com/2014/1204-musim-mas-zero-deforestation.html#sthash.0N4e69ca.dpuf

Palm Giant Musim Mas Commits to Stop Trafficking Conflict Palm Oil by Laurel sutherlin, Posted on Dec 05 2014; http://www.ran.org/palm_giant_musim_mas_commits_to_stop_trafficking_conflict_palm_oil

Dairy / dairy-free news (update 7): Fonterra requests its smallholders to limit the use of palm kernel expeller / PKE to 3 kg per animal per day. Wilmar says PKE sales to NZ are under 1% of revenue. Back news - NZ palm kernel imports picked up to 222,413 tonnes in Nov 2015

Some interesting shifts in the dairy/non-dairy sector: "Rinehart’s dairy will seek to use labeling that would allow customers to check the specific animals that produced milk used to create each package of powder." We'll start to accumulate newsy things on infant formula and other dairy/non-dairy products. Of course some palm oil is also used in infant formula and other milk replacements as the folk in specialty fats does formulation work for non-dairy alternatives. Also notable that Iran has been shifting policy to reduce dairy-free replacements with palm oil and others.

20 Feb 2016: Back news - NZ palm kernel imports picked up to 222,413 tonnes in Nov 2015

Editor's note: Indeed, Fonterra reported some 2 million tonnes of PKE under RSPO certification in 2014

NZ - Palm kernel imports jump Dec 30, 2015; Palm kernel imports picked up sharply last month, despite the efforts of Fonterra and Greenpeace to curtail its use.... Imports of the controversial livestock feed supplement, which is used extensively in the dairy industry, came to 222,413 tonnes last month, up from 138,763 tonnes in October and 178,381 tonnes in November last year, according to Statistics NZ data....  Fonterra in September launched a campaign to get farmers to pull back on using palm kernel because too much can alter the composition of milk. Greenpeace has for many years put pressure on Fonterra to stop using palm products, linked to deforestation and peat drainage.... http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11567302

4 Jan 2016: Fonterra requests its smallholders to limit the use of palm kernel expeller / PKE to 3 kg per animal per day. Wilmar says PKE sales to NZ are under 1% of revenue.

Note: Ambank briefing reports as follows, "Wilmar said that its sales of palm kernel expeller to New Zealand accounts for less than 1% of group revenue." Greenpeace's report in December 2015 raises concerns that policies for "no deforestation" by big traders has yet to work (refer to 4 Jan posting: http://khorreports-palmoil.blogspot.my/2015/10/jokowi-and-2015-haze-step-down-on.html) and it is notable too that Greenpeace's Naidoo stepped down in December 2015. Watchers will be looking out for policy shifts at Greenpeace on palm oil supply-chains, including The Forest Trust traceability schemes for the large commodity traders. 

Fight against palm snares unexpected users: New Zealand dairy farmers WELLINGTON  |  By Rebecca Howard Dec 23, 2015; The world's biggest dairy exporter, New Zealand's Fonterra, has found itself caught in the crossfire of an unexpected new controversy: a global environmental campaign against the destruction of rainforests. The South Pacific island nation, which prides itself on its green image, has become a top buyer of palm kernel expeller or PKE, a by-product of the palm oil industry, which is under attack over deforestation, choking fires and habitat destruction in Southeast Asia. ... For New Zealand dairy farmers palm kernel has been a "lifesaver" by boosting production when grass is sparse, said Chris Engel, who runs 400 cows in the Wairarapa region on the southern tip of the North Island. "It has been a fantastic supplement for farmers facing a drought and you can just ring up and get a truck load when you need it," he said.... But environmentalists say the product - what's left of the palm kernel once the oil has been extracted - contributes to the profitability of the palm industry and have called on Fonterra to stop using PKE linked to environmental damage.... Unlike in Europe and North America, New Zealand dairy cows spend their lives outdoors, eating mostly grass. But imports of PKE, a dry, gritty meal with a soapy smell, have risen 10-fold over the past decade as farming has become more intensified and the use of supplementary feed has surged to ramp up production. "A third of all PKE that's traded in the world goes to New Zealand," said Russel Norman, executive director at Greenpeace New Zealand. "New Zealand is spending over NZ$400 million ($270 million) a year on PKE and so it's a significant profit center for the palm industry."... Recently Fonterra called on its 10,500 farmer shareholders to limit the use of palm kernel to 3 kg per animal per day. Farmers say cows can need up to 6kg of the supplementary feed per day when conditions are dry.... http://www.reuters.com/article/us-fonterra-dairy-idUSKBN0U705820151224

Fonterra - Palm Kernel Expeller (PKE) webpage: PKE sold by Fonterra’s subsidiary RD1 is bought from INL, who import it from a single source, Wilmar International. Wilmar practices a “no burn” policy, respects designated conservation areas, employs wildlife protection experts, and is on target to complete RSPO certification audits for all their plantation operations by 2015. Wilmar recently announced that it no longer develops plantations on peat-land....https://www.fonterra.com/nz/en/Recycle+Bin/Sustainability/Environment/Palm+Kernel+Expeller+(PKE)

Earlier news links

  • Fonterra wants farmers to cut back on palm kernels by GERARD HUTCHING September 21 2015; Fonterra is trying to persuade farmers to use fewer palm kernel supplements because it says milk from grass-fed cows fetches a premium on world markets. The dairy giant is recommending farmers feed a maximum of 3 kilograms of palm kernels per cow per day.... The advice has been greeted warily by former Federated Farmers Waikato dairy spokesman Craig Littin."Farmers would like to see evidence for a premium. If that's what markets are demanding, then fine. If not, they should leave farmers to farm and them [processors] to process," Littin said. At $200-$230 a tonne, palm kernel was the cheapest imported feed, he said....  ... Fonterra group director co-operative affairs Miles Hurrell said consumers globally were driving a trend towards dairy products that were sourced from pasture-based milk. "We are in a unique position to make the most of this trend to enhance returns to our farmers who are already renowned for producing the best milk in the world. This recognition is a direct result of our farmers' pasture-based farming model."This gives us a key competitive advantage globally. Our milk products have an excellent reputation and we want to maintain that, and stay ahead of increasing consumer expectations.... http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/agribusiness/72272820/Fonterra-wants-farmers-to-cut-back-on-palm-kernels
  • Palm kernel protest won't shift Fonterra or PM  17 Sep 2009; Both Prime Minister John Key and dairy giant Fonterra are turning a deaf ear to Greenpeace activists' demands following yesterday's dramatic protest off the Port of Tauranga. Up to 14 Greenpeace protesters boarded the Hong Kong-registered freighter East Ambition, lashing themselves to cranes and the anchor, preventing the ship from docking. They were protesting Fonterra's importation of palm kernel for use as stock feed because of its role in the destruction of rainforests, predominantly in Malaysia and Indonesia.... http://www.3news.co.nz/nznews/palm-kernel-protest-wont-shift-fonterra-or-pm-2009091707#ixzz3wGD838ab

13 Dec 2015: Fonterra and PK. Russia and Iran issues.

Fonterra to meet with Greenpeace 26 November 2015 Fonterra and Greenpeace will meet next week to discuss concerns about palm kernel expeller and major fires in Indonesia.... http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/rural/290586/fonterra-to-meet-with-greenpeace

Fonterra 'linked to rainforest destruction' 21 November 2015 Greenpeace is accusing Fonterra of being directly linked to deforestation in Indonesia through the importation of palm kernel... http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/290234/fonterra-'linked-to-rainforest-destruction'

On Russia and Iran issues - get in touch to find out more.

22 May 2015: infant formula shows China’s remarkable demand slows, earlier data on slowing and intense competition in instant noodles

Interesting to note the slowdown in instant noodles and now infant formula too...

Party over for infant formula firms as China’s remarkable demand slows By RJ Whitehead, 19-May-2015 The “easy money has been made” for Chinese and international infant formula companies as they prepare for the rush for powdered baby food to tail off over the next five years after a decade’s stratospheric growth. http://www.foodnavigator-asia.com/Markets/Party-over-for-infant-formula-firms-as-China-s-remarkable-demand-slows

UPDATE 1-China food giant Tingyi's sales and profit skid on slowdown, competition By Adam Jourdan Mon Mar 23, 2015 1:54am EDT  * Tingyi 2014 net profit down 2 pct, trails forecasts * Annual sales fall for first time since 1998 * Competition in market "intense" - Chairman * Analysts eye boost in 2015 from lower input prices (Adds chairman's comment, earnings details, context)
SHANGHAI, March 23 (Reuters) - China's largest food and beverage maker, Tingyi Holding Corp, said net profit slid 2 percent in 2014, falling well below estimates, as a slowing economy and fierce competition dragged sales down for the first time in almost two decades. Hong Kong-listed Tingyi, owner of the Master Kong brand and a partner with PepsiCo Inc and Starbucks Corp in China, said on Monday profit for the year fell to $400.5 million from $408.5 million a year earlier. ......Tingyi said total revenue was $10.2 billion for the year, down from $10.9 billion a year earlier, the first sales drop since 1998. The number was squeezed by a 4.5 percent drop in instant noodle sales, which accounted for 40.4 percent of revenue, and a 7.5 percent drop in beverage sales, contributing 56.7 percent of revenue. Analysts have said lower materials prices and Tingyi's advantage of scale over rivals - it commanded around a third of China's noodle market last year, according to Euromonitor - could help it soak up slowing domestic economic growth in 2015. The firm competes with Uni-President China Holdings Ltd and Want Want China Holdings Ltd, which announced an almost 10 percent drop in full-year net profit last week. http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/23/tingyi-results-idUSL3N0WP2T420150323

16 February 2015: Coca-Cola produces Fairlife premium milk, filtered and adjusted for 50% more protein, 30% more calcium and 50% less sugar

Got Coke? Soda maker starts selling 'premium milk' by Associated Press February 3, 2015, 4:02 PM
Coca-Cola is coming out with premium milk that has more protein and less sugar than regular milk. And it's betting people will pay twice as much for it..... The national rollout of Fairlife over the next several weeks marks Coke's entry into the milk case in the U.S. and is one way that the world's biggest beverage maker is diversifying its offerings as Americans continue turning away from soft drinks.... It also comes as people increasingly seek out some type of functional boost from their foods and drinks, whether it's more fiber, antioxidants or protein. That has left the door open for Coke to step into the milk category, where the differences between options remain relatively minimal and consumption has been declining for decades.... "It's basically the premiumization of milk," Sandy Douglas, president of Coca-Cola North America, said at an analyst conference in November. If developed properly, Douglas said, it is the type of product that "rains money.".... Fairlife, which Coca-Cola formed in partnership with dairy cooperative Select Milk Producers in 2012, says its milk goes through a filtration process that's akin to the way that skim milk is made. Filters are used to separate the various components in milk. Then more of the favorable components are added, while the less desirable ones are kept out. The result is a drink that Fairlife says is lactose free and has 50% more protein, 30% more calcium and 50% less sugar than regular milk.... The same process is used make Fairlife's Core Power, a drink marketed to athletes that has even more protein and calcium than Fairlife milk..... http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-coke-milk-20150203-story.html

22 Dec 2014: Palm oil free labels on infant milk cans

‘Palm Oil Free labels damaging for Malaysia’ By OOI TEE CHINGKUALA - 21 December 2014 @ 11:59 PM; THE spreading of “No Palm Oil” or “Palm Oil Free” campaign, first in Europe and now in Singapore, is potentially damaging for Malaysia, said National Association of Smallholders (Nash) of Malaysia. “It has come to this part of the world,’’ Nash secretary-general Zulkifli Mohd Nazim said, showing Business Times photographs of infant milk cans taken at a supermarket in Singapore with highly visible “Palm Oil Free’’ signages on them. He said the public is being misled into believing that saturated fats in palm oil are bad when in reality they are necessary in a balanced diet.....

14 November 2014: Gina Rinehart to produce traceable infant milk for China

China’s Hungry Infants Sought in Rinehart Formula Switch  By David Stringer and Stephen Engle  Nov 14, 2014 7:57 AM GMT+0800; "Gina Rinehart, chairwoman of Hancock Prospecting Pty. Gina Rinehart, the Australian billionaire who built her fortune on iron ore, is planning a A$500 million ($435 million) investment to supply infant formula to a Chinese market forecast to almost double over three years.... Hope Dairies Ltd., controlled by Rinehart’s closely held Hancock Prospecting Ltd., is seeking to acquire about 5,000 hectares (12,400 acres) of farmland in Queensland state and is targeting first production in the second half of 2016, according to co-investor and director Dave Garcia........A free-trade deal with China, seen boosting dairy exports, may be signed next week, Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott said in a Nov. 10 interview.... The market in China for infant formula may grow to NZ$33 billion ($26 billion) by 2017 from about NZ$18 billion ($14 billion) now, according to Fonterra Co-operative Group Ltd., the world’s biggest dairy exporter.
Rinehart’s planned operation would employ about 400 people, adhere to stringent biosecurity standards and produce about 70 to 75 percent of its own milk from a herd of about 16,000 Holstein cattle, including 10,500 milkers, according to Garcia. The Van Diemen’s Land Co. has Australia’s biggest dairy operation, milking about 19,000 cows on holdings in Tasmania... China in May tightened standards on imported formula following concerns over contamination. Fonterra had exports of two products suspended for 15 months from August 2013 after a botulism scare that was later proved to have been a false alarm. In 2008, locally-made milk powder contaminated with the chemical melamine killed at least six infants in China.... Rinehart’s dairy will seek to use labeling that would allow customers to check the specific animals that produced milk used to create each package of powder, Garcia said.... Milk producers are also expanding exports, with Norco Co-operative Ltd. agreeing to more than double fresh milk sales into China and Bega Cheese Ltd. striking a distribution deal to supply UHT milk to the nation.... Expansions by domestic infant formula producers in China risk moving the market into oversupply, UBS AG analysts led by Christine Peng wrote in a June 7 note. Total consumption in China may peak in 2018, according to Macquarie Group Ltd...."