Burger King, General Mills, Unilever, Nestle, and Kraft
What do these corporations have in common? They are just a few of the buyers of palm oil, who have begun shunning Sinar Mas in light of their alleged poor environmental track record, in a move that will hopefully increase pressure on other corporate buyers of palm oil products.
And now nations are taking a stand with the aim of preserving their environmental integrity — most notably Indonesia.
With the help of a $1 billion preservation grant from the government of Norway, just two months ago, Indonesia announced its plan to impose a 2 year moratorium on future expansion in peatland and natural forest conversion. This move would effectively limit permits to clear forest for oil palm cultivation starting in 2011.
In response to this, Sinar Mas’ Singapore palm oil producer, Golden Agriculture Resources’ has made plans to jet off to Liberia, so that they can continue their unsustainable and environmentally destructive practices by working with their local subsidiary, Golden VerOleum. Under this $1.6 billion partnership, and 25-year concession, they would control 220,000 hectares of land in Liberia. That’s over three times the size of Singapore!
The official press statement has boasted that it will help small farmers practice sustainable planting and create 35,000+ jobs. So what’s the cause for alarm? Sinar Mas continues to face sustained pressure from groups, namely Greenpeace, who have accused them of continued widespread deforestation and clearing of carbon-rich peatlands which not only contributes to global warming but also destroys the habitat of many endangered species.
See this image provided courtesy of Greenpeace to get a better idea of the type of forest destruction Liberia could now be facing if Sinar Mas practices business as usual there.