WORLD’S LARGEST PALM OIL TRADER COMMITS TO BANNING DEFORESTATION
Singapore-based Wilmar, the world’s largest palm oil trader, has signed a policy committing to eliminate deforestation from its supply chain. Over the past decade, the palm oil industry has become one of the leading drivers of tropical deforestation. As Wilmar controls 45 percent of the palm oil market, the new policy could have far-reaching environmental effects. Wilmar says that the policy will cover all its operations, including the company’s non-palm oil holdings and its dealings with third-party suppliers. Under the new policy, Wilmar will not deal in palm oil produced at the expense of high carbon stock forests or high conservation value forests, and the company has committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on existing plantations. Wilmar also commits to seek "free, prior, and informed consent" when using community lands, and plans to make the palm oil used in its supply chain fully traceable. The new policy comes after years of criticism from environmentalists and human rights groups for the damage caused by Wilmar’s operations. For the full story, see http://news.mongabay.com/2013/1205-wilmar-zero-deforestation.html and http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2317478/worlds-biggest-palm-oil-company-pledges-to-halt-deforestation.