Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Palm oil: Cooking the Climate | Greenpeace International

Palm oil: Cooking the Climate Greenpeace International

(brief)
Indonesia — If, as you read this, you're tucking into a KitKat or dipping into a tube of Pringles, you might be interested to know that these products contain palm oil that is linked to the destruction of forests and peatlands in Indonesia. As our new report "How the palm oil industry is cooking the climate" shows, it's a recipe for disaster.

The manufacturers of these products - Nestlé, Procter & Gamble, and Unilever - are sourcing their palm oil from suppliers who aren't picky about where they site their plantations. As the volunteers at the Forest Defenders Camp in Sumatra have seen, this includes tearing up areas of pristine forest then draining and burning the peatlands.Indonesia's peatlands act as huge carbon stores so replacing them with plantations them not only threatens the amazing biodiversity, including the rare Sumatran tiger, it also releases huge volumes of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. They only cover 0.1 per cent of the land on Earth, but thanks in part to the activities of the palm oil industry they contribute 4 per cent to global emissions. If expansion of the palm oil industry continues unabated, that figure can only rise.

All this is a little unnerving as the three companies mentioned above are members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), a group of retailers, manufacturers and suppliers who also include multinational suppliers Cargill and ADM. The aim of the group is to create clear standards for producing sustainable palm oil but at present those standards are far too weak to ensure that forests and peatlands are not destroyed to meet growing demand for palm oil.
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