Biodiesel news: EU Parliament has voted to exclude palm oil from the EU-RED. What's next? What can you do?

We shall post here some pieces on biofuels that catch the eye.

18 Jan 2017: EU Parliament has voted to exclude palm oil from the EU-RED. What's next? What can you do?

Editor's note: 

We've been working on ways to quantify "no deforestation, no peat, no exploitation" (NDPE) in the last few months, in view of the escalating issues on market access. It was back in April 2017 that the EU policy-level warning shot came, and the 17 January 2018 vote result is no surprise, especially in light of years of poor sentiment and volume challenges faced in the EU. A few months ago, we checked with EU company experts who told us that the process may culminate in year-end legislation. Producer countries will focus on "unfair discrimination" and the international lawyers will be very keen to assist. Don't be surprised if more smallholder protests are organised. 

For those with your feet on the ground, what can you do next? I believe there will have to be an evolution to quantify NDPE, to offer different buyers what they seek. What if some buyers are keen on smallholder palm oil that comes from areas planted by 1970 (decades ahead of popular certification cut-offs)? That's identifiable. Indeed there's 100s thousand hectares of this; and you only need 300,000 hectares to get over 1 million tonnes of 1970 no-deforestation material; or how about looking at the 2000 no-deforestation zones of Kelantan (see below)? What if buyers want to implement a direct worker reporting system, so you can generate data and work on "no exploitation"? It'll come down to how keen are palm oil producers to put their best foot forward, and explore how to best market.

Yu Leng of Khor Report's posting in LinkedIn and sample of Kelantan potential zones (yellow):

News links:

  • European Parliament draws a RED line under palm oil, sets biofuels position JANUARY 17, 2018
  • Bursa Malaysia crude palm oil futures fall on concerns over EU Parliament vote on RED II provisions Singapore (Platts)--17 Jan 2018
  • M’sian oil palm smallholders protest against Europe’s ‘crop apartheid’ Erika Benjamin / The Edge Financial Daily  January 17, 2018
  • EU heading for ‘zero palm oil’ in transport by 2021 By Frédéric Simon |

29 Dec 2017: China stops production of 553 passenger-car models not meeting fuel-consumption limits, Khor Reports confirms diesel non-compliance faces production stop and those produced face fines 

Editor's note: Just two days ago, Dr. Sathia Varqa, Owner and Co-founder at Palm Oil Analytics wrote on my LinkedIn posting "China unveiled a new barometer of the health of its regional economies based on environment-related indicators" (news link below) the following: "Thanks for posting. Indicators offer a chance to explore the problem. Well done to China. National bioethanol mandate in 2020 is just one of the many solutions. I doubt if similar national biodiesel program is launched in China." I replied, "I also doubt that biodiesel fits their policy imperatives." And today, I have news from a senior executive in the China automobile sector that 1 Jan 2018,  all diesel non-compliance will be production stopped; and for those already produced, a fine imposed (Khor Reports' interview, 29 Dec 2017 with senior executive in China automobile sector). I was checking as China just published its first list of pollution offending car models-production ban. My auto industry expert noted that this is low-key news in China. Notable that China has taken a decisive stance on the diesel emissions scandal that broke out in September 2015 on VW's cheating (that started in 2005). Blow back on biodiesel prospects not surprising. 

China to Stop Production of 553 Vehicle Models Over Fuel Use by Bloomberg News December 28, 2017, 5:37 PM GMT+8 "China will end the production of 553 passenger-car models that don’t meet fuel-consumption limits amid efforts by the nation to curb pollution. The halt in production will begin Jan. 1, the China Vehicle Technology Service Center said in a statement Thursday. Models include FAW VW’s Audi FV7145LCDBG sedan, Beijing Benz’s Benz BJ7302ETAL2 sedan and Shanghai GM’s Chevrolet SGM7161DAA2 sedan..." 

China Ranks Provincial Economies With New Environment Index by Bloomberg News December 26, 2017

Engineering a Deception: What Led to Volkswagen’s Diesel Scandal By JACK EWING MARCH 16, 2017

Timeline: Volkswagen's long road to a U.S. Dieselgate settlement by Reuters Staff JANUARY 11, 2017

VW’s Diesel Scandal Could Hurt Biodiesel by JOHN DAVIS SEPTEMBER 23, 2015

22 Dec 2017: European Council position on renewable energy use.  Australia vs Canada and Croatia canola entry to EU. 

Editor's note: 

The European Council news is seen as gloomy to renewable energy experts in palm. "Up to 7%" with the Council's 27% target (instead of 35%) means that a member state could choose 0% first generation biofuels to lower its transport fuel total to 20%. On the power generation side, palm seems to have things easier. Refer to the Japan situation too. Notable that Australia canola gets ahead of Canada and Croatia for European biodiesel ahead of the new threshold. An RE specialist said this:"the problem palm faces is that they (destinations) see a difference between 'cannot do' and 'will not do'..." Origins have been talking strongly about smallholder interests and rattle the 'trade war' talk. Presumably, there is also some good NEW work going on to present suitable data evidence. Australia shows not all canola origins are the same, and the same is true for other feedstocks. And at a corporate level there is strong differentiation, with lead palm suppliers offering 70% GHG-savings material to the most discerning destinations and efforts to measure GHG savings with alternative processing methods.

Indonesia biodiesel has come in weaker than targeted, which is to be expected. However, we should keep an eye on the change in the Indonesia election cycle. The next Presidential election will be the first (post-Suharto) where the incumbent can really make use of the power of incumbency. The BPDP has been used almost fully to fund the domestic biodiesel mandate. However, there may be increased pressure for it go toward smallholder replanting, as the incumbent builds his rural support base for re-election; and there are strong fiscal deficit limits in Indonesia. The balancing of BPDP funding for biodiesel (price support) and smallholder replanting will be interesting to watch relative to palm oil - gas oil spreads and levels.

Promoting renewable energy use – Council adopts its position 18/12/2017 The EU is committed to reach a target of at least 27% renewable energy of its overall energy consumption by 2030....In the transport sector, the renewables target for 2030 is set at 14% for each member state, and there is a sub-target of 3% for ‘advanced biofuels’, for which double-counting will be allowed. This advanced biofuels target has an intermediate binding milestone of 1% in 2025 to increase investment security and guarantee the availability of fuels throughout the period. Electromobility is strongly encouraged by two multipliers of 5x for renewable electricity used in road transport, and of 2x for rail transport.... The existing 7% cap on first-generation biofuels is maintained to provide certainty to investors. If a member state sets a lower cap, it will be rewarded with the option of lowering its overall target for renewables in transport....

Where Green Incentives Led to a Surge in Palm Oil By Chisaki Watanabe November 8, 2017 -- Japan approvals surge for biomass plants using palm oil. Fuel blamed for destroying rain forests, Indonesian peat lands.

Australian canola for European biodiesel emits half the greenhouse gas of fossil fuels By Sarina Locke 18 Dec 2017 -- Australia has secured access to a billion-dollar European biodiesel market for canola, just two weeks away from a cut-off date. ..Dr Eady said it took Europe 12 months from when it received the CSIRO and Lifecycle's report on canola to approve and legislate it. She said it had come close to being a disaster for Australian canola growers...Canada and Croatia are also significant suppliers into the EU, and they were not able to get their country report accepted by the EU because they had significant issues still to be addressed

4 Dec 2017: European Parliament ITRE disappoints palm exporters. Air pollution (pro-electric, anti-diesel) news flow

Editor's note: Palm exporters had some hopes that the ITRE might be more positive on the use of palm oil in the EU, but this hope was dashed last week.  Palm oil producers should also be interested in the EU Forest Strategy which has its public hearing today.  The political view on palm oil has been on the cards. Some EU corporate experts point to an end-2018 legislative timeframe if this gets through to the wider vote, and other processes including the Council of Ministers. Data-driven approaches used so far by exporting countries have had limited impact in turning policy maker views in destinations like the EU. Some local palm oil experts say that "serious work in making palm oil the healthy super food of the future should begin from now." There are however evident business interests sceptical of the food contaminant allegations (calling it a sham argument; and lacking data rebuttals) and preferring to sell to "less fussy" markets as few are interested to change production practices. I feel that it is important to understand rural political realities. Palm oil won in the cooking oil, oleocehmicals and energy sector against other oils-oilseeds but faces pushback. It has also positioned itself as a competitor to the dairy sector. This is a great concern. The risk is that the political fights expands from oilseed growing centers to contestation across the dairy belt. Dairy is an important income component for many (including temperate zone) farmers*; an important interest group, just as oil palm farmers are important voters in some tropical countries. Trade problems have arisen for palm not just in the EU and US, but also in the likes of Turkey, Iran, Russia and India. There are over 3 million oil palm farmers worldwide, and there are 75 million diary farms in India and 1.35 million in Brazil. Moreover, China (and India?) policy efforts to enhance rural incomes, will be a headwind for palm imports as domestic feedstocks are the focus. 
*Faostat reports top 10 milk producers: USA, India, China, Russian Federation, Brazil, Germany, France, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Turkey. Top 10 dairy cow populations: India, Brazil, Sudan, China, Pakistan, Kenya, USA, Russian Federation, Tanzania, Ethiopia. Note: 2012 data.

Ban on palm oil biofuels a step backwards on EU-Malaysia relations, says Mah -- The government describes European Union (EU) Parliament’s Industry, Research & Energy Committee (ITRE) to endorse the ban palm oil biofuels as a step backwards for EU-Malaysia trade relations.

European Parliament news,

  • Joint ENVI-ITRE-AGRI public hearing on the EU Forest Strategy 30-11-2017 - 15:04 - On 4 December, the ENVI-ITRE-AGRI committees will hold a joint public hearing. The objective of this event is to provide input to the review to be carried out by 2018 in order to assess progress in the implementation of the EU Forest Strategy. 
  • During its 28 November meeting, ITRE voted on two reports on the Promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources (Recast) and Energy Efficiency, which are key files of the Clean Energy for All Europeans Package. 

23 October 2017, there was an Environment Committee vote that calls for a phase-out use of palm oil in biofuels by 2021 (EU Environment MEP's vote on RED II – mixed reactions on upgraded proposal,

Air pollution; pure electric cars to be cheapest? The researchers analysed the total cost of ownership of cars over four years, including the purchase price and depreciation, fuel, insurance, taxation and maintenance. They were surprised to find that pure electric cars came out cheapest in all the markets they examined: UK, Japan, Texas and California....At the moment the cost is partly because of government support, but electric cars are expected to become the cheapest option without subsidies in a few years.....Air pollution concerns are especially acute in China, which is now the biggest market for electric cars and growing rapidly, mainly driven by domestic manufacturers including BYD, Geely and Beijing Auto. “China is stealing the march on everybody and they will be the leaders of that market,” said Tate. “The European and US motor industry have been caught napping.”....

Transport tops US pollution. "America crowns a new pollution king. For the first time in 40 years, power plants are no longer the biggest source of U.S. greenhouse gas pollution. That dubious distinction now belongs to the transport sector: cars, tracks, planes, trains and boats. The big change didn’t come from increasing transportation emissions, but instead from the cleanup of America’s electric grid."

UK pollution and diesel scrappage? Five cities and 23 local authorities have been selected in the new plan to come up with measures to reduce illegal levels of nitrogen dioxide by December 2018. But the government refused to legislate for more “clean air zones” that would charge the dirtiest vehicles to enter the UK’s most polluted cities and has stopped short of bringing in a diesel scrappage scheme.

Delhi air pollution and vomiting cricketers. A cricket Test match between India and Sri Lanka was repeatedly interrupted on Sunday with claims players were “continuously vomiting” due to hazardous pollution levels in the Indian capital.

27 Nov 2017: Epure talks about phase out of bad biofuels like palm 

Phasing-out biofuels: What’s really at stake? 06/10/2017 -- A new Euractiv Special Report focuses on the biofuels debate now under way in the EU, and what the European Commission’s proposal to phase out crop-based biofuels would mean for Europe’s energy and climate goals, as well as its agriculture sector.

28 Oct 2017: EU politicians moving on palm oil in transport fuel by 2021?

Editor's note: 1) The Environment Committee vote is a warning of things to come. Drafting is proceeding in the next few weeks for a wider vote by the EU Parliament. Proponents typically do not like trade and industry committee views and may be opposed by Poland and other East European interests. The Council of Ministers will weigh in. Experts point to a one year time frame to reach policy. 2) What prospect for China biodiesel? So far uncertain. Read,  China pushes for full scale bio-fuel ethanol E10 by 2020 
3) Indonesia biodiesel has been below target on various issues. Looking ahead how will decision on allocation to subsidise biodiesel, pay for smallholder replanting and other expense needs pan out? Indonesia election cycle is gearing up. 

The environment committee of the European Parliament voted today to phase out the support for biodiesel from vegetable oils in 2030 and terminate the use of palm oil biodiesel as early as 2021. However, MEPs decided to exempt some food-based biofuels such as bioethanol and crops grown on marginal land from this phase out. They also voted to increase the overall target for advanced fuels to 9% of fuels supplied in 2030.

Indonesia Issues 1.4 Million Kiloliters Palm Biodiesel Quotas 2017-10-24 06:22:00.212 GMT

27 Sep 2017:  US EPA opens door to cutting biodiesel and RFQs, BMD palm oil futures dip with soy (palm, -12% YTD), Icahn-refiners litigation fight starts, Indonesia biodiesel dumping allegations faces 29 Dec measures

Editor's note: Icahn versus biofuels point of obligation, versus soy barons & palm tycoons?


27 Sep: Palm oil for Dec. delivery drops as much as 1.1% to RM2,718/ton on Bursa Malaysia Derivatives before trading at RM2,730 by 11:11am in Kuala Lumpur. Futures -12% YTD Market went lower, tracking losses in Tuesday’s soybean oil trade due the impact of the EPA notice - EPA Opens Door to Cutting Biodiesel, Renewable Fuel Quotas.

22 Sep: Pruitt Responds To Senators’ Request For Details On Icahn’s Advisory Role

29 Aug: Icahn Sees Biofuels Fight Deepening as Refinery Losses Mount. Billionaire Carl Icahn says an oil industry push for structural changes to the U.S. biofuels mandate will persist, even if the Environmental Protection Agency rebuffs requests from refiners to relieve them of the regulatory burden. Icahn’s remarks came as convenience store owners took the fight to federal court and mark the investor’s first public comments since an Aug. 18 open letter announcing his departure as a special regulatory adviser to President Donald Trump.

25 Aug: Trump and Pruitt, Making America Polluted Again by Paul Krugman,

24 Aug: Indonesia denies biodiesel dumping allegation in US. The US Department of Commerce (DOC) announced Tuesday its preliminary anti-dumping determination on biodiesel from Indonesia and Argentina. Its preliminary investigation claims that Wilmar International Ltd. has benefitted from a 41.06 percent subsidy from the government, while PT Musim Mas received a 44.92 percent subsidy and all other local producers 44.92 percent. Indonesian producers would, therefore, be required to pay a fee to US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) based on those preliminary rates. Petitions against Indonesian and Argentinian biodiesel were filed last March and the US government has been investigating the case. Should the claims be proven correct, an order for anti-dumping measures will be issued on Dec. 29 this year.

4 Aug: The Environmental Protection Agency is preparing to formally deny requests by Valero Energy Corp., Icahn’s CVR Energy Inc. and other oil companies to shift the compliance burden for using ethanol and other biofuels away from refiners, moving it to fuel blenders and other entities instead. The people asked not to be identified discussing the policy action before it was announced, possibly before the end of this week.

6 July: Ethanol gets 15-billion-gallon guarantee.  Oil gets a gift:  Instead of increasing the required volume of advanced biofuels, he decided to cut them by 40 million gallons, reducing the overall amount of biofuel required under the program. Advanced biofuels gets … rocks: Pruitt reduced overall advanced biofuels in 2017, held advanced biodiesel steady in 2019, and cut the cellulosic ethanol mandate (which requires fuel made from agricultural leavings and switchgrass and has a much smaller carbon footprint) by almost a quarter. Changes on the horizon?: Pruitt also started the path for significant changes to such guidelines. He is launching an analysis for a "reset" of the volumes allowed under the law, asking for comment on imported ethanol and biodiesel, and opening the door to an examination of the market for zero percent ethanol. It’s not over until the final rule. The EPA often modifies the volumes it proposes in a final rule. Now the agency has until Nov. 30 to accept comments, analyze them and produce a final rule.

20 Sep 2017: The technology transition outlook (is oil the new coal?), US import duties on Musim Mas, Wilmar and others, "abject coalfields"

Editor's note: In the words of Michael Taussig in Becoming Palm (2017), "Palm oil is an elixir from which all manner of being emerges. The metamorphic sublime.... in this green desert... Poor palm, once heralded, still heralded, as world-saving "biofuel," salvation of ecocide. Now it is becoming the equivalent of the abject coalfields.."

Riding the Energy Transition : Oil Beyond 2040, May 22, 2017 -- Summary: Recent technological developments and past technology transitions suggest that the world could be on the verge of a profound shift in transportation technology. The return of the electric car and its adoption, like that of the motor vehicle in place of horses in early 20th century, could cut oil consumption substantially in the coming decades. Our analysis suggests that oil as the main fuel for transportation could have a much shorter life span left than commonly assumed. In the fast adoption scenario, oil prices could converge to the level of coal prices, about $15 per barrel in 2015 prices by the early 2040s. In this possible future, oil could become the new coal.

Ambank report: Bloomberg reported that US has proposed import duties on biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia. Initial results of a Commerce Department probe indicated that the duties should be 50.3% to 64.2% on Argentine biodiesel imports and 41.1% to 68.3% on Indonesian biodiesel imports. The Commerce Department will announce on 7 November if the duties are finalised. Separate action by the International Trade Commission will follow thereafter... The interesting thing about the duties is that US set import duty rates specifically for certain companies. US has proposed an import duty rate of 68.3% for Musim Mas and 41.1% for Wilmar International. All other Indonesian exporters are subjected to an import duty of 44.9%.

U.S. Department of Commerce Issues Affirmative Preliminary Countervailing Duty Determinations on Biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia, 22 August 2017 for United States Department of Commerce

More here, Palm oil trade & market news: Dr James Fry presentation, China policy favours domestic ethanol, IOI de-integrates Loders Croklaan, trade tussles and the "unhealthy commodity" label, Brent Crude $55.14

10 August 2016: Malaysia eyes China biodiesel programme

Ministry Invites Tianjin Palm Oil Industry Players To Look In Tie-ups  From S. Joan Santani -- TIANJIN, Aug 9 (Bernama) -- The Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities is inviting Tianjin palm oil industry players to look into collaborating with Malaysians in the biodiesel programme besides palm oil.....Tianjin City is the third largest palm oil entry point into China, after Jiangsu Province and Guangdong Province.... He said Malaysia was looking forward to this joint-venture with Tianjin for the implementation of the biodiesel programme.  "Malaysia, which has 18 biodiesel plants, has implemented B7 biodiesel and was in talks about moving the start of B10 later this year. "The implementation of B10 and B7 programmes are expected to lead to an annual consumption of 709,000 metric tonnes t of biodiesel," he said.... Mah said he was confident the collaborations would augur well for both countries as they would lead to a saving of 820 million litres of gasoil and carbon dioxide emissions reduction of 2.16 million tonnes. "We can export more B7 into states like Tianjin and Beijing, as these two cities are polluted," he said.  China is also committed to having a biodiesel programme in 2020, hence the ministry was looking ways to export biodiesel to China, he said....

25 July 2016: BPDP fund raises Rp5.6 trillion in 1H2016, EU special report says its certification system is "not fully reliable"

Cara BPDP Jaga Produksi Sawit Saat Moratorium by Pebrianto Eko Wicaksono 21 Jul 2016

Note: Pak Bayu says the moratorium decision of President Jokowi (if it comes into regulation) will be respected. Bayu, notes there are many estates that level of production is only one ton per hectare against a potential fo seven tons, blaming bad planting materials (seeds) in large part. Also, trees over 30 years old must be replanted. Bayu said for Jan-June 2016 the oil fund has raised to Rp 5.6 trillion, against this year's target of Rp 11 trillion. The realized oil fund levy for 1H2016 was lower than 2H2016's (July to December 2015) Rp 6.9 trillion likely because of oil exports have dropped slightly.

Special Report - The EU system for the certification of sustainable biofuels: "The audit addressed the question ‘Have the Commission and Member States set up a reliable certification system for sustainable biofuels?’ We conclude that, because of weaknesses in the Commission’s recognition procedure and subsequent supervision of voluntary schemes, the EU certification system for the sustainability of biofuels is not fully reliable...."


12 July 2016: Indonesia's PLN Says Biofuel Regulation Unworkable - machinery gets clogged with residue

State Power Firm PLN Says Biofuel Regulation Unworkable - Indonesian state power firm Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN) says it cannot comply with government rules on burning diesel with a bio content of at least 30 percent as it would damage generators By : Bernadette Christina Munthe and Wilda Asmarini | on 1:42 PM July 11, 2016 -- Less-than-expected growth in bio consumption by Indonesia's largest diesel buyer could weigh on palm prices as more supplies are diverted to the global market.  "It's risky if we use B30 (because) machinery can shut down," Chairani Rachmatullah, head of PLN's fuel and gas procurement division, told Reuters in an interview late last month.  "Eventually the machinery gets clogged with residue like slagging causing blockages, and then it breaks down," she said, adding that diesel with a bio content of 20 percent would be "safer"..... The official in charge of government biofuel policy said the biodiesel rule should be no problem for PLN, and that his office would investigate the issue and could apply sanctions. He did not specify what measures the ministry could take.  "If there's no problem for vehicles, logically there should be no problem for power," said New and Renewable Energy Director Rida Mulyana. "I definitely don't want to pull back from this mandatory regulation."  Indonesia's automotive industry association has said high biodiesel concentrations can lead to engines overheating and greater fuel consumption.  Indonesia's efforts to diversify energy sources have faced criticism from power station developers.

11 July 2016: Malaysia haulier trucks still lacking of warranty for B10 use, CPO-biodiesel breakeven level is RM1,287 per tonne without government subsidy

Ambank 11 July 2016: In Malaysia, it was reported that the Association of Malaysian Hauliers, whose members have not received warranty from truck manufacturers on B10, have appealed to the government to conduct trials on prime movers and trailers to verify the impact of B10 on engines. An official was told that B10 is of higher acidity and hence, it is too aggressive on the plastic and rubber seals in the engine.  

CIMB Analysing the steep fall in CPO prices, 10 July 2016:  Brent crude oil prices fell 7% during the week to US$46.76 per barrel. The sharp drop in crude oil prices may trigger concerns of potentially weaker biodiesel demand. We estimate that at the current crude oil price level of US$47 per barrel and exchange rate of RM4/US$1, the CPO-biodiesel breakeven level is RM1,287 per tonne without government subsidy, and RM1,887 per tonne with government subsidy.

14 June 2016: Malaysia auto sector players negative on B10 adoption

Painful diesel plan BY DANIEL KHOO 14 June 2016 -- Some automotive players are crying foul over the upgrading of the B7 (petroleum diesel blend consisting of 7% palm methyl ester) to the B10 (10% palm methyl ester) biodiesel blend to be used for the transportation sector progressively effective this month. Industry sources said diesel-powered vehicles are not ready for this regulatory move and that the B7 blend is still preferred, given the many unknown factors with the B10 adoption so far... It is learnt that most auto players are shocked by the announcement and the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) is compiling more feedback from its members.... “A higher Fame blending in diesel increases the tendency of deposits at swirl ducts, inlet valves, air ducts, cylinder heads, cylinder crankcase, oil sludge accumulation at roller levers and the camshaft,” MAA said in its list of concerns. Adding to the concerns, said industry sources, was that vehicle sales were already low and this ruling would worsen the situation.... Despite widespread concerns, one marque is ready, but it is believed to be a vehicle for the high-end market.....

1 June 2016: Malaysia raises biodiesel mandates to B10 and B7, Europe worries and Britain eschews palm biodiesel?

CIMB May 31, 2016:  Malaysia has agreed to raise the biodiesel blend for the transport sector to B10 and implement B7 in the industrial sector progressively, starting 1 Jun 2016.... The implementation of B10 for the transport sector and B7 for the industrial sector is expected to contribute to annual consumption of 709,000 tonnes of biodiesel in Malaysia and lead to savings of 820m litres of diesel as well as 2.16m tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent annually. ....the more conservative figure provided for biodiesel consumption could be due to lower diesel usage in Malaysia, following the removal of fuel subsidies.....

Forest-destroying palm oil powers cars in EU: report AFP | Jun 1, 2016 -- PARIS:  Palm oil  produced on tropical plantations that drive deforestation has become a major biofuel for vehicles in the European Union, industry figures released on Tuesday by an environmental group revealed.   In 2014, nearly half of the palm oil used in Europe wound up in the gas tanks of cars and trucks, according to data compiled by the EU vegetable oil industry association Fediol, and obtained by Brussels-based NGO Transport & Environment.   Second only to rapeseed as a biofuel, overall palm oil use in EU countries jumped six-fold from 2010 to 2015, accounting for a 34 per centincrease in biodiesel consumption during that period, the figures showed.  Palm oil is also found in food, animal feed and cosmetics, but use in these sectors has dropped in Europe, in part due to pressure from environmental groups on major corporations.

Biodieselgate? British industry leads EU on elimination of palm oil biofuels, says REA 1 June 2016, source edie newsroom -- The Renewable Energy Association (REA) has revealed that UK importation and consumption of palm oil-based biodiesel for use as a feedstock for vehicles still stands at 'zero' for 2015/16, in light of new data which shows that cars and trucks were responsible for almost half of all of the palm oil used across Europe in 2014.

30 May 2016: Bloomberg report on the Indonesia Estate Crop Fund

Ambank note: Bloomberg reported that the Indonesia Estate Crop Fund has collected Rph4 trillion (US$294.6mil) from January to April this year. So far, the fund has disbursed Rph1.5 trillion (US$110.5mil) of biodiesel subsidies. Pertamina absorbed about 874,000 kiloliters (761,324 tonnes) of biodiesel in the first four months of this year.

18 May 2016: Indonesia non-subsidized transport fuel segment at 4% of target

Indonesia - Biodiesel blending in non-subsidized segment far below target. Published: 13 May 2016 08:05 AM... Government agency BPDP pointed to a lack of biodiesel demand from the non-subsidized transport fuel segment. In Jan/Apr 2016, a mere 106 mln litres were blended, around 93,000 tonnes and 4% of the consumption target....

25 April 2016: Indonesia biodiesel news updates

Updates from AmBank news alert today:
·     Bloomberg cited a government official as saying that Indonesia’s biodiesel production amounted to 884,000 kiloliters (770,035 tonnes) in 1Q2016. In terms of usage, Indonesia consumed 710,103 kiloliters (618,557 tonnes) of PSO (Public Service Obligation) and non-PSO biodiesel in 1Q2016. In contrast, the country’s diesel consumption declined by 10% to 15% YoY in 1Q2016.
·     Also, Indonesia Estate Crops Fund has collected 2.8trillion Rupiah so far (US$213.1mil). The fund will subsidise biodiesel by about Rupiah5,000/litre in April and May 2016. Pertamina bought about 200,000 kiloliters (174,216 tonnes) of biodiesel per month in 1Q2016. Indonesia is targeting biodiesel usage of about 2.5mil to 2.7mil (2.18mil to 2.35mil tonnes) under the PSO in 2016F. 
·     Pertamina and AKR Corporindo have signed for the delivery of 1.5mil to 1.6mil kiloliters (1.3mil to 1.4mil tonnes) of biodiesel from May to October 2016. Wilmar International was the largest producer, accounting for 39% or 590,113 kiloliters of Pertamina’s supply while Musim Mas accounted for another 16.9%.

22 April 2016: Indonesia Domestic Gasoil Surplus at 140,000 Barrels per Month, Bayu: slumping demand for biodiesel from the transportation sector, LDC biodiesel plant, WTO sides with Argentina on some biodiesel anti-dumping duties, US Biodiesel Tax Credit and Trump 

Indonesia Domestic Gasoil Surplus at 140,000 Barrels per Month: Pertamina - Pertamina launched a new diesel product called Dexlite on Friday, and hopes 20 percent of diesel consumers will have switched to the new non-subsidised fuel in 2017. By : Wilda Asmarini | April 15, 2016

Indonesia's Pertamina, AKR to buy up to 1.6 mln kl of biodiesel -official Apr 18, 2016; JAKARTA, April 18 (Reuters) - Indonesia state oil company Pertamina and AKR Corporindo will buy up to 1.6 million kilolitres of unblended biodiesel for May to October, the head of the country's biodiesel subsidy program operator said Monday.... That's down from the 1.87 million kilolitres (kl) in supply quotas the two companies awarded for November 2015 to April this year.... The decline follows slumping demand for biodiesel from the transportation sector, Bayu Krisnamurthi, the head of Indonesia's Estate Crop Fund agency told reporters.
The Estate Crop Fund agency is in charge of Indonesia's biodiesel subsidies and oversees how much unblended biodiesel is procured for domestic consumption. Pertamina and AKR report their biodiesel sales to the Fund to reimburse the subsidies... Unblended biodiesel, or palm methyl ester (PME), is the raw component of finished biodiesel. Indonesia's consumption of unblended biodiesel in 2015 declined to 863,000 kl from 1.78 million kl in 2014. Last week, officials at the energy ministry said Indonesia could miss its 2016 target.... The decline in the biodiesel buying is in spite of Indonesia, the world biggest palm oil producer, requiring a 20 percent blend of biodiesel into domestic gasoil supplies in 2016 as it aims reduce its crude oil import bill, cut greenhouse gas emissions and create more demand for the edible oil....

Indonesia - Large biodiesel plant started 07 April 2016; Agribusiness major Louis Dreyfus Commodities said a local unit has started a palm oil methyl ester production line, adjacent to one of its palm oil refineries. The Lampung-based plant has an annual production capacity of 420,000 tonnes

US Biodiesel Tax Credit: Why Trump’s Attack on Unbalanced Trade Policies Resonates With Voters  04/21/2016

EBB reacts to WTO panel report on Argentine complaint By The European Biodiesel Board | March 31, 2016

WTO sides with Argentina on some biodiesel anti-dumping duties 3/31/2016 - by World Grain Staff

18 April 2016: Indonesia biodiesel output to miss target on wide price differential (recently over $300 a tonne)? Watch fall out from crude oil talks fail.

Editor's note: Reuters article from 8 March just added - "Indonesia may produce about 2.5 million tonnes of palm oil-based biodiesel in 2016, about a third of its targeted volume." Also note crude oil plunge as output restricting talks fail.

Oil price & macro: Bloomberg - Oil Plunges After Output Talks Fail Amid Saudi Demands Over Iran, Brent Crude 40.87

INTERVIEW-Indonesia 2016 biodiesel output to miss target -industry official Mar 8, 2016 By Naveen Thukral  * Biodiesel output seen at 2.5 mln T vs 6.6 mln T target * Wide biodiesel-gasoil spread to limit biodiesel use * Malaysia industry urging govt raise blend to 10 pct by April... Indonesia may produce about 2.5 million tonnes of palm oil-based biodiesel in 2016, about a third of its targeted volume, because of the widening spread between biodiesel and gasoil, a Malaysian industry official said on Tuesday..."It will be difficult for Indonesia to fulfil its biofuel targets, given the fact that current differential between biodiesel and gasoil is well over $300 a tonne," U.R. Unnithan, deputy president of Malaysian Biodiesel Association told Reuters. Prices for palm methyl ester, the raw component of biodiesel, in Southeast Asia are currently at $630 a tonne versus gasoil prices in Singapore, the regional benchmark, at $44.07 a barrel, or about $328 a tonne.... 

14 April 2016: Thomas Mielke sees gradual policy shift away from biodiesel and advocates no more investment in biodiesel facilities and urgency of food demand

Thomas Mielke at MPOB PAC Forum this morning. Message of challenge of sufficient oils and oilseeds supply, including palm oil (calling for urgent labour policy adjustment in Malaysia). Points to India shortfall and sky-rocketing imports. He expects a need to change the biodiesel viewpoint - it will become a luxury that will no longer be supported by policy and the public. This would likely happen in 5-10 years. There is weak price elasticity on the supply side and in periods of tight supply, he expects mandates not to be enforced. When there is a surplus biodiesel supply would happen. The adjustment will happen first in importing regions, notably Europe; later in producing countries - this shift to flexible mandates. He suggests no more investment in biodiesel facilities. Priority must be on food demand. 

13 Mar 2016: Illegal UCO cartels hinder biofuel program: observers - Jakarta Post

Illegal UCO cartels hinder biofuel program: observers by Anton Hermansyah, Jakarta | March 12 2016; .... According to the energy advisor of the British Embassy, Rizka Sari, illegal cartels are buying UCO from hotels and restaurants and then reprocessing it and mixing it with new cooking oil before selling it as NBCO. "Instead of selling it for biodiesel, the restaurants and hotels are selling it to the illegal cartels,"   Currently, she continued, the cartels are disrupting the UCO supply for biodiesel as they are buying up the UCO for Rp 6,000 per liter and selling it as NBCO for Rp 10,000....

3 Mar 2016: Indonesia BPDP reports Jan tax revenues above projections, 2016 budget IDR16.4 tln with carry over from last year

Indonesia - Palm oil export tax revenues exceed expectations 02 March 2016; BPDP reported that tax revenues from palm oil and product exports in January 2016 were above its projections.The agency said it collected around IDR1 tln ($1=IDR13,351), pointing to seasonally accelerated exports at the beginning of the year to de-stock.... The agency targets tax revenues of IDR9.5 tln and an annual budget of IDR16.4 tln, including IDR6.9 tln left over from last year, due to a weaker biodiesel demand following delayed legislation...

22 Feb 2016: CIMB - Indonesia biodiesel benefits Wilmar tropical oils division, Wilmar and First Resources are key beneficiaries of biodiesel program.

Editor's note: Please review CIMB reports.

Indonesia makes progress in biodiesel usage CIMB 21 Feb 2016 - This is positive for CPO prices, and we estimate the CPO Fund could support up to  3.19m kls of biodiesel in 2016, higher than the usage of 863,000 kls in 2015. Wilmar and First Resources are key beneficiaries of Indonesia’s biodiesel program.

Wilmar International CIMB 21 Feb 2016: Key takeaways from results briefing
The key takeaways from Wilmar’s results briefing are: (1) concerns over its unwinding of carry trade proved unfounded; (2) rice and flour businesses in China have turned profitable; (3) higher biodiesel consumption in Indonesia will benefit its tropical oils division; (4) no plans to venture into property in the immediate term; and (5) keen on M&A at the right price.... Oilseeds and grains post strong profits. Tropical oils earnings slumped to its lowest since 2007. Final core net profit 3-4% above due to higher oilseeds and grain earnings....

20 Jan 2016: Bloomberg - Oil Rout Threatens to Scupper Demand for Palm Oil in Biofuel  - government mandates may miss

Oil Rout Threatens to Scupper Demand for Palm Oil in Biofuel by Anuradha Raghu and Yoga Rusmana  January 19, 2016. Indonesia may miss blending-mandate of 20% as crude below $30. Malaysia's biodiesel program impacted by crude slump: Embas....Oil is down about 21 percent this year amid volatility in Chinese markets and speculation the removal of restrictions that capped Iran’s crude sales will help to prolong a global glut. That’s sent the premium of crude palm oil over low sulphur gasoil futures to almost $290 a metric ton from the five-year average of a $13 discount...The government subsidy may rise to 5,000 rupiah (36 cents) per liter from 2,230 rupiah per liter, Fadhil said. The government may face a shortfall of 2 trillion rupiah in biodiesel subsidies, estimated at total of 18 trillion rupiah for this year, he said..... The Malaysian cabinet will discuss next month the B10 mandate that was expected to absorb 1 million metric tons of palm oil, Embas said. The country has capacity to produce 2.6 million tons of biodiesel, he said....

15 January 2016: Reuters - Crude oil tumble hits Southeast Asia's biodiesel ambitions - industry experts say it doesn't make sense for Malaysia and Indonesia levy fund would be insufficient to cover the target amount

Editor's note: Oil price and macro blog posting is here -

Crude oil tumble hits Southeast Asia's biodiesel ambitions SINGAPORE | BY NAVEEN THUKRAL, Jan 14, 2016; The world's top palm oil producers Indonesia and Malaysia may have to curb plans to channel more of the commodity into biodiesel as tumbling crude oil prices render the edible oil twice as expensive as its fossil fuel alternative. Indonesia expects to raise the minimum bio content of gasoil in the country by a quarter to 20 percent in 2016, while Malaysia has said it plans a 10-percent blend, up from the 7-percent targetted in 2015....But industry officials and analysts said they were sceptical about both countries' plans, with crude oil prices plunging to 12-year lows, while palm oil gained 34 percent in the last quarter of 2015.... Indonesian government officials told Reuters they stood by their blending plan, while Malaysia's plantations ministry declined to comment.... "I think both Malaysia and Indonesia will have to review their biodiesel mandates since both countries are also oil and gas producers and exporters," said M.R. Chandran, a veteran palm oil industry official who works as a consultant in Kuala Lumpur. "It doesn't make economic sense the way oil prices are falling, gasoil now costs just half of palm oil."...nalysts said the growing gap between palm oil and crude prices has ramped up the amount the Indonesian and Malaysian governments would have to pay in subsidies to blenders as part of their schemes to move towards biofuels. Palm was quoted at about $550 a tonne on Thursday, with gasoil selling at around $283 a tonne. The new targets would require subsidies of more than $900 million in Indonesia and $260 million in Malaysia at current market prices, according to Reuters calculations based on the price spread between the two products.... Indonesian officials said most of the subsidies in their country could be funded by a $50 a tonne tax on palm oil exports, but some in the industry said that was unrealistic. "The funds wouldn't be sufficient to cover subsidies for the targetted volume," said Fadhil Hasan, executive director at the Indonesian Palm Oil Association.... "Subsidies are an issue for both Malaysia and Indonesia as the economic growth forecast is weak and currencies are under pressure," Chandran said...

12 December 2015: Malaysia’s biodiesel exports flux to monthly low

Malaysia’s biodiesel exports plunge to three-year low in Nov at 82 MT: MPOB 11/12/2015  Malaysia’s biodiesel exports fell to a three-year low of 82 mt in November, official statistics released Thursday by the Malaysian Palm Oil Board showed. This was less than 1% of the 11,334 mt shipped out from the Southeast Asian producer during October. The contrast was even more pronounced compared with November 2014, when exports reached 22,753 mt. Exports were last seen lower in October 2012 at 60 mt, according to MPOB data. Over January-November, Malaysia exported 168,917 mt of biodiesel, more than double from exports of 66,740 mt seen in the year-ago period. The November figure further adds into the wild fluctuation in exports seen over the year. The previous low for the year was at 186 mt in April.

26 November 2015: James Fry says Malaysia B10 Mandate Not 'Wildly Ambitious'

B10 Mandate Not 'Wildly Ambitious' by Global Standards: LMC, by Bloomberg TV Malaysia, Published on Nov 22, 2015 -  November 20, 2015 (Kuala Lumpur) -- LMC International chairman James Fry says implementing the B10 mandate in Malaysia requires agreement from auto manufacturers. The agribusiness expert also discusses why there is limited downside risk to his palm oil predictions with Bloomberg TV Malaysia's

6 November 2015: Indonesia energy ministry announces biodiesel quota winners and B20 diesel ready to enter market next year  

TABLE-Indonesia energy ministry announces biodiesel quota winners Nov 4, 2015; Indonesia's energy and mineral resources ministry has published the names of the companies that have won quotas to supply biodiesel to state energy company Pertamina for the period November 2015 to April 2016: Company Volume (kilolitres) Cemerlang Energi Perkasa 148,016 Wilmar Bioenergi Indonesia 386,324 Pelita Agung Agriindustri 90,552 Ciliandra Perkasa 73,078 Musim Mas (Batam) 257,061
Musim Mas (North Sumatra) 81,921 Darmex Biofuels 130,744 Energi Baharu Lestari 20,078 Anugerahinti Gemanusa 49,361 Wilmar Nabati Indonesia 534,087 Bioenergi Pratama Jaya 33,375
Primanusa Palma Energi 44,189
Below are the names of the companies that have won quotas to supply biodiesel to PT AKR Corporindo for the period November 2015 to April 2016: Company Volume (kilolitres) Musim Mas 3,070 Wilmar Bioenergi Indonesia 1,980 Wilmar Nabati Indonesia 13,420
Source: (
Read more at Reuters

B20 diesel ready to enter market next year Apriadi Gunawan, The Jakarta Post, Medan | Business | Wed, November 04 2015; ...The government is optimistic that B20 biodiesel fuel will be ready to enter the market next year in accordance with an initial schedule, as no technical or quality problems were found in the new variant of the diesel fuel during a recent test.Indonesia Oil Palm Estate Fund (BPDP) fund distribution director Dadan Kusdiana said in Medan over the weekend that the use of B20 diesel had been through a series of trials, including a 3,383 kilometer vehicle road test from Jakarta to Medan.The test results showed no problems in the utilization of the biodiesel variant despite the fact that the vehicles’ fuel consumption had increased while engine power decreased compared to those using regular diesel, he said. - See more at:

19 October 2015: Indonesia biodiesel blending, LMC International - Dr James Fry's PME forecast, Indonesia tax breaks grants, Wilmar China Inventure waste oil biofuels, Malaysia targets 2 million tonne stocks 

Editor's note: Also reading this morning AmBank's plantations news highlight that points out "Bloomberg reported that Indonesia would start B20 blending in 2016F. Pertamina’s biodiesel consumption may rise to 5.1mil kilolitres (1.8mil tonnes) in 2016F. In November and December 2015, demand for subsidised biodiesel from Pertamina and Listrik Negara is expected to be 330,000 kilolitres (116,538 tonnes) per month." So here's the expectation of LMC International's Dr James Fry on Indonesia biodiesel:
source: LMC International, Dr James Fry - editor's photo at MPOB PIPOC, October 2015

Mid-to-long-term CPO price outlook improving — Analysts October 12, 2015, Monday KUCHING: The mid-to-long-term crude palm oil (CPO) price has been viewed as improving as on-going droughts and less fertilisation activity will likely lead to the decline in production early next year and subsequently, the decline of supply. Kenanga Investment Bank Bhd’s research arm (Kenanga Research) said in a report following the MPOB International Palm Oil Congress and Exhibition 2015 (PIPOC2015) in Kuala Lumpur, “According to speaker Dr James Fry (chairman, LMC International), CPO prices are likely to be on an uptrend, potentially reaching US$600 per metric tonne (circa RM2,540 per metric tonne) by end of the first quarter of 2016 (1Q16). “This is excluding potential El Nino impact, as on-going droughts and less fertilisation activity will lead to declining production early next year and therefore tightens supply. “While we agree that 1Q16 is likely to see stronger CPO prices due to the above reasons, we think prices are likely to decline later in the year on seasonal production trends and ample supply of competing soybean oil (SBO), to average RM2,400 per metric tonne (MT) for the full-year,” the research team said. During his talk, Dr Fry also stressed the importance of mandated biodiesel production to support CPO prices going forward. Read more:

Dairy, Palm Oil Firms Granted Tax Incentives to Help Expansion; By : Damiana Simanjuntak & Tabita Diela | on 8:19 PM September 21, 2015; Jakarta. One dairy and two palm oil companies have been granted tax allowances that will let them enjoy reduced income tax bills for up to 15 years. Fonterra Brands Manufacturing Indonesia, Wilmar Bioenergi Indonesia and Wilmar Nabati Indonesia were approved for the privilege after a Finance Ministry decree issued recently, according to Industry Ministry official Haris Munandar. Corporate income tax in Indonesia is typically set at 25 percent, with a discount offered to companies that invest heavily in the country. Haris did not provide details on how much of a discount the companies would enjoy. Fonterra Brands Manufacturing Indonesia plans to invest $29.6 million for a plant in Bekasi, on the eastern outskirts of Jakarta, to produce powdered milk. Wilmar Bioenergi Indonesia is pouring $36.1 million into its oil palm plantation in Dumai, Riau province, and Wilmar Nabati Indonesia is investing Rp 828.43 billion ($57 million) for its organic chemical base plant, also in Dumai. Haris said the government had extended the tax breaks to other companies and was currently reviewing two other requests.

Inventure Renewables to build commercial scale waste oil biofuel plant for Wilmar in China  September 24, 2015   | Meghan Sapp;  In Alabama, Inventure Renewables, Inc. has announced construction of a commercial scale plant for Wilmar (China) Oleochemicals Co., Ltd. The commercial scale plant will be used to convert a waste vegetable oil byproduct into intermediate materials, which can be further processed into higher value food, feed and industrial products, including biodiesel. “We’re very excited to be working with Wilmar (China) Oleochemicals Co., Ltd.,” said Mark Tegen, President and Chief Executive Officer of Inventure Renewables. “The recent selection of Inventure’s Mixed Super Critical Fluid (MSCF) technology over competing alternatives is notable and would not have been possible without the compelling case for improved operational efficiencies that our technology offers.” Inventure has provided a complete solution for Wilmar including basic engineering, detailed engineering, equipment design, fabricat on, supervision of installation and start up support. It’s the company’s goal to provide comprehensive client solutions.

M'sia to maintain palm oil stock at 2m tonnes: Uggah Published on: Wednesday, October 07, 2015; Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia hopes to maintain palm oil stocks at about two million tonnes from the 2.49 million tonnes recorded as at end-August by implementing replanting incentives and minimising imports. Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said the replanting incentives, to be implemented on Oct 1, aims to reduce by 83,000 hectares, the area planted with oil palm and drop production by 250,000 tonnes. "We will also minimise palm oil imports until our stocks reach about two million tonnes. This is a temporary measure and tere is no timeline for the target. "To strengthen long-term palm oil prices, Malaysia and Indonesia, which together account for 85 per cent of global production, will also implement a higher biodiesel blend programme," he said. He said this at a press conference after officiating the International Palm Oil Congress and Exhibition (PIPOC) 2015 here Tuesday. He said the three measures were put in place to curb the production level from going higher as some parties are projecting it to reach three million tonnes by November. His ministry, he added, was committed to managing the stocks level as Malaysian statistics have been accepted as one of the main data to indicate crude palm oil (CPO) supply globally. On the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) negotiation in Atlanta on Monday, he said while yet to be passed by Parliament, it would create easier access for CPO exports in other markets and give more remunerative prices…. Meanwhile, when asked if declining CPO demand from China would affect the local sector, Malaysian Palm Oil Council chairman Datuk Lee Yeow Chor said imports from India would help sustain Malaysia's palm oil exports volume….

16 September 2015: EU approves Wilmar-Fox Petrolifera JV

European Commission OKs Wilmar JV with Fox Petrolifera for Italian biodiesel plant September 14, 2015 | Meghan Sapp

24 August 2015: Aviation fuel plans, Malaysia B7 to expand to industrial sector, PERTAMINA and AKR 765,000 L buy by end 2015, Indonesia Euro IV contestation?

Editor's note: Had some useful updates from RSB on renewable aviation fuel certification efforts in the making. Contact, if interested!

This Pond Scum May Fuel Your Airplane by  Tom Redmond and Yuko Takeo July 8, 2015 — 5:00 AM HKTUpdated on July 8, 2015 — 3:18 PM HKT

AmBank Plantation Sector: Newsflow for week 17-21 August: Bloomberg quoted the CEO of Indonesia Estate Crop Fund Palmoil ... Non-subsidised biodiesel usage is estimated at 750,000 kiloliters (264,860 tonnes) until year-end. ... the Indonesian Palm Oil Association said that while the export levy may hurt CPO prices in Indonesia in the short term, they will help boost prices in the long term if the biodiesel mandate is enforced effectively. About 5.5mil tonnes of palm oil are expected to be used in the domestic market for biodiesel. ..... Malaysia plans to expand B7 to the industrial sector. The proposal will be presented to the cabinet in three weeks’ time. The usage of B7 in the industrial sector is envisaged to take up 280,000 tonnes to 300,0000 tonnes of palm oil annually. Currently, usage of B7 in the automotive sector is absorbing about 500,000 tonnes of palm oil annually. The government is also mulling reinstating replanting incentives to smallholders, who have oil palm trees that are more than 25 years old.....

Pertamina and AKR to purchase 765,000 kiloliters of biodiesel to satisfy B15 before year’s end August 18, 2015   | Meghan Sapp; In Indonesia, Pertamina and AKR say they will purchase 765,000 kiloliters of biodiesel to satisfy the new B15 blending mandate for the rest of 2015, with 339,000 kl to be purchased between now and October and the remaining to be purchased later in the year, predominantly from Wilmar, Eterindo, Musim Mas, Pelita Agung and Darmex Agro. The Indonesia Estate Crop Fund has received $54.3 million from the levy attached to palm oil exports since July 16...

Bid for cleaner fuel blocked by Pertamina Hans Nicholas Jong, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Headlines | Sat, August 22 2015, 5:16 PM; “We already tried drafting a ministerial decree for Euro IV. The problem that we face is the availability of [clean] fuel,” the ministry’s environmental pollution and damage control director general, MR Karliansyah, said during a conference on air pollution held by the University of Indonesia (UI) in Jakarta. - See more at:

22 August 2015: Golden Agri Resources to invest $150 million in two Indonesian biodiesel plants, Pertamina to construct bioavtur plant in 2017, PERTAMINA sets aside $200 million to enter plantation business 

Golden Agri Resources to invest $150 million in two Indonesian biodiesel plants  August 17, 2015   | Meghan Sapp; ...Each facility will produce 300,000 tons of biodiesel annually and will be online as soon as next year. The two facilities will be located in Marunda in North Jakarta and Tarjun in South Kalimantan... 

Pertamina to construct bioavtur plant in 2017 Nadya Natahadibrata, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Business | Thu, August 13 2015, 3:48 PM; State-owned oil and gas giant Pertamina is planning to construct a bioavtur plant in 2017 in support of the government’s program to reduce the use of fossil fuel in the aviation industry, an official has said.Pertamina technology and product development manager Andianto Hidayat said that the company was finalizing a feasibility study for the bioavtur plant.“The feasibility study will be completed within the next six to eight months, and [the plant] will be ready for groundbreaking in 2017. The construction itself may take up two years. Hopefully, the bioavtur plant will be on stream in 2018,” Andianto told a discussion on green aviation at the Transportation Ministry on Wednesday.The company, he said, could not yet reveal the location of the plant, but hinted that it would be built near an international airport in Java or Sumatra.Investment between US$450 million and US$480 million with a production capacity of 260 million liters per year were the plant’s current estimates, the official went on. - See more at:

Pertamina Setting Aside $200m to Enter Plantation Business for Biofuels; “We will target investment in plantation that will be planted by any energy-producing plants,” said Andianto Hidayat, manager of technology and product development at Pertamina’s renewable and non-renewable energy directorate, on Thursday. “We are exploring any potential cooperation through merger or acquisition, we are open to a co-partnership opportunity. We are setting aside $200 million as investment for five years,” he added. Andianto said Pertamina has explored entering the plantation business with state-owned agribusiness company Perkebunan Nusantara for a location in Sumatra and Kalimantan for plantation...

31 July 2015: USA Senate Finance Committee passes a tax extenders package that includes two-year extensions of tax credits for cellulosic biofuels and biodiesel with amendment to change the biodiesel fuels tax credit from a mixture credit to a production credit  - imports from Argentina, Singapore, the European Union and South Korea etc. will not benefit

Tax extenders package benefiting biofuels passes Senate committee  By Erin Voegele | July 21, 2015
The Senate Finance Committee has passed a tax extenders package that includes two-year extensions of tax credits for cellulosic biofuels and biodiesel. The next step for the legislation is consideration by the full U.S. Senate, which has not yet been scheduled.  The bill contains a provision extending the $1.01 per gallon production tax credit for cellulosic biofuels, which expired at the end of last year. Under the legislation, the cellulosic biofuels producer tax credit would be extended for two years, through 2016.  The bill would also extend incentives for biodiesel and renewable diesel for two years, through 2016. The extension would apply to the $1.00 per gallons credit for biodiesel, the 10-cent-per-gallon small agri-biodiesel producers credit, and the $1.00 per gallon tax credit for diesel fuel created from biomass.....During the hearing to address the extenders package, the committee accepted an amendment offered by Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, to change the biodiesel fuels tax credit from a mixture credit to a production credit. During the hearing, Grassley explained that the amendment would help ensure the credit benefits only domestic biodiesel production and doesn’t subsidize imported biofuels. “It’s projected that imports from Argentina, Singapore, the European Union and South Korea could exceed 1 billion gallons in the years 2016 and 2017,” Grassley said, noting the tax incentive should not apply to these imported fuels. “By restricting the credit to domestic production, we’ll save tax payers money and reduce the cost of the extension by $90 million,” he continued....

21 July 2015: Pertamina pushes for switch from gasoline to LNG, for the mining sector and others

Pertamina pushes for switch from gasoline to LNG Raras Cahyafitri, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Business | Thu, July 16 2015, 11:20 AM; State-owned oil and gas giant Pertamina is pushing forward with its move to shift the country’s high usage of oil fuel toward gas, particularly liquefied natural gas (LNG), for the mining sector.The company signed an LNG purchase and selling agreement on Tuesday with the contractors of Mahakam block, Total E&P Indonesia and Inpex. Under the agreement as many as 660 tons of LNG would be delivered this year for mining and commercial industries in East Kalimantan.“We are facing limited oil resources and therefore we need to switch to gas and also from fossil fuels to renewable resources,” Pertamina president director Dwi Soetjipto said.... The company’s vice president for LNG, Didik Sasongko Widi, estimated that Pertamina would need 6.5 million tons of LNG per year by 2020.“Out of the total figure, we have secured 4 million tons, which includes deliveries from the US [Cheniere Energy] and Jangkrik [gas field in Kalimantan developed by ENI],” Didik said.Along with the commencement of operations of the filling plant, Pertamina also launched the operation of seven other downstream oil and gas infrastructure facilities. - See more at:

16 July 2015: CPO Fund eyes $337 million in 2015and $730 million in next full year. Says priority is replanting 2,000 ha of smallholder area in Pekanbaru and Jambi (overall 300,000 ha need replanting ) and next priority is biodiesel subsidy.

Palm oil fund body eyes Rp 4.5 trillion in 2015 Grace D. Amianti, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Business | Wed, July 15 2015, 3:57 PM; An organization newly launched to collect a palm oil levy will soon start operation, aiming to garner up to Rp 4.5 trillion (US$337.36 million) in funds this year to revitalize aging oil palm plantations and incentivize the domestic biodiesel industry. The body, set up as a public service agency under the Finance Ministry, will begin charging exporters taxes on Thursday following the appointment of its full management team earlier this week.Former deputy trade minister Bayu Krisnamurthi, who leads the agency, named the Indonesia Oil Palm Estate Fund (BPDP), said that it aimed to generate between Rp 3.5 trillion and Rp 4.5 trillion up to the end of this year from palm oil shipments, an expectation that he said was based on the optimism of exporters. “Annually we hope that the funds collected in the future will reach around Rp 9.5 trillion to Rp 10 trillion based on current exchange rates and 2014 export data,” Bayu said Tuesday in a press conference at the agency’s office.... As its initial move, the agency plans to replant at least 2,000 hectares of oil palm plantations run by small holders in Pekanbaru and Jambi in Sumatra, with each hectare costing around Rp 60 million, according to Bayu.The area is a part of 300,000 hectares of plantations that Indonesia, the world’s largest palm oil producer, has to revitalize as most of them have been operating for more than 30 years....The next priority would be to subsidize biodiesel in a bid to help domestic consumption reach between 1.8 million and 2 million kiloliters (KL) in the next four months. A total consumption of 5.2 million KL is targeted for the whole of 2015, Bayu said, saying the incentive will amount to between Rp 600 and Rp 700 per liter.“The calculation of around Rp 600 to Rp 700 per liter is based on the price movement of CPO on top of the capped diesel fuel subsidy of Rp 1,000 per liter in the 2015 revised state budget,” Bayu said.He added that Finance Ministry was also revising the current palm oil export tax rule to avoid double taxes being charged to palm oil exporters. - See more at:

15 July 2015: CIMB - Regional Plantation - Indonesian biodiesel conundrum - subsidy may not be sufficient to cover price gap in Indonesia; how much of CPO Fund goes to biodiesel? Will CPO Fund board be checking on differential pricing for smallholders?

Khor Reports note: Our earlier checks with Jakarta sources on how much of the CPO Fund goes to biodiesel initially yielded answer of c.40% and most recent news is of 80-90%. Clearly the usage of the CPO Fund has been (and may be) a contested policy issue. Experts reckon that the estimated money collected should be $750 million per year; the rest goes to replanting, smallholder, promotion, R&D etc. Notably smallholders are to be excluded from the CPO Fund levy price impact (not clear how they avoid the market re-pricing that is expected to ensue - and actually preceded and anticipated the levies); specialists note that there might even be regional price variations depending export-intensity of different zones (perhaps CPO Fund board will be checking for the economic impact on smallholders).
For reference: Serika Petani Kelapa Sawit's analysis of the CPO Fund (in Bahasa):

CIMB - Regional Plantation - Indonesian biodiesel conundrum; 15 July 2015 at 08:21; "Indonesia announced that it will impose a levy on palm oil exports starting 16 July, after weeks of delay. We are positive that the government is progressing with its plans to lift biodiesel demand in the country. However, our concern is that the biodiesel subsidy of Rp600-700 litre may not be sufficient to cover the current biodiesel and diesel price gap in Indonesia, which we estimate to be at Rp 913 per litre(corrected from Rp3,423 per litre). This could affect the pace of implementation..."

22 June 2015: Range of Indonesia palm oil product levies adjusted to $10-50? Biodiesel levy trimmed to $20? Several Malaysia auto units line up against B10 biodiesel proposal.

VEGOILS-Palm edges up as ringgit weakens, but posts 2nd weekly drop  By Anuradha Raghu  19-Jun-2015 06:30:58 PM  *Prices down 1.7 pct in 2nd weekly fall  *Ringgit down 0.8 pct to 3.7390 per dollar  *Palm production seen easing during Ramadan - traders  *Indonesia looking to impose $20/T levy on biodiesel - minister ....Indonesia is considering levies on 24 palm products, including kernel shells and biodiesel, in a regulation that will take effect from July 1, senior government officials said. The range of the levies will be between $10 and $50, and the levy considered for biodiesel is $20 per tonne, Minister of Industry Saleh Husin said.  Indonesian crude palm oil Public Service Agency President-Director Bayu Krisnamurthi said the levies are unlikely to impact Indonesia's biodiesel competitiveness in the global markets.  "On the other hand, we are creating a new huge domestic market...we are encouraging higher domestic consumption," he said.  In other markets, oil eased below $64 a barrel on Friday...

Note earlier related news: Biofuel producers demand exemption from palm oil  levy  by Grace D. Amianti, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Business | Fri, May 08 2015, 8:19 AM; Domestic biofuel producers have demanded exemption from paying levies for the shipment of palm oil products overseas, as such policy will create more burdens for the industry. “We are hoping that we will be exempt from the rule of paying US$30 per metric ton of processed palm oil products,

Mercedes, Toyota, Isuzu, VW – B10 biodiesel no go By Jonathan James Tan / 18 June 2015 11:26 am / 29 comments; Following BMW Malaysia announcing it found “technical challenges” running its diesel engines on B10 biodiesel (10% palm-based biodiesel/90% petroleum diesel blend, will reportedly be implemented nationwide by October), and that its engines can take up to B7, Mercedes-Benz Malaysia, UMW Toyota and Volkswagen Malaysia have issued responses that echo the same sentiments....

20 June 2015: Launch of special agency, collector and manager of the $30-50 levy on farmers / producers, called the Crude Palm Oil Supporting Fund (CPO Fund) - in large part to directly support biodiesel producer segment (and hoping to support international CPO prices in longer term)

CPO tax body officially launched Grace D. Amianti, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Business | Tue, June 16 2015, 9:07 AM ; The government launched on Monday a special public service agency (BLU) in charge of a new levy on exports of palm oil to support development of the commodity. The special agency will act as a collector and manager of the levy, called the Crude Palm Oil Supporting Fund (CPO Fund), which will be used to develop the palm oil industry and pay for biodiesel subsidies in Indonesia, the world’s largest palm oil producer. “The special agency will start operating on July 1 under the management of six directors. We are currently preparing appointments to the board of directors that will be completed next week,” Coordinating Economic Minister Sofyan Djalil said in a press conference.  The government has appointed Bayu Krisnamurthi and Yuniar Yanuar Rasyid as the agency’s president director and finance director, respectively. Bayu was deputy trade minister during the administration of then president Suso Bambang Yudhoyono, while Yuniar is director of accounting and financial reporting at the Finance Ministry’s treasury directorate general.  - See more at:

15 June 2015: Indonesia delays start date for palm export levy to July 1  - Reuters

Indonesia delays start date for palm export levy to July 1 -minister 15-Jun-2015 14:37:42 JAKARTA, June 15 (Reuters) - Indonesia has delayed the implementation date for its planned levy on crude palm oil exports to July 1 from June 15 due to administrative issues, Coordinating Minister of Economic Affairs Sofyan Djalil told reporters on Monday.

10 June 2015:  New Indonesia agency (BLU) under Office of the Coordinating Economic Minister to be completed this week for near term start of $20-50 levy; Malaysia plans to expand to B10 in October, to consume 1 million tonnes of oil locally but faces BMW Malaysia engine damage concern

Palm-oil levy collector to be established next week Grace D. Amianti, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Business | Tue, June 09 2015, 9:15 AM; The government expects to soon complete the establishment of a special public service agency (BLU) that will collect and manage a new levy on exports of palm oil, a minister says. The special agency, which will work under the Office of the Coordinating Economic Minister, will act as a collector and manager of the palm oil levy to help develop the palm industry and pay for biodiesel subsidies in Indonesia, the world’s largest palm oil producer.“The establishment of the special agency will be completed this week. We will hold several meetings tomorrow and the days after,” Industry Minister Saleh Husin told reporters after a meeting at the Office of the Coordinating Economic Minister on Monday.Saleh said in the next meetings, the ministries would discuss regulations and tariffs for the palm oil levy, which were expected to be finalized this week so that the agency could start operating shortly afterward .Delays in the establishment of the BLU, which was initially planned for the end of May, as well as a new biofuel index price (HIP), are feared to disrupt the government’s biodiesel push this year that aims to boost domestic consumption of the more environmentally friendly fuel and reduce dependence on oil imports.The Industry Ministry’s director general for agro-industry Panggah Susanto said the levy imposed on palm oil exporters would vary between US$20 to $50 per ton of crude palm oil (CPO) regulated under a Finance Ministry regulation. - See more at:

BMW Drops Wrench Into Palm Energy Plan as Engine Damage Seen  by Ranjeetha Pakiamand En Han Choong June 9, 2015 — 8:37 AM BSTUpdated on June 9, 2015 — 10:18 AM BST  A drive to introduce a blend that uses 10 percent palm oil, up from 7 percent, risks causing severe engine damage, according to BMW Group Malaysia. The largest palm producer after Indonesia promotes the crop for use in foods and energy, and has been stepping up the amount that’s blended into local fuels. Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Douglas Uggah Embas said this week the so-called B10 program will be implemented from October. The government is in the midst of consultations on the B10 mandate, Uggah said in Bangi, outside Kuala Lumpur, on Tuesday. With B10 in place, consumption of palm will rise to 1 million metric tons from about 700,000 with B7, he said.

26 May 2015: Indonesia not ready for new palm levy, it could come (as late as August, or "hopefully") in two weeks - Reuters; some trade specialists reckon on this after Eid (as this lowers Indonesia domestic prices and 40% comes from smallholders, the authorities might not want to "spoil" their situation during Ramadhan fasting and Eid celebrations)

The news stream on the Indonesia new biodiesel and downstream support levy (earlier news of revised levy proposals and now the implementation date uncertainty) suggests a level of ambivalence that has been confirmed by various Jakarta sources of internal palm oil industry and inter-ministry opinion differences over it. The upstream palm oil industry has to subsidise its own levy as those outside have been unwilling. Interestingly, the Jokowi-Kalla manifesto called for a fairer distribution of economic gains from biodiesel to involve (oil palm) farmers. Presumably the hoped for higher prices will help, but the immediate and certain impact is a transfer from upstream / farmers to downstream corporate asset owners.

Indonesia delays $50/T palm levy, could come (as late as August, or "hopefully") in two weeks Mon May 25, 2015 12:27am EDT;  JAKARTA May 25 A regulation that will force exporters in Indonesia to pay a levy of $50 per tonne on shipments of crude palm oil has been delayed, the finance minister in the world's top producer of the edible oil said on Sunday. Earlier this month, Indonesian President Joko Widodo signed the regulation, which will require exporters to pay a tax of $50 per tonne of crude palm oil (CPO) and $30 for processed palm oil product shipments, with proceeds used to fund recently announced biodiesel subsidies. Senior government ministers had said the levy would be introduced in the fourth week of May, but last week the Indonesian Palm Oil Association told Reuters that delays in establishing guidelines and a new biodiesel fund or agency meant this would be pushed back as far as August. "It's no problem," Finance Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro told reporters on Sunday. "When the BLU (Public Service Agency) is ready, it will be imposed," he said, referring to the public body that will collect the palm levy. "The BLU is under preparation. Hopefully it will be finished in two weeks."

22 May 2015: Malaysia targets B15 by 2020

CIMB - Plantation update - Malaysia targets B15 by 2020 by Ivy Ng CIMB
The Malaysian government has revealed plans to raise the country’s biodiesel blend mandate from 7% to 15% by 2020, under the 11th Malaysia Plan’s initiative to implement clean fuel in the transport sector. This is the first time it has revealed its target of implementing a B15 biodiesel programme and provided a timeline for this. We are medium-term positive on this news as it could raise biodiesel usage in Malaysia from around 200k-300k tonnes in 2014 to 1.2m-1.5m tonnes by 2020

14 May 2015: Biofuel producers demand exemption from palm oil  levy 

Biofuel producers demand exemption from palm oil  levy  by Grace D. Amianti, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Business | Fri, May 08 2015, 8:19 AM; Domestic biofuel producers have demanded exemption from paying levies for the shipment of palm oil products overseas, as such policy will create more burdens for the industry. “We are hoping that we will be exempt from the rule of paying US$30 per metric ton of processed palm oil products  because the domestic sales price is already low,” Biofuel Producers Association (Aprobi) executive chairman Paulus Tjakrawan said on Thursday. Paulus said biofuel producers had suffered from margin compression following the slump in global CPO prices, which were currently traded at $614 per ton, as the government has also yet to set the newest benchmark price for biodiesel through export reference price (HPE).
The government is in the process of setting a new biodiesel price with a formula of CPO price plus $125 per ton and transport cost.  The $125 figure is based on the government’s recent calculation, lower than the previous $188. “The new benchmark price formula will not offer any profit for us and it will be heavier if the CPO price rebounds to above $750, which means we should also pay export tax besides paying the additional levy,” Paulus said. Under an existing rule, exporters will have to pay between 7.5 percent and 22.5 percent in export tax if the CPO price is higher than $750 per ton. If the CPO price is lower than $750 per ton, exporters will be exempt from the export tax.
However, they will have to pay the levy regardless of the CPO price, as stated in a regulation to take effect later this month. ....

1 May 2015: Aprobi hopes for Indonesia 4 million KL this year, US biodiesel scammers lose Picasso, Renoir, Miro, Dalis and other art works

Local biodiesel use to reach up to four million KL this year Linda Yulisman, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Business | Thu, April 30 2015, 8:16 AM; A recent move to increase the proportion of palm oil-based derivatives in mandatory fuel blending will push up domestic biodiesel consumption this year significantly, an industry group says.Biodiesel consumption in Indonesia, the world’s largest palm oil producer, may reach between 3 million and 4 million kiloliters from the second quarter to the end of the year, according to Biofuel Producers Association (Aprobi) secretary-general Togar Sitanggang.Half of the figure will be absorbed by state-owned oil and gas firm Pertamina for its public service obligation, while the rest will be taken by private firms.Both Pertamina and private firms are still in talks with biofuel makers, particularly on pricing schemes.“For now the program still cannot work because there’s no subsidy, without which biodiesel producers cannot supply,” Togar told reporters on Tuesday during the inauguration of the new Indonesian Palm Oil Producers Association (Gapki) organizational structure.Effective this month, the government has raised the biofuel stipulation in the fuel mix from 10 percent to 15 percent as part of its measures to reduce dependence on oil imports, which have put heavy pressure on the nation’s trade balance and contributed to the weakening rupiah.The government plans to charge levies of US$50 per metric ton of crude palm oil (CPO) shipments and $30 for processed palm oil products when prices dip below $750 per ton to subsidize biodiesel and incentivize oil palm growers. The funds will be collected and managed by a special public service agency within the Finance Ministry, to be established later. - See more at:
Biodiesel scammer forfeits Picasso by  Seth Slabaugh, 9:11 a.m. EDT April 29, 2015; MIDDLETOWN –  A defendant in an interstate biodiesel scam has agreed to forfeit a Picasso, a Renoir, a Leroy Nieman, a Miro, five Salvador Dalis and other art work to the federal government. When he pleaded guilty on April 11, Joseph Furando, 49, Bergen County, N.J., also agreed to give up other property that was the subject of a restraining order after his indictment, including 19 diamond, sapphire, ruby, emerald and gold pieces of jewelry, two Rolex watches, two ultra-luxury Patek Philippe watches, a 7,447-square-feet home worth $3.5 million, a Schimmel grand piano, two Orange County Choppers custom motorcycles, a BMW and other property. Furando has admitted that he conspired with the owners/operators of a biodiesel production facility in the northwestern Henry County community of Middletown, south of Daleville, in a renewable fuels fraud scheme. We (also) were able to secure forfeiture agreements for approximately $100 million (in cash) but most of the money in the (bank) accounts is already gone," said Tim Horty, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Indianapolis. "So we only have a few million in hand." Furando signed a plea agreement acknowledging that all of the property and funds to be forfeited constituted proceeds of the crimes to which he pleaded guilty......The scheme added more than $55 million in fraudulent value to about 35 million gallons of biodiesel and cost taxpayers millions of dollars in fraudulent tax credits, prosecutors say. Other forfeited art work included a Gumbo-Carlos Comesanas, a George Braque, several Katia Pissaros and an Itzchak Tarkey, along with two rugs.......

29 April 2015: Malaysia's biodiesel formula - special price of RBD plus RM515 per tonne (and transport subsidies)

Analysts are quite interested in how much has been paid out by Malaysia in subsidies related to biodiesel. Formally speaking, it sounds like subsidies are via the petroleum companies who pay RBD plus RM515. In chats with regional players, it is obvious that Thailand, Philippines and Indonesia biodiesel players have all looked with envy at the Malaysia situation ("generous" is the general opinion). See below Platts article referring to Malaysia formula. These figures are also widely cited in analyst reports.

Indonesia's Pertamina in talks with biodiesel producers to switch PME price formula
Singapore (Platts)--23Jan2015/610 am EST/1110 GMT; Indonesia's state-owned oil and gas company Pertamina is in talks with biodiesel producers and the government to switch the oil-linked price formula for its palm methyl ester purchases to one based on palm oil prices, trade sources said Friday, January 23. Togar Sitanggang, secretary-general of the Indonesian Biofuel Producers Association, or Aprobi that is involved in the discussions, said the proposed switch is "for the calculation of the subsidy on biodiesel." Indonesia has a fixed biodiesel subsidy of Rupiah 3,000/kiloliter (24 cents/kl).
The subsidy is given to Pertamina to compensate for the difference between the market price of biodiesel and the retail price of subsidized gasoil. When asked if the new proposed reference price was similar to the Malaysian formula where petroleum companies buy PME at a premium of MR515/mt ($143/mt) over refined, bleached and deodorized palm oil,  Sitanggang said it was.
"We proposed CPO [crude palm oil] plus processing cost," he said.......

22 April 2015: Carmaker worries on higher biofuel mix, as does PLN, Coordinating Economic Minister says new levy on palm oil will strictly fine those exporters not complying and funds will be managed by special agency under the Finance Ministry

Carmakers worry higher biofuel mix could damage engines Raras Cahyafitri and Linda Yulisman, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Business | Thu, April 16 2015, 7:48 AM; The automotive industry is worried that the government’s policy to increase mandatory blending of biofuel into diesel could affect engines.“The usage of biodiesel is good. However, we are still worried about the impacts. There are engines that can accept 15 percent or even 20 percent [biofuel] content, however, some other engines cannot accept that,” Association of Indonesian Automotive Manufacturers (Gaikindo) deputy chairman Jongkie Sugiarto said...State-owned oil and gas giant PT Pertamina, which is the biggest fuel distributor in the country, admitted that it had received complaints from automotive producers that their engines would not be able to adapt to higher biocontent.“There is a recommendation from one of them that its engines can only receive 12.5 percent at the maximum level. [State-owned electricity firm] PLN is also worried about an obligation of up to 25 percent biofuel to be mixed for power plants,” Pertamina marketing director Ahmad Bambang said. He added that Pertamina would comply with the mandatory blending policy. While worries emerge over the higher biofuel blending policy, the government continues its efforts to boost the biofuel industry.... On Wednesday, Coordinating Economic Minister Sofyan Djalil said that the government was finalizing a presidential regulation to levy palm-oil exports, the proceeds of which would be used to subsidize biofuel so that it could incentivize more producers and consumers. Crude palm oil (CPO) shipments would be charged with levies of US$50 per metric ton, while processed products would be levied $30 when prices dip below $750 each ton.“We will strictly fine those [exporters] who do not comply and they will even be prohibited from exports and their licenses will be revoked,” he said after a coordinating meeting at his office, adding that the presidential regulation might be signed within the week.Sofyan further said that the funds collected from the taxes would be managed by a special public service agency under the Finance Ministry, which would be set up soon. - See more at:

2 April 2015: Domestic subsidies criticized for causing deforestation, GHG reduction from bioethanol depends on food consumption cuts in developing world (Searchinger in new research published by Science)

Subsidies to industries that cause deforestation worth 100 times more than aid to prevent it by Arthur Neslen  Tuesday 31 March 2015 16.48 BST Last modified on Tuesday 31 March 2015 17.59 BST
Brazil and Indonesia paid over $40bn in subsidies to industries that drive rainforest destruction between 2009 and 2012 - compared to $346m in conservation aid they received to protect forests, according to new research.... More than half of the world’s forest loss between 1990 and 2010 took place in Brazil and Indonesia......Brazil and Indonesia spent over 100 times more in subsidies to industries that cause deforestation than they received in international conservation aid to prevent it, according to a report by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI).....  The two countries handed out over $40bn (£27bn) in subsidies to the palm oil, timber, soy, beef and biofuels sectors between 2009 and 2012 – 126 times more than the $346m they received to preserve their rainforests from the United Nations’ (UN) REDD+ scheme, mostly from Norway and Germany. .... “The fact that domestic subsidies for commodities that cause deforestation so vastly outweigh international aid seeking to prevent it shows we need a radical rethink,” Will McFarland, one of the report’s authors told the Guardian. “By making the cost of producing these commodities cheaper, subsidies increase their profitability and make them more desirable to investors. That in turn artificially inflates their growth, and threatens the rainforests further. With subsides running at over 100 times that of forest aid, we should be urgently trying to reform this system.”... Asad Rehman, a senior international climate campaigner for Friends of the Earth compared Brazil and Indonesia to “cancer charities asking for donations whilst subsidising cigarette production at the same time”. ...“Deforestation is ultimately driven by consumption demands in the North,” he said. “We all have a responsibility to tackle the businesses that are colluding in this destruction. The only real solution to this failure is empowering communities to safeguard their forests.” ... McFarland said the phenomenon was “incredibly contradictory” and demanded the conditioning of future aid on environmental protection measures. “Through subsidy reform, modest sums of forest finance can be used to ensure that any subsidies are provided in a manner that both protects forests and the poor,” he said.... But an ODI finding that Brazil spent $2.7m in biofuel subsidies in 2009 – mostly for ethanol – illustrates how contentious such conditions may be in practice. New research by Timothy Searchinger published in the journal Science last week, found that any greenhouse gas reductions from bioethanol would depend on cuts to food consumption in the developing world....

Source: Subsidies to key commodities driving forest loss - Implications for private climate finance. Working Paper March 2015 by Will McFarland, Shelagh Whitley and Gabrielle Kissinger. Overseas Development Institute. 203 Blackfriars Road, London SE1 8NJ

1 April 2015: Indonesia new biodiesel formula awaited to boost domestic demand - margins reduced on contestation

Industry specialists say that this will all depend on Indonesia Ministry of Finance. This is part of big Indonesia policy plan to boost domestic demand in face of poor export prospects for biodiesel.

New formula rolled out to lower biodiesel price Raras Cahyafitri, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Business | Tue, March 24 2015, 5:40 AM; In a move to support a rise in the proportion of biofuel that must be added to diesel, the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry has introduced a new formula aiming to lower the price of the mixed substance purchased by distributors...... Under the new formula, the biodiesel index price will be calculated based on the crude palm oil (CPO) base price plus US$125 per ton. The added $125 is the cost of converting CPO into fatty acid methyl ester (FAME), which is used to produce biodiesel. The conversion cost is lower than a previous formula that put it at $188 per ton..... Coordinating Economic Minister Sofyan Djalil has also said that the government might ask CPO producers to earmark 15 percent of their output for domestic usage to ensure the certainty of the supply of CPO to support the mandatory biodiesel policy..... According to palm oil producers association GAPKI, Indonesia produced 31.5 million tons of CPO last year, rising by around 5 percent from a year earlier. Of the total production, 21.7 million tons were exported last year. If the 15 percent mandatory mix is fully implemented, the country will need 5.3 million kiloliters of biofuel to be blended into diesel. The figure is equal to CPO needs of 4.8 million tons.....

14 March 2015: Indonesia may notify higher blending rule soon

Indonesia to Expand Biodiesel Blending to Boost Palm Oil Prices by Eko Listiyoriniand Agus Salim Suhana 8:08 PM HKT  March 13, 2015 (Bloomberg) -- Indonesia plans to increase blending of palm oil with diesel this year to cut costs of importing fossil fuel and shore up prices of the world’s most-used vegetable oil. The world’s largest palm oil producer will raise the blending rate to 15 percent this year from 10 percent and subsequently to 20 percent, Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Sofyan Djalil said in Jakarta on Friday.... The Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry may notify higher blending rule next week and it will be effective immediately, Djalil said. Increased use of palm oil in biodiesel may reduce supply of the vegetable oil and support prices, he said.

25 February 2015: EU may cap biofuel at 6% of transport fuel instead of the current 10%

EU lawmakers back new limit for food-based biofuel By Barbara Lewis BRUSSELS Tue Feb 24, 2015 2:52pm EST; BRUSSELS (Reuters) - A European Parliamentary committee on Tuesday backed a new limit on traditional biofuels made from food crops that critics say stoke inflation and do more harm than good to the environment.... But those who have invested in biofuels made from crops such as maize or rapeseed say it puts jobs at risk.... Current legislation requires EU member states to ensure that renewable sources account for at least 10 percent of energy in transport by 2020.... The European Parliament's environment committee on Tuesday agreed that biofuel from food crops should not exceed 6 percent of final energy use in transport - a tougher limit than the 7 percent backed by member states last year....

Today is a defining moment for Europe’s flawed biofuels policy - MEPs set to vote on whether to limit the use of palm oil and other food crops in biofuels, which campaigners claim is fuelling deforestation in Indonesia by Laili Khairnur Laili Khairnur is executive director of Gemawan Institute, Indonesia Tuesday 24 February 2015 07.10 GMT; Their judgment will have serious repercussions, affecting some of the most vulnerable people and ecosystems in Indonesia.... When I visited Brussels last year to talk with EU decision-makers about Europe’s policy to promote biofuels, my message to them was clear: by using and promoting crops such as palm oil for biofuels, Europe shares responsibility for deforestation and the increase in carbon emissions in Indonesia, not to mention human rights abuses. It’s time for Europe to step up and fix the problem... In my home of West Kalimantan, Borneo, around five million hectares of land – an area larger than Denmark – have been reserved for oil palm plantations. This represents almost one third of our total land in the region. Fifteen per cent of this will be in areas that are currently forested. The rest of the region is almost entirely earmarked by the government for other extractive industries, such as bauxite mining. There will be little, if any, land remaining as forests, for agriculture or for local people to live and farm.... The palm oil debate is funded by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil. All content is editorially independent except for pieces labelled advertisement feature. Find out more here.

6 February 2015: ALERT - legislators cut requested USD1.4 billion biofuel subsidy to USD0.55 billion or 39%, do not agree to support non-subsidized sector. Finalisation of Indonesia new subsidy at IDR 4,000/liter for US$86 operating profit for biodiesel producers?

News has been trickling out and this one is important to note that the level of subsidy given is reported by Jakarta Post at 39% of what was requested (thus, rather less generous than was earlier apparent to traders) -  reducing the volume of subsidized biodiesel by half, from 3.41mil kilolitres to 1.7mil kilolitre or about 600,000 tonnes of palm oil  according to analysts. Analysts are also mulling over the volume for the non-subsidized biodiesel sector.

Bottom-line: Biodiesel off-take impact on stock levels are a key concern on immediate palm oil price outlook. Beyond the short term, traders are eyeing the 16% of global palm oil that goes into biodiesel - on say 55 million tonnes, 16% is 8.8 million. While trying to boost implementation of the Indonesia biofuels program, it's interesting and important to note the significant amendments apparently made by the legislators on the rather more generous government proposals for biodiesel producers.

Legislators cut biodiesel subsidy to Rp 4,000 per liter by Raras Cahyafitri, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Business | Fri, February 06 2015, 8:34 AM; The House of Representatives has lowered the subsidy proposed by the government for the sale of biodiesel, saying that the required amount was too high....  The Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry allocated about Rp 17.4 trillion (US$1.4 billion) to subsidies in the sale of biofuel so that producers of renewable energy such as fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) and ethanol used in biofuel can continue their operations despite the sharp drop in oil prices....  However, in the deliberation of the proposed revision to the 2015 State Budget on Wednesday, House of Representatives Commission VII overseeing energy cut the allocation to Rp 6.8 trillion. With the amount approved by the legislators, the subsidy for biodiesel is lowered to Rp 4,000 per liter from Rp 5,000 per liter as proposed by the government, while the bioethanol subsidy is fixed at Rp 3,000 per liter in line with the proposal....“The government has also proposed to provide subsidies for non-subsidized biodiesel, but we do not agree,” Commission VII head Kardaya Warnika said....


Ambank writes: "Platts reported that Indonesia’s Parliamentary Panel has allocated Rupiah 4,000/liter (32 US cents/liter) as subsidy for biodiesel production and Rupiah 3,000/liter for ethanol in the 2015 state budget. Previously, a biodiesel subsidy of Rupiah 5,000/liter was proposed..... Based on the subsidy of Rupiah 4,000/liter, the subsidy bill would come up to Rupiah 10.4trilllion (US$821.6mil) versus Rupiah 17.4trillion (US$1.37bil) previously.... We estimate that without the subsidy, biodiesel producers would be making an operating loss of US$240/tonne. With the subsidy, the operating profit would be about US$86/tonne...."

BofA on 4 February notes that "Higher Indonesian biodiesel subsidies should support 2015 growth in Indonesian biodiesel demand in-line with our forecasts. But this alone cannot offset industry challenges from falling Brent and record soybean. Stay cautious on CPO price outlook. We prefer young growth names....and Wilmar who can benefit from Indonesian biodiesel mandate growth....."

Reactions from palm oil specialists we hear: Consistent surprised comments about generosity. The less optimistic ask it will really work this time - as the biodiesel story has not lasted, in the past.

5 February 2015: Am hearing from Jakarta sources a generous biofuels subsidy (in large part for palm biodiesel) has been approved.

Palm Oil Climbs Most in Four Years on Indonesian Biofuel Subsidy by Ranjeetha Pakiam 5:25 PM BNT  February 5, 2015 (Bloomberg) -- Palm oil advanced the most in more than four years on Indonesia’s plans to boost biodiesel subsidies, which would expand palm demand in the largest producer and consumer.... Futures climbed 5.1 percent to 2,310 ringgit ($648) a metric ton on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives on Thursday, the biggest advance at close since October 2010.... The biodiesel mandate is feasible with the increased subsidy, said Hariyanto Wijaya, a Jakarta-based analyst at PT Mandiri Sekuritas. It will boost palm demand for biodiesel to 1.7 million tons this year from 800,000 tons in 2014, he wrote in a report on Thursday.... The country’s target for biodiesel production is 2015 is 3.4 million kiloliters, said Dadan Kusdiana, director of bioenergy at the Energy & Mineral Resources Ministry. Output last year was 1.7 million kiloliters, half the 3.4 million goal, he said in a text message....

Elsewhere, other government support for commodities too. Notably Thailand for rubber.

Thai Interventions in Rubber Market Propping Prices, Tightening Supply
Purchases Exacerbating Rubber-Market Supply Shortages By  Huileng Tan Feb. 5, 2015 4:09 a.m.  ET ; Thailand’s big interventions in the natural-rubber market are propping up prices and keeping supplies tight for the world’s largest producer and exporter of the raw material.
Global benchmark natural rubber futures on the Tokyo Commodity Exchange posted 7% gains this week, hitting a one-month high on Wednesday before settling 1.2% lower at ¥206.4 a kilogram on Thursday.  Thai government purchases currently account for 5% to 20% of daily rubber sales in the local market, according to Pongsak Kerdvongbundit, managing director at Von Bundit Co., one of Thailand’s biggest rubber exporters. Last October, Thailand’s junta government approved a budget of up to 30 billion baht ($919 million) for buying rubber, and has been purchasing the commodity aggressively from farmers at the country’s central rubber markets....

4 February 2015: Biodiesel seeks US$441/tonne subsidy (over US$650 million?) to improve implementation of Indonesia mandate, House of Representatives approval needed

Please note our 13 January alert on this item, for which there is now more news and analyst reactions which include those summarized below. The subsidy to biodiesel producers would amount to over US$650 million. Indonesia biodiesel producers seek strong support, not dissimilar to that enjoyed by Malaysian biodiesel producers. Reuters also reports that Indonesia downstream also asks for review of export duty to be more competitive against Malaysia.

CIMB writes: "proposal to raise the subsidy for biodiesel in Indonesia by 333% to Rp5k per litre. The higher subsidy will significantly raise the CPO-biodiesel breakeven price level and revive biodiesel consumption. Indonesia plans to blend up to 3.41m kl of biodiesel in 2015. If successful, we believe it will boost CPO demand by 1.5m tonnes. This news is positive for CPO prices and biodiesel producers in Indonesia..."

Ambank writes: "Indonesia’s Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry... is also proposing that 3.41 million kilolitres (1.2 million tonnes) of biodiesel be mixed in diesel.... The proposals are pending approval by the House of Representatives.... Pertamina said that it had failed to hold a biodiesel tender due to poor infrastructure and selling price. In 2014, only 1.17 million kiloliters (413,182 tonnes) of biodiesel were blended, lower than the target of 1.57 million (554,440 tonnes) kiloliters... On a per tonne basis, the subsidy of US$0.39/litre is estimated at US$441.... "

28 January 2015: In conversation with auto specialist on talk of diesel car crackdown in Europe

In conversation with auto specialist on Tuesday: Auto guys think this is likely political grand standing. How likely is such a big  policy changes if it would impact so severely France auto national champion so after their big capex in diesel; and think about new capex  and leadtime needed to develop alternative vehicles. France is not at the forefront of such technology, and has no cutting edge alternative. Do they give up on autos and leave everything to the Germans? Is this auto sector complacency or is it passing political fancy? There is no doubt there is an increasingly vocal group against diesel engines (Boris Johnson in London also). Notably, the Germans have not decided to end diesel vehicles, but they are pressing on with alternative fuel vehicles. Context: In the UK and Germany over 50% and in France 90% of cars run on diesel. Nothing is cleaner than hybrid battery cars.

26 January 2015: France looks to banning diesel vehicles, European crackdown in the offing on air pollution deaths and mistaken measure of CO2 (well-to-wheel benefits lag); Thailand cuts palm oil in biodiesel to 3.5% from 7%

France looks at progressively banning diesel vehicles - Carmakers braced for European crackdown on diesel vehicles by  Andy Sharman, Motor Industry Correspondent; January 22, 2015 12:41 pm - It was a move worthy of an environmental campaigner, not a state shareholder.... The November announcement by prime minister Manuel Valls — in which he admitted the promotion of diesel cars had been a “mistake” — was followed last month by a promise from Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo to ban these vehicles from the city by 2020.... Cities are under pressure from the European Commission to tackle pollution. Studies from the International Council on Clean Transportation, a research body, and King’s College, part of the University of London, have highlighted the scale of emissions from diesel vehicles and linked them to as many as 60,000 deaths a year in the UK.... London has vowed to act on these findings...Cities in Norway have discussed similar anti-diesel measures.... There is growing concern that the emphasis on diesel has encouraged European manufacturers to bet on a technology that is only really bought in their home continent.... While Europe leads the world as the biggest market for diesel cars, there has been very little take-up in Japan and the US.... the perceived CO2 benefits of diesel have been overstated if the overall “well to wheel” impact of using the fuel is taken into account. The fuel is more energy intensive to refine, and the types of diesel cars consumers purchase tend to be heavier than the petrol equivalents.

Thailand: PME Blend in Biodiesel to be cut - Palm oil's portion in biodiesel to be halved Published: 21 Jan 2015 at 06.00 | by Yuthana Praiwan;
.....The Energy Ministry will cut the proportion of palm-based biodiesel (B100) in retail biodiesel to 3.5% from 7% to spare crude palm oil supply and help prevent a shortage in the food industry at a time when domestic palm oil production is in seasonal decline. 

13 January 2015 update alert

A Jakarta reader alerts that a week ago, industry agreed on biodiesel formula adjusted for economic price to producers, ie. not on MOPS basis. Keep your eyes open for news from Ministry of Energy on outcomes of this.

13 January 2015: Jokowi tackles energy reform to slash costs, other reforms to come; PERTAMINA tenders 1.2 million kL but Indonesia biodiesel is uneconomic as oil has been slumping relative to palm oil price

Khor Reports comment: Plantation analysts remain concerned about the non-viability of palm biodiesel at the current prices. This affects the significant voluntary blending market as well as concerns about the usage in countries with soft mandates such as Indonesia; where it is also fighting to reform its energy sector to bring down spending on energy to free up money for investment in infrastructure. At the same time, Indonesia seems to be pushing on bureaucratic reforms and anti-corruption moves in the agro forestry sector as well as in aviation which recently suffered the Air Asia QZ8501 disaster. The Jokowi-JK presidential election manifesto also talks about the reorientation of economic gains in its biofuels sector to ensure gains for farmers. All in, several challenges issues for Indonesia biodiesel?

Widodo’s Next Hurdle: What Indonesia Can Tackle Post Fuel Revamp By Chris Brummitt  Jan 13, 2015 1:12 AM GMT+0800; The opening salvo in Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s bid to revitalize Southeast Asia’s biggest economy was a revamp of the country’s energy sector. His next hurdle is delivering the gains from the shake-up.... In his first three months in office, Jokowi, as the leader is known, freed up 230 trillion rupiah ($18 billion) of budget funds for development by scrapping gasoline subsidies and capping government aid on diesel. He also moved to plug revenue leaks and improve efficiency in the energy industry, changing the management of the state oil company as well as setting up an oil and gas reform team.....

[these comments and links are replicated from our "eye on Jokowi" blog posting, read more here: /khorreports-palmoil/2014/11/eye-on-president-jokowi-asks-china-aiib.html]

1,2 Juta Kl Biodiesel Ditenderkan PERTAMINA; updated 10:30 AM UTC, Jan 9, 2015;; reports that Pertamina is holding a tender for biodiesel as a continuation of the mandatory biodiesel program in 2015. But manufacturers are less responsive because the tender price is no longer economical... the tender price scheme set by DG EBTKE MEMR is 103.48 % MOPS diesel. However, amidst the decline in the price of oil including diesel biodiesel producers are languishing. Paul Tjakrawan, Chief Executive of the Indonesian Biofuel Producers Association ( APROBI ) said that some biodiesel companies are ceasing operations temporarily because (biodiesel is non economic) under the price index ....

22 December 2014: Indonesia diesel output is to more than double to 770,000 bpd by 2025

Indonesia - Pertamina targets higher diesel output Published: 11 December 2014 07:15 AM
Pertamina, whose entire board of directors was recently replaced as part of the energy reforms, signed MoUs with China Petroleum and Chemical Corp. (Sinopec), Saudi Aramco and JX Nippon Oil & Energy Corp. to help with refinery upgrades. The upgrades will be completed in around four years, and there will also be a growth in demand, so this alone will not be enough to fill the demand gap, the company said, adding that it was also looking at building new refineries.... Indonesia's Refinery Development Master Plan targets to double crude oil processing capacity to 1.68 mln barrels per day (bpd) from 820,000 bpd at present. Gasoline output is to more than triple to 630,000 bpd by 2025 from 190,000 in 2012, while diesel output is to more than double to 770,000 by 2025 from 320,000 in 2012....

29 November 2014: Brent crude slide and Indonesia biodiesel mandate outlook


16 September:

Oil Prices Sink as World-Wide Supplies Rise - Pressure Increases as Weak Demand and Robust Global Production Leave Extra Crude Sloshing Around the Market  By Christian Berthelsen Updated Sept. 15, 2014 10:28 p.m. ET; "A global oil surplus is driving U.S. crude prices to fresh lows. Benchmark U.S. oil-futures prices approached a 16-month low for the second time in three trading sessions on Monday before recovering. Oil for October delivery ended at $92.92 a barrel, down more than 13% from highs for the year hit in June. Both U.S. and world prices have tumbled over the past few months, as weak demand and robust global production left extra..."

5 September:

Wilmar won majority of the third round Pertamina tender. Darmex won less than 30,000 kilolitres.Total volume was around 600,000. Price paid was mostly MOPS + 3%. Biodiesel spreads are now very good at POGO minus $220/tonne plus.

Palm Oil Industry Upbeat Over Policies By Alina Musta’idah on 08:33 pm Sep 04, 2014; "...Gapki, expects the total crude palm oil and palm kernel oil production to be between 27.5 million and 28 million tons, up 2.2 percent to 4 percent from last year. “But such achievement also needs great support from the new government through conducive policies.” Fadhil said the government needed to encourage the construction of biodiesel production facilities and infrastructure across the country in order to boost demand in the domestic market. The government originally aimed for nationwide biodiesel production to reach 3 million kiloliters this year. However, the association estimates that biodiesel production has only reached 800,000 kiloliters so far this year and expects to only reach one million kiloliters by year’s end...."

Garuda to use biofuel in 2016 to reduce emissions by Nadya Natahadibrata, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Business | Wed, August 27 2014, 10:30 AM; "National flag carrier PT Garuda Indonesia is planning to mix avtur (aviation turbine fuel) with biofuel starting in 2016, to help reduce its carbon emissions.
Garuda Indonesia operational director Capt. Novianto Herupratomo said on Tuesday the airline had taken several measures to protect the environment, including by preparing to switch from fossil fuel to clean energy... Under the MoU, the government targeted reducing the use of fossil fuel in the aviation sector by mixing avtur with 2 percent biofuel in 2016 and planned to increase the amount to 3 percent in 2020..."

4 September:

Geothermal is a target for Indonesia electricity generation, but its economics needs to improve. Unlikely to supplant biodiesel for some time?

Geothermal operations to give greater benefits to locals by Raras Cahyafitri, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Business | Mon, September 01 2014, 11:08 AM;; "....Indonesia’s abundant geothermal resources are estimated to be able to produce around 29 gigawatts, among the highest in the world. However, only 1,341 megawatts of electricity are currently generated by geothermal resources in the country.
Exploitation of the resource is hampered by licensing problems — particularly the prohibition of geothermal projects in conserved forest areas — protests from local residents over perceived harm to the environment, the vast amounts of capital required and the uneconomical tariff of electricity produced by geothermal plants..."

7 August:

Malaysia Delays Full Implementation of B5 Biodiesel Mandate  By Ranjeetha Pakiam  Aug 6, 2014 5:46 PM GMT+0800; "Malaysia, the largest palm oil producer after Indonesia, delayed the nationwide implementation of its biodiesel mandate to the end of the year, said Douglas Uggah Embas, Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister. The B5 program will be completed by December instead of an original target of July, doubling average monthly consumption, Uggah said in an e-mailed response to Bloomberg questions. The delay was because construction of 15 blending facilities in the states of Sabah and Sarawak and the federal territory of Labuan in East Malaysia were taking longer than expected, he said.... Palm, the world’s most consumed cooking oil, has declined 16 percent in 2014 and slumped to the lowest level in a year in Kuala Lumpur today as the U.S. government predicts record global inventories of soybeans, used to make an alternative oil. Prices have also been pressured by the failure of Indonesia and Malaysia to boost use in biofuels, according to Dorab Mistry, director at Godrej International Ltd., on June 26..... The government and the palm oil board are “monitoring the progress of the construction of the blending facilities and exploring ways to accelerate completion,” Uggah said. “Full implementation of the B5 program is expected to consume 500,000 tons of methyl ester annually.” B5, which involves blending 5 percent of palm methyl ester with 95 percent of diesel petroleum, was completed in March in Peninsular Malaysia, Uggah said. Monthly usage will average 41,667 tons upon full implementation compared with 20,833 tons now, Uggah said. This will increase to 58,333 tons with the start of the B7 program in the first quarter, he said. The government and the palm oil board are in discussions with engine manufacturers and automobile associations to get warranties for B7, he said.....

Oil Traders Flee Brent as Prices Signal Glut: Chart of the Day By Grant Smith Aug 7, 2014 7:01 AM GMT+0800; "Oil traders are fleeing Brent crude at the fastest pace in eight years as signs of a glut undermined bets that the Islamist insurgency in Iraq would threaten supply...."

31 July:

Palm oil price revival depends on biodiesel scheme by hanim adnan Updated: Thursday July 31, 2014 MYT 8:01:56 AM; "GOING into the second half of the year, many quarters are anticipating the country’s steep palm oil stocks can be reduced considerably – thanks to the nationwide implementation of the B5 biodiesel programme that takes effect this month.
It is envisaged that some 500,000 tonnes of palm oil annually would be taken up from the palm oil stockpile for B5 biodiesel that will be used in the Government’s subsidised and non-subsidised sectors.... The Government’s strong push for the biodiesel mandate could translate into the steep domestic palm oil stocks being reduced to below one million tonnes and also provide a floor price for CPO at RM2,000 per tonne.... Despite the uncertainties ahead and the CPO price currently trading lower at RM2,250 per tonne, some quarters maintained that planters in Peninsular Malaysia would continue to reap in profits as their average CPO cost of production (COP) is still good at RM1,200 per tonne. The COP for Sabah and Sarawak planters’ is RM1,300 per tonne and RM1,600 per tonne respectively...."

18 July:

Supply concerns hamper expansion of biodiesel use by Raras Cahyafitri, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Business | Fri, July 18 2014, 10:18 AM;; "...State-owned electricity company PT PLN said on Thursday that it had not received the biodiesel needed to fuel its power plants and meet the government’s mandatory policy of using cheaper renewable energy sources.... The PLN placed part of the blame on the state oil and gas company, PT Pertamina, for failing to provide supply.... The PLN head of oil and gas division, Suryadi Mardjoeki, said the company could only absorb 85,000 kiloliters (kl) during the January to June period, less than 12 percent of the PLN’s initial target of 800,000 kl this year.... Pertamina vice president of retail fuel marketing Muhammad Iskandar said that the PLN had yet to officially request the fuel-type and that several power plants could not actually be run with the type of biodiesel set by the PLN... For electricity, beginning this year, the mandatory blending percentage will be set at 20 percent. The Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry’s bioenergy director, Dadan Kusdiana, said as many as 999,000 kl of biodiesel had been blended into fuel by the end of the first second quarter.... The figure included blended biodiesel subsidized and non-subsidized fuel as well as electricity.... Absorption over the first half of the year was deemed inadequate, as the government had set a target of 3.96 million kl in biodiesel use by year’ end.... Dadan estimated that biodiesel blending may reach just 2 million kl by year’s end.
“The only way to meet the target is by requesting Pertamina to supply B20 and B40. Apart from that, we are also seeking supplies of PPO [pure palm oil] to be blended with our fuel,” Suryadi said...."

Jakarta Post quoted electricity company, PT PLN as saying that it had not received the biodiesel needed for its power plants and as such, it cannot meet the government’s policy of using cheaper renewable energy sources.·     PLN partly blamed PT Pertamina for failing to provide the supply of biodiesel. PLN used only 85,000 kilolitres (30,017 tonnes) of biodiesel from January to June this year, less than PLN’s target of 800,000 kilolitres (282,517 tonnes) for this year.  Earlier: Biodiesel mix misses quarterly target, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | April 22 2014 | 11:09 AM
14 July:
AmResearch, 14 July 2014 notes: "...the American Soybean Association (ASA) urged its members to lobby the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Congress to mandate the blending of 1.7bil gallons of biodiesel as part of the 2014 renewable fuel standard. In contrast, the EPA is proposing to require 1.28bil gallons of biodiesel blending only. The EPA is due to release the final number in spring. However, the release has been delayed. It is not surprising that the ASA is lobbying for higher biodiesel mandates in view of the surge in the supply of soybean and soybean oil this year. Biodiesel is expected to absorb 21.8% of soybean oil supply in the US in 2014F/2015F.....  Based on the latest USDA (US Department of Agriculture) report, which was released last Friday, ending inventory of US soybean oil is forecasted to increase 8% to 1.8bil pounds in 2014F/2015F due to a drop in demand. Production of US soybean oil is estimated to remain flat. In the same report, USDA had also revised its forecast of US soybean production upwards by 4.5% to 3.8bil bushels in 2014F/2015F due to higher planting acreage. As a result, soybean production in US is anticipated to expand by 15.5% YoY in 2014F/2015F...."

 13 July 2014; China Targets 30% New Government Vehicles Use Alternative Energy
 By Bloomberg News  Jul 13, 2014 8:30 PM GMT+0800 ;  "China is mandating that at least 30 percent of new government vehicles be powered by alternative energy by 2016 in the government’s latest salvo to combat pollution and reduce energy dependence. At least 15 percent of new vehicles will use new energy this year in areas such as Beijing and the Pearl River Delta in Guangdong province, the government said in a statement posted on the website of the National Government Offices Administration department. New energy is a term used for electric cars, plug-in hybrids and fuel-cell vehicles...."

9 July:
European Commission and Industry Investing $5 Billion in Biomass By Louise Downing  Jul 9, 2014 6:00 PM GMT+0800; "The European Commission and companies including Coca-Cola Co. are investing as much as 3.7 billion euros ($5 billion) to foster the growth of a regional bio-energy industry. The commission is providing 975 million euros from 2014 to 2024, with the remaining 2.7 billion euros coming from the Bio-Based Industries Consortium, according to an e-mailed statement from BBI and the EC. The public-private partnership aims to spur investments and create a competitive market....."

13 June:
Pertamina miss target due to poor infrastructure, 13 June 2014; "The Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry is estimating that the volume of blended subsidized fuel will only be 1.32 million kiloliters (kl) by year-end, or 90 percent of the 1.46 million kl target, according to the ministry’s bioenergy director, Dadan Kusdiana. According to the ministry’s figures, only 446,935 kl of biodiesel had been blended into subsidized fuel as of the end of May. Meanwhile, in the electricity sector, fuel blended with biodiesel reached 68,000 kl as of May 31, according to state power firm PT PLN’s oil and gas division head, Suryadi Mardjoeki.
The government began requiring diesel used for industry and transportation to contain 10 percent biofuel in September last year.... Last year, the mandatory biodiesel blending requirement helped lower diesel fuel imports by 1.05 million kl worth US$831 million. Prior to the move, the country had implemented an obligation of 7.5 percent. Total diesel fuel consumption is estimated to reach 34.14 million kl, while the volume of blended diesel fuel is targeted to total 3.96 million kl...."

EU to limit production of biofuels from food crops - Energy ministers agree to a 7% cap on using food crops such as maize or rapeseed for making biofuels;, Friday 13 June 2014; "...The ministers' endorsement of a new compromise overcomes last year's stalemate when EU governments failed to agree on a proposed 5% cap on the use of biofuels based on crops such as maize or rapeseed. Friday's deal would set a 7% limit on the use of food-based biofuels in transport fuel. It must now be considered by the newly-elected European parliament...."

30 May:
Brazil ups biodiesel blend to 7%; May 30, 2014 report by CIMB;  "The decision by Brazil to raise the mandatory biodiesel mix from 5% currently to 6% in Jul and 7% in Nov 14 is indirectly positive for CPO prices. The higher  blend will boost demand for soybean oil in Brazil and its global prices in the  medium term. Our rough estimate suggests that the higher blend could  potentially raise usage of soybean oil in Brazil by 854k tonnes to 2.75m tonnes.  This represents around 12% of Brazil and 2% of global soybean oil production.  We do not expect major obstacles in implementing the higher blend but expect most of the incremental demand to be felt in 2015.... According to the USDA, Brazil is expected to consume 2.9bn litres of biodiesel in 2014, based on a mandatory biodiesel mix of 5%.... Soybean oils represent 73% of total feedstock use in biodiesel production in Brazil. Using the same proportion, we conservatively deduce that the potential amount of soybean oils that will be absorbed by the higher biodiesel mandate  to be around 0.95bn litres (or 854k tonnes). This represents around 11% of Brazil's soybean oil output and 2% of global soybean oil production... This is  slightly lower compared to Indonesia's biodiesel policy, which is expected to divert around 3m tonnes of palm oil for domestic biodiesel usage (assuming 10% blend) vs. our estimate for Brazil of 2.7m tonnes of soybean oil (assuming 7% blend). Brazil has 8.2bn litres of biodiesel facilities. As such, we do not see significant obstacles for the government to implement the higher blend..."

Asian Biofuel Motorists Drive Palm-Oil Prices Higher - Palm Oil's Growing Use as a Biofuel Is Reducing its Availability for Other Uses By  Huileng Tan, Updated May 29, 2014 11:56 a.m. ET

RSPO RT15 Bali: Why did RSPO volume drop in 2016? P&C new policy watch. Sabah-MSPO discord?


20 Dec 2017: Why did RSPO volume drop in 2016? P&C new policy watch.

Editor's note: I had readers asking why RSPO volume dropped in 2016. A few reasons are cited, including the switchover from GreenPalm. Also, I keep an eye on volume from the big buyers. Notably the biggest buyer submitted volume reports as follows:
So eyes will be on return of volume in 2017 and that spreads volume (very big) under new owner KKR holds up well. 

For those wanting to hear the side-lines chatter on RSPO, please get in touch for direct briefing. Please note specialists point out that the new P&C has many new policy proposals, including one that conflict estates cannot be sold. FGV investigation on over-priced purchase (considering that 40% unplantable under enviro-social voluntary rules).

Unilever Sells Spreads Business to KKR for $8.1 Billion By Thomas Buckley December 15, 2017

International NGOs Condemn IOI Group’s Plan to Divest from Conflict Palm Oil Plantation -- If IOI divests, communities of Long Teran Kanan risk losing their lands, culture and livelihood December 14, 2017

Newsbreak: FGV investigating overpriced Asian Plantations purchase - The Edge Malaysia  December 18, 2017

12 Dec 2017: POIG charter for processors, AOMG update notes RSPO reports loss of 0.55 million tonnes of demand, Sabah-MSPO discord?

Editor's note: 

Glad to have chatted to AOMG's Mr Qua who was in Bali. He comments: "At the RT the release of the 2017 Impact Report was announced. Here we saw that total CSPO sales in 2016 had decreased to 5,632,731 MT, down by 549,963 MT from 2015.  At RT 14 we heard the oil palm growers co-chair of RSPO, Dato’ Carl Bek-Nielsen in his welcome address hitting out at RSPO members who were using the “no palm oil” label on their products...". Please read here, 

Checking the more recent data, reported sales up to Sept 2017 is 4.5 million (the chart below seems not to have been updated). The dampening impact on non-certification traceability on RSPO volumes has been increasingly apparent; but hopefully, yoy volume expansion can pick up again for 2017. For 2018 onwards, European and global buyer demand and supply from MSPO will be worth watching. Also, Sabah is aiming to come on strong with RSPO supply, it will be good to see what demand commitments they have for this. Sabah says that it will compete on governance, and the discord between Sabah's policy plan and MSPO has hit the news headlines. 

source: RSPO

SFD: Sabah palm oil should compete via governance  November 18, 2017

(Sabah) ‘RSPO is one man’s wish list’ Sangeetha Amarthalingam / The Edge Financial Daily November 14, 2017

POIG publishes charter for sustainable palm oil processors 11-Dec-2017 By Niamh Michail --
The Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG) has launched a charter for traders and processors of sustainable palm oil that will "break the link between palm oil production and the destruction of forests and peatlands".

RSPO Investigating Reports of Ongoing Labor Abuse at Indofood Plantations By Sheany, December 11, 2017

8 Dec 2017: Post-RT News flow (more added)

Editor's note: Keeping an eye on post-RSPO RT newsflow. Some who were at the Bali meeting report "not more than 200 in the hall". There were various side meetings going on too, but some NGOs did not make it or left pretty fast. A couple of people were there are now complaining about insurance not covering the travel glitches. A more substantive post-mortem to emerge when participants have time to report.

RSPO Must Respond to Complaints Against Sime Darby: Rights Group By : Dames Alexander Sinaga December 05, 2017 -- Sime Darby said in a statement on Monday (04/12) that the land dispute has been discussed at the RSPO's annual meetings since 2012. "Throughout this period, RSPO complaint manager also visited the communities four times. As of December 2017, SDP [Sime Darby Plantation] management has held 25 meetings with the communities surrounding MAS to earnestly resolve the outstanding issues," the statement said.

Labor abuses persist in RSPO-certified palm plantations, report finds by Hans Nicholas Jong on 8 December 2017

Deforestation in Sumatra carves up tiger habitats into ever smaller patches
by Basten Gokkon on 5 December 2017

The palm oil industry promises reform, but there’s still no sign of change, Blogpost by Bagus Kusuma - 4 December, 2017 -- In 2013, Wilmar became the first palm oil trader to adopt a No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation (NDPE) policy. Others followed suit, and by the end of 2014, most household brands and big palm oil companies had sworn to protect Indonesia’s rainforests...Not one of the traders could prove it wasn’t buying from palm oil companies that destroyed rainforests. Most could not even say when there would be no deforestation in their supply chains. Instead of cutting out dirty palm oil, traders have a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy...

Palm Oil Giant Vows to Reform After Indonesian Child Labour Probe By : Beh Lih Yi, November 30, 2017 -- The world's biggest palm oil processor Wilmar has launched fresh measures to improve conditions of thousands of children living on its plantations, but campaigners said on Wednesday that it was not doing enough to tackle widespread use of child labour. ilmar was targeted in an Amnesty International probe last year which found children as young as eight were working in "hazardous" conditions on plantations run by the Singapore-based firm and its suppliers in Indonesia.

Indonesia Says Palm Oil Key to Achieving UN Sustainable Development Goals By : Sheany, November 29, 2017 -- "The palm oil industry is key to Indonesia achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, including poverty eradication and narrowing the development gap," said Mahendra Siregar, executive director of the Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries (CPOPC), as quoted in a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Indonesia has criticized a resolution on palm oil and deforestation the European Parliament adopted in April, which the country said discriminates against palm oil manufacturers and disregards efforts to introduce sustainable practices in the industry. Mahendra also cited the Amsterdam Declaration, which he said, if adopted, would be an example of discriminative policy, because it does not apply to other vegetable oils. "There have been negative marketing campaigns by several companies, including one by KLM [Royal Dutch Airlines], which demanded that its suppliers not use any palm oil in their products," he said. He also referred to ongoing antidumping policies and subsidies in Europe and said they are unreasonable, because they are not based on any clear evidence. ...

30 Nov 2017: RSPO RT15 Bali (from afar) - newsflow and comments, Wed and Thurs (Day 2 and 3) 

Editor's note: For various reasons including the more obvious (I don't have substantial corporate expense budget for non-insured travel to Bali), I am looking at RT15 Bali from afar. Am hearing lots from industry friends. Quite a few didn't make it before airport closure and also some left pretty quick once the eruptions escalated. A note on the travel dilemmas here, The airport reopened Wed afternoon, as the winds shifted! Look forward to catching up with participants on and offline. I've updated for Day 2 items, (Day 1 cancelled)  and have added Day 3. Those interested in "commensurate effort" should be interested in Ferrero's estimates in the newsflow link.

The great thing is that you can follow RSPO RT15 here...  Video of the opening here, Thanks to RSPO and those posting! These are official channels. For wider opinions channel, try #RT15 on twitter,

Report is of 300  participants remainung at RSPO RT15 as per yesterday afternoon. Compared to 800 participants at RSPO RT14 last year (according to AOMG's write-up, 

Related newsflow

Here are newsflow and chat items related to RSPO and contemporaneous (these are also in my LinkedIn, RSPO RT time is widely regarded as that time of year when negative newsflow is especially high for palm oil:

  • Wilmar International reports some positives with green finance and child labour policy. Read and its Child Protection Policy.
  • Greenpeace   complains on palm oil traders. Read and its report. 
  • KLM Royal Dutch Airlines  slammed over inflight magazine for ‘campaign’ against palm oil  
  • So I am hearing from Bali that some teams are leaving Wed and Thurs (Tues program cancelled and abridged RT15 program set for Wed-Thur). The Surabaya route seems the choice for most. About travel to Surabaya, 
  • Ferrero and sustainable palm oil: ...sourced 180,000 tonnes of palm oil or 0.3 per cent of the total global production annually. Out of which, 90 per cent came from Malaysia and the rest from other producing countries. "So, if all edible palm oil used in EU has the same premium as Ferrero, the extra cost would be 500 million euros per annum - that would go to the upstream of Malaysia and Indonesia. "Assuming this extra cost is fully passed to EU consumers, that would mean one euro per capita per year," he explained....
  • RSPO Secretariat leaves out Malaysian palm oil concession maps, says it infringes OSA TheEdge Nov 29, 2017--  “We have been told by our lawyers that the Malaysian maps are under the OSA (and) we want to be on the right side of the law, so we will leave it at that. “However, Sabah has told us categorically that it is absolutely okay with the maps being made public, because its land is a state matter. So for Sabah, members’ maps are published on our website,” he said. 
  • In chat groups: 1) issue of HCV assessment system (HCVRN-ALS) at the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and 2)  Greenpeace's allegations rebutted by Aksenta Socio-Enviro Management Consulting (refer to tweet: A response to Greenpeace).

Khor Report's synopsis and some comments on RSPO RT15 

(screen shots, sources: RSPO Tweets and Linkedin sources as indicated)

RSPO P&C 2018 to include HCS Approach? But what about RSPO Next. Market uptake for this has really muted expectation, and so "commensurate effort" view is gloomy? Some see HCSA inclusion as necessary for survival, some have the very opposite view and ponder demise of interest from non-integrateds.

On Africa - Liberia, Gabon presentations. Was plantable area in forested Africa 41 or 63%? I had my eye on the incremental areas in Africa. Added HCV 13,405 ha and is that plantable 22773-13405= 9368 ha for 41% plantable in total area in forested settings? Oh hang on, maybe they calculate HCV+certified=total; so 13,405+22,773=36,178 so certified (planted) ratio is 63%.  

On Smallholders. Talk of RSPO Smallholder Academy,  of RSPO Smallholder Empowerment Platform. Mr Sutiyana was the first smallholder in Kalimantan to get RSPO certified. It took a year and a half to become certified and he hopes the 1% of certified independent smallholders will increase to 5% in the next few years. A study reports says that independent smallholders can increase premiums through certification as FFB quality increases and they can sell direct to mills. If profit-NPV is so good for smallholders, I'm just wondering: a) why supply-chain experts report that 1/3 of early certified RSPO smallholders have chosen not to stay on (lead farmers already had better practices!) and b) why I hear year-in year-out from so many working on this their worries about smallholders renewing (and moreover, trouble to convince them to join) and NPP for smallholders? We need studies covering of larger number of certified (and no longer certified) smallholders, done over time. In contrast, some other supply-chain efforts in cocoa and others report much better numbers, even approaching 100,000 of independent smallholders (Indonesia scheme oil palm smallholders are relatively easy to certify as large areas are even fully managed by the inti). Worth checking these other approaches perhaps? Also, it is not accurate to negatively depict smallholder zones as being weak links and black boxes. In reality, a lot of the old-customary use areas are smallholders (post independence decades), and it is in fact expansion in more recent decades that is led by corporate expansion. Well, okay, so smallholders aren't good at documentation and reams of paperwork... so bad.

On HCV. Report that HCV patches smaller that 200 ha are still important for biodiversity and connectivity. 70 plantations NPPs reports were digitised and studied.

On GHG. Faizal Parish presented Impacts of GHG assement and reporting: "Of the 3% peatlands identified in assessments,  100% has being conserved; leading to 308,000 mtVO2/yr of peat oxidation avoided.... 194,100 ha assesses with 30% set aside for HCV, HCS and social."

Panel – Simon Lord, Ben Vreeburg, Faisal Parish: On ‘weak-link’ companies - remove or rehabilitation? One to one basis? “Use a carrot, not a stick”. Certification and beyond to NDPE - how can can RSPO deliver on these. More philosophical question on whether certification is successful if it merely distinguishes leaders from laggards (and not 100% inclusive). "It’s not about beyond certification. It’s about certification AND beyond," said Dr Simon Lord. On addressing the haze, a gloomy statement "national rules will not impact action on the ground". WRI asks about an accountability framework? (remark from a reader: yes, there already is RSPO Next, but are buyers interested?).

End of Wed, Day 2 (Day 1 cancelled), some side events cancelled.

Update on complaints procedures:
  • further alignment with the dispute settlement made, strengthen relations with certification + accreditation bodies, separation of power 
  • GA13 resolution has been fully passed - Complaints Panel no longer need endorsement of the Board. CP have power for suspension and termination
  • How is a successful complaint filed? CP need clear info and evidence to proceed
  • Complaints Panel invite authors of reports to put an official complaint forward. This will enable the full expertise of the CP to investigate. The result is a faster, more transparent resolution
  • In response to why complaints are prolonged, the Complaints Panel explain standard operating procedures must be followed. Delays in responses and waits for investigative reports must also be taken into consideration
  • Q from @lizajmurphy: what mechanisms are in place for Complaints Panel to learn from past cases? A: CP learnings over the last year are now moving into the P+C review 
(quotes from:

RSPO P&C 2018
A collection of items, I think are relevant on the new Principles & Criteria 2018 above. "Theory of Change" is important, I am told. Also there is reference to HCS Approach being included? 

In the RSPO Tweets:
  • Panelists discuss one thing they are proud of being achieved in #RSPO P&C revision, with simplification of text being a highlight for Perpetua George - Wilmar #RT15
  • Rosemary Addico @Solidaridadnetw shares a that highlight from the P&C Review is the further inclusion of #smallholders. #RT15 
  • There are now more specific indicators for implementation, and for auditors says @daryll_reads. #RSPO Criteria is now nuanced #RT15 #sustainable #palmoil
  • .@darrelwebb ‘Our vision was to make this the most inclusive P&C to date. Over 10,000 people were reached and given the chance to comment on the review.’ #RT15 #RSPO
  • Olivier Tichit ‘P&C is now looking beyond the production of palm, and instead looking at how to achieve the goal of industry transformation’ @ortichit #RT15 #sustainable #palmoil
  • “We are going in the right direction [with P&C Review], but we need to communicate what we are doing” @ortichit
(quotes from:

Some audience voting items (n=61, n=30+):

The sponsors; note the US-based conglomerates. Some relationship with the rise of US membership at RSPO?

The General Assembly

  • Resolution GA14-6a: To confirm the appointment of PricewaterhouseCoopers as the auditors of the RSPO for the financial year ending 30 June 2018. ADOPTED
  • Resolution GA14-6b: Relocation of the De Facto RSPO Executive Office to Jakarta, Indonesia,;  NOT ADOPTED
  • Resolution GA14-6c: Strengthening the RSPO Executive Office,; NOT ADOPTED
  • Resolution GA14-6d: Generation of sustainability practices and fair trade for independent mills,; RESOLUTION REMOVED 
  • Resolution GA14-6e: Enhancing credibility of the "Annual Communications of Progress",;  NOT ADOPTED
  • Resolution GA14-6f: Balanced representation in the RSPO General Assembly voting process based on membership category,; ADOPTED.
  • Resolution GA14-6g: Official recognition of IGC endorsed Indonesian RSPO grower member representatives within all RSPO forums, as formally representing the Indonesian Growers Caucus (IGC),; ADOPTED
  • Resolution GA14-6h: Relocation of the RSPO Secretariat Office to Jakarta, Indonesia,; NOT ADOPTED
  • Resolution GA14-6i: Resolution to Amend The Statutes of the RSPO and the Code of Conduct for members to formalise the role of the Complaints and Appeals Panel,; ADOPTED

Source: and

End of Thurs, Day 3

Mount Agung volcano erupting in Bali – in pictures

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:

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
  • Olam to pause land clearing in Gabon in truce with Mighty Earth February 22, 2017 by ANDREA SOH
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.

  • We Need Your Help to Stop the King of Deforestation MARCH 17, 2017
  • The Chocolate Crisis MARCH 16, 2017 
  • Cargill and Bunge face escalating pressure to clean up supply chain MARCH 13, 2017
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...

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.....

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.

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.”

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....

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.

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:

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.

Report here:

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.

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

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.

National park fights back against illegal plantations, Apriadi Gunawan, The Jakarta Post March 11, 2017 -- 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...

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.

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.

National park fights back against illegal plantations by Apriadi Gunawan The Jakarta Post

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.

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

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

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.

Documenting the consequences of palm oil production beyond Southeast Asia 6 February 2017

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.

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.

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....

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.

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....

Link to BIC report here:

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.

The real impact of palm oil and failed policies  By Jakub Kvapil, Stanislav Lhota, Zoltán Szabó  Jan 23, 2017

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

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..., 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.

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.....

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.

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

The Chain: Dimensional Fund Advisors Divests From Some Palm Oil Positions to Mitigate Risks By GabrielThoumi on December 25, 2016

Palm Oil Divestment Goes Mainstream - World's First Broadly-Diversified "Deforestation Free" Global Equity Portfolios Now Available to Everyday Investors - December 23, 2016 ( Newswire)

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/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:

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.

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....

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.

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.....

Olam International’s response to Mighty Earth and Brainforest report Singapore, December 12, 2016 - See more at:

Olam under fire over Africa deforestation

THE VIOLENT COSTS OF THE GLOBAL PALM-OIL BOOM By Jocelyn C. Zuckerman   December 10, 2016

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.

VIDEO: CSR Sugar owner accused of palm oil deforestation in Indonesia orang-utan habitat (ABC News) 

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

MPOC comment, 6 Dec 2016, The Oil Palm <> 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.”...

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

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:              

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.”....

Video: The devastating deforestation of Papua for the palm oil industry, from above by Cassie Werber September 02, 2016

Korean firm burns rainforest for palm oil in Indonesia   3 September 2016

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.....

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....

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).

Bornean orangutans now critically endangered, with change blamed on palm oil  Submitted by Joshua Cobb on July 20, 2016

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.

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.

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.

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.

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: and

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....

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.

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 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....

Exploitation, child labor found in Indonesia palm oil linked to PepsiCo: charities BY BEH LIH YI Jun 15, 2016

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 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.....
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 --

Biodieselgate? British industry leads EU on elimination of palm oil biofuels, says REA 1 June 2016, source edie newsroom --

Unclear if France will revisit ‘discriminatory’ palm oil tax 6 June 2016 / Loren Bell

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.

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....

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, 

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?

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....

Rain forest advocacy group installs 15-foot banner on LIC Pepsi-Cola sign to protest palm oil  By Angela Matua  /  / Monday, April 25, 2016

BREAKING: Protesters Scale Iconic NYC Pepsi Sign to drop 100’ “Cut Conflict Palm Oil” Banner by JESSICA SERRANTE

Greenpeace, McDonald’s and the power of collaboration Bob Langert April 18, 2016

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.

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

Dove Onslaught(er) GreenpeaceVideo
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: For photos and maps, go to: Email: editor(at)

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.

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....

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

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.

European consumers hypocritical, says Porritt by Alexander Winifred December 14, 2015

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 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...

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?

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...,-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....
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 insufficient

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.

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."

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...

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.

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.

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....

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....

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....

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....

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...'linked-to-rainforest-destruction'

Smoking out the truth on palm kernel by CHRIS LEWIS November 17 2015

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.... 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. ..

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.

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:

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....

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....
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....

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

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....

Palm oil company caught destroying primary forest in endangered ecosystem  Tuesday 13 October 2015 by - 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

The Forgotten Elephants of the Leuser Ecosystem Posted by International League of Conservation Photographers on September 30, 2015

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.

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.

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.

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.

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....

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.

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...

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...

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:

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...

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....

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:

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.
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.

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.

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....

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:

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....
Link to "On the Edge - The State and Fate of the World's Tropical Rainforests" is here

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:

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.......

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)

On fire activity and carbon emissions: Doubts on transparency in corporate commitments, Indonesia Fire Free Alliance of plantation groups

18 Mar 2017: Doubts on transparency in corporate commitments, Indonesia Fire Free Alliance of plantation groups

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.

22 Feb 2017: On fire activity and carbon emissions - some article and links

Cattau et al. (2016) write: “Fire activity peaks during the dry season months (August–October) both within and outside of concessions. Fire activity was higher in dry years 2014 and 2015… both within and outside of concessions... The total number of fire detections (N = 205 749) on Kalimantan and Sumatra 2012–2015 located outside of oil palm concession boundaries and within concessions boundaries. 16.6% of all the fire detections during the study period are located within oil palm concessions... A disproportionate percentage of the total fire detections (52.3%) occur on peatlands considering the percent land area in peatland (13.7%)... RSPO has the potential to reduce fires, but is currently only effective when fire likelihood is relatively low and thus fewer fires occur and are presumably more easily controllable…  in order for this mechanism to reduce fire, greater efforts may be needed to control fires in dry years and on peatlands.” The indication of fire detections so far may support the dominant narrative in the industry that attribute fires more to smallholders and small producers (in non-concession areas, see below).

Fire detections in Sumatra and Kalimantan, 2012-2015 by Cattau et al. (2016)

Looking back to the earlier 1997/98 fire-haze that drew the world’s attention to palm oil sustainability, Page et al. (2002) write: “The amount of carbon released from peat and forest fires in Indonesia during 1997: estimate that 0.19–0.23 gigatonnes (Gt) of carbon were released to the atmosphere through peat combustion, with a further 0.05 Gt released from burning of the overlying vegetation. Extrapolating these estimates to Indonesia as a whole, we estimate that between 0.81 and 2.57 Gt of carbon were released to the atmosphere in 1997 as a result of burning peat and vegetation in Indonesia. This is equivalent to 13–40% of the mean annual global carbon emissions from fossil fuels, and contributed greatly to the largest annual increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration detected since records began in 1957.” The 2014/2015 El Nino dry period is associated with the 2015 wildfires, Huijnen et al. (2016) conclude that: “With a mean emission rate of 11.3 Tg CO2 per day during Sept-Oct 2015, emissions from these fires exceeded the fossil fuel CO2 release rate of the European Union (EU28) (8.9 Tg CO2 per day). Although seasonal fires are a frequent occurrence in the human modified landscapes found in Indonesia, the extent of the 2015 fires was greatly inflated by an extended drought period associated with a strong El Niño….we derive total emissions of 692 ± 213 Tg CO2 and 3.2 ± 1.2 Tg CH4... Our fire carbon emission estimate for Sept-Oct 2015 represents the largest seen over the Maritime southeast Asia region since 1997, but still it is only a quarter of the most recent estimate for the Sept-Oct period of that El Niño year”

Cattau, Megan E, Miriam E Marlier and Ruth DeFries (2016), 'Effectiveness of Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) for reducing fires on oil palm concessions in Indonesia from 2012 to 2015', Environmental Research Letters (19 Oct. 2016), 11 105007,

Huijnen V., M. J. Wooster, J. W. Kaiser, D. L. A. Gaveau, J. Flemming, M. Parrington, A. Inness, D. Murdiyarso, B. Main & M. van Weele (2016), 'Fire carbon emissions over maritime southeast Asia in 2015 largest since 1997', Scientific Reports 6, Article number: 26886 (2016), doi:10.1038/srep26886.

Page , Susan E., Florian Siegert, John O. Rieley, Hans-Dieter V. Boehm, Adi Jaya & Suwido Limin (2002), The amount of carbon released from peat and forest fires in Indonesia during 1997, Nature 420, 61-65 (7 Nov. 2002). doi:10.1038/nature01131.

The Global Peatland CO2 Picture - Peatland status and emissions in all countries of the world (draft)



International Criminal Court (ICC) will try land grabs and environmental destruction, human trafficking - test case Cambodia?

The Hague, ICC: COMPANY EXECUTIVES COULD NOW BE TRIED FOR LAND GRABS AND ENVIRONMENTAL DESTRUCTION Press release / 15 Sep 2016 -- A move by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to expand its focus signals a landmark shift in international criminal justice and could reshape how business is done in developing countries, says Global Witness. Company executives, politicians and other individuals could now be held criminally responsible under international law for crimes linked to land grabbing and environmental destruction...... Global Witness: a case filed in 2014 that catalogues mass human rights abuses linked to systematic land seizures in Cambodia, where business leaders have been working hand-in-glove with the country’s kleptocratic government. (3).... (3) This case will be a key test for the ICC’s new policy. If accepted, this would be the first case in international criminal law where the primary allegations relate to the illegal exploitation of land. Corporate actors in Cambodia could be the prime targets for investigation - they have been complicit in a widespread and systematic campaign of illegal land seizures, leading to the forcible displacement of hundreds of thousands of Cambodians with the help of the state police, military and judiciary. The case was filed at the ICC by international human rights lawyer Richard J Rogers, of the law firm Global Diligence LLP, relying on evidence collected by Cambodian and international organisations, including Global Witness....

References to environment and trafficking in "OFFICE OF THE PROSECUTOR - POLICY PAPER ON CASE SELECTION AND PRIORITISATION," 15 September 2016

7. ... In particular, it will seek to cooperate with States who are investigating and prosecuting individuals who have committed or have facilitated the commission The Office will also seek to cooperate and provide assistance to States, upon request, with respect to conduct which constitutes a serious crime under national law, such as the illegal exploitation of natural resources, arms trafficking, human trafficking, terrorism, financial crimes, land grabbing or the destruction of the environment (See article 93(10) of the Statute).

40. The manner of commission of the crimes may be assessed in light of, inter alia, the means employed to execute the crime, the extent to which the crimes were systematic or resulted from a plan or organised policy or otherwise resulted from the abuse of power or official capacity, the existence of elements of particular cruelty, including the vulnerability of the victims, any motives involving discrimination held by the direct perpetrators of the crimes, the use of rape and  other sexual or gender-based violence or crimes committed by means of, or
resulting in, the destruction of the environment or of protected objects (See articles 8(2)(b)(ix) and 8(2)(e)(iv) of the Statute).

41. The impact of the crimes may be assessed in light of, inter alia, the increased vulnerability of victims, the terror subsequently instilled, or the social, economic and environmental damage inflicted on the affected communities. In this context, the Office will give particular consideration to prosecuting Rome Statute crimes that are committed by means of, or that result in, inter alia, the destruction of the environment, the illegal exploitation of natural resources or the illegal dispossession of land., and referring page,