TFT rattles NGO sector?

No doubt the wider palm oil sector is curious about the key independent adviser for Wilmar and other companies' new policies.

Thank you to readers of Khor Reports for sharing this weblink for an in depth article and profile on TFT;; "DEFORESTATION: Meet the 'go-to man' for companies that get in trouble with environmental groups"


Poynton, 49, has built a reputation as the go-to man for large corporations to take deforestation out of their portfolio of issues. Whether it's a concession to pressure from environmental groups, a recognition of consumer demand for sustainable products or the threat of divestment, companies have been lining up to work with TFT.

"We come with a health warning: It is unpleasant and difficult to work with TFT, because we will change you, and change is fundamentally difficult and stressful and full of tension," said Poynton, 49. "But if you're ready to go on the journey, the destination will be a good one."

Founded in 1999, TFT works with companies to first create a policy that would wean them off business-as-usual practices that lead to forest clearing and then make sure they stick to the task. In 11 years, membership has grown from six to 80, including companies like chocolate maker Ferrero and Crate & Barrel.

Poynton doesn't mince words when talking about his work. He is gregarious, a quick speaker, peppering his talk with anecdotes, jokes and jabs at his critics. He is relentlessly passionate about the natural world, but pessimistic about government-centered action to stop deforestation, like REDD+, a U.N.-backed mechanism that seeks to pay countries to keep forests standing....

But there are apparently some questions from other NGOs...

.....The World Wildlife Fund, one of the largest and more business-friendly environmental groups, is one of the groups suspicious of TFT's ability to act as an independent third party.... World Wildlife Fund has also called into question Poynton's impartiality, playing the role of both a paid contractor and an enforcer of the policy.... "We consider them a second-party entity; that's different from hiring an independent third-party auditor," said Walker.....

An article from Yale University's Environment360 website suggested that TFT and Greenpeace had concocted a "good cop-bad cop" routine: Greenpeace shames the company, and TFT comes to offer corporate comfort.... "This is a lot of power in the hands of one organization -- and one man," wrote journalist Fred Pearce....

Yale Environment's 27 Jan 2014 report weblink:';
"Monitoring Corporate Behavior: Greening or Merely Greenwash? Companies with bad environmental records are increasingly turning to a little-known nonprofit called TFT to make sure they meet commitments to improve their practices. It remains to be seen if this is just a PR move or a turning point for corporate conduct...."