Wednesday, 28 April 2010

*Indonesia's palm oil giant Sinar Mas continues to break sustainability commitments

*Indonesia's palm oil giant Sinar Mas continues to break sustainability commitments

Greenpeace releases new evidence of rainforest destruction in advance of Sinar Mas AGM
*27 April, 2010 - Singapore/Jakarta:* Today, as shareholders arrived at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Golden Agri Resources (GAR), the palm oil arm of Sinar Mas, Greenpeace released fresh evidence showing how Sinar Mas continues to destroy Indonesia's rainforests despite promises to stop.

Deforestation for palm oil expansion is driving climate change and pushing endangered orang-utans to the brink of extinction.

"This evidence shows that Sinar Mas continues to lie to its shareholders and customers about its environmental standards. Whatever new promises it makes today, it is clear the company intends to continue trashing rainforests and destroying orang-utan habitat. We will continue to press Sinar Mas'

customers to stop all business with this forest destroyer until it cleans up its act," said Bustar Maitar, Greenpeace Southeast Asia Forest Team Leader

A policy statement released by Sinar Mas in early February and the GAR 2009 Annual Report presented today at its AGM claims commitments to the principles of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and a halt to clearing in High Conservation Value (HCV) areas, primary forests and peatlands.

"Two weeks ago we revealed how Sinar Mas subsidiary PT ALM is currently destroying deep peatland and high conservation value forest in West Kalimantan. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Within the last few days we have caught Sinar Mas subsidiary PT BAT clearing rainforest bordering orang-utan habitat in Central Kalimantan. This subsidiary has also been illegally destroying orang-utan habitat in the past. These cases show that Sinar Mas' commitments are meaningless and nothing but greenwash. (2)

Greenpeace has also been targeting food and drink giant, Nestle, for using palm oil from Sinar Mas in products like KitKat. The multinational terminated its direct palm oil contract with the company last month, (3) but continues to buy palm oil and paper products indirectly from it, through suppliers like Cargill. Nestle has said it expects Cargill to stop supplying Sinar Mas palm oil unless the company adequately answers to Greenpeace's evidence of deforestation and illegality by the end of April. (4)

"Sinar Mas has just days left to clean up its act or risk losing huge contracts with Cargill," said Maitar. "Greenpeace is not against palm oil plantations, our campaign is to stop companies like Sinar Mas from destroying the world s remaining rainforests. The Indonesian government must take tough action against companies like this and protect the country's carbon rich peatland and rainforests."

Indonesia has one of the fastest rates of forest destruction on the planet, with palm oil and pulp and paper plantations being major causes. As a result, it is now the world's third largest greenhouse gas emitter, after China and the United States. (5)